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Finland marks centenary with Nordic royals, presidents

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/06/2017
From left to right, Queen Sonja of Norway, King Harald V, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Finnish President Sauli Niinist, his wife Jenni Haukio, President of Iceland Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson, Johannesson's wife Eliza Jean Reid, King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia stand together at the yard of Finnish Presidential castle during the visit of the Nordic heads of state in Helsinki on Thursday June 1 2017. Nordic heads of state are visiting Finland to celebrate the centenary of Finland's independence. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP) © The Associated Press From left to right, Queen Sonja of Norway, King Harald V, Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Finnish President Sauli Niinist, his wife Jenni Haukio, President of Iceland Gudni Thorlacius Johannesson, Johannesson's wife Eliza Jean Reid, King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia stand together at the yard of Finnish Presidential castle during the visit of the Nordic heads of state in Helsinki on Thursday June 1 2017. Nordic heads of state are visiting Finland to celebrate the centenary of Finland's independence. (Heikki Saukkomaa/Lehtikuva via AP)

HELSINKI — A flag-waving crowd has gathered on Helsinki's main square to get a glimpse of Nordic royalties joining in celebrating Finland's 100 years of independence.

Guests, including Denmark's Queen Margrethe, King Harald of Norway, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Icelandic President Gudni Johannesson, were received Thursday by Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

Celebrations included a popular local pair dance, known as humppa; music by renowned Finnish composer Jean Sibelius and a gala dinner later in the day at the Presidential Palace.

The pomp was one of the highlights of year-long celebrations culminating Dec. 6 — the day Finland's Parliament declared independence from Russia in 1917. Finland was part of Sweden for 700 years before it was annexed into the Russian Empire in 1809.

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