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President Niinistö declines offer of home swap from self-proclaimed six year-old queen

The family of six year-old Laura Honkaniemi were in for a pleasant surprise when their daughter received a letter from no less that the Finnish head of state, President Sauli Niinistö. Vantaa resident Laura had recently declared herself Queen of Korso and had written to Niinistö to propose they trade homes so she could live in a castle.

Presidentinlinna Helsingissä
Young Queen Laura had her sights set on moving into the Presidential Palace in downtown Helsinki. Image: Touko Yrttimaa / Yle

During the summer Laura Honkaniemi, a six year-old resident of Korso in Vantaa, just north of Helsinki, decided to declare herself Queen of Korso.

Naturally a queen needs a castle to live in and so the young royal decided that the Presidential Palace, home to the Finnish President, was the most suitable domicile for her and her court.

Not one to merely fantasise about her royal dwelling, the enterprising youngster dispatched a letter to sitting President Sauli Niinistö suggesting that they switch places: Niinistö and his staff could move to her family’s two-bedroom semi-detached home in Vantaa’s Korso district, while she and her family would take up residence at the Presidential Palace located in prime real estate in downtown Helsinki.

The young regent’s family received a pleasant surprise on Wednesday however, when the mailbox offered up a response from the President to Laura’s letter.

Presidentin vastaus Lauran tarjoukseen vaihtaa asuntoja.
President Sauli Niinistö's response to Laura's home swap proposal. Image: Yle Uutisgrafiikka

"It was especially gratifying because the letter was personal. We expected a much more formal card," said Laura’s father Kimmo Honkaniemi.

In a letter printed on whimsical stationery bearing the image of a puppy, Niinistö had written to offer his apologies to Laura for not taking her up on her suggestion. He said that he did not have authority to accept the trade, since his right to reside at the castle was only temporary.

Niinistö will complete his current term as President in 2018. He has not yet indicated whether or not he will run for a second term in the position.

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