The King and Queen of Sweden are visiting the Baltic neighboring Estonia

XVI. Swedish King Károly Gustaf and Queen Silvia began a three-day state visit to Estonia

TALLINN, Estonia — XVI. Sweden’s King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia began a three-day state visit to Estonia on Tuesday – their first official visit to the former Soviet republic in more than 30 years.

Estonian President Alar Karis and his wife welcomed the King and Queen of Sweden with full military honors in Tallinn’s central Freedom Square, with an enthusiastic crowd of adults and children waving Estonian and Swedish flags.

According to the presidential office, the visit to Tallinn and the second city of Tartu “emphasizes the close friendship between Estonia and Sweden, all the more so, since XVI. It will take place on the 50th anniversary of King Károly Gustaf’s accession to the throne. .”

The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – all former Soviet republics that are members of the European Union and NATO – are Sweden’s neighbors on the Baltic Sea and have close business and political ties with Stockholm. Estonia also has historical ties to Sweden, as the small nation of 1.3 million was a province of the Swedish Empire in the 17th and early 18th centuries.

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XVI. King Charles Gustaf and Queen Silvia last paid a state visit to Estonia in 1992, a year after the Baltic nation regained its independence after nearly fifty years of Soviet rule.

The royal visit will prioritize boosting cooperation between the two countries in the security and defense sector, the economy, as well as in the fields of education, research and innovation, the Estonian presidential office said.

XVI. King Carl Gustav ascended the throne on September 15, 1973, and is Sweden’s longest-reigning monarch. In early June, the king will celebrate his 50th anniversary on the throne with extensive celebrations.