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ROYAL

Princess Madeleine breaks up with fiancé

Sweden's Princess Madeleine has broken up with her fiancé Jonas Bergström, Stockholm's royal court has announced.

Princess Madeleine breaks up with fiancé

A statement on the royal family’s website said the pair had taken a joint decision to separate after “mature consideration”. The couple had reached the conclusion that it was best for both of them to move forward with separate lives, the statement said.

The decision to split follows weeks of media speculation that the couple’s relationship was in trouble, including reports that Bergström had enjoyed a brief dalliance with a Norwegian handball star while on a skiing holiday.

The Princess and Bergström asked the media to show them respect and consideration following the decision.

“They need peace and quiet in this difficult situation,” the court said. It added that recent intense media coverage had not made the situation easier. The statement said that no further statement would be made.

It is believed that the Princess had left the country prior to the announcement. According to media reports she boarded a plane at midday at Stockholm Arlanda Airport bound for New York.

Princess Madeleine, 27, and Bergström, 31, announced their engagement in August last year. The announcement that Madeleine was due to follow Victoria down the aisle took many royal watchers in Sweden by surprise, coming so soon after her big sister’s announcement.

Last week, Queen Silvia announced that her youngest daughter would not be tying the knot later this year as previously planned amid mounting speculation about the health of the young couple’s relationship.

Princess Madeleine and Jonas Bergström, who is a lawyer from the exclusive Stockholm suburb of Djursholm, have been together for eight years. On marrying the Princess, Bergström was set to receive the title Duke of Hälsingland and Gästrikland.

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ROYAL

Scandal-hit Frenchman ‘groped Sweden’s Crown Princess’

Jean-Claude Arnault, the French photographer at the centre of the crisis at the Swedish Academy, has been accused of sexually harassing no less a figure than Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria.

Scandal-hit Frenchman 'groped Sweden's Crown Princess'
Crown Princess Victoria. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
According to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, three sources, at least one within the Academy, claim to have witnessed Arnault groping the Crown Princess’s bottom at an event put on by the body, which awards the Nobel Prize for Literature. 
 
The Swedish feminist Ebba Witt-Brattström, who was present at the event at Villa Bergsgården in Stockholm, told both Expressen and Swedish broadcaster SVT that one of Victoria's aides had leapt to her rescue.
 
“Her female aide threw herself forward and pushed him away,” she said. “She pushed away his hand.” 
 
After the alleged transgression, the Academy’s then Permanent Secretary Horace Engdahl was reportedly instructed by the court to “undertake measures” to ensure that the Crown Princess, then still in her 20s, would never be left alone in the company of the then 60-year-old Arnault. 
 
The story, if true, is another blow to the claims of longstanding Academy members, Engdahl in particular, that they were unaware of Arnault reputation as a serial sexual harasser.
 
“We can’t comment on that particular information,” Margareta Thorgren, press officer at the Swedish Royal Court told the newspaper, although she said the court supported the #metoo movement against sexual harassment. 
 
“The information surrounding Jean-Claude Arnault which the media has reported since the autumn is terrifying,” she added. 
 
Svenska Dagbladet has translated their scoop into English German, and French
 
In November, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported accusations from 18 different women that Arnault had sexually harassed or assaulted them, either at Forum, the cultural centre he helped run, or at apartments owned by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm and Paris. 
 
Arnault is married to Katarina Frostenson, a poet and Academy member, and is reportedly a close friend of Engdahl's. 
 
The photographer has denied all the accusations of harassment and his lawyer on Saturday told Expressen and Swedish broadcaster SVT that the new accusation was “false and erroneous”, and had been “released to slander and damage him”. 
 
“The claimed transgressions never took place,” Arnault said, according to his lawyer. “This is idiotic”. 
 
The accusations have thrown the Academy into turmoil, with no fewer than six Academy members stepping down as a result, four in protest at the way they have been handled.
 
Katarina Frostenson and former Permanent Secretary Sara Danius said they would both leave their seats on April 12, after a tense meeting at which Frostenson reportedly said she would not resign unless Danius did too.  
 
Only ten of the Academy’s 18 members are still active, and the institution is expected to decide next Thursday if it will award the Nobel Prize this year, or postpone it to next year.
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