Thursday, June 22, 2017

Princess Marie of Denmark: "My husband is a real Viking"

Photo: David Atlan
While Denmark is often cited as an example for its social model and the well-being of its inhabitants, the wife of Prince Joachim welcomed us to the royal palace of Amalienborg to speak with enthusiasm and passion of her adoptive country.

For years, Denmark has been considered "the country of happiness". How do you explain it?
There are many factors. The social model, education and even the weather! The rigor of the climate justifies the Danes being so robust and courageous: no storm will stop them. Long winters also make them like to spend time at home, it is the famous "Hygge", this pleasure to stay together with the family, to share simple joys. We do that a lot too. Being at home, lighting candles everywhere for more cheerfulness, sitting by the fire, hearing the children playing inside, reading a good book, what could be more enjoyable? In general, Danes have a balanced relationship between work and family life.

How does this happen?
Here we do not work until 8 pm. My fellow citizens are effective, they avoid the loss of time and start their day early. Besides, as a Frenchwoman, I had rather Latin schedules. This required some rehabilitation to be fully productive at 6 in the morning! But I made it ... And with the children, anyway, we have to get up early. Another form of wisdom, the Danes are gifted enough to leave their laptops when they get home. It's difficult. For my part, I tend to want to respond quickly to the mails I receive.

But you still have a "Danish" daily life?
We live a simple life. I have a point of honor to take care of my children. They are all for me, and it is important that they are not brought up by people other than my husband and myself. Of course, we are fortunate enough to have some help in getting our job done, but I want to take on the job. If my daughter needs something, she calls me. Same for my son. Even if I tell them sometimes that I do not have time! (Laughter). We have the same existence as our fellow citizens, with the difference that when we work, the press is present.

Is this exposition complex to manage?
It depends on the personalities. It should be noted that, despite all good will, unfortunately we can not please everyone. In any case, I would not be able to play a role, not to be myself. This is how. I am doing my best. The human being has always been critical, perhaps today with the social networks that is more understood, but I know how to concentrate on what is important.

Photo: David Atlan
If you were to describe in three adjectives the Danish spirit...
First in everything, positive, without hesitation.

It looks like you!
I may look very cheerful, but you know, I can also be quite French ... (laughs). Otherwise the other two adjectives that immediately come to me are: peaceful and honest. You can really count on the Danes.

Your fellow citizens are so honest that we find at the entrance to restaurants and shops strollers with sleeping children in without relatives in the immediate vicinity...
It's actually great. This shows that the Danes feel good, they are not afraid, they trust. It is a safe country, where society works harmoniously. This does not mean that the model is exportable all over the world.

Is this harmony linked to the small size of the country?
The size probably plays, because the territory is homogeneous. But we must also take into account our very ancient history. We have the oldest monarchy in Europe and are deeply attached to our traditions. At the same time, the country is very modern. Education also plays a great role.

In which way?
In Denmark, it is taught not to compare each other. The idea is to be happy with what you are, with what you have. This avoids jealousy and competition. At school, there are no notes, for example, until very late. Everyone is on the same level. Children do not feel devalued. They do not doubt of themselves. You can always find negative aspects, but it seems to me that on the whole, it is fundamentally positive. Particularly because children like to learn. My son cries if he can't go to school! He is overjoyed to go there in the morning.

What are the keys to learning?
The creativity of children is very encouraged. They are taught to be themselves, not to be stressed. In France, we had, from toddlers, satchels filled with very heavy books. Here, children enter school only at the age of 6. It is considered that before they need to play. I have adopted this idea for one of my children, the other will start a little before 6 years because I feel it is the right time. Each personality is different.
Another Danish feature is that there are less classes per day here. My son starts for example at 8 am and finishes at 1 pm. Then the afternoon is devoted to extra-curricular activities such as sports, art, music or excursions. This afternoon, my son leaves to the forest to go and watch animals. They are outdoors as often as possible, and the connection with nature is fundamental. From birth, babies sleep a lot on the outside.

Even in extreme cold?
Be careful when the temperature falls below 0°C. (Laughter). The first time my husband showed me this method, I was ... quite surprised! I was frankly frightened, but I was quickly converted. Children sleep visibly very well ...

Do you have any education what's coming from your family?
I am very riding on the fundamentals. Politeness of course, good manners at the table ... For example, children do not have to interrupt adults who are talking. They have to look carefully at the person they say hello. I am very strict on these points, and I find that it does not prevent a child from being free, having fun and feeling loved. Respect for adults is very important. We must be able to live together. There are moments of adults and moments of children.

Your father-in-law is of French descent, would you say your husband is a perfect Dane?
He resembles his mother very much, he inherited a great creativity. He is very talented in artistic fields even if nobody knows. From his father, he took elegance, a considerable culture and also a good living side. He's of an ultrapositive nature and very equanimous. I've never seen him in a bad mood! He will always see the bright side of things. He never complains. He's indeed a perfect Dane while being open to the world, since he has chosen a foreign woman.

