Thursday, June 23, 2016

Interview with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia for Dagens Nyheter.

The Queen and King look back on forty years of family life. Being parents of three children, on photos of Madeleine and Estelle in public and how we receive refugee children coming across the Oresund Bridge. 
It is one of summer's first really warm evenings. On the driveway to Drottningholm Palace there are groups of tourists with their noses in the map and students drag picnic baskets. The baby carriages crunching past in the thick gravel and children in sun hats and holding lazily on baby bottles and stuffed animals.
This is the royal couple's home the biggest part of the year.
We roll up the car to the guard at the private part of the park. We are told that the King is delayed. The same day, he was critical on the Nobel Centers placement and media circles reactions around. The photographer Paul Hansen gets a little stressed out because he knows that he must have time to rig a good photo spot.
Soon, the King explains how free he felt at the boarding school in Sigtuna, how he grew up inside the castle in the town. But we are not there yet.
I have always been fascinated by the Royal Family. When I played office as a child, we cut out pictures from magazines and glued them up on the board and had our "fiancés" on the desktop, just like we've seen on films. My friends had Bjorn Ulvaeus or Svenne Hedlund. I myself had the King in full regalia with medals and all.
The Royal Family is a kind of elevated family that you study, if it comes to clothes or relationships. When I read Alice Bah Kuhnke's book of interviews with the Crown Princess, "Victoria, Victoria," I thought, she's me! A high-performance big sister.
When I disclose this small special interest it takes rarely more than a few seconds before I'm inside an animated discussion on the absurd and undemocratic that 2016 may inherit in office. All that is true. Yet it is strange that this particular fascination is such a trigger. When I last week wrote a column about my exitement for the Royal Wedding a colleague came to me and whispered: "I'm just like you! I remember as well how I along with grandmother and mother looked on guests dresses in Home's Journal ".
When she says something, it falls into place. This interest is clearly stronger in the female population. Therefore, it is also considered additionally ridiculous and sickening.
So therefore I sit here proud on the car and also think talking to the Royal Couple about a topic that is considered honorable, something that should be high status but is defined as the low status. Children.
On the way to the shoot. Queen Silvia, the court Communications manager Margareta Thorgren, DN's Åsa Beckman and the King accompanied by his dog Brandie.

Now we are finally let in and roll through the green gates. We are told that the King has arrived and that the Queen should just change clothes. In the private part of the park towards Lake Mälaren, Paul begins rigging his equipment. The sun drops and while we wait, we move on photo flash several times. A startled deer shoot out of a thicket and flees across one of the wooden bridges so that the hooves clatter in the silence.

The Queen is the first to pop behind a rhododendron bush, calmly strolling in the grass. She is dressed in a light suit with beige shoes. Afterwards comes the King with Brandie, wearing a blue suit and white shirt. The dog has eagerly nose forefront, she feels that there has been something wild here. "Good evening, Your Majesties," we say, even if we are at the preliminary meeting, the palace informed that we didn't need to be so dreadful in less formal contexts.
Paul has been sitting in a bench that Communications Manager Margareta Thorgren quickly dried off. The Royal Couple sits down and the Communications Manager points out that it's 40 years since they were married and that they would get to see a little romance out. Queen bends friendly toward the king and looks intently at him. He looks slightly in different directions and points out that there are beavers in the Gulf.
Then we go back to the castle and are dropped into an even more distinct garden, framed by giant, stately Thuja. The gravel is carefully raked. The Royal Couple sets themselves comfortable on a bench and I on a little peasant-like chair in front of them. A robotic lawnmower is moving slowly, back and forth, behind us.
A short distance away stands the adjutant of the backlight that keeps the King's dog.
The King is accompanied with his wild Bavarian bloodhound, who became known to the Swedish people in the television documentary "Ensamnt Majestät".
After the King's speech after the 2005 tsunami, I have been curious about their views on children and parenting. At the large memorial ceremony at the City Hall, the King stepped up and talked about how adults now must rally around the children who lost parents, siblings, friends. And he directed a special appeal to the men of his generation who had extra hard to show feelings. An unusual number for a head of state, both stable and fragile, and precisely because confidence.
When I say that I want to talk to them about the children, the King lets out a "gee!" But quickly tightens up.
We have the good fortune to have children and grandchildren.
You've got five grandchildren in just five years. How has it changed the family?
I think that Prince Carl Philip put it very nicely on the Te Deums, the Queen says. In a little speech to the guests, he talked about how difficult it is to describe the feeling of having a baby. It is one of those wonders. You feel great warmth and gratitude, but also an incredible responsibility. I think all parents feel the same responsibility, they want to do the best for their children. But the day is, it has its work, since stress to home. It is difficult for children to be in the hustle.
We ourselves had a fairly full program, says the King. They won't probably understand until afterwards what we went through. Unfortunately. Something we may not be noticed or felt then. We always had a nanny who could help and be stand out but it's never the same thing.
He looks at the lawnmower aimed at a honeysuckle.

