Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will undertake an official tour to Sweden and Norway between Tuesday 30th January and Friday 2nd February. This visit is at the request of The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and will be Their Royal Highnesses' first official visits to the two countries.
During the tour, The Duke and Duchess will be welcomed to Sweden and Norway by the respective Royal Families of each country. Their Royal Highnesses have been invited by Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden to a special luncheon at the Royal Palace of Stockholm, and in Norway will join Their Majesties King Harald V and Queen Sonja at Oslo's Royal Palace for an official dinner. The Duke and Duchess also look forward to spending time with Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel of Sweden, and Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, who will join Their Royal Highnesses on a number of their engagements throughout the visit.
The Duke and Duchess have asked, as with previous overseas visits, that this tour allow them opportunities to meet as many Swedes and Norwegians as possible. Their Royal Highnesses will meet a wide variety of people, including children and young people, those working in the mental health sector, and leaders in business, academia and scientific research, government, civil society and the creative industries.
The tour will also take in the beautiful settings of both Stockholm and Oslo, and The Duke and Duchess are looking forward to exploring these two cities for the first time. Their Royal Highnesses will wander through the cobbled streets of Stockholm en route to the iconic Stortorget square; they will take in the lit up skyline from the Fotografiska Galleries, and they will visit the ski jump Holmenkollen, one of Norway's most iconic landmarks, which boasts dramatic views over the city of Oslo.
The four day tour will also include time learning more about what makes Scandinavian culture so unique, from attitudes towards young people and mental health in schools, to the importance of being active and spending time outdoors, whatever the temperature may be. The Duke and Duchess are keen to experience a taste of the Scandinavian way of life for themselves, and to see how people of all generations battle the elements to make the most of their surroundings, whether ice-skating in Stockholm's local parks, or skiing off-piste in the hills that surround Oslo.
The UK’s links with each country are extensive, and Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to building a lasting friendship with the people of both Sweden and Norway.
Day one of the tour will begin on Tuesday morning in Stockholm, at a bandy hockey event at Vasaparken, an outdoor ice-skating venue in the centre of Stockholm. The Duke and Duchess will arrive at the rink from the Residence of the British Ambassador to Sweden, where Their Royal Highnesses will have stayed the night before. The Duke and Duchess will meet a group of local bandy players on the ice, and learn more about the sport and its popularity in Sweden.
Next, The Duke and Duchess will travel to the Royal Palace of Stockholm to attend a luncheon hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia to welcome Their Royal Highnesses to Sweden. Approximately fifteen members of the Swedish Royal Court will attend the luncheon, including Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel.
Following the luncheon, The Duke and Duchess, accompanied by Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, will walk through the picturesque cobbled streets of Stockholm from the Royal Palace to the Nobel Museum. During this walk, Their Royal Highnesses will have an opportunity to meet members of the Swedish public that will have assembled in Stortorget, the oldest square in Stockholm, and a charming public space outside the Nobel Museum. Once inside the Museum, Their Royal Highnesses will meet a number of Nobel Laureates, and will hear more from the Museum's curator about Science in Sweden and the Nobel Laureate system.
From the Nobel Museum, The Duke and Duchess will travel to ArkDes, Sweden’s national centre for architecture and design. Here, Their Royal Highnesses will attend an event celebrating architectural collaboration and the best of Swedish design, from the most iconic and global furniture brands, to up-and-coming homeware designers with new takes on sustainable furnishings.
That evening, The Duke and Duchess will attend a black tie dinner at the Residence of the British Ambassador, attended by members of the Swedish Royal Family, and representatives from government, and popular culture, including Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, and actors Stellan Skarsgård and Alicia Vikander.
The morning of Day two will focus on Sweden's pioneering work in the field of mental health and children's wellbeing, and in particular how this translates into support for children and young teenagers going through the Swedish education system.
Their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, will begin the morning at the world famous Karolinska Institute, which accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical academic research conducted in Sweden. The Duke and Duchess will meet with leading scientific researchers and practitioners to discuss ground-breaking academic work in developmental psychology, and Sweden’s approach to managing mental health challenges, including the impact of physical activity on mental health. Their Royal Highnesses will also hear about the Youth Aware of Mental Health (YAM) programme run by the National Association for Suicide Research and Prevention of Mental Ill Health (NASP). YAM is a programme run for 14 – 16 year olds promoting increased knowledge about mental health through dialogue and role-play, and now operates internationally, including in the UK.
The Duke and Duchess and Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel will then head to Matteusskolan, a comprehensive school in the heart of the city centre. Their Royal Highnesses will join children who have taken part in the YAM programme during one of their mental health activity sessions, and will speak to the mentors who run the training.
That afternoon, the two Royal couples will visit one of Sweden's leading department stores – NK – to open an interactive exhibition of UK design, fashion and brands that operate in Sweden. The Duke and Duchess will learn how these brands in particular put innovation, technology and sustainable practices at the forefront of their businesses. The event will take place in NK's entrance hall, and for the duration of the exhibition the best of British brands will feature in the display windows of the store.
From NK, Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Haga Palace, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's official residence, for a private tea with the Royal couple.
