King should surrender throne to Victoria: poll

As more reports of womanising and shady connections continue to emerge, most Swedes think King Carl XVI Gustaf should relinquish the throne to Crown Princess Victoria in the next decade, a poll showed Saturday.

King should surrender throne to Victoria: poll

A full 59 percent of Swedes want the king to step down within the next 10 years, while only 29 percent think he should reign until his death, according to a Demoskop poll published in the Expressen daily.

The Internet poll conducted Friday of 620 people also showed that while 73 percent of those questioned said they had much or very much confidence in Victoria, only 39 percent said the same thing about her father.

Thirty-two percent of people polled said they had little or very little confidence in the king, compared to just nine percent for the crown princess.

The king reached the official retirement age of 65 last month but has said he has no plans to abdicate in favour of his 33-year-old daughter.

The latest poll confirms opinions seen in other recent surveys and comes just days after commercial broadcaster TV4 claimed it had viewed pictures of the king in a strip club in the same shot as two women having sex.

TV4’s report came as a new book said friends of the king had been willing to pay large sums of money to block the publication of pictures of him in compromising situations.

At least one of his friends reportedly contacted an alleged mafia boss to ask for help to negotiate with the strip club owner and stop him from making the pictures public.

The royal court in Stockholm told AFP Saturday it has demanded that TV4 show the pictures detailed in its report.

“TV4 must show what it is they are talking about. Where’s the substance? For now, as far as I can tell, there is no substance to this,” court information chief Bertil Ternert said, adding that the report had put him in the “impossible situation … of being asked to react to something we have not seen.”

“There needs to be some form of justice here. You cannot just attack the royal court and the king without disclosing what the substance is,” he insisted.

The latest reports come just over six months after a tell-all biography of the king hit the bookstands, causing uproar with its descriptions of his participation in wild parties and affairs with young women.

The claims have also surfaced less than a week after the court announced that Carl XVI Gustaf’s wife, German-born Queen Silvia, had launched an investigation into the nature of controversial ties between her father and the Nazi regime.

That probe comes on the heels of another investigative report by TV4 that Silvia’s father, whom she had previously insisted was not politically active although he was a member of the Nazi party, had taken over a German factory belonging to a Jew in 1939 as part of an “Aryanisation” programme.

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King Carl XVI Gustaf: the complete interview

The denials offered by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden in an interview on Monday night have much of the country talking about the future of the King and the monarchy. See and read the interview and form your own opinion.

King Carl XVI Gustaf: the complete interview

Kungen intervjuas av TT med anledning av senaste tidens medieintresse from Kungahuset on Vimeo.

Q: Reports have surfaced that pictures exist that might be compromising to Your Majesty. What do You have to say about that?

A: Surfaced? Yes… I have seen parts of it on TV4. And…what does one answer to that? No one has seen the pictures. I havent seen them, obviously, and that makes it hard to answer questions. But the way this was reported, about this dialogue, or whatever you should call it, between the reporter from TV4 and the person in question that held the pictures, to me it felt like I had nothing at all to do with that. I didn’t recognise anything that was said in that conversation. If you can call it a conversation.

Q: When you look back, is it possible that compromising pictures of you exist?

A: (Sighs) No. I cannot say that it does. Eh, not of that… Sorry, I don´t mean to be disrespectful, but I have a private life as well. I´m thinking of when we are on the island of Öland and go down to the beach to swim and so on. There might be pictures, I don´t know.

Q: But there is nothing in the pictures that were mentioned recently?

A: No. Theres not a chance.

Q: If that is the case, why do you think Anders Lettström has contacted criminals to find out what kind of material they have?

A: I cannot answer that question. He has to answer himself. He has commented on it. In the statement he published he stated that he was solely responsible for his actions and I have to say that, regrettably, it was very unfortunate. It has hurt me. It has hurt my family. I would even say it has hurt the Swedish monarchy, which I think is very serious. And I think it has damaged confidence in Sweden in several ways. It´s not good at all, and I take this very, very seriously.

