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PRINCESS ESTELLE BAPTISM

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Live Blog: the baptism of Princess Estelle

Sweden's newest princess, Princess Estelle, is to be baptized in the Royal Chapel on Tuesday. The Local brings you all the latest news, reactions, and details surrounding the baptism of Sweden's future head of state.

Live Blog: the baptism of Princess Estelle

David Landes, 9.12pm

Well, the dust has settled on what at least one royal commentator dubbed a “historic” day.

The families of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel gathered for a private dinner at their Haga Palace home to conclude a day filled with lots of pomp, some circumstance, and a slew of memorable moments.

“Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, I baptize you,” uttered archbishop Anders Wejryd in the Royal Chapel in front of roughly 500 guests.

The infant princess’s yawn early in the ceremony prompted a smile from her mother and marked the overwhelmingly calm Estelle’s perhaps most expressive moment, aside from some muted crying which was quickly muffled by a pacifier from Victoria.

Afterwards, Victoria and Daniel took Estelle out to Slottsbacken, adjacent to the palace, where they and the assembled onlookers were treated to a 21 gun salute.

And there weren’t just ooohs and aaahs over the well behaved Estelle. Royal observers were also keeping a keen eye on the partners of Victoria’s siblings, Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philip, each of whom made their royal debut at today’s baptism.

With today’s baptism–considered the last major public event related to Estelle’s birth–behind them, Victoria, Daniel, and Estelle can look forward to a few days peace and quiet.

But not for long.

Victoria is due to be on hand for the awarding of the Astrid Lindgren children’s literature prize in about a week, and Sweden’s National Day, June 6th, isn’t far off either.

On that note, it’s time to wrap up this latest Live Blog from The Local. Be sure to scroll down below to read more about the baptism of Princess Estelle.

Good night and have a great rest of the week!

David Landes

Editor

David Landes, 3.18pm

Just put together a gallery of pictures taken earlier today while I was outside the Royal Palace. Have a look and decide for yourself who has the coolest hat.

Click here to view the photo gallery.

Rebecca Martin, 3.12pm

After the event, celebrity milliner Bibi Kant summed up the show of head pieces as “stylish but a bit anxious-looking”.

However, Victoria looked “just right” for the event, Kant told daily Svenska Dagbladet. She also awarded top marks to Crown Princess Mary of Denmark for her “very elegant” hat.

David Landes, 3.04pm

Gifts for the newly baptized Princess Estelle have begun pouring in, the TT news agency reports.

The government and the Riksdag have chipped in to give Estelle a bookcase filled with 200 children’s books, including picture books, fairy tales, and classics of children’s literature.

That should keep her busy for a few years!

Other gifts included a glass bowl made in a glass factory in Östergötland (Princess Estelle is also Duchess of Östergötland) as well as a hand-painted Dala horse signed “From the people of Dalarna”.

Estelle will also have a stretch of bicycle trail on the Baltic island of Öland named after her in honour of her baptism.

David Landes, 2.26pm

See what people outside the Royal Palace had to say about the baptism of Princess Estelle. Click here to view the photo gallery.

David Landes, 1.39pm

Johan Lindwall, royal correspondent for Expressen, thinks he knows who in the Swedish royal family will be next to walk down the aisle:

“Before I thought Carl Philip and Sofia would be get engaged next. After the baptism, I’m putting my money on Madeleine and Chris,” he said.

Rebecca Martin, 1.31pm

Bells of Storkyrkan playing Incey Wincey Spider! Cute!

David Landes, 1.26pm

Two of the ceremony’s most anticipated guests–Chris O’Neil, boyfriend of Princess Madeleine, and Sofia Hellqvist, who is dating Prince Carl Philip–arrived at Estelle’s baptism together, much to the surprise of royal commentators.

“Perhaps they wanted to downplay the two relationships; they aren’t even engaged yet. Now they look like they are specially invited guests, not a couple,” said Expressen’s royal expert Sten Hedman.

David Landes, 1.18pm

The ceremony concluded with King Carl XVI Gustav fastening the Royal Order of the Seraphim, the highest order in Sweden, to Princess Estelle.

After the ceremony, the royal family met invited guests to a reception in the Bernadotte apartments at the Royal Palace.

Rebecca Martin, 12:28pm

Fun Fact: The baptismal dress has been used by Swedish Royalty since 1906.

