In this world of political and economic turmoil, it is very rare to hear something positive in the media. But at seven o’clock in the morning on Thursday February 23rd, while having our coffee and croissants, we heard some wonderful news on the television. A girl had been born to Swedish Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel.
The new father seemed very touched and proud when facing the press at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, informing the assembled journalists of the birth and the strategic measurements of the baby. Oddly enough, after having assisted at the birth, he did not look a bit tired. He had even had time to change to ‘official attire’ for the event (perhaps he had a bag with an ironed shirt and a tie handy).
The newborn princess will be heir to the throne after her mother. Since Sweden has been a kingdom since prehistoric times, some features of the court protocol might seem outdated in our era. On the day after the birth of an heir to the throne the protocol stipulates that a delegation lead by the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Marshal of the Realm and the Mistress of the Robes have to ‘inspect’ the baby and sign a sealed witness testimony as to the ‘authenticity’ of the infant.
Since nearly 30 years have passed since the last royal birth in Sweden, the whereabouts of the cachet had fallen into oblivion, and it could not be located. It was finally found in a drawer in a cardboard box in the Speaker’s office. After this ceremony, it will be stored in a safety box in the office. Who knows how soon it will be used next time?
It looks as if Sweden in the future will be ruled by queens; Crown Princess Victoria and her baby daughter. It will be interesting to see what names the parents will choose for the new Princess.
Looking back to the history of ruling queens in Sweden, possible names would be Margareta (ruling as queen of Denmark and Norway 1387-1412 and of Sweden 1389-1412), Kristina (ruling 1644-1654 as the last ruler of the Wasa dynasty) and Ulrika Eleonora (1719-1720).
Finland’s president Tarja Halonen, who is now stepping down after the stipulated office of 12 years, was the last ‘official’ person to see Crown Princess Victoria before the big event. The King and Queen had invited her to Stockholm to a farewell luncheon at the Royal Palace on Tuesday 21st of February together with the rest of the royal family. This was Princess Victoria’s last official event before giving birth on the 23rd. One can say that the timetable was a bit tight!
In Sweden, President Halonen is often called Moomin mother, after the maternal cartoon figure in the books by Finnish author and artist Tove Jansson. Now she has presented the Crown Princess with a set of Moomin toys and children’s tableware. She wished her good luck for the future with the remark that it looks like things are going to happen very soon. And so it did.
My best congratulations to the new parents, to Sweden and to all our Swedish friends here in Almuñécar.