7 JULY 2008

Her sporting interests go back to the 1972 Munich Olympics at which she met the dashing young royal who was to become her husband, so it's no wonder Sweden's Queen Silvia was in her element at a sailing competition in northern Germany.

King Carl Gustaf's wife handled herself with aplomb when invited to fire the starting pistol at the Childhood Race in the town of Kiel, smiling with satisfaction after doing the honours.

The regatta gave her the opportunity to visit her native country – the Queen is the daughter of a German businessman and his Brazilian wife - and watch her niece Helena Sommerlath in action in one of the boats.

Just as pleasing for the mother of three is the fact that proceeds from the competition go to the World Childhood Foundation she founded in 1999. The charity helps ensure an education for children in countries as far flung as South Africa, Ecuador and Russia.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
The wife of Sweden's King Carl Gustaf was clearly having fun as she fired the starting pistol to get the Childhood Race underwayPhoto: © Getty Images
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Germany-born Queen Silvia had been asked to do the honours as the founder of the World Childhood Foundation, which was benefitting from the proceeds of the competitionPhoto: © Getty Images
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