Monday, January 15, 2018

Official visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Norway - Program

Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will pay an official visit to Norway on 1. and 2. February 2018.

The Duke and Duchess will be welcomed by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown princess Mette-Marit at the entrance of the Gardermoen Airport in Oslo along with the military on the morning of Thursday 1. February.

After a private lunch at the Royal Palace, the Duke and Duchess will be shown around Princess Ingrid Alexandra's sculpture park.

On Thursday afternoon, accompanied by the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, the Duke and Duchess will visit NorwegianBritishitish start-up companies and entrepreneurs at MESH Tordenskioldsgate, Oslo.

King Harald and Queen Sonja are hosting a dinner for the British guests at the Palace on Thursday evening.

On Friday morning, the Duke and Duchess will bid farewell to the King and Queen. Accompanied by the Crown Prince Couple, the Duke and Duchess will go from the Palace to Hartvig Nissens school to meet the creators and actors behind the success of the series "Skam". It is the introduction to the discussions with students, teachers, and actors about the challenges that young people may face while growing up in today's society - identity problems, bullying, sexual abuse and eating disorders.

Then, the Duke and Duchess are invited to a private lunch with the Crown Prince Couple at Skaugum.

After lunch, the visit in Oslo will have ended. Then the pair will first pay a visit to the ski museum, the tower and the ski jump. Then to Øvresetertjern at Tryvann where the british guests get to meet the children and see how playing and activities are a natural part of growing up in Norway.

Official visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Sweden - Program

On 30 and 31 January 2018, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will make an official visit to Sweden on behalf of the British government.

On the visit's first day the King and the Queen will welcome the Duke and Duchess to Sweden by providing a lunch at the Royal Palace. During the visit the visit, the Duke and Duchess will visit several different institutions and organizations. The Crown Princess Couple will be the hosts of the couple and also receive the Duke and Duchess at Haga Palace.

 January 30.

  • Lunch at the Royal Palace in Stockholm with the Royal Family. 
  • Walk to Stortorget. The Duke and Duchess will walk with the Crown Princess Couple from the Royal Palace to Stortorget, during which they will be able to greet people.
  • The Crown Princess Couple accompany the Duke and Duchess to the Nobel Museum. Their Royal Highnesses will visit The Nobel museum to get information about the Nobel prize and its history as well as to meet former Nobel Laureates.
  • Reception at the British Embassy in Stockholm. with the participation of Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

 January 31: 

  • Visit to Karolinska Institute and Matthew School. The Crown Princess Couple and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the Karolinska Institute and Matthew School with the aim to learn about work in the fight against mental illness among children and youth; 
  • Visit to "NK" (Nordiska Kompaniet). Their Royal Highnesses visit the department store NK in order to take part in an interactive exhibition on British design. They also meet representatives of British design and fashion companies that operate in Sweden to learn more about the corporate work, in particular in sustainability issues.
  • Reception in Haga Palace. The Crown Princess Couple receives the Duke and Duchess at Haga Palace.
  • Reception for Fotografiska. Their Royal Highnesses attend a reception for the Swedish cultural scene with invited guests from the music-, movie-, tv-, art - and the world of sports.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Crown Princess Mary: A decade of giving back.

As Crown Princess Mary and her family enjoy a private holiday back in Australia, Her Royal Highness talks to Juliet Rieden about 10 years of the ground-breaking Mary Foundation, her deeply felt belief that everyone needs "a solid dose of empathy" and how this Tassie-born royal found her place in Denmark. 

