HM The King's speech of thanks at the jubilee dinner on the occasion of the Navy's 500th anniversary
Stockholm City Hall
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Chairman of The Naval Officers' Association,
Esteemed international guests,
Naval officers of our fleet and amphibious corps,
We are here this evening to celebrate the 500 year jubilee of the Swedish Navy. And in relation to that I would like to thank our many international guests and Chiefs of Navies that have joined us.
You, our friends and partners abroad, are crucial for our close cooperation. Your presence here is greatly appreciated.
For me, personally, the navy has a special meaning. As many of you know, I had my basic military training in the navy. And I have many fond memories from my time on the cadet training vessel HMS Älvsnabben, on which we sailed around the world.
The friendship and duty made it an unforgettable experience, that I carry with me even today.
Since those early days, I have continued to follow the navy and its development through many decades.
500 years since its founding, Sweden has a navy to be proud of.
I believe most of you are now familiar with the story of how it all began.
500 years ago: Gustav Eriksson bought ten war ships from Lübeck. The Swedish navy was born.
And Gustav Eriksson became king Gustav Vasa.
Partly due to those historic events, next year, Sweden will celebrate 500 years as a sovereign nation.
So, I must thank my predecessor for buying those ships.
However, I must also apologise to the city of Lübeck. For not paying for the ships until last week.
I’m very grateful that the Swedish Chief of the Navy took it upon herself to travel to Lübeck and finally settle our debt.
I dare not think of the interest on our credit half a millennium later.
The story of the ten war ships shows the close ties between our navy and the very existence of our nation.
And those ties live on today, as our navy keeps a watchful eye on the horizon.
Every hour of every day.
Through the years and the centuries.
Ladies and gentlemen. Your service under the Swedish flag is a strong and vital link.
A link in an unbroken chain that stretches through history. From Gustav Vasa into the future.
Be proud of that task and carry the torch to the next generation of naval officers.
If you do, in 500 years, I hope that my successor will also be able to toast the naval officers of a free, prosperous, and peaceful nation.