And your children?
They are really a mixture of the two of us. With a little of my spirit of freedom. They have a formidable character and a great curiosity.

Photo: David Atlan
Since in Denmark we value simple pleasures, could you tell us what are your "little pleasures"?
Go and get my kids to school. I do not get enough of it. Being with my husband just before dinner. Drink a glass of wine together, talk about our days. And then the great walks in nature. I can walk for hours. As soon as I have the opportunity, I walk. On the other hand, I do not like running!

Is there a Danish proverb that strikes you at the corner of common sense?
"The word is silver and the silence is golden." It also exists in French, but it seems to me particularly adapted to the Danish spirit. My fellow citizens speak very little about themselves. They know how to listen, which sometimes makes them a little silent. I find this ability to be interested in others charming.

On the contrary, are there any clichés about Denmark that annoy you?
What for example?

That it is a country of Vikings.
It's also true. My husband is never sick. He never goes to the doctor. He's very tough. It's quite a Viking. They have very good genetics!

That all the Danes travel by bike ...
That is true! Even the ministers. You see even very sophisticated women, in stiletto heels, facing the rain and the wind, or mothers who use it to drop their children to school. I totally adopted this habit: I take my son, my daughter and my dog! Everyone does it.

The dog must be of reasonable size, then?
Yes, it's a curly bichon. It's called Apple. I had her before coming to Denmark.

How old is she?
12 years old and has an absolute obligation to stay fit. I want her to stay with us for a very long time.

Photo: David Atlan
Did some things surprise you when you arrived in Denmark?
People who bathe in the winter! It seems that this creates a real feeling of euphoria. I will try it because I am very curious and I do not want to die silly ...

Another important part of a culture: gastronomy...
The Nordic and Danish kitchens are now extremely popular and internationally renowned. Tourists from all countries come to discover this culinary school based on the naturalness of the products, the importance of organic, the creativity of the agreements. I am also a patron of the Copenhagen Cooking & Food Festival, which is a great pleasure for me because I am very glutton! And this commitment goes hand in hand with another mission that is dear to me, the fight against food waste. Denmark is a pioneer in this fight. We are taking more initiatives on this issue than any other European country.

Could you tell us a traditional dish that you particularly like?
I like to cook a lot and one of my favorite recipes is the fæskesteg, the "crispy pork", which is eaten almost like chips. It is eaten all over the country, however it is not very "dietetic". Another delicious thing: the bread of rye, there are two hundred different kinds. We do not have white bread here. I also cook French dishes of course...

If you were to introduce our readers to your country, where would you start?
When friends come to visit us, I like to show them the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Louisiana Museum outside Copenhagen, but also the small galleries of the city. The Opera is worth a visit, as are the ballets at the Royal Theater: a must! Finally, the magnificent castles are truly the historical identity of the country. And what could be more enjoyable than a walk on the beautiful Nyhavn harbor with of course a mandatory passage to Tivoli for the children ... and the parents! Another thing to discover absolutely and that fascinates me: the design that has become one of our trademarks. It began in the 1950s and since this purified, ultra-modern trend, has not stopped developing.

Photo: David Atlan
Do you have any houses to recommend us?
A tour at llumsbolighus will give you a good idea of ​​the Danish style. There are some for all generations. The classics and the oldest such as Royal Copenhagen porcelain, furniture by Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl or Fritz Hansen, silver and jewelery by Georg Jensen ... You will also find new houses such as Hay , Very young and creative, Normann Copenhagen or Muuto. The architecture is really dynamic too. Today we have the chance to see the success of the young architect Bjarke Ingels. At just 42 years old, he creates exceptional places around the world. For example, he was selected to build the second tower of the World Trade Center and the Google campus in California, while in Copenhagen he is preparing to build a waste incinerator whose roof will be transformed into a... ski run. In France, he oversees the Europacity project, near Roissy.

Even in the country of happiness, there are things to improve, could you tell me about the causes for which you have committed yourself?
Wherever you are, you have to pay attention to the most vulnerable among us. I take care as much as possible of those with disabilities, such as autistic children or people with epilepsy. I also work with the foundation of the fight against AIDS. These moments are important to me. I love to spend time with these people, and I am proud to live in a country that takes care of its people.

Originally published by Point de Vue
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Interview: "My whole life is for Sweden" - Crown Princess Victoria talks about her personal life.

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer
The interview was done on a glassed-in veranda facing the private part of the garden behind the palace. From here you can see the gravel path and into the sandbox on the playground, where the aunts of the Crown Princess - the Haga Princesses - played in childhood.

What did you feel after returning to Haga?
It was something very special for me, I did not have the opportunity to meet my grandparents, so when I moved to Haga, I learned a lot about what was important to them, what was important for their children - it's incredible. It seems that I'm getting closer to them, trying to find out.

