• Sweden edition
 
A Svensson in the palace? Pass the smelling salts

A Svensson in the palace? Pass the smelling salts

Published: 26 Feb 2009 14:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 26 Feb 2009 14:16 GMT+01:00

A royal wedding is the perfect chance, you would think, for royalists to drag out the bunting and warm up for a bit of patriotic ceremonial. But the idea of the princess marrying a middle-class gym owner from northern Sweden has had both über-conservative royalists and metropolitan liberals reaching for the smelling salts.

Dick Erixon, a leading centre-right commentator, argued on his blog that "for a Svensson family to sit on the throne breaks the principles of the monarchy." He declared that the princess’s decision to marry a man of the people had put him off the royals.

This is an argument articulated surprisingly often in modern Sweden. Presumably Erixon thinks Victoria should enter into an arranged match with some rubicund German princeling with an oversized adam's apple.

Erixon seems to forget that Sweden's royal family has always admitted commoners – including the current queen. Was Victoria trying to remind us of this by giving her post-engagement audience under a portrait of Jean-Baptise Bernadotte, the founder of the current dynasty and a provincial lawyer's son from France?

But Erixon’s problem with Westling is that he is one of that dreaded breed - a Svensson. With a foreigner you can ignore a regional accent; with a Swede, the ordinariness (shudder) is more apparent.

Erixon’s view, while by no means unique, is perhaps somewhat eccentric. But he wasn’t the only one having a dig at the royal engagement.

Indeed, the most common reaction from newspaper leading articles was one of opportunistic snarkiness: ‘a step towards a republic’, said Dagens Nyheter, with more than a touch of wishful thinking. Aftonbladet’s leader pages also managed to craft a call for a republic from the news of the engagement. Sydsvenskan, Skånska Dagbladet and Uppsala Nya Tidning made similar noises.

A majority in the Riksdag would agree with them, according to the most recent survey on the matter, which found that most members supported a republic.

These views are in stark contrast to those of most Swedes. The general population appears to think that Victoria’s betrothal to the future Prince Daniel is a good thing, at least if you believe the polls. They also strongly support the monarchy.

So politicians and the media are almost entirely at odds with their voters and readers. A good chunk of the Swedish political class is holding its nose as the hoi-polloi enjoys a bit of royal romance. Erixon's view might seem very different from that articulated by the media republicans, but it is founded in the same basic disdain for ordinary Swedes.

Svenssons (to use the slightly patronising term) are the backbone of Sweden – they’re the people who have built up the major Swedish industries and who man the country’s public services. They are also the people who vote in the politicians and buy the newspapers. That one of them is now joining the royal family should surely be a matter of national pride, not metropolitan disdain.

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
International
Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark
Gottrid Svartholm Warg. File photo: TT

Pirate Bay Swede found guilty in Denmark

Sweden's Pirate Bay Founder Gottrid Svartholm Warg was found guilty of hacking crimes in a Danish court on Thursday. READ  

National
Malmö loses out as rare toads move in
The European green toad. Photo: H. Krisp (WikiCommons)

Malmö loses out as rare toads move in

After a rare species of toad moved into southern Sweden's Malmö, builders have had to tone down massive expansion plans in the area. READ  

Politics
Palestine recognized as state by Sweden
Palestinians in Gaza last month. Photo: Adel Hana

Palestine recognized as state by Sweden

The Swedish government has officially recognized Palestine following a speech by the country's new Foreign Minister Margot Wallström. READ  

Business & Money
Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall
A Vattenfall plant in Germany. Photo: TT

Huge losses for energy giant Vattenfall

Swedish energy company Vattenfall has reported losses for the third quarter in a row. READ  

International
Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza
Malala receives the Children's Prize from Queen Silvia. Photo: TT

Malala donates prize winnings to Gaza

UPDATED: Girls' rights champion Malala Yousafzai, who was in Sweden to accept the World's Children's Prize on Wednesday, said she would use all her winnings to help rebuild schools in war-ravaged Gaza. READ  

Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing
Dewani in a Cape Town court. Photo: TT

Cape Town 'fixer' phoned Dewani before killing

A man jailed for killing British businessman Shrien Dewani's wife during their Cape Town honeymoon said on Wednesday they spoke shortly before the murder to discuss payment. READ  

National
Bus drivers hit by racist and sexist messages
An SL bus in the Swedish capital. Photo: TT

Bus drivers hit by racist and sexist messages

Police are investigating after several bus drivers were forced to read "highly inappropriate" messages sent through the Stockholm bus network's internal communications network. READ  

The Local List
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Photo: TT

Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Swedish football hero Zlatan Ibrahimovic makes the headlines almost as much for his offhand comments as for his footballing prowess. Here are our ten favourite Zlatan quotes. READ  

National
Oil spill ship in Stockholm 'could sink'
The ship is carrying 52 tonnes of oil. Photo: Swedish Coast Guard

Oil spill ship in Stockholm 'could sink'

UPDATED: There are fears a ship carrying around 52 tonnes of oil that crashed in Stockholm's archipelago on Wednesday morning could sink. READ  

Society
Swedes are 'least ignorant' in Europe
Do people from your country have their heads in the sand? Photo: Shutterstock

Swedes are 'least ignorant' in Europe

People in Sweden are the best in Europe when it comes to understanding the scale of key social issues or knowing core facts about their country's population. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Blog updates

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 

24 October

Editor’s blog, October 24th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hi readers, Get ready to read our weekly digest of Swedish news in less than 60 seconds. The..." READ »

 
 
 
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Gallery
People-watching: October 8th
National
Five facts to know about Patrick Modiano
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

994
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN