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Swedes head to the UK for William and Kate protest

Rebecca Martin · 26 Apr 2011, 15:10

Published: 26 Apr 2011 15:10 GMT+02:00

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Three representatives from the Swedish Republican Association (Republikanska Föreningen) will take part in the alternative activities organized by their British counterpart ‘Republic’.

“We are going there to offer our support, but also hope to further the cooperation between our organisations in shaping public opinion,” Helena Tolvhed, board member of the association, told The Local.

During last year’s Swedish Royal wedding, when Crown Princess Victoria married Daniel Westling, the association had organised an alternative celebration in Sweden, which received a lot of attention from the Swedish press.

According to Tolvhed the wedding in itself made more Swedes focus on the question of a monarchy as a system of government.

“We saw last year that this kind of event makes more people reflect on whether they agree with the institution of monarchy, a phenomenon that we view as an outdated principle,” Tolvhed said.

In Sweden, interest in the association soared in 2010 and membership rose from about 3,500 to 7,500. A phenomenon Tolvhed thinks may be reflected in the British numbers this year.

The Swedish Republican Association had invited members from similar groups across Europe to take part in their activities surrounding Victoria’s nuptials.

Following the Swedish wedding, republican groups from seven countries formed the Alliance of European Republican Movements to share ideas and co-operate in their mutual aim.

The British representatives were inspired by what they saw in Sweden in 2010 and have used their experiences in the campaign around the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton next weekend.

“The Swedish organisation gained new support from the hype around the wedding and we saw how they were able to use the event in a positive way. That gave us the confidence to do the same thing,“ Graham Smith, campaign manager at Republic, told The Local.

He doesn’t think that the public’s view on the monarchy in the UK is different enough from Sweden’s to warrant a different approach.

“We have a similar campaign and similar aims, the only difference is perhaps that our event is somewhat bigger – but we learnt from Sweden just what could be achieved,“ he said.

Republic has planned an alternative street party called ‘Not the Royal Street Party’ during the day of the wedding, and ‘Love Republic’ - continued festivities in the evening.

Story continues below…

The day after the nuptials will see the second convention of the Alliance of European Republican Movements, with representatives from Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Norway and Sweden in attendance.

On their website the British republican association promises to announce their 'ambitious new plans to rid Britain of the monarchy' during the conference.

Helena Tolvhed doesn’t think that it is counter-productive in any way for a republican association to give a Royal event this kind of attention.

“These royal festivities take on the guise of a national event and our aim is to show that there is a choice. When it comes to shaping public opinion these events actually give us a chance to show that there is an alternative – that not everyone is included. So we acknowledge and celebrate that change is possible,“ she told The Local.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:54 April 26, 2011 by ruimove
maybe they should focus the efforts and time on non democratic republics instead of democratic monarchies!
18:23 April 26, 2011 by Balticcrosser
Well said, ruimove!
18:36 April 26, 2011 by Rey Stockholm
She is criticising the monarchy for not contributing whilst drawing from the public purse.

I wonder what meaningful job does she have ? - or is she also a parasite on the state finances ?
19:18 April 26, 2011 by HYBRED
I wonder if they protest King Edward potatoes and prince korv,too.
19:29 April 26, 2011 by StockholmSam
What a ridiculous thing to say, Rey Stockholm. You cannot compare the wealth and power at the fingertips of the monarchy with the welfare of a typical Swedish worker. Those clowns live the lives of billionaires on the backs of the people. Don't be stupid.

And rui move, why should they give up their fight? Just because you aren't interested in it does not mean it should not be carried on by someone. An injustice is an injustice, whether it affects you or not...and injustices do happen in democratic monarchies, in case you haven't noticed.
19:44 April 26, 2011 by Rey Stockholm
@ Sam - I wonder which utopian republic they aspire to where the rulers dont live like billionaires ?
20:31 April 26, 2011 by Swedesmith
I like monarchs (butterflies, that is).
21:16 April 26, 2011 by WannaBe
Why is it that some people want to get rid of or kill their history? These people that want to get rid of the king and his family want to be the king themselves.

What would they replace it with? A president/ Please, I live with a president and he does not represent my country the way that your royal family does. The cost is to much for your king, then try paying the cost of a president and congress, it is hundreds times more. I know this to be true because I live it. The life style of your king is nothing compared to what I have to put with, he is cheap. And the roayl family brings in more in goodwill and toursim and industry then the entire government of my country. I'll take your royal family anyday compared to what I have.
22:46 April 26, 2011 by Rishonim
I think William will should either go for Michael Jordan shaved head stile or adapt the Donald Trump comb-over.
22:55 April 26, 2011 by johnny1939
Shame on you for trying to ruin the festivities that most people enjoy. I will be glued to the TV that day and will enjoy every moment of it!!!!!! With all the terrible things that happen in the world..let's have some fun!
23:32 April 26, 2011 by byke
I am currently enroute to celebrate the royal wedding.