How do you combine your activities with the role of the mother of a 5-year-old girl and a one-year-old baby?
I have many responsibilities, but I want to be a really good mother, real, I also want to be a mother who is a role model, and I admit that it's not easy to do. Unfortunately, I miss many important moments of my children's life. To those people who want to carefully monitor them to take care of them and educate them themselves. I watch them, and often record their small victories and undertakings.

The king once expressed the hope that you would be "a mother and care for your family" as long as possible, before it's time to take on his responsibilities.
"It's a different time now, not the same as before, I'm often at home, they're still young, and I still need them very much. With age, when they grow up, it can change." Oscar is very calm. "Quietly calm. He is calm and respectful of people and loves his older sister. Estelle is very cheerful, loves people, she's self-confident and has a great sense of humor and she is very caring"

Photo: Jonas Esktrömer
Tell us about the day after the terrorist attack, when you came to Drottinggatan to pay tribute to the victims.
"I felt great sorrow, all of Stockholm, all of our society, plunged into it, it was an attempt to hit us, but we showed that we can be a united backgammon, take part in the universal sorrow."

How did you cope with anorexia?
"It was a hard period, I was lost for a long time, nothing unusual at that age, I'm grateful that I got help because it's not so easy to get out of that situation when you feel very bad."

How do you find harmony within yourself?
"I'm not a closed person, I feel much better when I'm on the street. So for me it means a lot - to get out, enjoy a walk or run, walk with the kids. "

One day you will have to sit on the throne.
"My whole life is for Sweden It may seem pretentious, but I feel it, it's true, I see my parents and their tireless work, and I notice with joy how they do it, with never-ending interest. I hope that I can experience the same joy at their age."

What are your plans after the 40th anniversary?
"Aaa ... It flows fast enough, I do not feel like a 40-year-old, but Princess Lillian always said that you are who you feel, in that case she's right, because I do not feel that I'm 40. Right now I'm ready to begin my summer vacation!"

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer

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Saturday, June 3, 2017

Prince Daniel talks health and sports for Dagens Nyheter.


Seven years ago he became part of the Royal Family. In a big DN interview, Prince Daniel tells us about the fight for all children to get an active life. And why he wants Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar to learn everyday things like going underground and standing in line.


Two girls with exactly the same hairstyles can not stop freaking out.

On the walkway outside the school there is a Prince. He is there to learn more about how the students at Bällstaberg School in Vallentuna combine study and movement.
All of the 4C class is out on glossary. This means that they take turns after laps along a small loop, while they are training to understand different English words.

-When I'm going to learn something, I usually go for a walk. I bring the paper that I'm going to read, says Prince Daniel.

His visit is a surprise for the children. Kerstin Nilsson, associate professor and teacher in sports and health, has prepared the students for Dagens Nyheter to come. But she has not revealed that the purpose of our visit is to make an interview with a member of the Royal Family.

It was the court that chosen the place of the meeting: Bällstaberg School is featured on the Prince's list of schools that he wants to visit, schools that try to get the pupils in motion.
At Kerstin Nilsson's lessons in sport and health, it is not a question of letting school classes race to the high jump rink or that students can choose teams on the soccer field.

"Now we are in the forest almost all the time with adventures and we play. We drive in the rough terrain and that gives students versatile exercise and balance, she tells.

Her guest can only praise that attitude: Swedish schools have to go back to the movement.

"For many, sport lessons can be an exposed environment. Here is the weakest link that must be given the chance. Those who play football and hockey and basketball and exercise five times a week and have parents who are warm to them, they do not need more stimuli. They need to learn to adapt to those who don't have it so easy, "says Prince Daniel.

Kerstin Nilsson tells that she encouraged the parents to go out and move together with the children now on the spring edge. Such suggestions may well work for many of the families in Vallentuna's residential neighborhood.

"But depending on who the recipient is, it can be very tough. If I'm a single mother-in-law who works in health care, then I'm not wondering if I'm going to stand out and jog with my children. I will have the clothes clean and the food in order, "says Prince Daniel.

This is what we meet in Vallentuna: A Royal that wants to talk about equality.

At Bällstaberg School there is a blue flag, but the study visit takes place without any ceremonies. Instead, it happens to be crazy hair day. We meet students with wigs and artificial pastries in the hair. A teacher has released the hair into a cactus wrinkle. The racer wears a diadem with two rocking hearts.

Prince Daniel's haircut may well be described as somewhat more dimmed.

"I was getting a little extra this morning. I would also like to be a little crazy, he assures the students.

I embrace myself by turning the "prince" and "you" into the appeal, with an inconsistency that can cure both royalists and republicans in the reading circle. When I regret, he quickly says there is nothing he reflects on.

It was last summer that the Crown Princess couple launched Generation Pep, a non-profit organization that brings together big companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations in the fight for children and young people's health.

- It's a paradox. We belong to those who exercise most in Europe, and to those who are most quiet, the prince finds.

