The day began with Te Deum, a thanksgiving service, in the Royal Palace Church at 10 AM. The service offered a brief programme of psalms, readings and an address from the recently installed Chief Court Chaplain of the Royal Parish, Johan Dalman, known for being one of Sweden’s most relaxed and humorous bishops and who lives for the spread of his message of “pray, care and celebrate mass”.
At 10:30 the annual military-themed ceremony at the Outer Courtyard took place. The King, watched by his family and a host of guests who stood on the side, oversaw a musical programme by defence musicians and oversaw and inspected the changing of the guards. A 21-shot salute was fired from Skeppsholmen near the Royal Palace at noon.
After the military-themed annual event at the Inner Courtyard, the Royal Family walked through the Royal Palace to the other side of it where they came out on the balustrade of the palace entrance at Lejonbacken, facing the bridge Norrbro that passes the parliament building. At Lejonbacken a choral tribute to the King took place, a gift from the City of Stockholm.
At 12:15 PM about 2,000 people from the massive choir “Kör för alla” (“Choir for everyone”), with the founding idea that anyone can join the choir regardless of their singing skill and without having to pass a test, started a performance of songs for the King and his family and guests who joined him at the balustrade above. Prince Oscar, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel’s second child who was born this March, joined the Royal Family in his mother’s arms as he made his official début at this event. It ended by everyone gathered below to see the King singing “Happy birthday” and a small thank you speech from the King, who with a glimpse in his eye said that it was interesting to see that most of the gathered people were female and that it made him quite happy.
At 1 PM King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia left the Royal Palace by horse-drawn cortège to the City Hall where the City of Stockholm gave a birthday luncheon with officials, royal guests and famous Stockholm people on the guest list. The Tensta Gospel Choir put smiles on everyone’s faces as they performed “All you need is love” for the King and guests at the arrival reception inside.
Back at the Royal Palace at 3:30 PM, the King and Queen welcomed the Speaker of the Parliament and Prime Minister for a presentation of the nation’s gift to the King’s 70th birthday. The gift is one dinner plate service set and one glass service set, both with the royal couple’s double monogram. The design for both sets is inspired by the King’s interest in the environment and nature. The plates, designed by Daniel Hassila and made at Gustavsbergs porslinsfabrik (Gustavsberg porcelain factory), are decorated by a border of stylized relief trees, and the glasses, designed by Carina Seth Andersson and blown in led-free crystal at Skrufs glasbruk (Skruf glass works), in their shape resemble a small forest pond.
At 7 PM the King and Queen hosted a banquet for over 600 of their royal colleagues, select official representatives and friends. The menu offered
- Marinated pike-perch bakes in browned butter with sooted and cooked white asparagus, egg and trout-roe
- Reindeer calf sirloin with toasted almond, marinated and lightly smoked filet of reindeer with a variation of carrots and a grape sauce
- Rhubarb mousse with poached rhubarb, rhubarb sorbet with liquorice root covered in white chocolate and rhubarb syrup
The only ones of the King’s five grandchildren to make an appearance at his 70th birthday where Princess Estelle, who attended the Te Deum and choral tribute appearance, and Prince Oscar, who attended the choral tribute appearance.
Royal guests from reigning houses were Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess Takamado of Japan, Hereditary Prince Alois and Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofía of Spain, Prince Albert of Monaco, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and husband Mr Behn, Prince Raad bin Zeid and Majda Raad from Jordan, Prince Hassan bin Talal and Princess Sarvath el Hassan from Jordan.
Royals from former houses included Crown Princess Margarita and Prince Radu of Romania, Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine of Serbia, Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula of Bavaria, Prince Manuel and Princess Anna of Bavaria, Prince Andreas of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha, Hereditary Prince Hubertus and Hereditary Princess Kelly of Sachsen-Coburg and Gotha, Duke Max Emanuel and Duchess Elizabeth in Bavaria.
The King’s four sisters along with some of their children and in-laws were on the guest list, as were unusually many Bernadotte af Wisborg descendants – for example the (adopted) children of the late Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg, the widow and son of the late Count Sigvard Bernadotte a Wisborg and from Mainau came Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg and Count Björn Bernadotte af Wisborg with their spouses. Prince Daniel’s and Princess Sofia’s parents were invited, as was Christopher O’Neill’s mother Eva. Other notable Bernadotte descendants in attendance during the day were Madeleine Bernadotte Kogevinas and Dagmar von Arbin.
My own day consisted of arriving at Lejonbacken at the Royal Palace around 9 AM to guard the best spot to stand, a lot of waiting, watching the royal appearance at the balustrades of Lejonbacken for the choral tribute at noon, a lovely three-course spring lunch at the Grand Hotel Veranda opposite the water and Royal Palace, then quite a lot of waiting again on the other side of the road outside the Grand Hotel to watch guests leave for the banquet. A lot of time on my feet and a lot of waiting, but I had a nice day together with my friend Martin and we met with Ken and wife from the UK and our Stockholm-based friend Pia during the day.