Photo: Steen Brogaard
In 2004, in honour of the wedding of HRH Crown Prince Frederik to Australia's own Mary Donaldson, a 1.1 million kroner ($176,000) gift was raised in Denmark and Greenland. As wedding gifts go, this was a pretty generous one and certainly a sign of how much faith Danes had in their new Crown Princess. That trust was paid back in spades when three years later the new royal put the people's funds to work and launched her Mary Foundation. 
HRH The Crown Princess's vision was to create a powerful initiative that gave something back to Denmark, a program of projects that would tangibly help the most vulnerable and tackle key social problems. Under an overarching mantel of combating social isolation, based on the belief that everyone has a right to belong, the Mary Foundation has identified and developed around 10 projects within three focus areas of bullying and well-being, domestic violence and loneliness. 
"The last 10 years have been a rewarding and challenging journey," Crown Princess Mary tells The Weekly. "We have worked hard and in collaboration with experts and partners have established the Mary Foundation. That our efforts can help to improve people's lives and give them a sense of hope for the future, gives all of us at the Mary Foundation a sense of fulfillment and pride. However, today I am more convinced than ever that our work has only just begun. When working with social issues, you quickly find out that the more you learn, the more complex it becomes - and the more humble you get when it comes to creating lasting changes and securing long-term impact." The royal may feel humbled by the task, but Crown Princess Mary's passion is obvious and the Foundation is a proud badge of honour for Danes, who are hugely supportive of her work. 
The "Free of Bullying" program, pioneered by the Foundation, has been introduced into half of Danish kindergartens and a third of schools. So when Crown Princess Mary's youngest son came home talking about her work it was a wonderful moment for her, as a mother. "Vincent came home [from school] and told me that they were learning about `mum's project'," says Crown Princess Mary proudly. "I haven't sat them down and explained in detail what my work is focused on," she says. "However, they are definitely aware of some of the issues that deeply concern me, as we talk about them and they ask me questions about, for example, the children I meet in Africa." Six-year-old twins TRH Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine are in their first year at school. Like their elder siblings, TRH Prince Christian, 12, and Princess Isabella, 10, they are not at a private school, but a public school - Tranegardskolen in Hellerup, in suburban Copenhagen, just north of their home in the Amalienborg Palace. 
This is the first generation of Danish royal children not to have been privately educated, which is a big deal. The Danish court is more than 1000 years old — one of the oldest monarchies in the world — but as a new era hovers on the horizon with Crown Prince Frederik and his Tasmanian wife Crown Princess Mary at the helm, it is also proving to be one of the most modern and open-minded, and initiatives like the Mary Foundation's Free of Bullying program being widely used at classroom level are an important part of the new monarchy. 

Royal role model 

Danes also see Crown Princess Mary as a role model, says Lars Hovbakke Sorensen, royal commentator and Assistant Professor at Denmark's University College Absalon. "She is a role model in many different ways. But most important is in her care for children, women and other people with social or health problems. By her work she demonstrates that even if you are a person without any social or economic problems and even if you belong to the 'upper class' — or the royal family — you can talk and work together with any 'ordinary' person. She speaks with 'ordinary' people, to children and those facing social problems in a really natural way." This sense of genuinely connecting with people is key in the royal's personal message to her four children. "We feel that we have a responsibility as part of our role as parents to bring up our children to be open and tolerant adults, with a solid dose of empathy," the Crown Princess explains. "It is important that we have the ability to reflect and to put ourselves in the situation of others, to see things from another perspective. Empathy is what holds our world together." 
Empathy is certainly at the heart of the Mary Foundation's work. "The Foundation has been very effective," says Sorensen, "both regarding the concrete work but also because Crown Princess Mary's personal engagement in the work creates a new [and vital] attention to the problems the Foundation works with." 

Photo: Kongehuset

The need to belong.

I ask the Crown Princess what spurred her on, not just to establish the Foundation, but to concentrate on the areas she has chosen, including social isolation. For Crown Princess Mary, it seems it was elemental. "As far back as I can recall, I have always found it difficult to see a person seemingly alone, a person standing on the outside looking in, a person who doesn't feel like they belong," she explains. "I believe that we all have a fundamental need to be an accepted and valued member of a group, that we are an important part of something greater than ourselves. Alone, we feel vulnerable. This is the basic idea behind the Mary Foundation's underlying philosophy that everyone has the right to belong. All of our work and efforts are targeted at combating social isolation, whether it leads to or is the result of bullying, domestic violence or loneliness. Today, we know that the feeling of happiness and the quality of our health are closely linked to whether we feel that we have good and close relations." 
Tackling bullies Bullying is one of the Foundation's key areas and a hot topic for all mothers as vicious trolls on social media wreak emotional devastation all over the world and fuel terrifying social scourges such as the rise in teen suicide. "The dynamics of bullying are the same online and offline," says Crown Princess Mary. "But social media does provide a new channel for bullying. Digital bullying extends bullying past the school day and it is therefore often experienced as a relentless pressure and stress. Another factor is that messages or words alone — which are often sent anonymously — can have an even more brutal impact than if said face-to-face. "In Denmark, the way we view bullying is changing," she adds. "Today the focus is more and more on the group and each child within the group, no longer just the children who bully and the children who are being bullied. We view bullying as not being about vulnerable children or mean children, but rather about unhealthy dynamics within a group. Therefore, if we are to effectively combat bullying, we have to engage everyone within the group. It's about the group, with the guidance and support of teachers and parents, creating a common set of values and a common understanding of what it means to be a good friend. Creating a culture where bullying within the group is seen as unacceptable. 
"This is the basic idea behind Free of Bullying — an anti-bullying program developed by the Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark (with inspiration from Australia's Alannah and Madeline Foundation's Better Buddies Program) which is today widely used throughout Denmark, and attracts increasing interest from other countries." 