I am by no means a royalist, however .... When it comes to the Uk royals I strongly believe they earn their keep and bring in allot more cash than they earn/spend.

What I dislike however is when royal families do virtually nothing but sponge and even worse is when they live outside the country that pays for them and not earning their keep.
23:42 April 26, 2011 by Daniel Hynes
Why the **** would Swedes want to protest about the the U.K. Royal family.. Get a bloody life!
07:16 April 27, 2011 by JulieLou40
Daniel, I couldn't have put it better myself!
08:33 April 27, 2011 by Rick Methven
At least the fact that Wills is marrying a commoner will have a more humanising effect on the Monarchy in Britain.

It is a bit sad that the Queen has stuck her political oar in with the Palace inviting any old despot who claims to be Royal such as The king of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Bahrain ( who has now cancelled because if he left his Palace he might find it taken over when he tried to go back)

The Zimbabwe ambassador is invited and even Ghaddafi was originally on the invite list. Former Tory PM's John Major & Maggie are invited ( She declined because of ill health - i.e. she is gaga) but neither Tony Blair or Gordon Brown got an invite, because William is only second in line to the throne and only former Prime Ministers who are members of the garter are being invited.

I am in favour of retaining the monarchy as a constitutional hangover that is a tourist attraction that brings in more than it costs, but using Royal prerogative to invite a bunch of tyrants and make political preferences shows how out of touch with reality Queen Elizabeth is.

And to think that my new grandchild has been named Elizabeth!!
10:12 April 27, 2011 by Raiha
They've also, after promising uncensored media coverage, shut down the ABC's Chaser coverage because it was going to be satirical. Dame Edna is fine just not the Chaser.

Any news stations seeking to satirise or make fun of the event will not be given access.
10:37 April 27, 2011 by Angusthefirst
@ daniel hynes

The question is more why WOULDN'T republican Swedes want to protest against the British Monarchs. Republicans the world over tend to have the attitude that all monarchys are bad, just some are worse than others (comparing the English and Swedes to the Thai, Saudis and Emirates for example). Showing solidarity with others going through what they are going through makes much sense.

And for all those talking about the well-documented myth that monarchies bring in tourist cash (just look at France and Italy as an example of what tourists go to a country for: they wouldn't stop going to the UK and Sweden if the monarchy went) please stop. There are still wrong but more acceptable arguments for keeping a monarchy than that.
10:49 April 27, 2011 by Rick Methven

As a Celt (Scots/Welsh), I could not give a damn about the 'British' monarchy. Yes France still rakes in the money from the visitors to Versailles and lives a lot on its royal past, but have them actually around does bring in more money.

I used to work in Windsor and twice a day the road that my office was on was closed when the guard marched to a from Windsor Castle. When I complained about it to the landlord of the local pub, he said that he would have to close up if it was not for all the gawking tourists that turned to watch the twice daily show.
11:20 April 27, 2011 by Angusthefirst
@ Rick

Hi Rick, as you've probably noticed from my comments I am a republican. I worked closely on the "rigged" (not technically but politically by Howard) referendum in Australia to keep the republic or not and the tourist argument was debunked quite easily and often whenever the monarchists dragged it out again by comparing to other countries and weighing up the cost to keep them. There is simply no evidence from anywhere in the world where there was a monarchy and now there isn't to support the claim that they are good for tourists.

It is though, from various royal courts, seen as a very effective way to counter the "parasite" line that has gained much traction over the years from republicans in various countries. They (the royal courts)had to use this propaganda so as to change perception from being historically priviledged and slothful to "earning their keep." But it is nothing more than PR. Anecdotally I#m sure people working in the tourist industry see many come to gape at the Royals but they would come anyway to gape at something else.

From working on the campaign the tourist argument was easy to discount and safe ground for republicans. The tougher ground for republicans in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people is to counter the old "if it aint broke don't fix it" line that monarchists love trotting out in a "four legs good, two legs bad" style whenver they are losing a debate) even if one explains that having an inherited monarch means "it" is broke. People, especially from certain nations, are naturally conservative at times.....
11:59 April 27, 2011 by flintis
Their protest against Viktoria's marriage received lots of publicity!! Did it?

@august1st:- so if what you say is true, the millions of yanks & other tourists that go to the UK to see Buck Palace, Lizzy II, Changing of the Guard etc etc, would still go even if the Monarchy was abolished?