Rebecca Martin, 12:27pm

The congregation then sang the Swedish hymn Tryggare kan ingen vara, which is traditional for a Swedish baptism and a song most Swedes could sing along to.

Rebecca Martin, 12:22pm

Estelle kept calm, didn’t cry and behaved impeccably while she was baptized.

Rebecca Martin, 12:19pm

One of the godparents, Estelle’s uncle Prince Carl Philip, pours the water into the font. The water comes from the Royal residence Solliden on the Baltic island of Öland, brought to Stockholm by the King himself.

Rebecca Martin, 12:15pm

Prince Daniel strokes the head of his young baby daughter as the ceremony gets underway. Estelle seems remarkably calm on her mother’s arm.

Rebecca Martin, 12:06pm

Arriving at the church, Princess Estelle was yawning prettily and wearing the traditional long white baptismal dress. According to the TT news agency reporter she looked amazed at the crowds gathered outside the church.

Oliver Gee, 11:40am

It has been announced that Estelle’s godparents will be Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon, Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Danish Crown Princess Mary, Prince Carl Philip, and Prince Daniel’s sister Anna Westling Söderström, according to the TT news agency.

11:25. The Local’s David Landes chats with Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as more guests arrive for the baptism.

David Landes, 11:18am

More guests continue to march down the blue carpet, including Prime Minister Reinfeldt, the Stockholm Mayor, and Sweden’s top military commander.

David Landes, 11:12am (from Storkyrkan via Twitter)

As the guests are arriving, former Prime Minister Göran Persson “is looking forward to the whole ceremony”

Oliver Gee, 10:48am

For you cradle enthusiasts out there, Princess Estelle’s will be the oldest preserved royal cradle – that of Karl XI. The gilt wooded cradle with a red silk canopy dates back to 1655, and was last used in 1979.

David Landes, 10:31am

“We didn’t plan to be here, but when we realized Estelle was going to be baptized, we just had to come!” said two German tourists, Patric and Betina, to The Local.

“It’s fun to see the Royals and the famous people. And the fact that Queen Silvia is from Germany makes it even more interesting!”

David Landes, 10:28am (from Storkyrkan via Twitter)

A white car with Estelle’s uncle, Prince Carl Philip, just zoomed into the palace

David Landes, 10:26am (from Storkyrkan via Twitter)

Word among journos here is that a motorcade has departed from Haga Palace on its way to the Royal Palace

Oliver Gee, 10:15am

Fun Fact: The baptismal font is made from 50 kilogrammes of Indonesian silver, and was built in the late 17th century. It was used for the first time in 1746 for the baptism of Prince Gustav III.

David Landes, 10:02am (from Storkyrkan via Twitter)

Hearing more German spoken than Swedish among early arrivals at the Royal Palace.

Rebecca Martin, 9:54am

Swedish hat designers are speculating on how daring Queen Silvia and Princess Victoria will be in their hat choice. One of Sweden’s most famous milliners Bibi Kant is hoping Victoria will be stylish but discreet, she told daily Svenska Dagbladet before the event.

David Landes, 9:12am

Need something to jog your memory about all the excitement surrounding the birth of Princess Estelle? Check out some of The Local’s stories on Sweden’s royal birth.

‘It’s a girl’: Prince Daniel

‘She was radiant’: crown princess’ mentor

Victoria to hospital early Thursday morning

Live Blog: Sweden celebrates new princess

And don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @DaveLandes for live tweets from outside the Royal Palace.

David Landes, 9:02am

In the office making final preparations before heading down to the Royal Palace to catch a first hand glimpse of all the VIP guests due to attend the baptism of Princess Estelle.

The guest list includes royalty from Denmark, Norway, Luxemborg, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

As well as a whole host of less-recognizable (but no less important!) relatives of Prince Daniel.

Follow David Landes on Twitter

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HISTORY

The unusual way Sweden once solved its housing crisis and boosted living conditions

In the first half of the 20th century, Sweden implemented an unconventional campaign to transform it from a country with the lowest standards of housing in Europe to one of the highest in the world.

The unusual way Sweden once solved its housing crisis and boosted living conditions
A working-class family in Stockholm in the 1940s. Photo: SvD/TT

“The good home knows no privilege or neglect, no favourites and no stepchildren,” proclaimed Swedish Social Democrat Per Albin Hansson in 1928. “In the good home, equality, caring, cooperation and helpfulness prevail.”

