Swedes flocked to bookstores Thursday when the unofficial, tell-all biography “Carl XVI Gustaf – the reluctant monarch” (“Carl XVI Gustaf – Den motvillige monarken”) — the first of its kind in Sweden — went on sale on Thursday, providing details of wild parties and affairs with young women.
“We will not continue to pursue this,” Royal Court press director Nina Eldh told Aftonbladet on Friday.
She added that it was the King’s own choice to address the assembled press corp in Hunneberg outside Trollhättan on Thursday following the end of the elk hunt. In addition, he prepared what he would say by himself.
“The king is a wise man. They were his own words and what he wanted to say about this matter,” said Eldh.
According to Eldh, the court will not open legal proceedings against the authors, adding she believed it was important for the king to speak up about it.
“It shows his strength that he is going about ‘business as usual.’ He held the press conference despite the fact that 58 journalists showed up instead of five. I think it is admirable,” she said.
When asked whether it would have been possible for a member of the King’s large staff to read the book before he spoke, Eldh noted that he only received the book on Wednesday and that he will likely not comment further on the book.
Shelves were empty in a number of bookstores across Stockholm and the publisher reportedly decided to print an additional batch of 20,000 copies.
“We had ordered in 100 copies, but they ran out in an hour or two. “It’s quite unusual to sell so many books in such a short period of time,” Nicklas Björkholm, the head of the Hedengrens Book Store in the heart of the Swedish capital, told AFP.
The three authors of the book, journalists Thomas Sjöberg, Deanne Rauscher and Tove Meyer, claim to provide a picture of what the king “is like as a person and how he is perceived by the people in his entourage.”
They detail his youth and accession to the throne at the age of 27, but a large portion of the book’s 338 pages are dedicated to describing the king and his friends’ constant partying and playing around with young women.
It was “girls à la carte for the king gang,” the authors write, relying largely on anonymous sources to describe numerous indiscretions, including with Army of Lovers lead singer Camilla Henemark, who they say had a year-long affair with the monarch at the end of the 1990s.
“She knew Queen Silvia knew, but also that there was a risk that it wouldn’t stop there. She was afraid she would become Sweden’s most hated woman if her affair with the country’s monarch became publicly known,” the book says of Henemark.
The book also describes how Sweden’s head of state put himself in danger by partying at dubious clubs, one of them in Stockholm owned by an ex-con, reportedly one of the main sources for the book.
Anticipation ahead of the release had been building for weeks in Sweden, with rumours of the book’s scandalous content circulating, but few actual details leaking out in advance.
The authors have hinted to media they withheld the juiciest details from the public eye — for now.