Yesterday, the whole of Sweden celebrated together with the Royal Family when Crown Princess Victoria married Daniel Westling, who now became Prince Daniel. My main interest in this festivity was the couple’s transport by the Royal Barge Vasaorden from the Stockholm Cathedral to the Castle. Vasaorden, which has nine pairs of oars, was built in 1923 and is a replica of an older Royal Barge that was destroyed in a fire in 1921. Vasaorden, which is built almost entirely of Swedish oak, is very heavy to row and difficult to steer. This was shown the other week when sailors from the Swedish Navy were out training in her. The officer in charge of the steering made a slight mistake in maneuvering the craft and she ran into another boat. No one was hurt but she needed a little paint work before she could be used yesterday.
Yesterday was 34 years ago, exactly on the date, that Princess Victoria’s parents got married. They, now King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, were also rowed up to the Castle in Vasaorden. For that occasion, in 1976, I organised a celebratory telegram that was sent to the King and Queen from ‘the oarsmen of the Malmö Roddklubb’ – honestly, we were only boys, but a very nice thank you note was sent from the Castle. The note is now in the club’s archives somewhere…
My grandfather, Thorsten (or Torsten) Sigstedt carved the ornamentation on the Vasaorden; I visited the boathouse museum in 2006 and gave the Vasa Museum documentation regarding his thoughts as he was carving the boat. This was a wonderful experience for me and my father gave me the original lock for the cabin door that was given to Torsten as a gift for his work.