Swedesboro to treat guest like royalty
Sunday, January 26, 2003
SWEDESBORO -- Preparations are under way to roll out the red carpet for the future Queen of Sweden, Crown Princess Victoria, when she visits the borough in early April.
Members of the Trinity Episcopal Church and the Swedish Colonial Society met Friday to discuss everything from the princess' itinerary, her security, events and speeches to what will be served for lunch.
Princess Victoria's visit will mark two very important events in the area and in the lives of people of Swedish heritage: the 365th anniversary of the founding of the New Sweden Colony and the 300th anniversary of Trinity Episcopal (Old Swedes') Church.
The schedule is still being worked out, but tentatively the celebration should start at about 11:30 a.m. on April 4. Joining the princess on her visit will be Swedish Ambassador Jan Eliasson.
Some of the proposals include a meeting with the princess by students from the Walter Hill School in Swedesboro and the Samuel Mickle School in East Greenwich Township, some of whom are direct descendants of Swedish settlers. Fourth-grade students in both schools are taught about the Swedish colony that is present-day Swedesboro, lessons that several in town agree need to become more widely taught throughout the United States.
Guests soon to be invited will include Swedesboro Mayor Edavide Azzari, members of the borough council, Gov. James E. McGreevey, U.S. Representatives Rob Andrews and Frank LoBiondo, state Senator and Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney, Freeholder William Krebs and many others.
Princess Victoria will be in town only one day as part of a 72-hour U.S. visit, officials said. The full itinerary should be made available in the next several weeks.
While in Swedesboro, the princess is scheduled to tour several of the historic sites, including the Old Swedes' Church and a granite monument that was dedicated to her father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, when he visited Swedesboro in 1976.
Born Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree on July 14, 1977, the crown princess is first in line for the throne of Sweden.
Sandra S. Pfaff, co-chair of the New Sweden Colonial Society Jubilee, said Swedesboro's rich historic roots are extremely important reasons why Princess Victoria is planning to visit.
Swedish ships with settlers aboard reached the Delaware Bay near present-day Wilmington, Del. in March 1638. Years after arriving, settlers moved across the river and into a town they called Raccoon - now Swedesboro.
The colony, called New Sweden, would eventually stretch north in New Jersey and Pennsylvania and south to Maryland. Fort Elfsborg would be built near present-day Salem. New Sweden would continue to prosper until 1681, when William Penn received his charter for Pennsylvania and the three lower counties, including present-day Delaware.
In 1703, a log building was constructed on the banks of the Raccoon Creek, dedicated in 1705 as the Swedish Evangelical Lutheran Church. The site is now home to the Old Swedes' Church.
Herbert R. Rambo, governor of the Swedish Colonial Society, said plans have been in the works for the past seven years to have someone from the royal family visit the borough in time for the two anniversaries.
Rambo, whose family settled in present day Swedesboro in 1702 and who was honored by the King of Sweden in June and presented with the distinguished Royal Order of the North Star, said he's "thrilled" about the visit and will be counting the days until the princess' arrival.
The visit is also important to the future queen's ascent to the throne, as she is expected to learn about the history of Swedish settlements throughout the world.
"It's all very exciting," said the Rev. Dr. Rae Wynn Whiteley of the Trinity Episcopal Church. "It is really wonderful."