The Royal Court of Norway have announced that Crown Prince Haakon and his wife, Crown Princess Mette-Marit will be visiting the three Baltic states in April. The royal couple will visit Latvia on the 23rd and Lithuania on the 24th, before two final days in Estonia on the 25th & 26th April. With the visits, the couple are combining celebrations for the centenary of the states, with enhancing the close ties that Norway has with them, both commercially and security-wise through NATO.
All three of the Baltic states had been ruled through the centuries by many European powers, and in the eighteen and nineteenth centuries, they had been ruled by Russia. However, after World War I, they declared their independence from Russia, something which was suspended in World War II, when the countries were first overrun by the Nazi regime, and then subsequently absorbed into the USSR. They finally regained their independence in the 1990s and have been very successful in establishing themselves in a number of areas.
Since regaining their independence, the Baltic states have grown close to Norway in a number of ways, and this visit is not the first state visit between them. King Harald V and Queen Sonja visited the Baltic states, for example, some twenty years ago, and in the intervening years, several presidents of the individual countries have been welcomed in Oslo.
It may be of interest to us in the United Kingdom, that Norway is one of the countries not within the European Community, however, it does have quite a commercial presence within the Baltic states that have recently joined. It has not been announced in detail as to whether the princely couple will visit any of these enterprises or any of the itinerary, but when it is known and available it will be reported on Royal Central.