Both he and his wife, Crown Princess Victoria, have noticed the differences during their travels in the country.

"We have good conditions, we are just getting more and more aware. Those who already have it tough financially and socially, they are those who always suffer from disease and even there is the hardest thing. One may feel that it is so unfair, says Prince Daniel.

○ ○ ○

The research confirms the health gaps.

Prince Daniel has taken the impression of Scapis (Swedish cardiopulmonary bioimage study). It is a unique study in which all six university hospitals collaborate to study the presence of cardiovascular disease and lung diseases with studies of 30,000 people.

"In the pilot study in Gothenburg, it was seen that those living in areas where they are less privileged and have a worse financial situation, they have twice the risk of having a stroke, depression and myocardial infarction. And they have up to three times higher risk of type 2 diabetes," he says.

He goes out with his hands:

-And I mean: what? In Sweden? Today? Depending on where you were born? It's so incredibly unfair. And this is part of my commitment to this issue. We can not have it like this. We must try to change it with common forces. Everyone must ask themselves how they can contribute.

There are several high-ranking politicians who find it hard to be as committed as the Prince when they are agitating against injustice. But his dedication also raises questions.

For those who see the Monarchy as the height of inequality, it is not clear how a member of the Royal Family should address class differences.

"I think it's quite clear that I can gather and one lot of strong forces in a common endeavor to improve, for example, public health," replies Prince Daniel. Now, hopefully, you will write about this in a good way. Those who read your newspaper may not be the most vulnerable. But there are perhaps many decision makers and people who can influence their own environment and have the resources and ability to engage. We want all children in Sweden to be able to move for sixty minutes a day. If we can get it, we would change public health enormously.

The latest initiative from Generation Pep is a collaboration with Bonnier Carlsen with a book in the series Saga-sagas by Josefine Sundström and Emma Göthner.

The "Nice Body and Pretty Button" is about how Saga tries to embroider an S and is sent out to play. After an adventurous moment in the fresh air, the task goes a lot better. Readers will also learn about the body and the brain, and some tips on fun everyday games.
The book will be published to all 4-5 year olds in Stockholm.

"I've read it to Estelle and she loves it," says Prince Daniel.

What are the hopes of the book?

Just reading for our children is so incredibly important. This time I personally value it so highly, because you get close and you can talk about everything possible. I see this as a little inspiration and education. How easy it is to take the kids out. So spontaneal that is so important. It's about adding positive habits. It permeates our thinking. We know it's so hard to take away the bad habits. Then we want people to add.

These tips on everyday movements - like ramp dancing and living pyramids - will you try it out at Haga?

Yes I hope so! But it is also the case that we are the ones who are out with our children. It is not us who have problems. It's great fun to hear what we do. But I'm not worried about Estelle and Oscar when it comes to these pieces.

○ ○ ○

- Match Daniel!
- Which Daniel?

It is not everyone in the schoolyard who recognizes the man in the red-randed shirt and understands that it is a member of the Royal Family who took part in the ball game "King" at Bällstaberg School.

Those who think about it find it funny when the Prince can advance in the field and change the box.

"Now you're King," he said.

Some balls later divide them if the Prince really stayed inside the line for his box.

- He stood there!
- No, there!

It's not just the ball game "King" who has to stick to the frames. Even for a member of the real Royal Family, certain restrictions apply. When a successful gym owner marries a Crown Princess, he must take good care of life as an entrepreneur. It took nine years from the first meeting to the wedding, so he thought.

"I feel I've found a right place," he says.

His life has taken the most special of turns. However, his interest in sport and health forms a straight line from growth to today.

"You do not choose the career I did if you do not desire to change people's health. I have devoted all my adult life to it. As a teenager, I also dedicated myself to training and writing training programs to others and trying to inspire friends and the environment to live healthy. I knew early that I would work with people and sports and health, he says.

As a teenager, Daniel Westling received the message that he had a congenital but non-inherited disease on the kidneys, and that he eventually needed a transplant. From time to time, his future plans were affected - not at all.

"I did not believe the doctor when he said I would need a new kidney at any time. I was the world's most active and did not feel any symptoms, he says.

It was far later that he understood that he was actually suffering from a disease. But then there was also a suitable donor: Dad Olle Westling gave a kidney to his son in May 2009.

How much does the disease affect today?

- Not at all, so long as I suffer in some way. But it has given me a deeper understanding when someone says "I am sick, I feel bad, I have these concerns." If I continue to feel like this, I can feel that experience has been good and that it has added something to my life. A humility for life and for others who are much worse.

Even during the illness, he tried to keep physically alive, albeit at a low level. He sees it as an example of how people adapt to the conditions.

During these years and even before the last refugee crisis, Victoria and I have met very many unaccompanied refugees and have been in refugee camps focusing on single-born refugees. No comparisons in general. But we humans are amazing at getting through things. We adapt. We accept. Let's move on. We buy the situation. You can not lay down and die. There's always somebody who's worse, he says.

