Sweden’s Royal Family lead celebrations on a very special National Day – Royal Central

Sweden celebrated an extremely special National Day this year, not only because 2023 marks the Golden Jubilee of King Carl XVI Gustaf, but also because the county itself is celebrating the 500th anniversary of its foundation. 

For the royals, it was special for a family reason as well: it marked the return of Princess Madeleine, her husband and children to Sweden for the occasion. The family is set to relocate back permanently to the Princess’ native country in August. 

However, the traditional opening of the Palace’s doors this year fell to Madeleine’s sister and the heir to the throne, so it was Crown Princess Victoria, accompanied by Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, who symbolically opened the Royal Palace’s western gates at 10am to welcome the public through the Outer Castle Garden. 

The heir to the throne also offered a speech to mark the occasion, in which she “extended a warm welcome” to all members of the public to enjoy “Swedish history and fantastic cultural heritage”. 

The day then continued with a visit by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to the municipality of Strängnäs, in Södermanland county, the city in which Gustaf Vasa was elected King in 1523, marking the beginning of independent Sweden. 

There was a short “festive gathering” in the local Cathedral, before the King distributed flags to 10 organisations: Smedsta Gymnastics Association, The Gustav Vasa Association, Blåslaget, Strong Hands, Peace berets Södermanland, Nyköping Theater Association, Mariefred’s Hembygdsförening, Mälsåker’s Future, The dramatized city walks in Strängnäs, and Strängnäs National Theater Association. 

The King then gave a short speech in which he remembered the country’s origins, but also talked about the future that Sweden has achieved as a “vital, multifaceted and democratic society”. 

As for Prince Carl Philip, he was tasked with presiding over the ceremonial change of the guard at the Royal Palace’s barracks, during which there was also a 21-gun salute fired from Skeppsholmen, Kastellholmen and from the HMS Kullen. 

The entire family then reunited for a carriage procession towards Sollidenscenen in Skansen, where, once again, the King distributed banners to various associations under the watchful eye of TV cameras, as this portion of the celebration was broadcast live. 

This was also a good occasion for the King’s second speech of the day, in which he said: “Together, we have created the independence we celebrate today. It is our country’s freedom for many hundreds of years that we celebrate. Let us strive to live in peace and freedom for many generations to come”. 

The day ended with a big reception hosted by the Royal Family at the Nordic Museum, attended by officials from the Government, the Parliament and the Diplomatic Corps, as well as notable members of society. 

For these last two events, the new Royal Family was complete. King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia were joined by Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia and Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill. 

A glittering conclusion to a day that was special for many reasons: not only was the country celebrating its 500th anniversary and the Golden Jubilee of their Sovereign, but a family was reunited for the first time in years. 

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