On Friday September 9 Prince Alexander of Sweden was christened in an intimate ceremony in the Chapel of Drottningholm Slott. I had the fortune to be there and to take a look behind the scenes. Watching a royal christening on TV is lovely but I have to be honest and say actually being able to be there is far better!
Early in the morning I made my way up to Drottningholm which lies just outside Stockholm. Well prepared with my Swedish flag, a profesional camera and my good friend, I felt more than ready. It was still quiet around the palace when we first arrived but the staff was already running around. At 10 am the press started to take their places, the Swedish media on the first row, the international media was asked to stand behind their Swedish colleagues. They immediately started to set up their camera’s and doing test interviews. I tried to find a good spot on the other side as unfortunately I was not allowed in the press box. And then the waiting began. For years I had been waiting to see my favorite Royal Family but I had never been able to book a flight and go there until early September 2016. I’ve been blogging about the family for years even though I had never met them. You can imagine I was very excited.
Around 11 am the first guests started to arrive. The royal guards and staff from the King’s household greeted them upon their arrival. After watching four royal christening, three royal weddings and uncountable other Swedish royal events I was able to identify quite a lot of them. It was a little surreal seeing them walk so close past me. I was impressed by all the beautiful dresses, shoes, clutches,… Some passed by very quickly. They were mostly close friends and family of the couple who didn’t like the press attention that much. Others (read: Swedish politicians) took the time to pose (a lot!) and talk with the press. The closer it got to noon, the more important the guests who arrived were. Excitement arose every single time the door of the cars opened. Karolin A. Johansson (head of Crown Princess Victoria’s household) & Prime minister Stefan Löfven were the guests I was most excited to see. The Royal family entered the chapel via another entrance so I could only see the other guests before the christening. At noon the doors closed and the christening began.
During the christening the honorary royal guards lined up next to the chapel. Now and then we heard singing and babies crying inside the chapel. I felt sorry for the guards who had to carry the flags for over 45 minutes. That must have been incredibly difficult to keep them up all the time. The palace staff together with the Swedish police moved the fences where the public had to stand behind. It was very difficult but I got to stand on a perfect spot at the first row. Just before the christening was over, one of the palace staff members posed for the photographers so they could find the perfect spot where Prince Carl Philip, Princess Sofia and Prince Alexander had to pose for the press box. And then eventually the doors opened and there they were: Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia who carried little Alexander.
I was very grateful my friend had agreed to take the pictures so I could wave and make eye contact with the Swedish royal family. Just after the little family stepped out, people started to applaud and shout “Grattis” or “Gratulationer” (congratulations). They seemed incredibly proud and Alexander seemed very much at ease in his mom’s arms. He was not impressed by the order he received from his grandfather as he started to salivate on it. Behind them were the godparents. Crown Princess Victoria stepped out first with little Oscar in her arms. Oscar seemed to have fallen asleep and Victoria laughed at the fact Oscar didn’t give any attention to the hundreds of people who had gathered to see them. Victoria is a true professional when it comes to posing for the press. She gave the other godparents subtile directions on where they had to pose. And then she looked straight at my friend and I. She nodded her head, laughed and posed so we could make a great picture. Right after the godparents came the King and Queen. Just at the moment the Queen stepped out of the chapel, they started to fire salute shots which were very loud. The Queen was startled by the sound just as I was. The king and the rest of us started to laugh because of Queen Silvia’s reaction.
Behind them were Sofia’s parents who looked lovely for the occasion. Then the rest of the royal family followed. We were able to take some incredible photo’s of all of them except for Princess Leonore. The youngest daughter of Princess Madeleine was not in for a photo and looked away every single time we tried to make photo’s. She’s such a smart girl. I think she’ll be the wild one in the family when she grows up just like her mother was. We definitely haven’t seen the last of the little Bernadotte-O’Neill. I also noticed Leonore was carrying kaninen ( a toy rabbit). Madeleine & Chris told about the important place the rabbit takes within the family when they were interviewed for Skavlan. At the end of the very long row of guests, the nannies appeared. Estelle & Oscar’s nanny Katie subtly turned her head away for photo’s. The christening was the second royal event where we saw Leonore & Nicolas’s nanny Louise. Also former nanny of Victoria, Madeleine & Carl Philip Elisabeth Zimmerman was invited at the christening. Obviously they become an important part of the family. All the guests followed the royal family inside for the reception that was hosted by the King and Queen.
For me the baptism was definitely a great day. You don’t have many opportunities where you can see the Swedish royal family all together at such a happy occasion. I definitely recommend going to Sweden someday and try to see the Swedish royal family!