Sweden’s king celebrates 65th birthday

Well-wishers gathered at the royal palace in Stockholm on Saturday as King Carl XVI Gustaf celebrated his 65th birthday and vowed not to retire from his royal duties.

Sweden's king celebrates 65th birthday

Crowds waving Swedish flags in the palace were treated to a visit by the king after the sound of fanfares and a noon salute of 21 shots fired from the cannons of Skeppsholmen fortress across from the palace.

The royal heir Crown Princess Victoria and her husband Prince Daniel took part in the celebrations, having just returned from London where they had attended the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

In an interview ahead of the birthday, the king had told TT news agency that he had no intention of retiring in the near future despite hitting the country’s legal retirement age.

“I have no intention of starting to feed the birds yet,” he said. “The monarch is to carry out his duties as long as he is of sound mind.”

A poll published in December last year showed two-thirds of Swedes would like to see the king abdicate to make way for Victoria, who married commoner Daniel Westling last June.

When and if Victoria steps onto the throne, she will be the first queen of the Bernadotte dynasty, which has reigned over Sweden for two centuries.

Sweden has had only two queens in its modern history, Kristina (1632-1654) and Ulrika Elenora (1719-1720).

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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.