16 MAY 2008

There was a special visit on Crown Princess Victoria's agenda this week. The heir-to-the-Swedish throne became the first member of the royal family to visit the Finnish province of Aland, which once formed part of the Swedish empire, since it was granted autonomy from Finland almost eight decades ago.

So it was hardly surprising there was such a turnout of well-wishers, all hoping to catch their first glimpse of the heir to the Swedish throne. Many were rewarded with a few words from the 30-year-old royal who, the province's official flag in her hand, spent time chatting to those who'd turned out to give her a memorable welcome.

The importance of such a momentous occasion clearly hadn't gone unnoticed by the authorities in the Swedish-speaking Finnish province either. In honour for the queen-in-waiting's visit the buildings in the main square had been given a fresh lick of paint.

As well as meeting some of the residents of Finland's smallest province, sports-loving Victoria also got the chance to take the wheel of a schooner.

Photo: ©
Carrying the autonomous province's flag, Crown Princess Victoria happily chatted to well-wishers on the first Swedish royal visit to the Finnish region since 1921Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
As part of her two-day trip to the Aland islands, the heir to the Swedish throne was taken on a schooner tripPhoto: © Rex
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