But it wasn’t the article that bothered the palace – it was the headline:
Palace comments on the rumours
“This is a new low,” said Ann-Christine Jernberg, the palace press secretary.
On Sunday Aftonbladet reported that Solo, a women’s magazine, had accused the king of being unfaithful and had gone so far as to name three Swedish celebrities who were said to be his mistresses.
The magazine went on to say that the king was conducting his affairs in a Stockholm apartment “which was used by his father and his grandfather for the same thing”.
A shocked Aftonbladet noted that Solo’s editor, Annika Leone, was unrepentant:
“This is about gossip and I don’t think there’s any difference between celebrities and the royal family. They are public people,” she said.
Leone went on to say that she believed the king would be flattered to be linked in this way with three young, attractive women.
Sweden’s royals are not afraid to turn to the courts when their good name is besmirched and last year began a lawsuit against a German publishing group, which they say has repeatedly printed lies about them.
Aftonbladet – which tried and failed to contact the three women for their side of the story – stated that Ann-Christine Jernberg had not ruled out legal action against Solo.
Now that legal action may be expanded to encompass Aftonbladet itself. The palace lawyer, Bengt Ljungkvist, is said to be looking into the possibility of court proceedings or reporting the paper to the press complaints commission.
But Aftonbladet’s editor, Anders Gerdin, took the same defiant line as Annika Leone at Solo.
“In two places on the headline we emphasised that it was about rumours,” he told Svenska Dagbladet.
“The only way you could misunderstand this is if you are illiterate, but then you couldn’t read the article anyway,” said Gerdin.
He added he would not get into a discussion with the palace about the size of letters on the headlines.