As for them costing the taxpayer! when compared to the amount of revenue created, they, the immediate Royal Family, cost very little to the taxpayer.
12:29 April 27, 2011 by Rick Methven

The tougher ground for republicans in a battle for the hearts and minds of the people is to counter the old "if it aint broke don't fix it" line.

The problem that I see, is the political aspect of another tier of politics that comes in when you have a President of the Republic. The Royals while being an anachronism, are largely apolitical at least in public. When you get an elected head of state, you run the risk of having a three tier political system where you could have 3 different political views between the lower and upper houses of parliament and the presidency.

The best solution would be to replace the monarchy with a ceremonial head of state, but that is nothing more than moving the Monarch out of buck house and moving in another bloke to do the same job
14:11 April 27, 2011 by Angusthefirst
@ flintis

Why would they stop coming all of a sudden without a changing of the guard?? Do people visit the UK over France because of this? London is a fantastic city that people will visit regardless, like Paris. It is amazing how naive people are thinking that people would start giving London a swerve without a sitting monarchy and they somehow contribute to more people coming. You're seriously underselling how good a city London is in its own right and how it will always attract tourists.

@ Rick

Agree with your sentiments, but logically, as an inherited monarch is as ridculous an an inherited doctor, having the position open to all citizens of a country, even if it means moving the royals out of a palace for this person, is the only logical and fair system. So you would be swapping an unfair and priviledge-based system to a fairer one. This is surely worth doing.

It is interesting about your other point regarding the apolitical nature of monarchies. I and many others maintain that by their very existence they favour the conservative side of politics. Did you notice from which party the 2 living prime ministers in the UK who didn't get an invite from Wills came from? No doubt monarchies are political, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia and Thailand but even in the UK and Sweden.
14:41 April 27, 2011 by Rick Methven
"Did you notice from which party the 2 living prime ministers in the UK who didn't get an invite from Wills came from?"

The excuse given by the Palace was that as it was not a full state wedding, as Wills is only second in line, that it was not protocol to invite all living past prime ministers as had been the case with Charles & Di. They only invited Major & Maggie ( not going because she is gaga and thinks SHE is the Queen), because they are members of the order of the garter. They did however invite:

The Zimbabwe Ambassador representing a despot who is on a travel ban to the UK

The King of Saudi Arabia - shoots his own people

The Crown Prince of Bahrain - refused because he is afraid he might be deposed if he leaves the country

The King of Swaziland I'm not sure if that is with or without his 13 current wives ( he gets a new 12 year old every year)

The Libyan ambassador was originally invited but was later cancelled
18:12 April 27, 2011 by Jeremy Slawson
We like our Monarch in the main in the UK so I do not welcome these protesters and if they get in the way of the celebrations they will be sent to jail - and good riddance. Now lets look at what we have in the Monarch - a figurehead who works pretty damn hard for someone of her age and owns and looks after a ton of historic buildings.

We could have an elected figurehead instead, someone from showbiz perhaps, an ex big brother competitor. Or maybe a successful businessman, from the weapons industry. Are you morons out of your tiny little minds - we have a perfectly good person available who behaves decently and gives our miserable culture a bit of continuity - HRH Elizabeth.

Now you might argue about the extended family who get a load of cash for not very much and who the medals get handed out to each year - all worth changing with the times. But as a symbol of a nation - who better? We certainly don't want some awful president figure building monuments to themselves like the French.
11:10 April 28, 2011 by Angusthefirst
@ Jeremy Slawson

Good start there with the "throwing protestors in jail" line - great concept for a democracy - and your comment only went downhill from there.

The Queen isn't some bionic superwoman who goes around "looking after" buildings. She owns them, or more accurately, inherited them though, you're right about that.

The UK could have an elected figurehead, you're right. There is no need to presume that it would be a former Big Brother contestant or a successful businessman from the weapons industry. You get bad elected figureheads like you get bad Royals: you only have to look at the history of the UK royals to see that and the state of Royal Family's and elected officials worldwide, there are some good some bad. Elected officials do not equal populist and/or undeserving leaders as you are stupidly implying in your comment.

How well do we know Elizabeth really? All we and you know is the carefully crafted PR version of her. I like Christopher Hitchens' take on her in his recent article:

"I am not sure how deserved this immunity really is. The queen took two major decisions quite early in her reign, neither of which was forced upon her. She refused to allow her younger sister Margaret to marry the man she loved and had chosen, and she let her authoritarian husband have charge of the education of her eldest son. The first decision was taken to appease the most conservative leaders of the Church of England (a church of which she is, absurdly, the head), who could not approve the marriage of Margaret to a divorced man. The second was taken for reasons less clear."