On their last evening in Stockholm, The Duke and Duchess will attend an event at the Fotografiska Gallery, which at night boasts glittering views over Stockholm. The event will be a celebration of contemporary culture with guests representing the worlds of music, film, television, theatre, tech, dance, art and sport, with live music, drinks and canapés. The Duke will also deliver a speech at this event. Weather permitting, Their Royal Highnesses will travel to Fotografiska by boat, allowing The Duke and Duchess to take in the views of Stockholm by night as they pass around the harbour. Prior to joining the reception, the Royal couple will have a short tour of the gallery's latest exhibition by UK photographer Nick Veasey.
The following morning, Their Royal Highnesses will depart Sweden for Norway from Uppsala Airbase. Prior to their departure, The Duke and Duchess will receive a short briefing on the Swedish Armed Forces' operational capabilities, before viewing some of the Gripen aircraft of the type deployed by Sweden as its commitment to the Joint Expeditionary Force.
The Duke and Duchess will land in Norway at Oslo Gardermoen Airport in the late morning, where they will be met by Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit. From there, Their Royal Highnesses will travel directly to the Royal Palace, where The Duke and Duchess will stay at the invitation of King Harald and Queen Sonja.
On arrival at the Royal Palace, The Duke and Duchess will be officially welcomed to Norway by The King and Queen by way of a luncheon, which will also be attended by other members of The Royal Family. Following this, Their Royal Highnesses will visit the Princess Ingrid Alexandra Sculpture Park within the Palace Gardens, which opened last year in the name of Princess Ingrid Alexandra to mark the 25th anniversary of The King's reign. The sculptures, of which there are now four, are designed by and for children, through cartoon competitions in schools across the country. During this visit, The Duke and Duchess will have the opportunity to meet members of the public gathered in the park.
The Duke, accompanied by The Crown Prince and Princess, will then visit Oslo’s historic Arkershus Fortress, to see one of Norway’s brand new AW101 All-Weather Search and Rescue helicopters, which were built in the UK and only recently arrived in Norway. Their Royal Highnesses will hear from Royal Norwegian Air Force pilots about the new aircraft, and their experiences of Search and Rescue missions.
Later that afternoon, The Duke and The Crown Prince and Princess will attend an event held at MESH, a co-working space for entrepreneurs and start-up companies to grow their businesses and thrive in a creative environment. Encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation are high priorities for Norway and the UK, with plenty of exciting collaboration across the North Sea. Their Royal Highnesses will meet a number of Norwegian and UK companies based at MESH showcasing their work, and will see how some start-ups are tackling issues such as the environment, and mental health and wellbeing, in new and engaging ways.
That evening, The Duke and Duchess have been invited by Their Majesties to an official dinner in their honour at the Royal Palace. The dinner will be attended by members of government, leaders in business and those from the Norwegian creative industries. There will also be serving members and veterans from the Norwegian Armed Forces, who will be introduced to Their Royal Highnesses. Both King Harald and The Duke will speak at the dinner.
The final day of the tour will begin at the Hartvig Nissen School, which was the location for the hugely successful Norwegian television programme 'Skam'. Skam is a drama series highlighting teenagers and the challenges young people can experience growing up, such as identity issues, bullying, relationships, sexual assault, and eating disorders. Following on from the theme lines of the show, the characters started their own social media profiles to engage with the audience watching directly, creating an international following and fan base. At the school, Their Royal Highnesses will meet the stars and producers of Skam to hear more about the series, and will then meet students to learn about the effect Skam had on bringing these issues out into the open, and the role played by social media.
Later that morning, The Duke and Duchess will travel to Skaugum, the official residence of The Crown Prince and Princess of Norway, for a private lunch.
The final engagements of the tour will take place in the beautiful setting of Holmenkollen, the snowy hills that overlook the city of Oslo. Here, Their Royal Highnesses, accompanied by The Crown Prince and Princess, will see how Norwegians embrace the outdoors in the coldest of temperatures, and champion the importance of exercise and wellbeing.
The Duke and Duchess will firstly visit Holmenkollen's most iconic landmark – the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. With panoramic views over the city, the ski jump is truly impressive in its size, and has capacity for more than 70,000 spectators. Here, Their Royal Highnesses will walk through the Holmenkollen ski museum and then watch a demonstration from some of Norway's top under-18 ski jumpers, before meeting them at the top of the ski jump. No country has won more Winter Olympics medals than Norway, and as excitement builds around the forthcoming Games in South Korea, Their Royal Highnesses are looking forward to learning more about how the Norwegians have maintained this record.
The Duke and Duchess will then attend an event organised by the Norwegian Ski Federation, at which Their Royal Highnesses will see a group of local nursery children taking part in an afternoon ski school session on the slopes. The Duke and Duchess will join children taking part in a number of outdoors activities, including roasting sausages on an open fire. Their Royal Highnesses will also speak to some of the ski instructors that deliver sessions throughout the year to keep children active and engaged with sport as well as visit the adjoining nursey.
From Holmenkollen, The Duke and Duchess will depart for the airport, and on to London.