Photo: Ida Marie Odgaard, Scanpix ©

Evolving the monarchy.

The work is incredibly impressive and is no doubt one factor in the Crown Princess' popularity. Eighty-two per cent of the Danish population is now in support of a monarchy, up from 77 per cent before Crown Princess Mary joined the family. And it's paving the way for the Crown Prince Couple as they head closer to Crown Prince Frederik's future as King with his wife beside him as Queen Consort. The Crown Princess turns 46 in February and 2018 will mark 14 years since she joined Denmark's royal elite. Sorensen says Danes are not only thrilled with their Aussie royal, they are also really proud of her. 
"The Danish people feel that Crown Princess Mary really cares about Danes and is interested in all aspects of Danish society. Especially in her work for children with health or social problems and for women all around the world. By her international activities, the Crown Princess contributes to making Denmark visible on the global scene. Danes appreciate this a lot." The first step towards bonding with her people was learning the language. "Crown Princess Mary's Danish is very good, and she learned quickly," explains Sorensen. "Especially in a small country like Denmark, it is important a person from abroad learns the language. It's about Danish national identity and self-understanding." And while the pomp, ceremony and living quarters of royal life take the royal children into a whole different realm, the young princes' and princesses' daily lives are as `normal' as they can. Indeed as we go to press on this story, Crown Princess Mary is preparing to bring her family back home to Australia for the holiday season. Intriguingly, the Crown Prince Couple has managed to forge a unique and respectful relationship with the Danish public and media, and even though their family attracts crowds wherever it goes, this hasn't prevented them from venturing outside Palace walls. Unlike the British royals, who are plagued with paparazzi, this is a couple regularly seen around Copenhagen and left in peace. "Crown Princess Mary rides her bike around Copenhagen with her children and she goes to sports with them such as horseback-riding, swimming and ballet," says Helle Bill Madsen, journalist and royal watcher at Denmark's popular Her&Nu magazine. "What's more, she is considered a great, loving and supporting wife to Crown Prince Frederik." It's been quite a journey from Aussie commoner Mary Donaldson to Crown Princess and it hasn't been completely plain sailing. 
Loneliness is another of the cornerstone issues for the Mary Foundation, and while the Foundation's work is with chronic situations and debilitating social isolation, it is a topic the Crown Princess has personal experience of. "I did experience a feeling of loneliness — short-term — when I first moved to Denmark," she admits. "Moving to Denmark was a huge change in my life; a new culture, new language, new friends and another way of life. So, I see it as quite natural that at times I felt quite alone or a little bit like I was on the outside looking in. Luckily, I had a lot of caring and supportive people around me and I was also aware that it would take time to find my place and feel settled — to feel like I belong."