This was the dream of Folkhemmet (The People's Home) – comprised of the “great home” of the Swedish nation and the “small home” of each citizen – which would, in Hansson's words, “signify the breaking down of all social and economic barriers which now divide citizens into privileged and disadvantaged, rulers and dependents, rich and poor, propertied and impoverished, exploiters and exploited.”

For the majority of working-class Swedes who had flocked to urban areas starting in the 1920s and were living in crowded, squalid and often dangerous conditions, this ideal “good home” was indeed a dream.

“During the first decades of the 20th century, Sweden had one of the lowest standards of housing in Europe. In cities and towns, around a third of the inhabitants lived five or more persons in small one- or two-room apartments,” explained Maria Göransdotter of Umeå University in her 2012 article, A Home for Modern Life: Educating taste in 1940s Sweden.

“Despite a surge in housing construction and an increase in real wages for workers over the course of the 1920s, affordable, hygienic and spatially adequate housing was beyond the means of the vast majority,” architect Lucy Creagh wrote in her 2011 article, From acceptera to Vällingby: The Discourse on Individuality and Community in Sweden (1931-54). “The fact that almost 70 percent of all dwellings lacked proper bathing facilities and 60 percent had no central heating only exacerbated a housing problem reported at the time to be the worst in Europe.”

READ ALSO – More history articles for Members of The Local:

Resolving the housing crisis and improving living conditions were therefore central to the creation of the People's Home. But rather than address the issue through the single solution of mass urban housing development, Sweden took a more nuanced approach that put at least some of the responsibility for improving living conditions on Swedish citizens themselves.

Beginning in the 1930s and particularly following the end of World War Two in 1945, Sweden's strategy for realizing Folkhemmet included a highly organized national campaign of “home reform” and “taste education” designed to bring the country into a collective and uniform modernity one home at a time.

“The centrality of the housing question in the socio-political agenda was a strongly contributing factor for establishing the home as one of the most important arenas for, and concepts in, social and material reform in the mid-20th century,” according to Göransdotter. “Specifically, the reform efforts concerned the domestic interior, and aimed at promoting a new and modern way of using and decorating the home through advice literature, educational efforts and legislation.”

Through this programme of social education, it was instilled in average Swedes that modern citizenship began in the home, and an outdated, poorly organized, and “ugly” home that did not exhibit a certain level of uniformity reflected similar attributes in the individual. It was made clear that in each home, “There should also exist a correspondence between the degree of modernity, the awareness of social and political issues, and the level of taste,” Göransdotter explains.

READ ALSO – How to hack Swedish bureaucracy:

These principles of Swedish Modernism – also called functionalism – were rooted in the philosophy of Swedish intellectual and writer Ellen Key (1849-1926) who, Creagh writes, “proposed that beauty in the home was as essential to the democratic cause as employment, better working conditions and educational reforms, for beauty was the innate and common longing of all people, a necessity that transcended the logic of class and wealth.” 

The campaign to indoctrinate Swedes with these principles, which would help them achieve “ideal” homes and, by extension, become “ideal” citizens, was defined by specific standards and clear visual models. One way these were perpetuated was via exhibitions designed “to spread good taste and make propaganda for a better way of living and furnishing the home,” according to Göransdotter.


The NK-Bo exhibition in 1947. Photo: SvD/TT

After World War Two, specialty departments like NK-Bo in the Nordiska Kompaniet (NK) department store in Stockholm also spread the Swedish vision for the ideal home to citizens through model interiors not unlike what we find in Ikea today.

Though the contrast between the images of how an actual working-class family lived in Swedish cities in the 1940s and how such families were being educated to live seem to represent an unbridgeable chasm, history has demonstrated just how effective these tactics were.

“This period saw the development and implementation of the Folkhem model for housing provision, a model recognised as one of the most effective in the world,” explain scholars Karin Grundström and Irene Molina in their 2016 article, From Folkhem to lifestyle housing in Sweden. “The Folkhem programme eliminated a national housing shortage and by the early 1970s had achieved decent housing conditions for the entire population of Sweden as well as a high housing standard.”

Victoria Martínez is an American historical researcher, writer and author of three historical non-fiction books. She lives in Småland county, Sweden, with her Spanish husband and their two children.

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