BLOG: Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria turns 40

The Local live blogged Crown Princess Victoria's birthday celebrations in Stockholm on Friday morning.

BLOG: Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria turns 40
Crown Princess Victoria, her husband Prince Daniel and children Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

13:20 Happy 40th Birthday, Crown Princess Victoria!

Victoria is now travelling through the streets of Stockholm in a horse-drawn carriage to greet the crowds. She will next head to the island of Öland for a big gala and concert tonight, which you should be able to watch on Swedish public television SVT from 9pm. That means it's time for us to round off this blog. Thanks for reading and Happy Birthday to everyone celebrating your birthday today, whether you are royalty or not!

Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

12:40 Royal fans

The Local's contributor Nicole Zerrer has been speaking to people waiting outside the Royal Palace. 

“We found on the internet on the website of the Royal Family that there is this ceremony today for the Crown Princess' birthday. We are generally interested in royal families and also saw the Belgian couple a while ago,” said Alex Griep from Germany.

Sara Fritz added: “We are not disappointed about the waiting, we love to watch the people and being here. We even saw the King's dog earlier on the other side of the garden. It's really exciting to be here.”

Alex Griep and Sara Fritz. Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

People outside the Royal Palace. Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

12:30 It's a long day

Looks like the youngest members of the Royal Family have had it. Okay, done with all this pomp and circumstance, let's have cake. Yup, that's what we're like too on our birthdays.

Victoria and Princess Estelle. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Princess Madeleine with her children Leonore and Nicholas. That's their dad Chris O'Neill in the background. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

11:50 “It would be nice to see her in person”

The Local contributor Nicole Zerrer is out and about speaking to people outside the Royal Palace. Some have gone there specifically in hope of catching a glimpse of the princess, others have just happened to wander past and spot the crowds waiting outside the palace.

Andreas Eikelmann, 48, from Switzerland is visiting Stockholm with his wife and two children.

“We just figured out it's Victoria's birthday today when we saw all the people waiting here. We saw a documentary on German public television some days ago about Victoria and it would be nice to see her in person today. But since the kids are not too excited we may have to leave before she comes out. We have been waiting for a while already,” he said.

Andreas Eikelmann with part of his family. Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

Anna-lisa Ehn, 72, from Gävle in Sweden, says she is in Stockholm today with her granddaughter Matilda “because we want to take the ferry to Djurgården and see the Abba museum”. “But we thought since we are here anyway we can try to spot the Crown Princess on her birthday and maybe also the other members of the Royal Family.”

Anna-Lisa Ehn. Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

11:45 More pictures

The Te Deum service has now ended and a birthday reception is under way.

Princess Estelle greets Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The Swedish Royal Family. From left: Princess Madeleine, Chris O'Neill, Queen Silvia, Prince Daniel and Princess Estelle, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Oscar, King Carl XVI Gustaf, Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip with Prince Alexander. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Princess Leonore (Victoria's niece) is known for finding it difficult to sit still. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

11:26 Meet Sweden's most popular royal

Victoria is by far the most popular member of the Royal Family in Sweden. According to a poll carried out by Sifo on behalf of Svensk Damtidning earlier this year, almost one in two picked her as their favourite royal. Forty percent said they thought her father King Carl XVI Gustaf should retire and hand over the throne to her.

The Local's contributor Nicole Zerrer has spoken to people outside the Royal Palace today. Andreas Lindh, 29, from Gothenburg said she was also his favourite member of the Royal Family. “I like Victoria a lot since she is like a normal human and not on a high horse. She is a good person but also serious enough to handle foreign affairs.”

Kristina Jyric, 24, also from Gothenburg, said: “The princess is a good person and good for Sweden, she does great things. I'm in Stockholm to visit my sister but since all the news was full of the birthday news I thought I would stop by here at the palace as well.”

Victoria is generally described in Sweden as quite down to earth. When she married her personal trainer Daniel Westling in 2010 around half a million turned out on the streets of Stockholm to greet the newlyweds. She and Daniel have seemed to adopt a modern, gender equal Swedish take on parenting as well and made headlines when they went on maternity and paternity leave when their children, Estelle and Oscar, were born.

READ ALSO: “Our children should learn how to take the metro and queue”

Andreas Lindh and Kristina Jyric. Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

11:15 Waiting for the royals

The Local's contributor Nicole Zerrer is at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, where crowds have started to gather in the hope of catching a glimpse of Crown Princess Victoria later.

Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

It's a lovely day in Stockholm today: 20C and blue sky.

Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

The Crown Princess and her family will later head to the Royal Stables in a procession through central Stockholm. People are already waiting along the route. Below is the Strömbron bridge in central Stockholm.

Photo: Nicole Zerrer/The Local

10:40 More pictures from the Te Deum service in the Royal Chapel

Crown Princess Victoria, her husband Prince Daniel and children Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

Victoria's brother Prince Carl Philip, his wife Princess Sofia and their son Prince Alexander. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

The birthday girl's parents: Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf. Photo: Stina Stjernkvist/TT

Princess Madeleine and a little Princess Leonore. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

10:15 Let's get this party started

The birthday celebrations have kicked off in the capital with a thanksgiving “Te Deum” religious service at the Royal Chapel inside Stockholm Palace. After that, the princess will receive gifts from visitors in the nearby gardens. Here are some pictures of guests arriving earlier:

Victoria's sister Princess Madeleine, her husband Chris O'Neill and their two children, Princess Leonore and Prince Nicholas. Photo: Erik Simander/TT

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and Speaker of Parliament Urban Ahlin arriving at the Royal Chapel. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT

Victoria's in-laws, Ewa and Olle Westling, finding their seats in the chapel. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

10:00 France has Bastille Day, Sweden has Victoria Day

July 14th is known as 'Victoria Day' in Sweden, in honour of the Crown Princess' birthday. It refers to the annual celebrations on the island of Öland, where the Royal Family have their summer house. 

