Sailors Train for Royal Wedding Mission

The Royal Wedding in Stockholm between Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling may still be a couple of months away but for an inexperienced rowing crew from the Swedish Royal Navy, the clock is certainly ticking.

The three captains and 18 strong crew have been training hard for the big event on June 19th when they'll be manning the royal barge, Vasaorden, rowing the happy couple across the waters of Lake Mälaren in central Stockholm back to the Royal castle and the traditional post wedding balcony wave to the crowds below.

The 18 metre long, 12 tonne Royal Barge was built in 1774 for King Gustav the third and was very much a transport boat for the royal family between the royal castle and the palace of Drottningholm. It was consumed by fire in 1921 and was rebuilt in 1923. In modern times , it's been used for visiting monarchs and heads of state as well as Swedish royal weddings and funerals. It was last used at a royal wedding in the summer of 1976 - now 34 year's later, the old wooden ceremonial vessel will this time transport the daughter of the King and Queen, Crown Princess Victoria , on her own special wedding journey.

The sailing crew from the navy who'll convey the royal couple have been practising since January and the training has not been without its problems.

Commander Anders Hörnfeldt told Radio Sweden's Dave Russell that the harsh Winter had been a problem.

"We had planned to practice at the naval base outside Stockholm but the ice was too thick so we've had to train in the city centre."

The Royal barge is currently undergoing a lick of paint and won't be ready for practice until the second week of May and the crew have been using two smaller wooden boats to practice.

Oskar Andersson, 20 , told Radio Sweden that rowing was tough physical work.

"We've had lots of strength training, you do start to feel it in your arms but it's fun."

On June the 19th, the sailors will be wearing uniforms from 1878.

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