State visit to Estonia – day 1
On 2–4 May, Their Majesties The King and Queen carried out a three-day state visit to the Republic of Estonia at the invitation of HE President Alar Karis, who received Their Majesties together with Mrs Sirje Karis. The Swedish Government was represented by Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström, Minister for Defence Pål Jonson and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Johan Forssell. Around 25 Swedish businesses also took part in the programme.
The aim of the state visit was to deepen the excellent relations between Estonia and Sweden, including their relations within the EU where the two countries agree on many issues. The visit also aimed to strengthen cooperation within security and defence, and to achieve closer cooperation between Swedish and Estonian industry with a focus on digitalisation and the green transition. Education and research were other key themes for the visit.
The welcoming ceremony took place on Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak), with President Alar Karis and Mrs Sirje Karis welcoming The King and Queen. The two countries' national anthems were performed, the guard of honour was inspected and the official delegations were presented.
After the ceremony, The King and Queen took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument to the War of Independence.
Discussions at the Presidential Palace
President Alar Karis and Mrs Sirje Karis then received The King and Queen for a meeting at the Presidential Palace.
Conferral of orders
In connection with the state visit, HM The King has appointed the President a Knight of the Order of the Seraphim. The Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star has also been conferred upon Mrs Karis.
At Kadriorg Park, The King and Queen took part in a tree-planting ceremony at which an oak tree was planted.
Lunch with the Prime Minister
Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas hosted lunch for The King and Queen and Minister Billström at Stenbock House.
Visit to the Parliament
The King and Queen and Minister Billström then visited Estonia's Parliament – the Riigikogu – where they were welcomed by President of the Riigikogu Lauri Hussar. During their visit, The King and Queen were given a tour of the building.
St. Nicholas' Church and Museum
The King and Queen visited St. Nicholas' Church and Museum, where they were given a preview of the exhibition 'Michel Sittow in the North? Altarpieces in Dialogue', which focuses on two masterpieces from the late Middle Ages: the Tallinn Passion altarpiece and the Bollnäs Holy Kinship altarpiece.
The Victims of Communism Memorial
The King and Queen visited the Victims of Communism Memorial, where they had an opportunity to light candles for the victims. They were also given a guided tour of the Presidential Palace by the Presidential couple.
In the evening, The King and Queen were guests of honour during a state banquet at the Viimsi Artium cultural centre, hosted by Estonia's Presidential couple.
During the banquet, The King gave a speech in which he said:
Our countries have much in common: We are neighbours, we have strong historic links and we share the same values in many respects. One sign of this is that Sweden was the first country to open an embassy in Tallinn, and in 2021 we celebrated 30 years of resumed diplomatic relations.
"The Queen and I are therefore delighted to be visiting Estonia once again. Our links of friendship have grown deeper, and now consist of a rich fabric of contacts – within trade and economics, within culture and within research. In these challenging times, it is more important than ever before that we reinforce our close and unique relationship."
HM The King
Previous state visits to Estonia
Images from The King and Queen's state visit to Estonia in 1992, hosted by President Arnold Rüütel.
A state visit is the highest form of visit between two countries, and involves two heads of state meeting in a ceremonial form to strengthen relations between the two countries.
State visits aim to lay the foundations for strong personal contact and greater political, trade and cultural exchanges between the countries. Government ministers and a business delegation also take part in state visits.