As for the way she acted after Diana's death…. You really have to wonder why someone who has simply fulfilled their duty is held in such esteem. She has simply hung around and done what was asked of her. Big deal.

A REAL British treasure, Morrissey sums it up best when he says: "Why would I watch the wedding? I couldn't take any of that seriously. I don't think the so-called Royal Family speak for England, I don't think England needs them.

I don't believe they serve any purpose whatsoever. They are benefit scroungers."
11:32 April 28, 2011 by flintis

I lived in London for 4 yrs, I know what it's like, the tourist side might be "fantastic" but the reality of living, working & commuting in & around the place is not that good.

Yes lot's of tourist would give it the "swerve".

#A REAL British treasure, Morrissey#, you've got to be joking right, he's tone deaf, more people must have committed suicide after listening to his depressing drivel than any other singer & he comes from the wrong side of the Pennines.
11:51 April 28, 2011 by Angusthefirst
@ flintis

With such poor music taste as you obviously have by dissing Morrissey and by extension the Smiths your opinion doesn't really carry much weight.
13:10 April 28, 2011 by Marc the Texan
I support the Monarchy in Britain and other European countries. I think on balance they are benefit to the country. It would certainly be interesting to see what percentage of these protesters are living on state benefits.
15:12 April 28, 2011 by J Jack
I never heard of these republicans until this article. I watched the Swedish wedding and no mention of republicans celebrating a non-reality. Everybody should have the right to a wedding at whatever level of expense and exhibitionism they care to afford. My first wife had a home made wedding dress. My second got to do it in las Vegas. I think the Royals would send a great message if they did it at a registry office, after all they have been living together for 2 years. She's not exactly a virgin! But that doesn't mean I'm going to start a movement across Europe and waste a whole bunch of other peoples time and money gallivanting around complaining about it. What traitors! Hot tailing it off to party in London and leaving us all here to light our traditional Spring Bonfires without you.
16:09 April 28, 2011 by Rick Methven
@Marc the Texan

"It would certainly be interesting to see what percentage of these protesters are living on state benefits."

Like the whole Royal family you mean
18:18 April 28, 2011 by Njal
Anybody who actually believe the 'Royals' care about 'the people' is in willful denial. Do not believe that they view those they deem 'beneath' them with any compassion or affection, even those of their own race.

Somebody implied earlier that to not support such things was tantamount to

killing ones own culture & posterity. The 'elites' of this world, to which the monarchy belong, have been doing that to us for centuries.

I do not care one bit about 'William and Kate' (or any royal) getting married, lots of people get married all the time without all the pomp, and this just reinforces their belief that we accept their skewed perception of us. Turn the bloody TV set off, do not watch the royal elites, who don't care about us one iota, and let's get along with our lives without these people.

The Royals belong in a museum.
15:25 April 29, 2011 by wenddiver
Nice to see a German Immigrant family like the Windsors adopt so well to the Country. Hopefully, Kate's Family dosn't look down their nose at them too much.

They make a really cute couple, and if Kate is willingto put up with some really dysfuntional realatives, maybe they can break this endless cycle of welfare and get a job like Prince Harry.
07:04 April 30, 2011 by Britt-Marie7
The monarchy does draw tourists to the country. Can't say that about our President, where I live, who spends money like a drunken sailor, much more than a king would spend.
13:06 April 30, 2011 by Marc the Texan
@Rick Methven

"Like the whole Royal family you mean"

Well done! That's my point. If you live on state benefits, it's the pot calling the kettle black. Did I spell it out enough for you?

The difference is that the institution of the Monarchy and the Royal Family earn Britain dividends in many ways.
14:41 April 30, 2011 by Rick Methven

Britain is the only Kingdom, where the lesser Royals get money from the government for doing SFA just because they are related in some way via marriage or divorce to the Windsor family. There are some 25 'royal' families that live on benefit.

At yesterdays wedding they where the ones who filled 4 mini buses to get from Buck house to Westminster. The majority of British taxpayers, do not even know who they are supporting.
16:59 April 30, 2011 by zoroastrina
Get rid---democratically via an enlightened majority---of all of the parasitic aristocratic dungheaps such as the ultrareactionary House of Lords, and of all hierarchical stratified and oppressive societies.
19:42 April 30, 2011 by Njal
To: zoroastrina

Well said!
12:08 May 1, 2011 by Great Scott


I suppose the naïve minority have a right to express their opinion.

However I do agree with the abolition of the House of Lords, these are just filthy rich political morons. These are the people sucking dry national finances.
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