Afterwards, we have understood that the kids thought it was sad that we had to leave them as often as we did. The thought is not the time. Well, you thought about it but was stuck in the program and it was hard to break it. I have not counted, but I think Victoria is more at home than we were. She is on maternity leave, and we didn't do that at the time, says the Queen.
A friend of mine used to say that a new child gets the parent you never were. Is it true?
Yes, it is, says the King. I think it depends after every time you have a new child, the Queen says. In a way, each child has other parents than their siblings had, even though it is the same. It changes all the time for myself. The last child doesn't require as much time as you did with the first. It is less nervous. Each child really gets new parents.
They both say that they always will be as surprised when they listen to their children as they describe their childhood so different.
Of course, I went to boarding school, says the King. In the beginning it was hard, but then it became a positive experience. For my colleagues it was much harder because they had a freer home. But for me, life was simpler, not so circumscribed. I was staying at the castle, I could not move freely, but in Sigtuna, I could do it, at least when I was a little older.

Almost exactly 40 years ago, on June 19, 1976, the King and Queen got married. They had met at the Munich Olympics four years earlier. It was the first royal wedding since 1700, and the media blip was great. The bride wore a gown sewn by Dior. According to the King it would be a wedding as open as possible and not just the actual wedding ceremony in the Cathedral but also the lunch was broadcasted live on television.
The 33-year-old Silvia Sommerlath, who was born in a German family of entrepreneurs, but grew up in Brazil in 1957 had moved to Germany and was a trained interpreter. She lived in Munich and worked for the Olympic Committee. Now, she left a normal life and went into a life as a Queen with the main task to support her husband, the head of state. And to secure the heirs to the throne.
All parents are considering what to pass on to their children. And the Royal Couple has brought forward a very determined life - privileged and rich experience, but also highly regulated. What do you think about that?
You do not know really what goes in, the Queen says with a little suspense.
You knew that your children would be closely watched and they would be strictly monitored in the media. Has it happened that you stood and looked at them as they slept and got stabbed in the heart and you thought: should they need to be out of this?
We did try to be a little more protective when it came to media, said the King. Our young people today have a completely different accustomed to media noise, another relationship. It has changed enormously.

Seven children asking questions to the Royal Couple.

Johan Grundberg, 6: Is it hard to be King - are there so many numbers and so on?
King: Yes. It is always very hard to be in focus all the time. Huge hassle. But it is also very funny. I get to learn a lot.

Esther Eagle, 8: Who is the mightiest of the King and Queen?
Queen: That I do not dare to answer.
King: That I dare not to answer!
No, but it is the King, the Queen informs.

Cecilia Sundberg, 7: Do the King and Queen cook themselves food in the morning?
King: We are both interested and think it's fun to cook, even breakfast.

Louis Kroon, 7: How many books about Kings, does the King have?
King: It's a difficult question! But we have the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace. There are books of Kings, for Kings and books gathered by Kings.

Matilda Persson, 7: Can the Queen crochet?
Queen: Yes, I can. When I was four years old mom shared on a crochet hook so that I could keep it. Since then I have been able to crochet.
King: I can beat a bowline.

Liana Kahsay, 8: How many money does the King have?
King: Oh, it's a difficult question. I do not know really. It depends on how you count.

