Wednesday 25 February 2009

Two pieces of news... succession & an engagement

Some news on two fronts. Politiken reports that the Folketing voted yesterday in favour of the proposed change in the succession law to give equal rights for firstborn female children of future Danish monarchs to succeed to the throne. Eleven parties voted in favour, while only the left-wing Unity List party voted against the new law. There will be a referendum on June 7th this year at the same time as the elections for the European Parliament. As there is some apathy about voting in European Parliament elections, the required majority in the referedum will be a challenge, despite 88% of Danes being in favour of the change. Forty percent of voters must vote 'yes' in the referdum for it to pass. The proposal has already been accepted once in the last Danish Parliament, but because it has the character of a constitutional amendment, it is also required to be passed by a second parliament before being put to the people in a referendum. The first time the proposal was presented was when Crown Princess Mary became pregnant the first time. The government at the time wanted to make sure that the child, girl or boy, became a heir to the throne. That became redundant since Frederik's and Mary's first born is a son, but the proposed law will affect the children of Christian eventually.
Politiken 'Danish referendum on royal succession' - from the English language section
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was officially engaged yesterday after King Carl XVI Gustaf approved the marriage and informed the Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and the government, as required under the Swedish Constitution. The very popular Victoria will marry Daniel Westling, her boyfriend of seven years, in early summer next year. Upon the marriage Daniel will become Prince Daniel, Prince of Sweden and the Duke of Västergötland. The connection between the Swedish and Danish royal families is through Queen Ingrid, who is Victoria's great-aunt. "With Daniel by my side I feel safe. You have surely seen that in recent years I have grown stronger and happier, and now we can begin preparations to start our own lives and start a family," Victoria said in the video statement posted by Drottningholm Palace in Stockholm. During the internet announcement Daniel said his most important task was to "support the Crown Princess in her important duties for Sweden ... In time, I hope that I too can help serve Sweden in various ways." Victoria, 31, is first in line to succeed her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, to the Swedish throne. Wedding rumors have mounted since July last year, when Westling moved to the royal family's residence outside Stockholm. Daniel Westling is a 35-year-old owner of a chain of gyms and apparently will give up his business to devote himself fulltime to his royal duties.

In the video, the King said: "Dear Swedes, at home and abroad. Yes, this is how I tend to begin my speeches on radio and TV when there is something I wish to convey. And, as you may have guessed, there is something very special I would like to convey: namely, the public announcement today of the engagement of Crown Princess Victoria and Mr Daniel Westling," said the King, while exchanging glances with his smiling daughter.
The King then went on to speak about the qualities of his future son-in-law.
"In the past years we have of course got to know Daniel and have understood that he is a young man who works hard and takes life seriously.
"That is why it is especially gratifying to extend you a welcome. It was with pleasure that I gave my consent and, in line with the constitution, accepted the consent of the government.
"It is of course a special day for us but it is also a special day for Sweden," said the King.
Crown Princes Victoria said in the film that she was proud to represent Sweden but that it was easier with help from her fiancé.
"With Daniel by my side I feel secure. You have probaby noticed in recent years that I have seemed stronger and happier. And now the time has come to begin preparations for starting something of our own and creating a family," sad Victoria, while looking at at her future husband.
Queen Silvia was full of praise for Westling.
"We welcome Daniel into our family with open arms. I view him as a man who is humble yet decisive, as well as judicious and wise. You are full of energy, considerate and will make a wonderful husband for Victoria."
The Queen then turned to her daughter.
"We have full confidence in you and your choice, Victoria, and I will do everything to support you. A new chapter is now being written and I am very pleased," she said.
Daniel Westling, appeared moved by the occasion, and looked straight into the camera and said:
"The Crown Princess and I have found each other and our love has grown strong over the years. I want to thank the King and I want to thank the Queen," said the future Prince.
"It is my task to act as a support for the Crown Princess and the important work she does for Sweden."

Frederik, Mary, Christian and Isabella are reported to have gone to Sweden to ski a couple of weeks ago, but it is not known whether they visited their royal relatives. Victoria is a godparent to Christian (and many more royal infants of Europe!) and has said Frederik and Haakon (Crown Prince of Norway) are like her brothers. Apparently the three are regular texters. Victoria has had some difficult years in which she struggled with anorexia and she has a face recognition disorder. She is reportedly close to Queen Margrethe, whom she considers to be a mentor. Victoria is known to be very diligent, gracious and popular, both in Sweden and among those she encounters in her official capacities for Sweden. It is therefore very natural that many in Scandinavian countries and elsewhere are happy for her and wish her well in her future with Daniel Westling, as does this blog!

Photos © Royal Court/Scanpix, Bunte/AP, Svensk Damtidning, All Over

Swedish Royal Court
Sweden - from the Online Gotha

The Local - a profile of Crown Princess Victoria in a Swedish English language paper
The Local 'Wedding will 'boost Sweden's monarchy'
The Local 'Papers give royal engagement a lukewarm reception'
The Local article links - for some context on Victoria's and Daniel's relationship in recent times

Times 'Sweden's Princess Victoria to marry fitness trainer Daniel Westling'
The 'Swedish princess announces engagement online'
The Age, Melbourne 'Sweden's Princess Victoria to wed former personal trainer' 'Princess to marry gym owner' (Norwegian) - '- Jeg er gjennomlykkelig'
... and many other similar reports online in newspapers, magazines and blogs including China's Xinhua newsagency, The Boston Globe, Times of India,, Huffington, and so on

Svensk Damtidning gallery gallery

Statement by the King, the Queen, Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling (05:29) - YouTube in Swedish
Press conference (09:53) - YouTube in Swedish

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