Urho Kekkonen (1900-1986) served as President of the Republic of Finland for over 25 years and he is one of the most significant political figures in the history of Finland’s independence.
The President was invited to a State visit by the British government in 1961. This was the first official visit to the UK for Kekkonen and his First Lady Sylvi Kekkonen. Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II hosted the visit.
In the 1960s Kekkonen aimed at securing warm relations both with the Soviet Union and Western powers such as the UK. Trade relations between Finland and the UK were of special interest during the visit. Britain was a major exporting country for Finnish woodworking and paper industries. One of the visit’s topics was the trade deal between Finland and The European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
Harold Macmillan served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1957-1963. Conservative Macmillan focused his foreign policies in mending the relations between the UK and the United States. Macmillan saw that Britain’s future lies in Europe. He furthered the European Free Trade Association when the UK was denied entry to the European Economic Community.
President Kekkonen’s spouse, The First Lady Sylvi Kekkonen (1900-1974) participated in State visits alongside her husband, even though her public appearances were constricted by her poor health. Lady Dorothy Macmillan (1900-1966) came from an English noble family. She was married to the British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.
The pictures are from The Urho Kekkonen Archives’ collection. The collection includes material donated by President Kekkonen himself as well as his friends and family. The President established the foundation in 1970 to maintain the archives of his own personal documents.