He would like to take this opportunity to peep others with their positive experiences from the transplant.

If I go to take samples, I usually try to ask the doctor if they can plan so I can meet some families and some children that are going through something. Then I can be a good example of how it can go.
It has almost given me more gratitude and humility to life than my own situation. Because it went quite sharply anyway.

Between 1994 and 1996 the future Prince studied sports education at a public high school. There was an awareness of the problems that people moved too little and ate too much already. But Sweden has also changed since then.

Just take the soda. What did you drink? What size? Take the fast food entry in Sweden. It has been a very fast development, he says.

A private trip to the United States with Crown Princess Victoria 12-14 years ago made a strong impression.

By the coast we came to a long pier into the water with big stones. Just like when I was a child, I began to bounce between the stones on it. It was not the same excitement, though, the gods will know. But we got such energy and thought back on how we could go on like that when we were children. One bounced out. But then I see a guy. A giant overweight guy. He goes on all four. Zero joy. Just anxiety. He could not stand upright on these stones because he was so overweight.
It was such a moment when I felt that this should not be it.

It was in February 2009 that Daniel Westling and Crown Princess Victoria announced their engagement. In a small movie, the prince found that his primary task would be to support his wife and her important role for Sweden. But he also wanted to contribute himself.

Healthcare and entrepreneurship is what I'm passionate about, he said. I had enough thoughts early on how I could use my interests in this role, with this incredible platform, he says.

In conjunction with the wedding in June 2010, a foundation was established to counteract exclusion and promote good health. Since then, Prince Daniel has also spent time on the Prince Daniel Fellowship and the task of supporting young people to become entrepreneurs.

I do not drop those questions, not at all. But now in recent years I have started thinking more and more and putting more and more time on health issues. If you are to succeed in things then you have to focus and not do everything at the same time. It was the place to create something new, he says.

An entrepreneur is usually described as a person dare to try new and see opportunities rather than obstacles. I think it was with the entrepreneur's eyes that the former gym owner Daniel Westling entered his new role as Prince.

He does not protest against that description.

-That's how it is. Absolutely. I have the ability to want and dare to do things and test. I would not mind if I did not try to make the most of my possibilities. Then we'll see. Come back in 30 years and see if I've done anything.

When can you feel this falls in place?

I have never thought," What should I do? ". We make lots of exciting things, with our travels and meetings with people. We try to draw attention to key issues. There is so much to do. It is important to prioritize and do things that make a difference.

○ ○ ○

Just six years ago, I followed the Crown Princess couple in the tracks when they went to Ockelbo. It was the Prince's first official visit to his home municipality.

I'm incredibly homely. I really love Ockelbo. To my hometown in this role ... It's clear that I thought before: How should this be?

When the train with the Royals rolled in to the train station in Ockelbo, the hill was facing the village packed with people. Old and young.

What a great thing it was. To see everyone, from the youngest and then the entire age range. I remember how my friend and big brother stood there and waved and said hello. Then I met my old colleague at the retirement home and hugged her.

The Crown Princess couple's journey continued on some worn countryside roads to villages and companies: Window manufacturers, Pannkaksfabriken, Museijärnvägen. Vikortsvackra was the hills and valleys of the landscape.

I best remember the older ladies who got up at the roadside to get a glimpse of the royals on the way to the Åmot public park. The schedule was hectic, yet the minibus brake. The Crown Princess couple stepped out and greeted.

The tants became so happy.

- What privilege to have a situation where you can enjoy happiness just by saying hi and watching someone in your eyes and asking how are they. It's an incredible luxury, says Prince Daniel. It is one of the strengths of our state that we have the ability to donate joy and draw attention. But then you have to like it. It's very easy if you think it's fun to stay there. You have to think it's fun to come out here at school and meet teachers and students.

Has that role always felt comfortable?

I have been in charge of the job in various contexts, and have had the staff to enjoy and create energy and see people. Just like my dad. We are very similar, he and I. He is also social and thinks it's fun to be with people and to create energy.

Olle Westling worked for a period as Social Manager in Ockelbo. He has never given interviews about his relationship with the Royal Family. But after a few hours at the Bällstaberg School in Vallentuna, I think that his work with vulnerable he has been an important source of inspiration for a future Prince.

It's a 22 miles trip between Stockholm and Ockelbo. It is the distance between a growing metropolis and a shrinking rural community north of Dalälven. Perhaps we get stuck in the subject because I come from the countryside too. But Prince Daniel repeatedly recalls how he feels strength and joy to grow up in Ockelbo.

"You care about each other and have a sense of community and unity that is incredibly strong," he says.

There was also a strong ideal commitment. An example was the ski slope run by the Open Air Promotion. During the winters it was an obvious gathering place.

- Every weekend there was a family who drove this facility. My parents were also included. Then we were in other smaller backs as well. Then you had mini slides. And then you jumped up the hill and drove down, says Prince Daniel.