Photo: Ida Guldbæk Arentsen ©
"When we talk about loneliness, it's important to distinguish between short-term and long-term loneliness," the Crown Princess explains. "Short-term and situation-specific loneliness is a natural part of life and something we can all experience when big changes in our lives happen, such as divorce, loss of a loved one or moving to a new environment. This is the body's way of reminding us that we should seek relationships with others. Loneliness over a longer period or chronic loneliness is different; it can lead to harmful consequences for our quality of life and health." The research the Foundation has carried out discovered that "employment and having a partner are protective factors when it comes to the risk of experiencing long-term loneliness". 
The current Danish monarchy is suffering its own pangs of loneliness. Prince Henrik, 83, retired in 2016, leaving 77-year-old Queen Margrethe to shoulder the burdens of royal office alone. Denmark's Queen is positively youthful compared to 91-year-old Queen Elizabeth II, whose "rock", Prince Philip, 96, similarly retired this year, but for Queen Margrethe there were more troubling circumstances to deal with. 
In September 2017, a heart-rending announcement revealed that Prince Henrik was suffering from dementia and together Denmark is supporting their Queen through this tough time. But the persistent rumour that Queen Margrethe will abdicate and hand over to her son continues to swirl despite Her Majesty stating she will hold the throne until she dies. 
Sorensen says such suggestions are no more than idle gossip. "In Denmark there is an extremely long tradition for the head of state (the king or the reigning queen) to stay in office as long as he/she lives. Last time a Danish king resigned before he died was in 1523, when King Christian II left the country because of a revolt against him. Since that time every head of state has reigned until death. Queen Margrethe will probably not break with this long historic tradition," he explains. But when their time 
comes, Sorensen says, the Crown Prince Couple will make a wonderful King and Queen Consort. "They will become a very modern royal couple — more informal than Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort Henrik have been. And that will be really good for the future of the monarchy." 
In the meantime, Crown Princess Mary has more work to do, and the the third focus area of the Mary Foundation is tackling the issue of domestic violence, now at epidemic levels globally. "Violence against women is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world," explains the Crown Princess. "It knows no social, economic or national boundaries. Globally, an estimated one in three women will experience sexual or physical violence in her lifetime, and gender-based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and independence of its victims, yet it remains shrouded in a culture of silence. 
"In the Mary Foundation, we strive to empower the individual woman and to support her in starting a new life, free of violence."

Originally published by Australian Women's Weekly's January 2018 Issue. Interview by Juliet Rieden.


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Prince Henrik won't be buried at Roskilde Cathedral.

The royal house has today announced that his Royal Highness Prince Henrik does not want to be buried in Roskilde Cathedral, as it has otherwise been planned.

The Prince's decision implies that the Prince will not lie next to her Majesty Queen Margrethe under the sarcophagus that Professor and sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard has prepared.

The Queen has for some time been familiar with the decision of His Royal Highness and agrees with the decision. The Prince's decision does not change the Queen's funeral plans.

The Prince won't be buried in France.

It has been promoted in the media that the Prince wants to be buried in France. This is not correct. The prince still wishes to be buried in Denmark, but the circumstances are not yet in place.
The Prince's changed funeral plans are not due, as the media have otherwise wondered that he should be buried in his native France.

"It has been promoted in the media that the Prince wants to be buried in France. This is not correct. The prince still wishes to be buried in Denmark, but the circumstances are not yet in place.
The royal office communications manager Lene Balleby tells BT that Prince Henrik's decision is due to dissatisfaction with his role in the Danish monarchy.

"The dissatisfaction has grown more and more in recent years. For the Prince, the decision not to be buried beside the Queen is the natural consequence of not having been treated equally in relation to his spouse - by not getting the title and function he has wanted, Lene Balleby says to BT.

Ekstra Bladet has previously written that it costed NOK 29 million to make the chapel clear and make a glass of sarcophagus.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Märtha-Louise of Norway: "Critics don't affect me, I do not seek to be liked".

© Alex Bramall
“Oh, Elena!” exclaims Märtha-Louise of Norway when she sees a portrait of the Infanta at the estate that will hold the photo session, near Aranjuez. The Princess, expert rider, knows the owner, who she has competed against in various occasions. “I will compete again in October”. Besides, two of her best Friends have a place near Málaga where she goes frequently. Casually, days after our encounter, her ex-husband, writer Ari Behn, will visit Jerez de la Frontera. Märtha-Louise of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (Oslo, 1971) is one lover of Spain that will enjoy the Madrid night as soon as the day ends. She has chosen a hotel at the center to stay in and asks for the hottest places to have dinner and a drink, even though the next day she will fly first hour in the morning to Frankfurt for the funeral of Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark and brother-in-law to Queen Margrethe.

