Wedding chocolates ‘made with child labour’

The official royal wedding chocolate were made with the help of child labour, according to a Sveriges Radio (SR) report.

The criticism came a day before Sweden’s future queen, Crown Princess Victoria, 32, is set to marry her former personal trainer, 36-year-old Daniel Westling, in one of the largest public celebrations ever organised in Sweden.

The radio report said Swedish chocolate maker Cloetta used cocoa collected

“in a large part by West African children under harsh working conditions” in its products.

Cloetta spokesperson Christina Bjoerck told AFP the company bought cocoa from producers in Germany and the Netherlands, who in turn purchased cocoa from cooperatives or middle-men in West Africa, mostly in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

“The whole cocoa industry is fully aware of the problem” related to child labour, she said, adding that part of the problem was that many producers were small family operations.

Cloetta launched a line of fair-trade certified products in February, but they do not include the wedding chocolate, which is “unfortunate,” Ola Höiden of Fairtrade Sweden said.

“We would have gladly seen a fair trade mention (on the wedding chocolate) to make clear child labour had been avoided,” he told AFP.

Cloetta is one of the many brands behind the “official wedding series” products approved by the palace, ranging from sweets to glassware and porcelain.

Part of the revenue from the official wedding series product sales will go to the couple’s wedding charity, to “support children and young people in Sweden, with the purpose of combatting exclusion and promoting good health,” the Royal court said.

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Madeleine: A private princess in the spotlight

Sweden's Princess Madeleine was an easy shoe-in for Swede Of The Week, with her wedding to financier Chris O'Neill this Saturday scheduled to turn heads across the globe. But what does the world actually know about this private princess?

Madeleine: A private princess in the spotlight

Princess Madeleine will wed her fiancé Chris O’Neill in a lavish ceremony on Saturday afternoon, in the country’s second big royal wedding in three years. Back in 2010, the Swedes held their breath as Madeleine’s older sister Crown Princess Victoria married Prince Daniel in Stockholm.

Madeleine, the younger sister of both Victoria and Prince Carl Philip, has long had her private life splashed across the Swedish tabloids, however, and unfairly so according to Roger Lundgren, royal expert and editor of Kungliga Magazine.

“She is fed up with the media attention that she’s been getting ever since she was eighteen,” he tells The Local.

IN PICTURES: Princess Madeleine through the years

When the Madeleine left high school, she was seen by the Swedish media as the “party-girl princess”, with papers reporting constantly on her evenings in Stockholm nightclubs, but Lundgren believes the reports were exaggerated.

“She’s not a party animal – God no – it’s just because she is so beautiful that the media always takes the chance to be vicious to her. They’re still always referring to her ‘luxurious’ lifestyle at every chance they get,” he explains.

“It’s bullshit. She works for a charity in New York. But the paparazzi still don’t leave her alone. Her relationship with the media is complicated now, she doesn’t appreciate doing interviews.”

But Lundgren insists the princess is “super sweet” face-to-face, and particularly excels when working with children.

IN PICTURES: See more of Princess Madeleine’s sense of dress

“Even though kids in the US might not understand a thing about Sweden, they sure know what a princess is and Madeleine lives up to their expectations – even though they’re sometimes disappointed that she isn’t wearing a crown,” he adds with a laugh.

The princess’s twenties involved a handful of boyfriends, none more public than her long-time relationship and subsequent engagement with lawyer Jonas Bergström, which ended when he was reportedly found to be cheating with a Norwegian college student.

The princess was “heartbroken”, Lundgren says, but soon found her husband-to-be in New York in the form of English Anglo-American Christopher O’Neill.

Now living in the Big Apple, she works as a volunteer with the World Childhood Foundation, a charity for marginalized children set up by her mother in 1999.

And despite a minor hiccup with a traffic infringement this week, the princess looks set to enjoy Saturday’s wedding in the royal palace. But don’t expect to see much more of the princess in Sweden after the wedding, Lundgren warns.

“I don’t see them staying in Sweden, I don’t even see Chris O’Neill learning Swedish. They’ll head back to New York for their work and come back whenever duty calls,” he tells The Local.

“They’ll have their own fairytale in New York.”

Oliver Gee

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