It's not just the memories from the ski slope and, for that matter, the basketball court and the hockey stick that makes him pay tribute to the upbringing. There was and is something else too. That everyone can join.

He tells about people with disabilities who always had a place in society.

It is clear that, as a child, I may not be listed in those who had difficulties. There have always been those who lived in challenging situations. But I feel that this trust and this social security network were so very strong where I grew up. Everybody knows everyone in a small society, one knows who is the parent of what child and his brother, his sister. I believe that the strong trust is one of the success factors on which Swedish society is based. Of course, there is a difference in trust if you live in Ockelbo, compared to whether you live in a big city with many people with no relation.

A Prince who was raised in the countryside - what perspective does the Royal Family bring?

Maybe the King or Queen should answer. They are the Stockholmers who have been in most of the rural areas. They have traveled around a lot. I think they understand as well as me and know how it is in rural areas.
At the same time, it is clear that I am very pleased that my wife has her background, and I have mine, and they are very different. I think we give our children very good through it. I have worked with children with special needs, I have worked with retirees, I have run my own business and encountered all possible people. It has enriched me very much. And it's experiences that I have a lot of enjoyment in the role I have now.

Sport has a cohesive force.

I think we can broaden it to the whole community. I think of the scouts, the open air promotion, Friskis & sweat. We hope that we will be able to maintain this so that we parents today who think we are so incredibly important and stressed that we take the time to practice teams and engage in the scouts. So it does not happen that you do not have time and that any professional should do it. There is, of course, a quality in it, but I also think that there is a quality of being involved as a parent.

Can it be done if you are a part of the Royal Family?

I speak less about myself and more generally. But that's not impossible. Now Estelle goes to dance and I'm not the right person to step in there. Even if I like to dance.

But you go to games?

Exactly. Being with your children is the best activity. I also think it's important to let the kids be in all environments. One should know how the subway works and how it is to go by bus and how it is to quit and what it is like to feel this passion in the sports movement when there's a game and the Black Army sings for full neck. That's something I do not want them to miss.

○ ○ ○

In the teacher's room, cakes and a craft await, and I wonder what it's like to be a health conscious Royal woman and always meet with dignity.

It's worse if you come to a hometown farm and there are some older women who make sure that their business survives. Then they have baked seven kinds of cakes. Then I take seven varieties and enjoy it, says Prince Daniel.

He is used to questions about how he can live healthy with all the fine dining. The answer is that it's okay just watching the alcohol.

You could drink seven glasses of wine. But you do not have to. If you want to drink at all, you can take very little. And then I think the food is so good. Even if there are three, four dishes, he says.

Prince Daniel does not complain. On the contrary, he repeatedly emphasizes how privileged he is.
He might be in the coolest team if he did not always return to the injustices.

Before Kerstin Nilsson goes on to her lesson - where she will be part of a crazy hair day with a big banana in plastic as a headdress - she tells us that it was the 1994 curriculum that made her think differently about how she would get the students in motion .

Then you went to sport from three occasions a week to two or one occasion at some schools. It was in that turn that I began to think. Can we get moving during school days, at the classes in, for example, Swedish and math? We felt that we all need to be helped. Then there has been a catastrophic decline in the students' fitness, stamina and versatile mobility over the past ten years, she says.

Prince Daniel points out that there are schools that do not even have a gymnasium.

What I understand, they run one or two weeks of intensive camp somewhere. A few days from morning to evening to prick the subject, he says.

Generation Pep has devoted a lot of time to understanding how Swedish students are, and the organization plans to do more in the school environment. 

The members of the Royal Family are expected to avoid taking a stand in social issues with party political charge. It makes it difficult to, for example, discuss economic allocation.

When I ask Prince Daniel to try to give his opinion on how the health gaps in society arose, he just points to the role of the school.

We need a school where teachers get the opportunity to do their job. Professional teachers are so incredibly important. That they should be given the opportunity to provide good education and that students should be able to receive this education, it feels like a very important reason. Then it is clear that there are people coming to Sweden with different things in their luggage, and they may need more support than what we grew up in small municipalities in the 70s and 80s. But it's about resources and that the one who does not really have the conditions gets support and help.

The Prince returns to the example of the single-parent mother of three.

You can not expect that person to have energy after work to be the world's best in supporting their children in physical activities. The school has an incredibly important role. That's the reason. All children are in school. It is so important for our equality.

Is it in school that it has broken?

It's very different how it looks in schools. Both knowledge and health. Getting good education and getting health, it feels like two extremely important and basic things to build our future on.

○ ○ ○

In December, the Crown Princess couple released a film where the spouses wished a merry Christmas together with their children from a sizzling sausage grill in Tyresta National Park.

We would like to inspire. We have incredible environments close to us, even us that live in big cities. We like to be out in nature and want our children to have the same opportunities we have had to feel safe in that environment, says the prince.