The firstborn of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway and sister to the heir to the throne, Prince Haakon Magnus, is a very peculiar woman.
She studied physiotherapy. In 2002 she married Behn, a provocative novel writer —his most famous work is the Trist som faen collection (Sad as hell) published in 1999— that has also tried his luck on cinema, television, and painting. They have three daughters: Maud Angelica (14), Leah Isadora (12) and Emma Tallulah (8). They’re not Princesses.

During their 14 years of marriage, Behn alternated explosive declarations, like admitting that they had an open relationship or that he was a “bad husband” that drank daily, with appearances wearing a drag queen or homeless costume beside a poster saying “I’m a poor Norwegian writer/artist. Please, help me”. On December 2015, the press published a photo of Behn kissing the boobs of one well-known blogger.
Eight months later the royal house announced the separation. On the press release, Princess Märtha-Louise admitted that they had tried everything. On a recent tv appearance, Behn apologized for his behavior. “I have to apologize for something, and it’s that I’ve always talked too much, I’ve never know when to shut up and that has affected my family life”.

—Your ex-husband has publicly apologized.
—I didn’t see the program

© Alex Bramall
—How do you see his extravagances? A special man, a free spirit… 
—I’m a free spirit too — she replies between laughter.

—How is your relationship? 
—I have never talked about it. You can write that I’m okay and our relationship is a good one—she replies sharply.

The singularities of this Athletic and freckled woman, that transmits warmth but also steadiness, don’t en don her failed marriage with a mister that back in 2009 described himself as pathologically defiant, rebel and childish. “I create problems and involve people on compromising situations and stupid fights. It’s really difficult to live with me”, he recognized. Märtha-Louise is hypersensitive. Her 5th book about the topic, Born Sensitive, is a best seller in her country. A “hereditary talent” that has been written a lot about on the new age literature, and that she shares with the 15% or 20% of the population. “At the beginning, I thought that it affected everyone. If you enter a room and someone has a back pain, you have a back pain too. I wasn’t capable of detecting if the pain was mine or not —she tells—. It’s like constantly having an app downloading, with the correspondent energy waste. It’s draining. When the phone’s battery is dead you charge it; but, what do you do with your body?”.

This trait marked her childhood. “I was too tough, a little tomboy. I loved to climb trees, to ski, to ride my bicycle really fast and enjoy nature. But on the other side, I was too sensible. When I spent the weekend in the typical cabin in the woods with my friends, something really usual in Norway, all of the sudden I needed to go into the woods alone and sit under a tree to cry. I thought I was a weird bug… I was over stimulated”

© Alex Bramall
Hypersensibility also affects the senses. The Princess remembers one anecdote. “My mother is very athletic. She has climbed almost every hill in Norway. She runs. I’m not capable of keeping her pace yet and she just turned 80. When she practiced activities out in nature she didn’t wear any makeup and smelled like her, like mother. But every time she went to a gala dinner, she put on Chanel N°5. She went to say goodbye and I could smell her perfume from 20m. Since then, I hate fragrances. It sickened me. I thought I would lose her.”

Her status aggravated the situation. “Official obligations were a challenge. I remember going to a church and everyone turned their heads to see me. I felt judged and persecuted; I was unable to look them at the face. While I was walking down the aisle, I thought ‘My God, I have survived!’”. With everything, she doesn’t doubt to califícate her childhood and youth as happy ones. “Norway is a very free and equal country, there is no aristocracy. I grew in contact with people. I went to a public school. I was raised like any other child. Of course, I was always aware of my role and that my family environment was different.”

—When was it?
—You don’t wake up one morning and realize you’re a Princess. You are just born into that family and for you is natural.

Precisely to explain on what her role consists of, she published in 2005 a children’s book “Why Kings and Queens Don’t Wear Crowns. “Every time I want to an engagement, the parents pushed their children towards me while they wondered ‘Where is the Princess? And the Crown?’. That’s why I wrote it”.

© Alex Bramall
—In Spain, we have a children’s competition that, actually, is called ‘¿Qué es un rey para ti?’ (What’s a King for you?) What do you think?
—Monarchy encourages stability and keeps the nation united. It guides the people through good, and especially, bad times. Politicians come and go.

