King Kungen König

Hand in the cookie box

“Finally something is happening over there and you write about Starbucks??” – Complaints from my home country in times of royal scandals. Bimbetti caught me with the hand in the cookie box. – Oh dear, the King. “The reluctant Monarch”….

She challenged me to write something about “kungaskandalen” ASAP. It is not my style to chicken out, so here comes my take on the story:

“I couldn’t care less.”

For those of you who have lived under a stone last week: three journalists have published a biography about King Carl XVI Gustav called “Den motvillige monarken” – The reluctant monarch”. Since none of the Kings closer friends talk about him- as a matter of principle-, the authors have had to rely on sources from the outer periphery, trying find out who Monsieur le King really is.

Some of the figures work in Stockholm’s extremely dangerous underworld and most of them want to stay anonymous. All of them claim to know exclusive stuff about the King. And since author Thomas Sjöberg has a book about Berth Milton: king of porn on his CV and Deanne Rauscher one about the queen of prostitutes Doris Hopp, the story gets a hell of a lot of credibility in the field. Our dear public logically figures: something shady going on behind the walls of the castle.

The scandal conveniently cooked up when no one had even read the book, including the King himself, so that every sentence said about it left room for interpretation.

The past is the past is the past

When he invited the press to his yearly hunting pass, no one was interested in mooses. The King said he has problems commenting a book he hasn’t read. He had heard that it refers to events far in the past and states that neither he or his family find them very interesting.

Statements that in their turn got reviewed by the countries all PR experts as very, very, very unprofessional. Content for two days of media buzz. Well done indeed.

As far as I have heard the young King is supposed to have partied quite a lot, with women, friends and booze. Everyone knows that. And I would very much like a list of Swedes who haven’t done likewise aged 17 – 26.

I still haven’t read the book, but some others finally have. “Seldom has a harmless product provoked such attention”, states John Chrispinsson in one of Swedens national newspapers, to then put the book back on the shelf. Or under the shelf. Or under the bathroom sink with Cosmo and the tax guide. He also comments that Carl Gustav’s possible dinner parties – decades ago – look quite naive compared to life in places like Versailles or the way folks like Berlusconi break the piggy bank. Weekly. 2010.

“Gossip about royals is nothing new, and today’s talk is in fact much nicer than it was in the past. In a historical perspective, Carl XVI Gustav is a rather a virtuous example. Yet he creates a storm of media outrage. Why? Has the national security been at stake? Has it led to corruption? Has there been any favoritism? Has there been illegal activity, prostitution, tax fraud, secret power games? None of the above. It seems to boil down to the question whether it is morally ok for the head of state to be in the same room with so-called “coffee girls”. Some appear to be upset on behalf of Queen Silvia. The size of this actually surpasses the British Queen Victoria’s puritanism.

Worried about Sylvia. Touching too. Puuhhh.

It looks like the three have written a rather unspectacular summary of Carl XVI Gustavs life. He is per definition a public person, no wonder his limited privacy is well protected. The Swedish population has no problem with that, as the reactions show.

This is a media bubble, not much more.

But one thing is certain: The book has become a commercial success. The first print run is sold out and the authors have gotten the PR attention of their lives. “Alas, long live the King!”

On that note I agree with Peppe Engberg, one of Sweden’s most respected communication experts: He did it again! People love the King even more after this media campaign.

Because he has shown cracks in the surface, because he is not perfect, because he is a human being. And there was drama.

All ingredients you need for a good, warm, crunchy hero-story.



  1. Oh Darling You did it again! The funniest and wittiest of pieces written in this whole scandal 😉 Love You!

    1. This news also made it to the Spanish news front page. In here terrible things are written nearly everyday about the monarchy, but I thought that in Sweden people had more respect for their king. (I liked your post very much by the way)

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