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King of Sweden turns 65: 'I have no intention of starting to feed the birds yet'

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrated his 65th birthday with pomp and ceremony on Saturday but had no plans to retire despite hitting the country's legal retirement age.

Crowds waving Swedish flags in the royal palace were treated to a visit by the king after the sound of fanfares and a noon salute of 21 shots fired from the cannons of Skeppsholmen fortress across from the palace.

The royal heir Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel took part in the celebrations, having just returned from London where they had attended the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

In an interview ahead of the birthday, the king had told TT news agency that he had no intention of retiring in the near future.

"I have no intention of starting to feed the birds yet," he said. "The monarch is to carry out his duties as long as he is of sound mind."

A poll published in December last year showed two-thirds of Swedes would like to see the king abdicate to make way for Victoria, who married commoner Daniel Westling last June.

When and if Victoria steps onto the throne, she will be the first queen of the Bernadotte dynasty, which has reigned over Sweden for two centuries.

Sweden has had only two queens in its modern history, Kristina (1632-1654) and Ulrika Elenora (1719-1720).


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