‘It must be ghastly to be a royal’. Usually when people say this, they are either letting you know that they are dyed-in-the-wool royalists who admire the plucky devotion to duty of our beloved leaders, or they are convinced republicans who want to make sure you know that while they hate the hereditary system, they have nothing but warm feelings for its main protagonists.
This morning I found myself uttering the same words, when I saw this promotion in Aftonbladet for a television programme asking viewers to choose a boyfriend for the already-spoken-for Crown Princess Victoria:
While this must be a pain for Victoria, it must be even worse for her poor boyfriend, Daniel Westling. The couple have been together for five years, yet as far as the tittle-tattle mongerers in the press are concerned, Victoria should dump him in favour of some film star or Eurotrash royal.
Indeed, even when you speak to many ordinary Swedes, they’ll say in an uncharacteristically snobby way that Westlind isn’t ‘prince material’.
Surely the whole point with royals is that they are selected randomly, whether that be by birth or by marriage? Is it too much to ask in 2007 that Victoria be allowed to make up her own mind about who she wants to marry?