Q: How do you view Anders Lettström now? You used to see him as a friend, do you still do that?

A: He is an old friend, yes. But regrettably his judgement let him down this time. I can only ascertain that I have lost my trust in him.

Q: Does that mean he is no longer Your friend?

A: I haven´t had any contacts with him at all.

Q: Since when?

A: Since this became known, about two weeks ago in the radio, when this appeared, that an audio tape existed. Just that is rather spectacular. When that became known.

Q: The King didn´t know that he (Anders Lettström) was about to contact criminals?

A: I had no idea. No.

Q: In the book (Den motvillige monarken/The reluctant monarch), is there anything in it that is true about visits to porn clubs, strip clubs or whatever you should call it.

A: Right, whatever you would call it. I have seen parts of the book and there is lots of speculation and other things and I can´t comment on all of these claims. I don´t feel for it at all.

Q: Has Your Majesty ever visited a club of that kind?

A: What kind of club?

Q: A striptease club or sex club.

A: No. No… I don´t think so. No. If I´m being really honest, maybe some of us who were fortunate to be in Paris back in the day, and there we have Les Folies Bergeres and the ladies there are quite scantily dressed. And that establishment I guess I have to confess to have visited, many, many years ago.

Q: And the reports that there have been private parties with scantily clad women, that is also untrue?

A: No… Not that I can recall.

Q: Bearing in mind that you are the Swedish Head of State and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Council (in the parliament) do you have any understanding that there were worries that you might have put yourself in a possible position to be blackmailed?

A: No. I have thought a lot about this and of course I take this very seriously. But after thinking this through I cannot say that there is a chance of that happening. There is no chance.

Q: If we stick to the subjects that were brought up here, is there something in your social life with these friends that you yourself think was inappropriate?

A. Phew. We have known each other for 40 years or more so it´s hard to answer that question. Regarding this, I cannot say that there is anything worth mentioning. No. I would definately say no.

Q: How have you lived through all the commotion after the book came out?

A: Well, it´s never pleasant to read headlines and discussions about yourself in the way it has been done. And that is something that I of course will continue to work on. To work for Sweden, to work for the people of Sweden and together with my family continue to work in the coming years for the monarchy in Sweden.

Q: How has the Royal Family lived through this commotion?

A: I´m sure they have found it very unpleasant. And I´m of course sad for that. But we are strong and we will work for the monarchy in the future and I feel strengthened by that, more than before.

Q: You do think that all this has affected people’s trust in the monarchy?

A: I am not blind and I listen and I read newspapers and I take in what has been written and speculated upon, because a lot of it has been speculation, regrettably. As I said earlier, I have been King for 38 years, for which I am very proud, and during those many years I have felt a strong support from the Swedish people.

That has been heartwarming and therefore it has been fun and exciting to work for Sweden, in Sweden and abroad for Sweden. One of many important tasks that I take part in. That has strengthened me tremendously, that support I have felt for so many years and I feel that I want to carry on working and that I will.

Q: These reports, have they in any way changed your mind about the time when the Crown Princess should take over the throne?

A: No. But let me turn the question round and say that I´m very happy that she is so popular and that is something one should be very grateful for. She has a good platform to start from, but I will contiune as long as I am of sound mind and as long as I have a clear head I will carry on and keep fighting and go into a higher gear in the coming years.

Q: What will you do to boost people’s confidence in the monarchy?

A: I will, as we have done before but perhaps now even more intensely, travel across the country which we have discussed, but there have been so many different activities — not only because of this situation — that have restricted my ability to move around. I feel a bit stuck at the castle, because we have many activites here as well. And, as I said, look forward. We have spoken about these issues and it will be interesting to see how we will continue working.

Q: Is there something you want to add to all the readers, viewers or listeners?

A: No. Just repeat that I have absolutely no connection of any sort to any criminal elements in our society that some people might have thought and so on. That is something that completely different persons have to take responsibility for. I have never had anything to do with this.

English translation courtesy of the TT news agency