HRH The Crown Princess' dinner speech at Governor Generals residens in Canberra
Governor Generals residens in Canberra, Australia
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you, Your Excellency, for inviting us to this delightful dinner here at your beautiful residence. The Prince and I, as well as our delegation, are grateful for the warm welcome we have received here in Australia.
Let me start by acknowledging the Ngunnaval people, the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet today. I would like to pay my respect to their elders – past, present, and emerging.
For me, this is a long-awaited reunion. I remember with fondness the last time I was in Australia. However, when I realised it was as far back as in 2005, I almost couldn’t believe it! Time certainly flies… To be able to come back with my husband is truly special.
On the other side of the globe, in a wintry Stockholm, I know that our two children are eagerly awaiting news on – among other fascinating things – Australian koalas and kangaroos.
Yes, for us Swedes – this is indeed a very exotic place. But at the same time, so very familiar! Because even though our countries are geographically far apart, they are very close in so many ways.
The relations between Sweden and Australia are warm, broad, and longstanding. They span over multiple areas including people-to-people ties, trade and investment in nearly all industries.
Sweden and Australia value the rich cultural heritages from our respective indigenous populations. And I must say, to experience the traditional Welcome ceremony at the National Museum this morning will be a lasting memory for all of us!
This trip was originally planned for April of 2020 – and for obvious reasons it had to be cancelled.
But frankly, to come here now is even more timely. The global security situation of today is more serious than it has been for decades. The war in Europe is fundamentally changing the European security order. The war has global implications. And Australia plays a critical role as an anchor of democracy and a security provider in the Indo-Pacific region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Australia is Sweden’s fourth biggest export market outside of Europe – and therefore very important for our country. But why stop at number 4? We know that trade and investment between our two countries have potential to grow further.
A conclusion of an ambitious free trade agreement between the EU and Australia is important from an economic perspective but perhaps even more so, it underscores our close ties, which is extremely important in the world today. I know that concluding the negotiations of the Free Trade Agreement is a strong priority for Sweden during the ongoing Swedish Presidency of the EU.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Tomorrow, we will visit Sydney. We will of course make sure to take in the many sights that the city has to offer. At the same time, we are well aware of the fact that our visit to Australia only covers a fraction of the great country and continent that you call home.
Hopefully, we will be able to come back in the future. And then also to show this extraordinary country to those two curious children back home. But for now, my husband and I are truly looking forward to the rest of our days here in Australia. And to the rest of this lovely dinner here with you tonight.