Sweden’s crown princess to wed former trainer
Stockholm — Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria is engaged to marry her former fitness trainer after a seven-year romance, the palace said Tuesday, ending years of speculation about when the popular royal would wed.
The 31-year-old daughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will marry Daniel Westling, the owner of a chain of fitness centres in Stockholm, next year, the palace said in a statement.
The princess meanwhile told her future subjects, via a video clip on the Internet, that she and her fiancé could now begin preparing to start a family.
"Today, Tuesday 24 February 2009, the engagement between Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria and Mr. Daniel Westling was announced at the Royal Palace in Stockholm," the palace said in a statement.
"The wedding is planned to take place in the early summer of 2010."
The news immediately topped media broadcasts across the Scandinavian country, where the royal family is hugely popular.
The palace announced the nuptials after the king informed Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his government.
"In connection with the wedding Mr. Westling will be invested with the title Prince Daniel, Duke of Vaestergoetland," the palace said.
Westling, 35, met the princess in 2002 when she began working out at one of his gyms in the capital. He owns two luxury by-invitation-only gyms as well as several high-end fitness centres in Stockholm.
The brown-eyed princess with long brunette locks is admired both at home and abroad for her natural ease with people, her broad smile and the popular impression she makes in her duties representing Sweden despite her relative youth.
She has spent most of her adult years preparing for her future role as regent with a specially-tailored education, which has included two years of studies at Yale University in the United States, stints at the United Nations, the European Union, and internships with the Swedish government and military.
In a video clip put online by the royal palace, a smiling crown princess, seated with Daniel, the king, and her mother Queen Silvia, addressed the Swedish people directly.
"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.
Her fiancé said meanwhile 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."
The 62-year-old king described the engagement as "obviously a big event for our family," while Silvia, 65, said her future son-in-law "will be an excellent husband for Victoria."
"We have total confidence in you and your choice Victoria, and I will do everything I can to support both of you," she said.
Silvia, of Brazilian and German descent who married the Swedish king in 1976, said that "if Daniel experiences the warmth and welcome I received from the Swedish people, that would make me very happy."
Victoria and Daniel are often seen running errands or visiting cafes in Stockholm.
Her casual, down-to-earth style has made her very popular among Swedes — her love of nature is well known and she is often seen sporting jeans and sneakers, her long dark hair in a ponytail.
Daniel, who comes from a middle class family in the small town of Ockelbo, however received a chillier reception from Swedes, at least initially.
Media criticised him for his preppy, slick appearance and accused him of arrogance, and questioned whether a gym owner was an appropriate spouse for a future queen.
In the video clip Tuesday, Daniel said: "I know that trust is not given, it is earned, and I will do everything I can to earn the Swedish people’s trust."
Born on July 14, 1977, Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree has two younger siblings, Prince Carl Philip, 29, and Princess Madeleine, 26.
She was not born crown princess but Sweden’s royal succession law was changed after the birth of her brother.