This week, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit perform a four-day journey to the Baltic nations to celebrate their 100 years as independent states after they declared themselves independent from Russia in 1918. Yesterday, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess visited Latvia. Today they have travelled to neighbouring Lithuania where they will spend the day before going to Estonia tomorrow where they will be for two days.
The official visit to Lithuania was kicked of formally when the Crown Prince and Crown Princess were officially welcomed to Lithuania by President Dalia Grybauskaitė outside the Presidential Palace of Vilnius. Following the ceremony, the royals went for private talks with the President. These talks were continued by the representatives of the Norwegian and Lithuanian delegation. Following the official talks, the Crown Prince Couple attended a meeting where the delegations signed two agreements between Norway and Lithuania. After discussions between the two countries’ delegations, the President and Crown Prince met the press together.
The President and the Norwegian royal couple exchanged official gifts. Dalia Grybauskaitė presented a photo album about Lithuania by Vidas Kaupelis and Algimantas Deikus and a work of art by Saulius Milašius. The Norwegian royal couple gave their official photo and a glass vase.
Later in the day, the President and the royal couple climbed up to the Bell Tower of the St. Johns’ Church, viewed the Act of Independence of February 16 in the House of the Signatories, met with students of Scandinavian studies and members of the local Norwegian community.
“It is a great pleasure for the Crown Princess and me to congratulate you on the 100th anniversary of the restoration of Lithuanian statehood. We have great admiration for all that you have achieved in regaining independence – both in 1918 and in 1990. This is truly impressive”, said His Royal Highness during his visit.
Accompanied by President Grybauskaitė, the Crown Prince walked through the Old Town of Vilnius to the Printers’ House. This was where Lithuania’s independence declaration was signed in February 1918. The President of Lithuania presented the independence declaration to the Crown Prince Couple.
Following this, a lunch was arranged by the Prime Minister, Saulius Skvernelis. Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit then put down flowers at the memorial dedicated to those who fell in the struggle for Lithuania’s independence. Here, Lithuanian liberty fighters were killed by Soviet forces in 1991.
The visit was concluded Tuesday evening when the royals participated in an official dinner at the Presidential Palace. During the dinner, the Crown Prince held a speech in which he shed light on the tight ties between the two nations. Crown Prince Haakon said: “Today about 44 000 Lithuanians are living in Norway, all over the country. There is no doubt that Lithuanians and their skills are in high demand in Norway and greatly appreciated. Lithuanians make a substantial contribution to the Norwegian economy and to Norwegian society and to the links between our two countries.”
Tomorrow, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit will travel to Estonia where they will stay for two days.