Royal couple pay visit

  • 2002-05-09
  • Agence France Presse

Swedish King Carl Gustaf XVI and Queen Silvia paid an official one-day visit to Estonia on May 5 and attended the reconsecration of a Swedish church that was turned into a sports hall by the Soviets.

After the ceremony at Saint Michael's Church, the royal couple walked through the streets of medieval Tallinn together with their hosts, Estonian President Arnold Ruutel and his wife Ingrid.

Exceptionally warm spring weather brought thousands of Tallinners out onto the streets to meet the royal couple, who at one point stopped to meet a group of well-wishers singing in Swedish, the Baltic News Service reported.

Saint Michael's Church was recently renovated with the help of the Swedish government.

Objects removed from the church to safety in Sweden by congregation members, before Soviet troops reoccupied Estonia in 1944, were returned to the church, according to the Swedish Embassy in Tallinn.

After the walk, the royal couple and their hosts had lunch at the Swedish Embassy in Tallinn and then visited the Kadriorg Art Museum.

Later, the king and queen continued on to the island of Haapsalu in western Estonia where the king opened a museum dedicated to the Swedish community who lived in the area until World War II (pictured). They also met Swedes residing on tiny Vormsi Island.