The Diplomatic Dispatch

The British Ambassador to Sweden blogs on The Local

Posts Tagged ‘The Prince of Wales’

2012: 12 Highlights

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

This is my last blog of the year. Many thanks to all of you for taking the time to read my ramblings. Herewith twelve personal highlights from a fascinating, fun and fast-moving year in Sweden:

  • January saw the first of many Ministerial visits this year. Lord Green, our Business Minister came for a big meeting on smart grids and renewable energy, one of many trade and investment sectors linking the UK and Sweden;
  • February involved a two-day visit by Prime Minister David Cameron, here to attend the second Northern Future Forum, bringing together PMs and policy experts from the UK and the Nordic-Baltic countries, this year looking at the challenges and opportunities of an ageing society and how to get more women into the workforce.
  • March was a particular highlight, with Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, spending three days in and around Stockholm, looking at social integration, education, architecture, climate change, renewable energy and sustainable agriculture.  All areas where our governments, businesses and societies are working together.
  • April saw me in Gothenburg for a great event with British and Swedish business leaders and sportspeople marking 100 days to go the London Olympics.
  • May’s highlight was my first visit to Malmö, an opportunity to meet local politicians, journalists and business people and to talk to students at the university of Lund about the UK and Europe.
  • In June, we hosted two big receptions, one in partnership with the BBC and one with Brunswick, to mark The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, including a concert of English music from across the centuries. And it was a privilege to attend the centenary events for the Stockholm 1912 Olympics and to receive Stockholm’s good wishes for the London games.
  • July meant Almedalen and several days of sunshine and seminars in the glorious surroundings of Visby.
  • August included a lovely week’s break in Sandhamn, enjoying the splendours of the archipelago.
  • September was visits season again, with the Head of the UK Civil Service coming to Stockholm to see how an Embassy works. Happily, he went away impressed!
  • October saw two more excellent visits, by our Europe Minister, David Lidington and the Chief of the UK Defence Staff, Sir David Richards, talking respectively about the prosperity and security interests the UK and Sweden have in common.
  • November saw England’s footballers given the honour of inaugurating the new Friends Arena and of being spectators to an amazing display by Zlatan!
  • December saw a British winner! Sir John Gurdon received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his ground-breaking research on reprogramming of cells. Work begun 50 years ago, which has led to stem cell research and the promise of cures which will benefit our grandchildren’s generation. A forward-looking and cheerful note on which to end. Every best wish for a peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year!

Report abuse »

The English Volunteering Project

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Last week’s Royal visit to Stockholm was a great success, I thought. Nicola and I were particularly pleased that Their Royal Highnesses were able to meet members of the British community, including some of those involved in volunteering, at our reception.

The Prince expressed particular interest in a project which is being started in Sweden – The English Volunteering Project.

The project has been started by a British woman called Claire Thomas, who, after moving to Sweden because of her husband’s work, realised that it was very difficult for people who don’t speak Swedish to find volunteering opportunities. She felt this was not a good thing as volunteering is an excellent way to help people become part of a new society, make friends, learn Swedish and gain work experience. So, as she has a background of working with the voluntary sector in the United Kingdom, she decided to use her experience to set up a project aimed at making it easier for people to volunteer here.

Sweden has a volunteering centre called Volontärbyrån which has been supporting and encouraging volunteering throughout Sweden for 10 years. However, its services are only offered in Swedish. Claire is working with them to make what they do accessible to anyone who can speak English.

The English Volunteering Project aims to

  • Adapt Volontärbyrån’s existing services (matching volunteers with non-profit organisations) so that they can be accessed by anyone who can speak English.
  • Work with and support Swedish non-profit organisations to make what volunteer opportunities they can accessible to non-Swedish speakers.
  • Make English speakers aware of the value of volunteering, the volunteer opportunities that are available to them, and to encourage and support them to volunteer.

The idea of the project has been received very positively by the international community in Stockholm, and Prince Charles indeed commented that it is ‘obviously a brilliant idea’. However, the project needs to raise around 80,000 kronor to pay for the changes that need to be made to the existing Volontärbyrån website, and this needs to be raised before July, or Volontärbyrån will cancel the project. All other work on the project can be done on a voluntary basis, but this minimum amount of money is required for the project to continue.

Claire is keen to talk to anyone who may be able to help support the project, including companies who use English as a working language or who have lots of English speaking employees. Her contact details are or 0708 38 15 73.

Report abuse »

Some day my prince will come…

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

This week, as it happens! The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are paying their first official visit to Sweden on 22-24 March.

It’s part of a week-long Nordic tour, embracing Norway and Denmark.

Here in Stockholm, they arrive on Thursday at lunchtime and are greeted at Arlanda by Prince Carl Philip. There they also meet Swedish air force personnel and inspect a Gripen plane, as well as meeting representatives of its maker, Saab, and of the UK company, Selex Galileo, which makes some of its high-tech equipment systems.

I see this engagement as an opportunity to thank Sweden for the important role it played in the NATO-led Libya operation and to mark UK-Sweden defence industrial co-operation.

Their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by the Queen and Prime Minister Reinfeldt, then visit Fryshuset, to meet and talk to young people and to the centre’s leaders about the great work it does in tackling gang violence and other social problems and in promoting integration, all themes close to the heart of the British and Swedish governments and Royal Families.

My wife and I are hosting a reception that evening, for the Prince and Duchess to meet members of the UK community in Sweden, particularly those involved in community service and volunteering, which are themes of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

On Friday, Queen Silvia and the Duchess visit the British International Primary School and a Swedish pre-school. The King and Prince Charles visit the Stockholm Resilience Centre, to discuss climate change and the challenges facing the planet, and then they go to St Erik’s housing development to see a leading example of community-centric urban architecture. Both of these themes, the global environment and the built environment, are of course dear to Prince Charles’ heart. As is renewable energy, and I will be hosting a meeting for him to meet leading Swedish players in the biomass sector.

On Saturday, Their Majesties accompany Their Royal Highnesses to the Vasa, without which no trip to Stockholm would be complete! There will be a brief walkabout near the Vasa Museum, around 11.00 on Saturday, which would be the best occasion to catch a glimpse of our Royal visitors. They complete their 48 hours in Sweden with a visit to Saltå Kvarn to see an organically based mill and bakery in operation.

The themes the visit covers reflect the challenges of modern societies – sustainable growth, energy and agriculture, education, international security and integration – that the UK and Sweden are tackling together.

Report abuse »

3,776 Jobs
Click here to start your job search