Book explains Swedish king’s popularity

Jokes about marital indiscretion aside, Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf is seriously popular.

A new book, ‘For Sweden’, has collected the opinions of 15 authors on why the Swedish monarchy is enjoying 80 percent approval ratings, despite the fact that it has long been stripped of any formal political power.

Chalk it up to good public relations or his ‘royal’ manner. Inga-Britt Ahlenius, head auditor for the United Nations, says a strong and presidential prime minister paves the way for a popular king.

“His power is strengthened by being a bit outside [the political fray]. Whatever he says becomes quite ‘kingly’,” she says.

Or maybe the king is so popular because he is more in touch with his feminine side.

Historian Dick Harrison writes that this non-political monarchy is the most powerful one in Sweden’s history.

“The King now acts out the role formerly practiced by queens,” he says.

“He really lives up to the phrase, ‘for Sweden’, and that’s why he has 80 percent approval ratings.”

Republicans in favour of making commoners out of the royal family are also given space in the new book.

Lars Ohly, the leader of the Left Party, writes against keeping a Swedish royal family, while Social Democrat Hillevi Larsson writes that the monarchy is a ‘feudal, dictatorial remnant’ of history.

Though political journalist Niklas Ekdahl points out that “the more that elitists argue against them, the more support the royals get among average Swedes”, he also writes that the king is a good counterpoint to the dominance of Prime Minister Göran Persson.

The book has been released just in time for the king’s 60th birthday at the end of April.

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