Back to school as Swedish royal returns to home town

Back to school as Swedish royal returns to home town
Prince Daniel at the Perslunda school in Ockelbo. Photo: Mats Åstrand/TT
It was a blast from the past for Prince Daniel when he returned to his rural home town of Ockelbo – a far cry from his palace life as part of Sweden's royal family – to open the village's new school.

“It feels great and special to be here again and I feel excited and happy. I spent many of my years in school here,” he told local authority officials, pupils and reporters gathered to meet the prince.

The Swedish royal grew up in Ockelbo, a Swedish town of around 3,000 residents, near Gävle on Sweden's east coast some 200 kilometres north of Stockholm. He married Crown Princess Victoria, the heir to the throne, after falling in love with the princess while working as her personal trainer.

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But he has never forgotten about his background and often speaks fondly of his home town, where he was given a tour of the newly refurbished school building on Tuesday afternoon.

“It looks nice and the pupils are very quiet and kind. We're like that, we who are from Ockelbo,” laughed the prince.

Prince Daniel meeting pupils and reporters. Photo: Mats Åstrand/TT

In Sweden children start school the year they turn seven, so it is not yet time for Daniel's own daughter, Princess Estelle, who celebrates her fourth birthday later this month, to fill her backpack with pens and notepads. She is however set to become a big sister in just a few weeks' time.

“It's great, it's going to be very exciting. I'm married to a fantastic woman,” said the smiling prince.

Victoria made her final public appearance before the birth last week at a sustainable awards gala in Stockholm. Her due date has not been revealed, but the Royal Palace has said that the new baby is expected to be born at some point in March.

The couple have so far declined to reveal whether Estelle will be getting a little brother or sister, but Victoria joked with reporters last year: “What she really wants is a hamster!”

Daniel and Princess Estelle at a hockey game earlier this month. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Both children will have plenty of cousins to play with. Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia are expecting their first child together just weeks after Victoria and Daniel and months after the royal couple tied the knot at a big ceremony in Stockholm last summer.

Carl Philip and Victoria's sister Madeleine gave birth to the currently youngest member of the Swedish royal family in June, Prince Nicolas. Her and O'Neill's other child, Princess Leonore, will turn two later in February.