Prince William Arrives in Finland With a Letter from the Queen

Prince William waves to the crowd with the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on November 29, 2017. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

There was a small enthusiastic crowd gathered opposite the Presidential Palace to catch a glimpse of Prince William as he arrived at the reception by the Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on Wednesday afternoon. Old and young were gathered there, some to specially see the prince, others were just passing and wanted to see what the fuss was about. The crowd can never be that large on the pavement opposite the palace because it is not that wide and the one edge drops straight into the sea, a hazard for those stepping backwards while trying to get the perfect photo.

Zitaw Yu, 46, has seen Prince William on TV before. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

A party of Chinese were pleased to be watching the spectacle. Zitaw Yu, 46, said that “we always follow the royal family on the BBC at home.” Kari Nykänen, 69, and his wife from Helsinki were not really fans of the prince but the visit “does brighten up a dull day.”

This is Prince Williams first official visit to Finland, and he delivered a message from his grandmother. He described it as “a letter from the Queen, a message to a good friend” as it was handed to President Niinistö.  The Queen’s message read: “Prince Philip and I send our warmest good wishes to you and to the people of Finland on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.  We have fond memories of our State visit to Finland in 1976, when we experienced the warm hospitality of Helsinki, Turku and Jyvaskyla. In 1976, I spoke about how we in Britain had long associated friendliness with Finland, an association that is no less true 41 years later.  Over the past four decades our two nations have worked together in many ways — on security, on commerce, on our people-to-people Iinks — always aided by that spirit of friendship. I have no doubt that we will continue to build our relationship in this way in the years to come.”

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The Royal Standard is flapping in the cold wind at the palace. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge, 35, is second in line for the throne of Great Britain after his father Charles, the Prince of Wales, who is now a mature 69.  The heir to the British throne is always made the Prince of Wales since King Edward first started the tradition in 1301.

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This summer saw the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, the mother of the future king.  Prince William then was only 15 years old and since has completed an education different to the royal family tradition and gone on to have a varied career.

Army lieutenant to air-sea rescue helicopter pilot, and on 27th July this year completed his last shift as an air ambulance pilot in East Anglia (the Duke of Cambridge was based at Cambridge Airport). All completed with dignity and without putting a foot wrong, a great example for all.  The Duke of Edinburgh officially retired in August, and the Queen is gradually passing on responsibility to the younger generations, so Prince William now works full-time for the family firm and represents the Queen all over the world.

Prince William is greeted by the second aide-de-camp. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

This year, the Press Association shared results of its commissioned poll done by market research firm YouGov. The poll was conducted in early August before Princess Diana’s death anniversary, and after the British TV station, Channel 4, showed private video recordings of the princess.

The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, had the highest popularity in the royal family. Seventy-eight percent believed that he has had a positive contribution. Brother Harry follows closely at 77 percent and William’s wife, Duchess Kate, at 73 percent. A more recent ICM poll, for The Sun tabloid newspaper, revealed that 51 percent of the British want Prince William to be the next King, skipping Prince Charles, the Queen’s eldest son.

The crowd is observing the ceremony on the pavement. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

The question in many British people’s minds: “Is the Prince of Wales too old for the job?” and this combined with Prince William’s popularity makes a dilemma for the Royal family. However, Prince Charles has had the longest wait of any Prince of Wales to prepare for monarchy, having surpassed the record held by Edward VII on September 9, 2017, and would probably be reluctant to pass on the chance of becoming king now.

To prepare for eventually managing the Duchy of Cornwall Estate, in 2014 William enrolled in a vocational agricultural management course at Cambridge organized by the Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership.  With an interest in sustainability combined with his other environmental and humanitarian charity works, the prince may be the ideal royal representative for a visit to Finland, a country that takes pride in its sustainability initiatives, environmental standards and humanitarian aid.

By coincidence, both the prince and president are expectant fathers which may help the small talk of international relations. It all helps to put Finland on the world map.

The royal wave. Picture: Tony Öhberg for Finland Today

 

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