29 APRIL 2003
Visitors to a St Petersburg bus company on Monday may have spotted a pretty young woman at the wheel of one of the multi-passenger vehicles. But the smartly-dressed driver captured in these photos isn't just any bus conductor – it's the future queen of Sweden.
Crown Princess Victoria, renowned for her down-to-earth nature, gamely hopped onto the bus as part of her tour of the Swedish-Russian joint venture Scania-Peter. Wearing glasses, and with her hair pulled back in a relaxed ponytail, the 25-year-old royal inspected the driver's seat before happily accepting a miniature version of the Scania-bus as a souvenir.
The versatile princess, who is in St Petersburg on a four-day visit, is no stranger to unusual situations, having recently donned military gear and face paint during a three-week course in peace-keeper training. Victoria earned rave reviews for her performance at the gruelling boot camp, where she learned first aid and managed to wrap up a one-kilometre forced march in full combat gear in less than five minutes.
"The Crown Princess has handled herself extremely well," said Captain Lars Wetterskog, as his trainee Princess Victoria finished up the military stint in March. "She's a most capable girl."