Swedish crown princess gives birth to baby girl

Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:39pm EST
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's heir to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria, gave birth to a baby girl on Thursday, which could help restore the monarchy's battered popularity.

"My feelings are a little bit all over the place," Prince Daniel, the 34-year-old Victoria's husband, told a news conference, holding back tears as he announced the birth of the couple's first child.

The baby was 51 cm (20 inches) and weighed 3.28 kg (7 pounds), he added.

"The crown princess feels brilliant, she is so happy and everything has gone very well. The little daughter and the crown princess are very well," added Daniel, a personal fitness trainer who married Victoria in a glittering 2010 wedding.

The monarchy in the Nordic state has seen its popularity fall in recent years, particularly after a 2010 book about the playboy lifestyle of King Carl XVI Gustaf, who has been on the throne since 1973.

The king in May 2011 used a rare interview with Swedish news agency TT to apologize for undermining trust in the monarchy, but denied strip club visit allegations and any knowledge of a friend's underworld contacts to silence the scandals.

A poll after the TT interview, commissioned by daily Dagens Nyheter, showed 66 percent of Swedes backing the symbolic-power monarchy, down from 70 percent in November 2009 and 74 percent in February 2009.

(Reporting by Patrick Lannin and Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Alessandra Rizzo)

A recent handout picture published on the Swedish Royal family Facebook website page shows Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel (R) holding the new-born baby girl in Stockholm February 23, 2012.   REUTERS/Kungahuset.se/Swedish Royal Crown/Handout