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Swedish royal regalia found in rubbish bags

Police in central Sweden made an unusual discovery on Monday evening when they found two large rubbish bags containing a recently stolen sceptre and crown used in the sixteenth-century funeral of Sweden's King Johan III.

Swedish royal regalia found in rubbish bags

The find was made on highway 555 between Västerås and Hallstahammar, not far from the E18 motorway.

“An anonymous tipster called and said where the loot was, so we just had to go out and get it,” Ann-Charlotte Israelsson of the Västmanland County police told the TT news agency.

The stolen items – a bronze crown and sceptre and a gilded wooden apple – were kept by the grave of Erik XIV, King Johan III’s half-brother, who was buried without regalia in Västerås in 1577.

The theft was discovered on Friday morning by a member of staff at the cathedral, prompting police to issue a nationwide alert in hopes of recovering items considered “invaluable” by cathedral chaplain Johan Sköld.

On Monday, officials from the Västerås Cathedral were overjoyed that the burial regalia had been found.

“They are so happy and relieved that we were able to recover the missing items,” Israelsson said.

The regalia is now in possession of the police, who now plan to see if they can secure any clues that might lead them to whoever carried out the brazen overnight robbery.

“If it had been thieves who had them in their possession, I don’t think they would have wanted to be discovered with the items. But we don’t know if it might have been a thief who got cold feet and called to tip us off about there the items were,” said Israelsson.

The stolen sceptre and crown, which are made of bronze and have silver details, were produced in the Netherlands in the sixteenth century. The gilded wooden apple was made in the nineteenth century.

Johan III, the son of King Gustav Vasa, was born in 1537 and died in 1592. King Gustav III arranged for the sceptre and crown, which had been used in King Johan III’s funeral procession, to be moved to Västerås in 1800 and placed by the grave of Erik XIV.

Funeral regalia were traditionally used in royal burials in Sweden to symbolize the deceased royal’s identity and social stature. They were placed inside or on top of the coffin. A second set of golden regalia used in Johan III’s funeral is still kept in Uppsala.

TT/The Local/dl

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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.
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