Queen Silvia and Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (left) hosted a state banquet for Finnish President and his wife (right) on Tuesday night
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Swedish royals’ show of unity with Finland: Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf host the Finnish President and First Lady at a glittering state banquet in Stockholm before the countries submit NATO applications tomorrow

  • Sweden’s Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf welcomed the Finnish President
  • President Sauli Niinisto and his wife, Jenni Hauki, are on a two-day state visit
  • Sweden and Finland are prepared to submit their bids to join NATO tomorrow

Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden hosted a state banquet for Finnish President and his wife on Tuesday night. 

President Sauli Niinisto and his wife, Jenni Hauki, are on a two-day state visit to the country as both Sweden and Finland prepare to submit their bids to join NATO tomorrow. 

They were honoured with a state banquet at the Royal Castle in Stockholm, where guests included Crown Prince Victoria and her husband, Crown Prince Daniel. 

Queen Silvia , 78, looked typically elegant in a long-sleeve pink gown with a dramatic train as she arrived alongside her husband and the visiting dignitaries. 

Queen Silvia and Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (left) hosted a state banquet for Finnish President and his wife (right) on Tuesday night

Queen Silvia and Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (left) hosted a state banquet for Finnish President and his wife (right) on Tuesday night 

Crown Princess Victoria, 44, pictured with her husband Daniel, opted for a pleated periwinkle blue gown with an unusual Victoriana neckline and a matching sash around her waist

Crown Princess Victoria, 44, pictured with her husband Daniel, opted for a pleated periwinkle blue gown with an unusual Victoriana neckline and a matching sash around her waist

Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden joined their parents and senior royals at the banquet

Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden joined their parents and senior royals at the banquet

Her eldest daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, 44, opted for a pleated periwinkle blue gown with an unusual Victoriana neckline and a matching sash around her waist.

She finished the ensemble with a twinkling tiara and a simple silver clutch. 

Meanwhile her sister-in-law, Princess Sofia, stepped out in an eye-catching scarlet evening gown with dramatic slashed sleeves. 

The state visit is a public signal of the strengthened cooperation and bilateral relationship between Sweden and Finland as they both prepare to submit applications to join NATO. 

President Sauli Niinisto and his wife, Jenni Hauki, pictured right with the Swedish King and Queen, are on a two-day state visit to the country as both Sweden and Finland prepare to submit their bids to join NATO tomorrow

President Sauli Niinisto and his wife, Jenni Hauki, pictured right with the Swedish King and Queen, are on a two-day state visit to the country as both Sweden and Finland prepare to submit their bids to join NATO tomorrow

Queen Silvia of Sweden was seated next to the Finnish President at the banquet dinner at the Royal Castle in Stockholm

Queen Silvia of Sweden was seated next to the Finnish President at the banquet dinner at the Royal Castle in Stockholm  

‘I’m happy we have taken the same path and we can do it together,’ Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Tuesday during a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre border with Russia, and Sweden have been rattled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Their applications will jettison decades of military non-alignment to join the alliance as a defence against feared aggression from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Monday NATO’s expansion may trigger a response from Moscow.

Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden welcomed the Finnish president and his wife to the Royal Castle in Stockholm

Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden welcomed the Finnish president and his wife to the Royal Castle in Stockholm

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden attends the banquet at the Royal Castle in Stockholm

Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of Sweden attends the banquet at the Royal Castle in Stockholm

But the main obstacle to their membership comes from within the alliance despite NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg repeatedly insisting the two countries would be welcomed ‘with open arms’.

Turkey has accused Sweden and Finland of acting as a hotbed for terrorist groups and its president insists Ankara will not approve expansion.

Any membership bid must be unanimously approved by NATO’s 30 members.

Niinisto said Tuesday he was ‘optimistic’ Finland and Sweden would be able to secure Turkey’s support.

Andersson and Niinisto are to meet US President Joe Biden in Washington Thursday to discuss their historic bids.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the bloc offered the bids its ‘full support’ after a meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels.

‘This will increase the number of member states that are also members of NATO. And this will strengthen and increase the cooperation and the security in Europe,’ he said.

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