William gives Finland's president 100th anniversary message from the Queen


The Duke of Cambridge has begun his brief visit to Finland by presenting the nation's president with a message from the Queen to mark the 100th anniversary of the country's independence.

William is on a two-day trip to Helsinki and started by meeting Finland's head of state, Sauli Niinisto, at the presidential palace.

The Queen, who signed her message to the president "Your good friend, Elizabeth", spoke of the "spirit of friendship" that guided the relationship between the UK and Finland, and said she had no doubt "we will continue to build our relationship in this way in the years to come".

William is making his first official visit to the Nordic nation, which is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its independence from Russia in 1917 with a year-long series of events.

The trip is another visit to an EU state by a member of the royal family and is likely to be seen as part of this year's Brexit diplomacy trips, as they have been dubbed by the media, aimed at strengthening ties with European allies as Britain leaves the EU.

As he handed over the document to Mr Niinisto, William described it as "a letter from the Queen, a message to a good friend".

The monarch's message read: "Prince Philip and I send our warmest good wishes to you and to the people of Finland on the occasion of its 100th anniversary.

"We have fond memories of our State visit to Finland in 1976, when we experienced the warm hospitality of Helsinki, Turku and Jyvaskyla.

"In 1976, I spoke about how we in Britain had long associated friendliness with Finland, an association that is no less true 41 years later.

"Over the past four decades our two nations have worked together in many ways - on security, on commerce, on our people-to-people Iinks - always aided by that spirit of friendship.

"I have no doubt that we will continue to build our relationship in this way in the years to come."