The Swedish Royal Family has resumed their agenda following the Christmas break and the King, Crown Princess and Prince Daniel travelled to Sälen to attend one of the most important appointments on the yearly agenda.
The royal trio headed north-west, towards the Norwegian border, and, before resuming their duties, Crown Princess Victoria was photographed ski-ing as she enjoyed the winter weather.
The conference runs for three days and during as she was sitting alongside her father and husband, listening to the opening remarks of the National Security Conference, she appeared to be dozing off, or at least struggling to keep her eyes open.
But the small moment of tiredness didn’t seem to affect her participation, and she listened attentively and even smiled as the opening session was graced by the presence, among others, of Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelenskiy.
The People and Defense National Conference is held yearly at the beginning of January, marking the entrance into a new calendar year for the country’s defense and security apparatus.
Its aim is to “bring together representatives from politics, authorities, civil society organisations, trade unions and business” in order to find comprehensive solutions to guarantee a cohesive “security policy, defense” and general preparedness for society’s crises.
The theme for this year are “the continued focus on Swedish defense and security policy identity and vision, how Sweden’s NATO membership application affects defense and security policy, as well as the role and development of democracy”.
Sweden applied for NATO membership in May of 2022, shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed the entire geopolitical balance of the region. The country signed the application together with its Scandinavian neighbour Finland; however, the two nations were force to go on two separate paths after Sweden’s accession was blocked by two member countries, Hungary and Turkey, who have raised objections to Sweden’s membership and still have not ratified the issue through a Parliamentary vote. Finland became a member in April of 2023.
It is traditional for the King and Crown Princess to attend the People and Defense National Conference, and to also have a short ski trip precede the participation; last year, the trip came at a crucial time, as it followed weeks of turmoil following remarks that King Carl XVI Gustaf had made about the change in succession law that prevented his son, Prince Carl Philip, from becoming heir to the throne – remarks that many considered to be a slight against not only his daughter, but also the work the Crown Princess has been doing over the past few decades.
The 2023 Conference was the first moment in which the King and Crown Princess were photographed together following the incident, and the occasion also calmed down many people who got worried about how the Crown Princess had taken the remarks.
This year, there was no trace of any controversy, and the royals got to listen to the future of Sweden’s defence and protection of its territory and its people, with roughly 300 people gathering in Sälen to listen to more than 60 speakers debate on these topics.