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Ohly declares royal residence 'a scandal'

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Ohly declares royal residence 'a scandal'
10:50 CEST+02:00
Left Party leader Lars Ohly has spoken out against the Swedish government's decision to turn Haga Palace in Stockholm into a royal residence following Crown Princess Victoria's wedding to Daniel Westling next year.

“I think it is a scandal that they have been offered the palace entirely free. It is owned by the Swedish state, and we got it as a gift,” Ohly told Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) newspaper.

The government has used the palace since 1966, when it was transferred to the state for use "as a residence for prominent people from overseas, who are guests of the government or otherwise considered worthy of the privilege."

Ohly was of the opinion that Victoria and Daniel should “arrange their own housing.”

“That is something almost everyone else has to do. And moreover, they have better economic prerequisites than most people,” he told SvD.

Ohly also raised concerns that turning Haga Palace into a royal residence will compromise the public's hitherto unrestricted access to the park surrounding it.

Although some security measures will be taken, palace officials counter the extent of Ohly's claims. Parkgoers will no longer be able to walk up to the windows of the palace and peer in, but they will still be able to stroll along the nearby Brunnsviken waterfront.

When the government's decision to give the palace to Victoria was announced in April, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt declared that the royal residence would not affect public access to the park.

"I think that the Swedish people have fond memories of when the 'Haga princesses' lived there (referring to the four elder sisters of the current king). I hope that this decision will lay the basis for a new similar age," he said.

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