When Daniel Westling married Crown Princess Victoria on June 19th, 2010, half a million Swedes gathered on the streets of Stockholm in the hope to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds. In an interview with Dagens Nyheter, the prince sums up his seven years as part of the Swedish royal family.
Born and raised in the small town of Ockelbo in central Sweden, he lived a pretty normal life until he met Crown Princess Victoria, the heir apparent of King Carl Gustaf, in 2001. Then owner of the gym chain Balance, he was the Crown Princess's personal trainer.
But in spite of his life being far from normal life these days, he wants his children, Princess Estelle, 5, and Prince Oscar, 1, to experience the life he was accustomed to before meeting Victoria.
“Being with your children is the best thing in the world,” he told Dagens Nyheter.
“I also think it's important to let the children visit all sorts of environments. You need to know how the metro works, and what it's like to travel by bus and what it's like to stand in line, and what it's like to experience that passion within the sports community when there's a game and the (AIK football team's supporter club) Black Army is chanting away. That's something I don't want them to miss out on.”
Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and Princess Estelle at an ice hockey game. Photo: Sören Andersson/TT
When he became Prince Daniel, he had to leave his life as CEO of his gym chain behind. But the prince's interest in sports and health remains: he and the Crown Princess work actively to promote sports, health and well-being.
In December last year, the Crown Princess family released a video where they are seen going for a relaxed walk in the Tyresta National Park near Stockholm.
“We like to inspire. We have incredible surroundings near us, even those of us who live in the big city. We enjoy being out in nature, and want our children to have the same opportunities we've had to feel safe in that environment,” the prince told Dagens Nyheter.
The Crown Princess family in the Tyresta National Park. Photo: Henrik Garlöv/The Royal Court, Sweden
Last summer, the Crown Princess couple launched Generation Pep, a non-profit promoting health among children and young people. Daniel talked passionately to Dagens Nyheter about the social inequalities in Sweden when it comes to leading an active life.
“It's a paradox. We belong to those who exercise the most in Europe – and to those most sedentary,” he said.
“We who have good prerequisites, we're becoming more and more aware. Those who are already having a hard time economically and socially, they are the ones first affected by illnesses, and who are hit the hardest. You get the sense that it is so unfair.”
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During the interview with Dagens Nyheter, the prince made a surprise study visit to a primary school to learn about how the pupils combine learning with physical activities.
“You don't choose the career I chose if you're not passionate about changing people's health. I've devoted my entire adult life to it,” Daniel said.