Kian Dempsey Malmqvist, 8: What is your favorite county that you went to?
King: That we dare not to answer!
Queen: We say Öland.

Yes, we let the media at certain times, like at Christmas or Easter, the Queen says. The media respected that and did not follow the children when they, for example, went to school. So everyday they were quite protected and could move freely, it was very nice. But with social media, of course, it has changed enormously. Everyone has an iPhone, everyone is a paparazzi. Now it heavily backed throughout.
But they can of course also communicate with their friends in a totally different way of ... well, I can't tell all these different acronyms! They live so, there is nothing strange. I think it's really weird to always be available, both with voice and picture. For them it will be more natural to have their children with them in the media, says the King.
Are you talking about things in your family dinners?
I do not want to put myself in the way as much, says the King. They have always done as they wanted. They have strong wills!
You do not know what is best. I know the Swedish people love to see little Estelle. And she's adorable and funny and alert - and her parents release pictures of her. But they always do it in a protected manner, always the same photographer. She can handle it well. All children might not make it, but she does. That is so personal.
Has it gone through the royal couple's head that the price of this life has been too high?
Both are quiet for a while.
When they turned 18, says the Queen, the media suddenly changed and was more on our children. Then it was difficult to manage it.
And coverage of your grandchildren now?
Yes, says the Queen and becomes a little tense in her voice, I get sad when I see how the media is monitoring everything especially our children.
But she did ask you about our grandchildren! says the King and sounds a bit brusque. Was it not so? Our own are adults, they are not children.
I continue to turn to the Queen and say that you understood that she reacted to the treatment of Princess Madeleine.
She is a fantastic and dedicated person. It shows you do not. I wish it would be more fair.
In his tsunami speech, the King spoke about how it was to grow up fatherless. The King lost his father before he was even a year old. Is it easier to identify with children who has it a little tough?
The King is clearing his throat. I don't  know, I don't think so. The problem is not the problem ... but ... I knew nothing else. It is strange. In this way i didn't suffer so much of it. I had not had any other experience. I understood that there was something missing. Friends had no male parent, a father. It resets itself. Certainly there are traumatic events in children who have experienced terrible events. But at the same time they are of course very strong. Most can handle the difficult situations, better than they anticipate.Take only the unaccompanied refugee children who come to Sweden today, he continues, the traumatic events behind them, but they are very tough and can handle themselves. Not everyone, but many. It will perhaps be felt in other ways later in life. But after all it is strange how strong they are. It's a sort of instinct, of nature.
Will the king remember any specific situation when as a child he felt extra seen or helped by an adult?
He becomes quiet. I have to think about. Not spontaneously. No, it is difficult.


 We need adults who see the essence of the work of the Childhood Foundation, which the Queen founded in 1999. They talk a lot about "everyone's right to a childhood." In projects all over the world and try to prevent child abuse and exploitation. The focus is the street children but also "children who are on the move (between different cities and countries)."
Today there are 30 million refugee children. In 2016, the expected 27,000 unaccompanied children arrived to Sweden. Is there a need to tighten up your focus on them right now?
Yes, they are particularly vulnerable. In Germany, Childhood supports now several projects for unaccompanied children. They may have lost their parents, at home or during the journey. They have lost everything: family, friends, their roots. And so they come to a place where they do not know anyone. We educate adults who can serve as role models, who can lead the children.
A couple of seagulls sail by.
I say that I understand that the refugee crisis involved the entire Royal Family during the year and they visited the asylum accommodation and various integration projects.
It's not just us who travel around the world, says the King. Many Swedes go on holiday, in all possible parts of the world, and are perhaps even closer to this problem than we do. They have to also react reasonably and take with them memories and pictures. But we have a large network, the King continues, and the opportunity to vent those feelings; to start something, to contact, to talk to people, to raise questions. It is the great privilege we have by our position. And it has to be taken. If we would not take advantage of the platform to help others, it would be the almost misconduct. It is a great privilege. Such things may not quite understandable at first.
In life as king?
Yes, in the 30s. They did not have time and energy to embrace it then. But I have also seen and heard of you through the years - he says and turns to the Queen - and have become aware of the problem. Now I'm in a different phase, this is the next challenge. As it is not still, the momentum is still there.I tell you that I heard on the radio about how Tarnaby welcomed refugees who arrived last fall. In the small northern community, there in the winter there is not so much else to do than to go skiing. So with the help of local sponsors they managed to buy ski equipment and started a ski school for all new arrivals.
The king looks pleased.
Is it important that the Royal Family during certain historical periods, have the extra presence - much like the Danish Royal Family did during the war?
Yes, but it just happens. It is not something we plan, says Queen. The situation ...
... Is emerging, continues the King. You always think: what can we do? It applies not only to the refugee accommodation but also in problem areas like Rosengård or Angered. They are not seen. They feel fleeced. To be seen and accepted as an individual, it is absolutely the most important. We can come to visit. Even if we just say hello and good day, we try to convey a feeling. Then they know: You are not forgotten here.

