William and Kate to visit Sweden and Norway in four-day tour

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will celebrate the culture and people of Sweden and Norway - from an unusual form of ice hockey to the furniture retailer Ikea - when they visit the nations.

William and Kate's four-day tour of the Scandinavian countries begins at the end of this month at the request of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Jason Knauf, the Cambridges' communications secretary, said the couple were making their first official visit to the countries adding: "The Duke and Duchess have asked, as with previous overseas visits, that this tour allow them opportunities to meet as many Swedes and Norwegians as possible.

"Their royal highnesses will meet a wide variety of people, including children and young people, those working in the mental health sector, and leaders in business, academia and scientific research, government, civil society and the creative industries."

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It is thought the trip may have originally been planned for late last year but was moved after Kate became pregnant and once again suffered a bout of severe morning sickness.

The duchess, who is carrying her third child, will be around six months pregnant when the official tour begins in the Swedish capital of Stockholm on January 30, but is expected to take full part in the trip which features a number of events outside despite the freezing conditions.

William and Kate's first royal engagement will see them learn about the game called Bandy hockey, which is similar to the game played on ice but features a small ball rather than a puck.

Later that day they will attend an event celebrating architectural collaboration and the best of Swedish design, including the global furniture brand Ikea.