• Sweden's news in English

Sweden no longer immune from royal gossip

The Local · 27 Apr 2010, 17:14

Published: 27 Apr 2010 17:14 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

For European royalty, media intrusion has long been a fact of life. The Swedish media, however, has generally kept a respectful distance - even the tabloid newspapers have steered away from the more lurid gossip.

But the events of the past few weeks have led to questions about whether Sweden is following the pattern set in Britain and continental Europe, with speculation about Princess Madeleine’s relationship with her former fiancé Jonas Bergström covered by many of Sweden’s media outlets.

The media frenzy cumulated on Saturday when the Royal Court announced that the couple were going their separate ways. Only time will tell whether the tabloid interest in the relationship represents a permanent change of approach, but the Royal Court will certainly be hoping that the focus shifts back to the Royal Family’s work and the impending wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling.

The relationship between the Royal Family and the Swedish press, though at times strained, has almost always been an open one and characterized by mutual respect. The members of the Royal Family understand that there is an interest in them and their lives. Though they passionately believe that their private lives should be kept personal, they do want and need media coverage of their work and official duties. However several media outlets often overlook many of the Royal Family’s official undertakings and instead cover the more glamorous happenings.

Unlike many other European monarchs, such as King Juan Carlos of Spain and Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, Sweden’s King and Queen frequently give interviews. There is a genuine openness when the Swedish royals are interviewed about their work and charitable interests. Numerous interviews are given to newspapers, television and radio during the year.

Before state visits abroad media from the country being visited are almost always invited to meet the King and Queen to talk about the upcoming visit. And when the King and Queen are on state, and other official, visits they always take time out from their hectic schedule to meet with the Swedish press covering the occasion. Most recently almost the entire family participated in a television documentary focusing on the Bernadotte dynasty being aired this week on Swedish TV4.

When Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine were children there was an unofficial agreement between the Royal Family and the press. The children’s parents, and the Royal Court, were very aware that there was great interest in the younger members of the family. At the same time, the King and Queen wanted their children to have a proper childhood, out of the limelight and without constant media exposure.

To ensure this the Royal Court arranged photo-ops and press meetings for journalists a few times a year, thus also ensuring the children could have time away from the curious cameras. The press covered these events closely, but otherwise left the youngsters in peace to go to school and meet with friends. The agreement came to an end though when they became adults and coverage has intensified over the years.

That has of course changed and more and more frequently shots are taken of the family going about their lives, while out for an intimate meal at a restaurant or even parking their car. The emergence of the paparazzi in Sweden can be traced back to one snap taken a few years ago: during a birthday party in a Stockholm suburb, photographers sat in a boat outside a restaurant photographing the gathered guests. Among those invited was Crown Princess Victoria. Her date that night was Daniel Westling. The photographer in hiding managed to get the shot everyone was waiting for - the couple kissing. Today photographers hiding and waiting to take pictures of the Royal Family is much more common.

One can only speculate as to whether the Royal Family’s relationship with the press will change after the past few weeks of sensationalism seen in much of the press. Media coverage of the family has shifted to a level not seen before in Sweden. Previously there was a fine line on what was reported on and what was not. The line has been crossed and it is not always easy to return.

Story continues below…

The unspoken agreement amongst most journalists has not only been restricted to the Royal Family, but also to a lot of other public figures in Sweden. Perhaps this shift in reporting will affect them as well. However the Royal Family, as well as the Royal Court, is very professional when it comes to dealing with the media. There is no doubt that they will still continue to share their work and interests with the press, but perhaps with just a little more caution and scepticism than before.

Juan Navas, a journalist and former information secretary at the Royal Court, will be writing a series of articles about Swedish royalty in the run up to the royal wedding on June 19th. From next week he will also be writing a royal wedding blog.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

21:52 May 3, 2010 by dizzymoe33
God I hope your paperazzi doesn't get out of hand like they do here in the States. I still say their actions are what led to the death of Princess Diana.
11:35 May 5, 2010 by caradoc
It was a combination of events that led to the death of Princess Diana, including the paperazzi but mainly due to a drunken driver. just remember if people did not buy the papers that use paperazzi pics then there would be no demand for them and no real intrest in the private lives of the rich, pampered and famous.
Today's headlines
Here's how slow Sweden's high-speed trains are getting
A Swedish SJX2000 high speed train. Photo: Tomas Oneborg/SvD/TT

The high-speed rail journey between the three biggest Swedish cities is about to get longer.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available