You’ll learn behaviour at high society functions (converse with the person on your right during the starter, the person on your left during the main course, and so on), the names of significant heads of state (note – may be revised in November) and how best to deal with the press (don’t).
It sounds like fun, but unfortunately there’s only room for one student on the course – Crown Princess Victoria.
According to Tuesday’s Aftonbladet, the heir to Sweden’s throne is now beginning official training to become the top dog, the big cheese, the Swede of Swedes. In other words, the queen.
In a country where you aren’t considered qualified to apply for a job unless you’ve picked up a PhD in the subject area beforehand, this week’s move from the palace is likely to keep the ‘anti-royal birthright’ lot quiet for some time to come. No, they’ll be told, she’s not queen by birth, she’s queen because she studied how to be one way back in 2004. Oh, alright then, they’ll say.
The smooth continuity of the Swedish royal family has been entrusted to an entourage of “iron ladies”, led by Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, formerly the palace press manager.
“We will plan, coordinate and help the princess with her official activities,” she explained.
Victoria is said to trust Tarras-Wahlberg – who has been at the palace for 28 years – entirely, and “always follows her advice”.
“Elisabeth is a bit like an extra mother for her,” a source told Aftonbladet.
Tarras-Wahlberg will begin grooming Victoria on October 1st but will retain her role as communications advisor to the king and (current) queen. She will be joined by Susanne Franchell who, for the last eight years, has been working with prime minister Göran Persson.
The ladies are said to be very excited about their new job but pointed out that it won’t be all about canapés and cocktails.
“There are lots of bits and pieces to sort out,” said Tarras-Wahlberg. “The Crown Princess expects one to be diplomatic, organised and eloquent – and to put one’s back into any work one does.”
In fact, Victoria herself is going to have to put her back into her autumn workload. Tuesday’s Expressen reported that as well as her course in Queenology, she has a hectic schedule of royal trips planned, beginning with a state visit to Iceland next week with mum and dad.
Then she’ll be off to the paralympics in Athens later in the month and after that – just as you’re starting to get a little bit envious – comes a trip to Hungary with business minister Leif Pagrotsky.
And while younger sister Princess Madeleine takes a course in Ethnology at Stockholm University, and younger brother Prince Carl Philip brushes up on his graphic design (useful, that), Victoria will be squeezing in a five-point course in Social Science at the Swedish National Defence College.
The focus will be on peace and conflict studies.
“She is very interested in this subject area and has previously studied it at Uppsala University and during her time in the US,” said – oh, her again – Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg.