‘The royal court is embarrassing itself’

Swedish artist Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin has said the royals are making a spectacle of themselves by not letting go of their critique of a satirical montage that portrayed Queen Silvia kneeling by a swastika.

'The royal court is embarrassing itself'

“I’ve been subjected to a lot of hatred and threats. I’ve learnt that Sweden is not ready for photographic satire,” Ohlson Wallin told the Expressen newspaper on Friday.

Expressen revealed earlier in the week that the queen’s representatives had filed a second press ethics complaint against them, and three other newspapers, for printing the satirical montage.

READ ALSO: “Sweden is not mature enough for satire” – The Local’s in-depth interview with Ohlson Wallin.

It portrays the queen on the floor, about to sweep away or scrub off a swastika on the floor in front of her. The montage also depicts the king, a singer with whom he reportedly had an affair, and several other figures that were all mentioned in a controversial book, Carl XVI Gustaf – Den motvillige monarken (‘Carl XVI Gustaf – The reluctant monarch’), published in 2010.

Queen Silvia’s father was a member of the Nazi party, but her representatives say the publication of the montage in conjunction with Expressen’s choice of an ‘insinuating’ headline, that could be interpreted as alluding to a government publication about the Holocaust, had left the queen hurt and saddened.

The artist apologized to the queen on Friday.

“Maybe I should have apologized sooner, when I realized the reactions were running amok, but have no regrets over my art, but I can say that I understand the queen’s grief,” Ohlson Wallin said at a press conference.

“I’m often called a provocateur, or described as a cold person or someone who wants to hurt others,” the artist said at the press meet, which she called after revelations that the royal court had renewed its complaint.

According to Expressen, the press ethics complaint which was first sent to the Press Ombudsman last year has now been forwarded to the Press Council.

The tabloid published the complaint letter in full on Wednesday, with editor-in-chief Thomas Mattson defending his decision to publish the image.

“I feel sorry for the queen in a way,” said Ohlson Wallin.

“But she is a public figure with an enormous amount of power. I hope she changes her advisors, and that she learns how important culture is.”

TT/The Local/at

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