'Today she can marry whoever she wants'
Published: 17 Jun 2010 11:29 GMT+02:00
Updated: 17 Jun 2010 11:29 GMT+02:00
Ingemar Eliasson, who was Marshal of the Realm - the most senior official at the Swedish Royal Court - until this year, talks to The Local about the marriage of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling.
Eliasson, a former government minister, is unsurprisingly a strong defender of the monarchy. The Bernadottes have stayed on the throne due to a mixture of luck, skill and a heavy dose of Swedish pragmatism he thinks:
“It’s partly due to the fact that Sweden avoided the violent revolutions that occurred in other countries. Even the Liberals and Social Democrats, which in principle favoured a republic, thought other goals were more important”
“Keeping the constitution unchanged guaranteed security and stability. That risk analysis remains the same today.”
Eliasson also credits “the way the kings have adapted to changing times and the emerging democracy, both out of conviction and as a survival strategy.”
The fact that Crown Princess Victoria is marrying a commoner is the latest sign of the monarchy’s adaptability. The King’s uncles were forced to renounce their place in the line of succession for doing the same thing:
“That’s the new story to be told in Sweden - that a princess of today can choose whoever she wants,” says Eliasson.
“Before you had to think about what was good for the country and the royal family. That’s not how it is today. Today she can marry whoever she wants - and I think most of the Swedish people support that.”
Yet some self-proclaimed royalists - theoretically the monarchy’s strongest supporters - have come out strongly against Victoria’s decision to marry a man of the people:
“It’s their right to think that way, but they’re a very small minority, and I don’t think we can convince them to think otherwise. But I don’t think they’re very modern-thinking people,” Eliasson says.
The fact of Victoria’s marriage is a sign of the times. As the future queen, she will have further opportunities to set a new tone. But how will this show itself - what sort of monarch will she be?
“It’s too early to say. She is from a young generation, she is female and she will find her way of carrying out the duties of the head of state. You won’t have an answer until 40-50 years from now. People in the Bernadotte family tend to grow very old. The King’s grandfather and great-grandfather lived to 90.”
As for Daniel, he will have to get used to walking two steps behind his new wife:
“He will be very supportive to his wife in her role as Crown Princess and Queen to be. He will most likely focus on activities related to healthcare and sport. He has founded a couple of companies that have dealt with this kind of thing, and he will find other ways to do that when he’s a prince.”