When I sit there on the little rustic chair, I think that the Royal Family is so much more paradoxical than the gossip papers sugary image or Republican considerably saltier.
At the same time, how many people see so many different sides of Sweden during a year that these two people on the bench? Sure, they often visit hospitals, factories and schools and they have always nervous councilor and staff in town but still: they are there and look. It is probably far more than those who think that the Royal Couple live in a bubble do.
The dog begins to think that this is boring and the adjutant unleashes her so that she can buff with her nose against the King's hand.
If the Royal Couple could meet refugees who just come across the Öresund bridge - what would you like to send them on their continuing journey through Sweden?

I would call a friend, give them the name and address of someone they can trust, says the King. I have some friends who are mentors. It's not easy! Insanely difficult! Here is a young man from somewhere and then an elderly uncle try to be friends! It takes time before they find a way to socialize. But I have heard so many times: without your help, I had never been able to get the job or a loan. It is extremely important. I would like there to be an organization that supports families so that they can receive unaccompanied minors. They must receive training and support from the social. We need to give these children new home.
Can Sweden take the challenge to give them the childhood that the Royal Couple think is so important?Yes, we must do it, says the King. There is no other way. We must help those who are in need. It helps a person in need. Thats how it is. Just last year, 70,000 refugee children arrived and half of them were unaccompanied. There are tremendous numbers. There are so many fates that must be taken care of. I think they do a fantastic job, so many who want to help. It is so positive that there are so many hands.
The sun is lower and it is time to quit. We stand up. The dog looks hopeful out. The Director goes through some details before the Royal Couple's engagements tomorrow. Before we say goodbye, the Queen turns to us with her iPhone, and shows a picture of Estelle.

A plucky kid laughing at the camera that so far lives quite unaware of the royal duties and media coverage.

Then, the Royal Couple disappears into the palace.


Friday, June 3, 2016

The Duchess of Gotland's first official visit to Gotland.

Photo: Luca Teuchmann | GettyImages
 It was in 2014 when a 2-year-old Duchess Estelle made an official visit to Östergotland for the first time, and today the story repeats itself when Duchess Leonore visited Gotland for the first time. 
The visit began at the horse farm, specifically in the Västerhejde where Princess Leonore greeted Haidi of Gotland, a christening gift from the County Administrative Board and Region of Gotland to the Princess. 
The foal is Sweden's oldest domestic breed.  

Photo: Luca Teuchmann | GettyImages
Photo: Luca Teuchmann | GettyImages
 No one really knows how long they have been on Gotland, but the findings indicate that horses were used during the Iron Age. Until the mid-1800s there were plenty of forest ponies across the island. Subsequently, the number lowered dramatically in the early 1900s, they almost completely disappear. To save the last ponies farmed farmers from the region and Gotland Agricultural Society in an area of ​​Lojsta.
Then, Princess Leonore and her parents had lunch in the garden at the residence in Visby.

Photo: Luca Teuchmann | GettyImages

After the lunch, the Princess Couple and Princess Leonore met children from the Royal Park's kindergarten who sang the song "Summarn kummar".
The day ended at the Gotland Museum where Prinsessparet and Princess Leonore visited the exhibition Ship & Fun. Ship & fun is the museum's new children's show and it's about the sea.

  • More photos 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  • Videos 1, 2, 3

To be updated through the day.