A royal wedding week in Stockholm

King Albert & Queen Paola of Belgium

King Albert & Queen Paola of Belgium

This past week has been busy and wonderful as my country celebrated the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling in Stockholm. Because I have been working with Swedish Radio I haven’t been able to be near a computer all the time or to go royal watching at all the events, but even so I’ve had some very memorable days.

Royal watchers from near and far gathered in Stockholm for the events and they had a great many wonderful royal sightings around the palace, at the royal yachts anchored, and standing outside events. I met up with them as much as I could.

On Friday 18 June there was a special lunch for royal enthusiasts gathered in Stockholm for the wedding, arranged on the initiative of Roger Lundgren and I, at restaurant Monarki (aptly named, Monarchy in English). We ate some nice food and had a chance to talk a little more deeply with people we had both met before and not. In the evening I couldn’t get away from the radio until quite late so when I arrived outside the Concert Hall to watch the arrivals for the government’s festive concert for the bridal couple the square in front of it was already quite packed. But I did spot a lot of royals and other prominent guests arriving, it was only that my camera view was not good enough to take photos. But at least I got to experience it live, that’s what matters. After the arrivals were over and done with we admired the special white wedding Volvo’s outside and chatted with the drivers before finding a restaurant for a well-deserved rest and some food for us all.

On Saturday 19 June, the wedding day, I was at the radio all day. In the evening a group of royal watchers met up at a central restaurant and it was a truly exhausted but exuberantly happy group that met me as I arrived a little bit after they had ordered their food. After having stood the entire day outside the palace, from early morning to early evening, they had sore feats and backs, hunger in their stomachs and weathered looks on their faces – but they were all so happy and shared their experiences of the day with me. After finishing dinner together I suggested we could all gather in my hotel room to watch the wedding dinner on TV together, and so we did. I had luckily bought some candy on the way to the restaurant and a friend of mine had kept a bottle of bubbly in his bag all day long – but with the help of the hotel’s ice machine and the bathroom sink everything worked out so that we could have a toast and something sweet as we all hushed each other when the speeches began. Needless to say it was very late when the night was over.

The following day, Sunday 20 June, marked the end of a wonderful wedding week. Everyone was about the depart from the city, royal watchers and royal guests, so we met up at Grand Hôtel opposite the Royal Palace of Stockholm, on the other side of the water, to see who we could spot leaving. And those we ended up seeing, leaving in cars, were Prince Hassan and Princess Sarvath of Jordan, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, President Tarja Halonen of Finland, Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan, King Albert and Queen Paola of Belgium, the Duke and Duchess of Brabant, Prince Laurent and Princess Claire of Belgium, Princess Astrid and Prince Lorentz of Belgium leaving in cars. We could also spot King Simeon and Queen Margarita of Bulgaria going for a walk.

Royal wedding decorations

After seeing so many guests depart we decided to go to the Royal Palace to look at the floral decorations that were still in place and have a look in the cathedral were everything was still in place after the wedding ceremony. Needless to say we were not the only ones who wanted to see it, the streets of the Old Town were incredibly crowded.

Storkyrkan the day after the royal wedding

Our group of royal watchers got smaller as the day progresses. After one last meal together, just me and two other royal watchers, it was time to leave Stockholm and go home. An unforgettable royal wedding week fresh in memory, a sweet to treasure for a long time to come, was over.

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