The Crown Princess couple lives at Haga Palace with Haga Park around the knot.

Now Estelle is in the age when she's learning to cycle and it's incredibly fun.

What can we think about getting children in motion in the summer?

Generally, our children are hooking on us. They do what we do. We may interest them for different things. I have a wife who is incredibly skilled and knowledgeable in everything that has to do with nature. Estelle can already be sure - I do not know how many kinds of flowers and birds and plants she knows better than me. Children do what we do, not what we say. Test what's going on for the kids and what they think is fun.

Keep together in big and small - is it that we are supposed to summarize the message from Haga Palace?

Where the Republicans sees the Monarchy as an obstacle to equality, the royalist chooses to describe the Royal House as a symbol of a national community.

We are from a time when everyone looked at the "Children's Journal" because today it is so individualistic. We can be a one-way force. Just take our wedding. There were half a million people on Stockholm's streets and squares. It was this joy, says Prince Daniel.

The Crown Princess couple visited Drottninggatan the day after the terror attack on April 7 this year. Crown Princess Victoria received the question of how Sweden would move on and responded, noticeably touched, in a single word: "Together."

"She has the ability to put words on things," he says.

What did the prince learn from it?

It is not even possible to compare ourselves. She is so good and strong and has the ability to feel and see where an encouraging word and a pat on the shoulder when they are needed. But we both are really interested in people and have a strong social commitment. It is very stimulating to have a wife who has been involved in so many exciting things.

When Prince Daniel describes his mission, it sounds as if the own school of Royalty never ends.

You can of course say and think, "What do they know about how common people are?" Yes, maybe more than most of the people.
We meet everyone, from those who have the most difficult lives, to those who decide, and everyone in between. The entrepreneurs. The lonely mother. It is a benefit to gain that insight and hopefully deeper knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live. I feel so privileged that I have these opportunities. I feel grateful.


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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Princess Sofia attends Sophia feast.


Wednesday, May 31; Princess Sofia attended the Sophia feast and handed out medals of merit to Sophia sisters. The Princess is Sophiahemmet's (Sophia House) Honorary President.


The Sophia feast is since 1913 an annual feast of the Sophia sisters - people working in health care 25 years after starting their training as nurses.
During the ceremony, which was held at Sophiahemmet University College, Principal Johanna a Adami and Peter Seger, ceo of Sophiahemmet's non-profit organization held a speech. Then, Princess Sofia presented the medals to the Sophia sisters.
The medals are a Latin silver cross with a light blue small cross. The cross is worn on a silver collar.
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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The King and Queen 80th anniversary: The Queen's speech


Your Majesties,
Your Royal Highnesses,
Excellencies,
What an evening!
If I had known it was going to be this fun, I would have liked to turn 80 a long time ago! But to be quite frank: Just like my husband, I don’t feel like 80 at all.
Let us take this with us in our everyday lives, wherever we live.


Dear friends and family,
 
The Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has helped me describe why in his famous novel “Love in the Time of Cholera”:
He writes:
“Age has no reality except in the physical world. The essence of a human being is resistant to the passage of time. Our inner lives are eternal, which is to say that our spirits remain as youthful and vigorous as when we were in full bloom.”
To me, that explains it beautifully! Isn’t this true to all of us..?
And I would like to add an aspect that my husband always reminds me of: The importance of playing, of having fun! 
When we where in South Africa in February, the two of us suddenly found ourselves in quite a rare situation: We were sitting quietly next to each other – for the second day! – reading our books. Then Harald turned to me and said slowly: “Sonja, this is the closest we’ll ever get to retirement.”
I want to thank each and every one of you who have contributed here tonight. Thank you so much for warm words and for great fun!  
You have made this evening unforgettable!
Dear Queen Margrethe, you have been a vital support all since I became part of this family. In addition to being an invaluable adviser, you are a close friend with whom I share common interests like nature and the arts. Thank you so much for all our walks and talks, and for your ability to discover comic aspects on special occations!
I feel deeply privileged to be able to share this celebration with you all tonight.
I want to thank Haakon and Märtha, Mette, Ari – and all our wonderful grandchildren, for a relationship based on trust, love and respect.
I want to thank you for shared experiences and adventurous trips.
Nothing matters more at this stage in life – feeling that we belong together and that we can enjoy each other’s company across generations.
I want to thank Haakon and Mette in a very special way. Thank you for the strength we feel by working together, by giving each other space, showing each other understanding and support. Thank you for your openness, for discussions, and for fun! 
And dear Märtha, thank you for being who you are. Thank you for being such a couragous person and loving daughter. In difficult periods, your laughter lights up the day and makes us all happy!   
I want to thank the rest of our family, Princess Astrid in particular, and our friends – some of you have been with us for almost 80 years! That is invaluable – and perhaps especially in lives like ours.
Now – we are celebrating birthdays. I have already received my present from my husband. He is known for being a modest man, so he gave me one of his own belongings: A stable, which was already in his possession here on the Palace grounds. The stable will be transformed into a gallery open to the public as Queen Sonja Art Stable, in July. Not that I am not grateful – I really am! In fact, I was completely overwhelmed and deeply touched…
But I decided to give you something in return, my dear Harald. My gift to you is also a house, it is a “stabbur”, a store house, for the royal cottage Prinsehytta in Sikkilsdalen. A store house was in the old days used as a place to keep and preserve food.
So when I admire art in the stable, you can admire the victims of your hunting and fishing in the stabbur!    
In closing, I would like to repeat and build on Harald’s call to gratitude for life in his welcoming speech.
Because:
Every day is a gift that we should never take for granted.
Every day is an opportunity to do good.
Every day we can be there for our loved ones.
And we can acknowledge those who need to be seen.
 
