Clarification or explanation added by Gert's Royals is in Italics. When the speech mentions a specific official engagement, I have linked to the post about that from the Royal Website using [*].
Dear people of Sweden, both at home and abroad, everyone in Sweden!
Christmas in our country can come in many different ways.
Many celebrate with family and friends and gather around the traditions that bind us together across the generations.
Some are alone, by choice or otherwise. And others do not celebrate Christmas, but may still enjoy the special atmosphere that characterizes the Christmas holidays.
Regardless of how your Christmas looks, I hope these days give you the opportunity to reflect and think now that the year is coming to an end and a new one will soon begin.
When I look back on the past year, I think, in particular, of all the people I've met, across our country, who have in different ways chose to take responsibility. Either in daily life or during extraordinary circumstances.
People who have made a difference, as they have shown courage, compassion, and action.
For example, I am thinking of all those who are committed to giving children and young people access to good education and a positive community.
I think of all those who work for sustainable development, helping us take better care of the Earth's limited resources.
And, of course, I also think of all those who will work in various crisis situations - like the severe forest fires this summer. [More on the Forest Fires]
Rescue workers, members of the Armed Forces & National Guard and volunteers: There were many people in our country who made great sacrifices to fight the fires and minimize its harmful effects.
Unlike recent fires in other countries, thankfully, no human life was lost. But for those who were affected by the fires, the damage is still felt, as generations of forests were reduced to nothing.
When the most difficult part of the fire was extinguished, I had the opportunity to visit one of the affected areas, in the Ragunda municipality in Jämtland County. [*] The Crown Princess couple [Victoria & Daniel] and the Prince couple [Carl Philip & Sofia] made similar visits to Hälsingland and Dalarna. [*]
The workers and volunteers did an amazing job of working together during those hot summer months.
To all of you who contributed, I want to express my heartfelt respect and gratitude: Thank you for choosing to take responsibility.
2018 has been a memorable year, with several important anniversaries.
This year, we marked 100 years since the cannons silenced on the battlefield of World War I. A war that cost millions of lives. And, unfortunately, that was not the last war that would take place.
This year, also marked 100 years since Sweden's Riksdag [Parliment], through an agreement in principle, took the first crucial step towards universal and equal voting rights for men and women. Something that laid the foundation for modern Swedish democracy. [*]
This year's parliamentary election was the 29th since this important reform was fully implemented. The process of forming a new government has been going on throughout the autumn. Maybe we can become a little impatient. But that is how our democracy works: Important matters must take its time.
And although there are differences in opinions and approaches, I want to emphasize how much, that still, unites us all in Sweden. There is a fundamental cohesion, which is shown in particular when difficult trials occur.
In 2018, we also marked two hundred years since my ancestor, Jean Baptiste Bernadotte became King Karl XIV Johan. [He was the founder of the Royal House of Bernadotte, which the current Swedish Royals are a part of. More on King Karl XIV Johan]
A little more than a week ago we re-dedicated the Karl Johan's equestrian statue which is now located out here at Slottsbacken [A street close to the palace]. [*]
There he now looks out over the newly renovated National Museum - which I had the opportunity to visit together with the Crown Princess [Victoria] and Princess Estelle before the solemn re-opening in November. [*]
Earlier this autumn, The Queen and I, along with Crown Princess Couple [Victoria & Daniel] visited the city of Pau in France. That was where my ancestor [Karl XIV Johan of Sweden] was born in 1763. [*]
And there the Crown Princess receive a magnolia seedling; a cutting from a tree that King Oscar II planted on his visit to Pau in 1899. [King Oscar II was Karl XIV Johan's grandson and is the current King's great-great-grandfather. More on King Oscar II]
It was handed over to the Crown Princess as a gift to Princess Estelle. In the spring, it will be planted at Haga Castle [The Crown Princess Family's home]. There, it will hopefully take root and eventually flower as a symbol of history's covenant with the future.
Yes, we are all part of something bigger than ourselves. We have been reminded many times during the past year.
It can be a place. A story. Or a mission. We are all links in a chain. And we all have a responsibility to those who come after us.
This applies particularly to those of us who represent various institutions of central importance to our country. Those institutions that have existed long before us and will remain long after we are gone.
In us lies a special responsibility to look beyond ourselves. To act in a way that honors the trust we have received - and which, in fact, is only borrowed.
Every year, my family and I participate in the Nobel festivities. And this year as well. [*] According to Alfred Nobel's will, the Nobel Prize will be awarded to the people who make the "greatest benefit to mankind" during the year.
And so it really is: This year's laureates have all, in different ways, helped to make our world slightly better.
Yes, they even have saved lives. All these advances, I think, are a good reason to have hope in the future!
Just a few days ago, we celebrated the Queen's 75th birthday. Over the years, the Queen has worked stubbornly and purposefully to improve the conditions for vulnerable children and young people, but also people with dementia.
And it felt important and good to be able to recognize these efforts in conjunction with the Queen's birthday.
During the year, we also welcomed a new grandchild, little Princess Adrienne. It made us very happy!
Now I look forward to spending a few more days of good company with my whole family.
I want to end this Christmas greeting from the Royal Palace in Stockholm by wishing you a Merry Christmas - and a happy New Year in 2019.
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