So the day will end with a traditional gala and concert at Borgholm on Öland. Anyone can buy a ticket to the concert, and it is attended by (usually) the entire Royal Family and a host of Sweden's finest performers.

The Royal Family at last year's Victoria Day concert on Öland. Photo: Mikael Fritzon/TT

09:40 Happy Birthday, Victoria!

Good morning, readers! It's Friday, but if that wasn't reason enough to celebrate, it's also a big day for Crown Princess Victoria as the Swedish royal celebrates turning 40, with festivities set to take place across two days in multiple parts of the Nordic country. We're live blogging Friday's celebrations in Stockholm.

Crown Princess Victoria photographed in her home at Haga Palace. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT


Swedish princess trains to help carers as record numbers apply to train as nurses

Sweden's Princess Sofia has taken part in an intensive training programme for care workers, at the same time as the country reported a record number of applicants for nursing programmes in further education.

Swedish princess trains to help carers as record numbers apply to train as nurses
Sweden's Princess Sofia, centre, with two of Sophiahemmet's nurses. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Furloughed workers including SAS cabin staff and hotel employees are undergoing a three-day intensive retraining course to be able to work in the care and healthcare sectors. Also among the trainees was Sweden's Princess Sofia, the wife of Prince Carl Philip who is fourth in line to the Swedish throne.

Princess Sofia is an honorary chair at Sophiahemmet, the hospital and training college where the course took place.

“Having the opportunity to help in this difficult time is extremely rewarding,” the royal wrote on Instagram, sharing a picture of her nursing scrubs and training equipment.

She explained: “Last week, I undertook training in healthcare and care work at Sophiahemmet. Within the framework of the 'emergency response', I am now placed in one of the hospital's care departments where, together with other newly trained colleagues, I can support and relieve the care staff with various tasks, including care of patients and cleaning.”

Sophiahemmet is a private hospital, but has shared resources with the Stockholm region's healthcare by lending around 40 employees to work in intensive care units, and supporting surgery, primarily in cancer, in order to relieve the city's emergency hospitals treating coronavirus patients.






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“Princess Sofia is at Sophiahemmet to relieve the regular assistants where help is needed,” the Royal Court's communications secretary Johan Tegel told TT.

The first round of training at Sophiahemmet had 30 places, but after a high level of interest further sessions were quickly arranged.

Participants on the course learn about infectious and viral diseases, hygiene protocols, patient privacy, and how to work with patients and their relatives.

The training course is aimed at getting furloughed workers into the care sector quickly, building on the existing medical training of cabin personnel for example to give them the skills to start work immediately during the coronavirus crisis.


But there are also signs of a longer-term rise in nursing trainees.

Applications for further education courses as a whole are at a record high in Sweden, and were up by 13 percent when they closed for the autumn term on Thursday.

“This is a fantastic increase, and especially pleasing is the number of the [applications to] nursing programmes with have increased by 33 percent. It shows that many people have a great social commitment in the country,” said Karin Röding, general director of the University and Higher Education Council (UHR).

After adjustments, it turned out that the rise in nursing applications had actually risen by 34 percent from last year. The increase for medical programmes was 26 percent, and for biomedical analysts the figure was 22 percent.

According to UHR, the increase applied to all age groups but was most notable among those about to leave high school, aged 19 or younger. Röding said it was too early to draw conclusions about the reason for the increase, but that times of uncertainty often attract more people to further education.

It's also possible that high school leavers are cancelling planned travel, which in Sweden is common after graduating, due to the global uncertainty and travel bans, and are instead applying straight to study programmes.

What should you be doing to help reduce the rate of infection?

    In Sweden, the official advice requires everyone to:

  • Stay at home if you have any cold- or flu-like symptoms, even if they are mild and you would normally continue life as normal. Stay at home until you have been fully symptom-free for at least two days.
  • Practise good hygiene, by regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water, using hand sanitiser when that's not possible, and covering any coughs and sneezes with your elbow.
  • Keep distance from all other people when in public places. That includes shops, parks, museums, and on the street, for example. The World Health Organisation recommends keeping at least a 1.5-2 metre distance.
  • Avoid large gatherings, including parties, weddings, and other activities.
  • Work from home if you can. Employers have been asked to ensure this happens where possible.
  • Avoid all non-essential travel, both within and outside Sweden. That includes visits to family, planned holidays, and any other trips that can be avoided.
  • If you have to travel, avoid busy times such as rush hour if you can. This reduces the number of people on public transport and makes it easier for people to keep their distance.
  • If you are over 70 or belong to a high-risk group, you should stay at home and reduce all social contacts. Avoid going to the shops (get groceries delivered or try to find someone who can help you), but you can go outside if you keep distance from other people. Read more about the help available to those in risk groups here.
  • By following these precautions, we can all help to protect those who are most at risk and to reduce the rate of infection, which in turn reduces the burden on Sweden's healthcare sector.
  • Read more detail about the precautions we should all be taking in this paywall-free article. Advice in English is also available from Sweden's Public Health Agency and the World Health Organisation.