Because above all – regardless of roles – we are human beings. People who are meant to support each other.
Thank you – each and every one of you – so much for being here, for sharing this celebration with us! This is truly a night to remember!


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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Crown Princess Victoria in Japan - Day 2.

Photo:  Jessica Gow/TT
The Crown Princess's second day in Tokyo began with a visit to an Aeon supermarket. Aeon is Japan's leading retail group, which operates malls, department stores, supermarkets and pharmacies. 
The company is one of Japan's key actors in sustainable fishing, and they are actively working to integrate sustainability aspects into their purchasing policies for fish and shellfish.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
During the afternoon, the Crown Princess participated in a seminar on the UN Global Sustainability Goal, organised by UN University in Tokyo. The theme of the seminar was the promotion of the UN's global sustainability goals with a particular focus on sustainable seas.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
The Crown Princess gave the following speech:

Your Imperial Highness,Rector, Ladies and Gentlemen. Just over 60 years ago, Japan joined the United Nations as its 80th member: Secretary-General at the time was Dag Hammarskjöld, a Swedish diplomat with a great interest in Japanese poetry. His diary notes, published after his death, contained 110 haiku inspired poems. At the time of Dag Hammarskjöld’s secretary-generalship, the environment was barely on the UN agenda. It was an age of ecological innocence. Today, we know better. Today, we know that environmental crime – like poaching, wildlife trafficking and illicit fishing – is a global security issue. We know that the effects of climate change affect poor countries to a greater extent than richer parts of the world. And we need only to open a newspaper to read about drought-related violence killing men, women and children. The facts are there, in plain sight. The question is: how do we act upon them? I would like to quote something that the UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld said at the University of Chicago in 1960. In a speech that he would later refer to as his “confession of faith”, he stated:“Working at the edge of the development of human society is to work on the brink of the unknown”.  He added that much of what is done will one day prove to have been of little avail. But, he said, there is no excuse for the failure to act in accordance with our best understanding. Our best understanding. The facts on the table. A year and a half ago, the UN General Assembly adopted the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and its 17 global goals. This was a major achievement by the member states. I am convinced that Japan, with its long history of great contributions to the work in the UN, will be a force to reckon with in the years to come. All my life, I have had the privilege to live near the water. My most precious childhood memories are connected to the sea. So when I had the honour to be appointed as Advocate for the global sustainable development goals, it was an obvious choice for me to focus on issues related to water and health. It is this commitment that has brought me to Japan - and to this seminar here at the UN University. Today, we are going to talk about sustainable oceans. But what we are really talking about is our ability to feed a growing global population. Fish is the largest source of animal protein in the world. But almost 60 percent of all stocks are already fully fished. 30 percent are even overfished. Let there be no doubt: the situation is urgent! The figures can be overwhelming. But let us remember: together, we have a superpower. The power of consumer demand. The choices we make in our everyday lives have enormous impact on the future of our planet. As consumers, we have a right to know and an obligation to ask. We need to let producers know that we want the right choice to be the easy choice. So please, let us make use of that superpower! Today and every day. Dag Hammarskjöld spoke about working on the brink of the unknown. Today, just like then, we have more questions than we have answers about the future.  Will we be able to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius? Will we succeed in our efforts to end poverty and hunger?And will future generations thank us for what we did, or blame us for not doing more?  The truth is, we don’t know. But we do know that Dag Hammarskjöld was right: We all have a moral obligation to act in accordance with our best understanding. And right now, that means doing everything we can to achieve the Sustainable Development Agenda. This is not only our obligation; it is our only option. Thank you.
During the seminar discussions about the global goals were held, how young people can be inspired to contribute to the achievement of the goals and the state of the world.


Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
The seminar is linked to the forthcoming UN conference The Ocean Conference, held in June in New York. Sweden and Fiji have jointly taken the initiative to support the work of saving the world's ocean and achieving the global sustainable development target for marine and marine resources, Objective 14 of the UN Agenda 2030.


Photo: Jessica Gow/TT
The Crown Princess's day ended with a dinner together with Princess Takamado of Japan.





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