Thursday, 6 October 2016

Swedish State Visit to Germany: Day One

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden with the President of Germany, Joachim Gaucke and Daniela Schadt at the start of the State Visit

The four day Swedish State Visit to Germany got under way on October 5th and packed in just about everything we've come to expect from the debut day of an official tour. We had a castle, a tiara, a guard of honour and lots of red carpet. And that's before we get to the hats, the high level meetings and a good dose of rain. Welcome to #SweDE2016.

We all know that State Visits don't just start, they start in style. This one was no different with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia arriving at Tegel Airport to a full ceremonial welcome including guard of honour (first box ticked already and they weren't even on the ground a whole minute). Then it was off to the official residence of the President of Germany at Bellevue Schloss for another ceremonial welcome.

There was another Guard of Honour waiting for Sweden's King and Queen at the castle and after Carl XVI Gustaf had inspected it, it was time to sign the guest book and swap gifts - another integral part of a State Visit's opening day. There was also a chance to meet local school children before the royal couple settled down for a series of meetings.

After a spot of lunch it was time to get out and see Berlin and that's when the rain started, By the time Carl Gustaf and Silvia had arrived at the Brandenberg Gate, they needed brollies but that didn't stop the walkabout or the smiles.

The royal couple then went to the monument to victims of war and violence at Neue Wache where they laid a wreath.

Past and present came together on the next stop of the tour as they headed to the Humboldt Forum which is being built in the design of the old City Palace which was destroyed following bombing in World War Two and which it's hoped will be a meeting place for cultural displays and exhibitions from around the world.  The royal couple was given a tour by the artistic director, Neil MacGregor.

Then it was off for another staple of a State Visit - a meeting with the politicians. After a tour of the Bundestag they headed to the Chancellery where Angela Merkel was on hand beneath increasingly leaden skies to welcome them.

The royal visitors posed for photos then headed into another set of meetings with Mrs Merkel with the future of Europe and integration all on the agenda.

After that there was at least ten minutes for the King and Queen of Sweden to head back to base and get ready for the stellar, sparkling, standout moment that is the State Banquet. All State Visits need a State Banquet and day one of #SweDE2016 saw President Gauck and Mrs Schadt throw open the doors of the Schloss Bellevue again for the gala event.

President Gauck said in his speech that Sweden held a long fascination for many German people who admired its diverse culture and scope for business.

King Carl XVI Gustaf thanked his hosts for their warm welcome and reflected on some of the themes of the meetings he had held through the day, telling his audience that Europe needed integration more than ever before as it faced crises including the arrival of thousands of refugees and he added that he believed Germany and Sweden were taking strong positions in helping people find homes and settle in the continent.


The Swedish State Visit to Germany, the second of King Carl XVI Gustaf's reign, continues until October 8th 2016 and will see them visit Leipzig, Hamburg and Wittenberg.

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