Arriving a few hours in advance to get the best spot, it was a palace bathing in sunshine that met me this forenoon when I arrived to the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Quite a stark difference to previous years when there has at times even been snow on the ground or falling down from the sky.
When the doors to the Inner Courtyard opened at 11:30 the usual race for the best spots took place, and the temperature changed. Going from warming sun to shadow and ice cold winds, it was quite a trying half an hour of waiting until the ceremony began. It was one of those winds that feels right down to the marrow and some spring-optimistic people had quite a hard time coping with shaking hands and frozen feet. But at least it didn’t snow.
Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel stepped out of the palace at noon (12) and the princess immediately took her position on a small podium and the prince at a safe distance behind his wife together with one of her Aide-de-Camps and Court Marshal Jörgen Lindström, head of H.R.H. The Crown Princess Household. The princess wore a striking red coat paired with black scarf, gloves and high heeled boots.
As always there was a music program, this time performed by the Mounted Music Corps of the Life Guards, the Royal Guards and an honorary troop from the Life Guards. After the traditional tune “Med en enkel tulipan” (“With a simple tulip”), the Victoria Fanfare sounded and representatives of the performers handed over a bouquet of flowers each to the Crown Princess.
Then the crowds got their part as the Crown Princess Couple did a walkabout along the several-fold line of members of the public – a jolly mix of people of all ages. Many children gave her drawings and little presents of all kinds, one of them was a simple wedding album made of folded A4 pages and cut-out photos accompanied by a child’s large text.
Walkabouts are always the part where the Crown Princess shines. Taking the time to personally greet all those who want a personal interaction, receiving all flowers and presents by own hand, bending down for small children, stopping for photographers’ requests for photos. Prince Daniel kept a little bit in the background but did give his wife a hand with some flowers and did step up when someone asked for him.
When the public, media and invited few plus staff had all gotten their bit of the couple everyone was happy and impressed. Tourists always marvel at the Swedish openness and approachability of the royals, we Swedes love to see our warm and natural Crown Princess who does a great job in giving all the people she meets each their own little piece of her attention. Before withdrawing back into the palace the Crown Princess Couple halted near the doors, waved and took a bow towards everyone. When the doors closed behind them the Swedish monarchy had gotten another little boost in the right direction.
In connection to the ceremony today the Crown Princess Couple also received a silver horseshoe worn by Regent, the mounted horse closest to the carriage during their wedding cortège in June 2010. One of the horse’s shoes has already been added to the collections of the Royal Armoury where it will be kept and exhibited.
To see more of my photos from the ceremony go here to see my Flickr album devoted to the Crown Princess name day 2011.