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OFFBEAT

Princess Madeleine in ‘immunity claim’ row

Sweden's soon-to-be-married Princess Madeleine found herself embroiled in controversy on Wednesday after allegedly trying to get out of a traffic ticket by declaring immunity to the police officer - a luxury she does not have.

Princess Madeleine in 'immunity claim' row

Princess Madeleine, who is set to marry her financier fiancé Chris O’Neill on Saturday, was pulled over by traffic police on Tuesday in central Stockholm. The 30-year-old was driving one of the Royal Court’s cars in a bus lane in order to pass other traffic, according to the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“I can confirm that she was stopped in traffic control that we had set up aimed at the public transport lanes,” Lars Lindholm, who headed the traffic operation, told the paper.

However, the princess managed to slip the fine by showing a paper to the duty officer and claiming she had immunity, according to an Aftonbladet source.

“I can’t comment on that, but the policeman who stopped her felt an uncertainty around the immunity laws, and whether they applied to the whole royal family. Or if there could be an exception for cars from the Royal Court driving in the public lanes,” Lindholm added.

“We will now be issuing a fine of 1,000 kronor ($151) retroactively.”

According to the laws, it is only the king of Sweden who has immunity in cases such as these.

Royal Court spokesman Bertil Ternert has slammed the policeman’s claims, stating that the princess was instead referring to a different ruling from the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelsen). According to this rule, cars belonging to the Royal Court’s car pool are entitled to use bus lanes.

“She has not spoken of immunity; she just showed the policeman the ruling from the County Administrative Board,” he told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

“She was absolutely not claiming any kind of immunity. When she is in Sweden, she has on certain occasions the permission to drive the Royal Court’s cars and that was what she was doing in this occasion.”

The fine does not mark the first time the princess has been in trouble for breaking traffic rules. In 2003, she was caught driving on a pedestrian walkway, and she is also believed to be responsible for some of the 15 parking tickets that royal cars have been issued in 2007.

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OFFBEAT

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim

Police on the island of Gotland removed a public sculpture from the Galgberget nature reserve near Visby on the grounds that it is just too creepy.

Swedish police remove sculpture mistaken for suicide victim
The gallows at Galgeberget. Photo: Artifex/WikiCommons
According to local news site Hela Gotland, someone was out for a stroll on Galgeberget (the Gallows Hill) on Wednesday when they saw what they thought was a body hanging after a suicide. Local police were contacted but when they went to investigate they instead found a sculpture by artist Jessica Lundeberg. 
 
The artwork, entitled ‘The Watcher in the Woods’, is a partially transparent plate sculpture that looks like a spooky little girl. 
 
 
Despite discovering that the suspected suicide victim was actually artwork, police determined that Lundeberg’s piece could scare others and thus took the sculpture down. 
 
“It was decided that if it were to remain, more people would likely be frightened in the same way,” Gotland police spokesman Ayman Aboulaich told Radio P4 Gotland. 
 
Lundeberg told Hela Gotland that the sculpture has been at Galgeberget since a public art project last summer and that this was the first time it had caused any concern. She said ‘The Watcher in the Woods’ was the only piece that was allowed to remain after the end of the project. But now it is there no more. 
 
 
Lundeberg has taken the sculpture back to her studio. While she hopes it will eventually return to Galgeberget, the artist told Hela Gotland it seems unlikely.  
 
She said that the sculpture was damaged by police. 
 
“It was ragged, dismantled and broken. I was horrified when I saw it,” she said. 
 
Police have reportedly promised to pay any necessary repair costs.
 
Although the person who reported the sculpture to the police has not spoken with the media, their jump to conclusions could perhaps be attributed to the nature reserve’s macabre history. Galgeberget is still home to gallows that were used to hang criminals for centuries. The last execution to be held at the site was in 1845, according to Hela Gotland
 
 
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