In 2002 she renounced to the Royal Highness treatment so she could work.
“Now they just simply call me Highness, which is an enormous difference”, she said between laughter to ABC newspaper. Since then, she pays taxes as any other citizen. And she works where she likes. Five years later, she made public her hyper sensible condition and announced that she was going to concéntrate her efforts to help people with her same ability. 
She founded Astarté with her partner, Elisabeth Nordeng, and in 2014 she renamed it as Soulspring. A spiritual consulting that gives online courses. The decision was harshly criticized by the media in her country. Also by the Norwegian church, which her father is head of. Her most particular confession caused a big polemic. “My first contact with angels was when I was with my horses. I later understood the value of this enormous gift and wanted to share it with everyone.”, she published on her web.

—Horses and angels. You feel their presence and talk with them.
—There are energies around us. When you’re hypersensitive, you can contact them. It happens to many people.

— It’s more of a spiritual figure than a religious one. 
—It's not incompatible. I’m a Christian, Protestant, and I believe that my faith is even more profound thanks to this talent.

© Alex Bramall
She admits that her job is her biggest extravagance. And insists that she doesn’t care for the critics. “They don’t affect me. I was used to them saying that I wasn’t wearing the appropriate shoes or that I had done something wrong. I don’t do this for people to like me, but to help those who are interested. I don’t care what people think”. Today, she has 500  students on her eight courses. “There are all kinds of people: lawyers, doctors, businessmen or housewives”. Her public is mostly feminine. The Princess also has healing abilities, “but not focused only on physical pain, but to general well-being, to having a break in our lives. For me, that’s also healing”.

—You chose an atypical path. 
—The job chose me. My partner and I started the Project a Thursday and that Monday we already had students. Soulspring grew too fast. Even before it was on the press we gave the first classes. We believed what we were doing. And everything exploded. I don’t regret it, even though it was hard. 

The Princess doesn’t regret anything in general. And everything thanks to her grandmother, Dagny Ulrichsen. “When I was 10, I asked her if she regretted something. ‘Of the things I haven’t done’, she replied. I decided to follow her example”. She doesn’t consider herself as a rebel. “I have tried to keep true to myself. Everyone has that right. I’m conscious that I’ve adopted decisions that other Princesses would never take. But there are also many like me; for example, Princess Irene of the Netherlands, sister to Princess Beatrix. I’m not alone!”. She has the support of her family, whom she is very united. “They always encouraged me to be myself. I suppose that at this time, my father regrets to insist so much”, she says between laughter. She laughs frequently. But when she hears a question that she considers inopportune, her blue look turns glacial. She can be as close as inflexible.

© Alex Bramall
King Harald decides his official agenda, fundamentally focused on the disabled. Her parents just celebrated in Oslo their 80th birthday, 26 of them on the throne. They will be succeeded by Prince Haakon Magnus and his wife, Princess Mette-Marit, whom Märtha-Louise shares an “excellent” relationship. She has applied on her her healing abilities. Even though Mette-Marit is from a non-royal background, she has never needed advice from Märtha-Louise. She is estranged from the question.
She just traveled to India and Mexico. She’s on a good moment, having moved on from the difficulties of the past. “Yes, I have suffered from them, as everyone would do —she says briefly—. I’m very happy. There are things that I have yet to learn, but I know who I really am”.

—On what things do you consider yourself conservative?
—In nothing. Maybe on protecting my family. Most importantly my daughters and their exposition to the media.

—There are barely any photos of them on the media… 
—I try to protect them on stages so vulnerable like childhood and adolescence. It’s hard that the press doesn’t respect their privacy. Everyone has the right to decide if they want to be on the media or not. My daughters too. 

Interview originally published by Vanity Fair España.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Princess Madeleine's homage to her sister: "It will be fun".

Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill have landed in Sweden to celebrate the Victorian 40th birthday of the Crown Princess.
Exclusively to Expressen, the couple now tells how the family's private birthday celebration at Öland will look like - with dinner and gift delivery.
"Carl Philip and I have arranged a gift together," said Madeleine.
Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill, who usually live in London, landed in Sweden on Monday.
Since then, the couple has kept themselves lowkey and prepare before the big day. They have also met with friends and acquaintances. On Thursday Madeleine met her best friend Louise "Lussan" Gottlieb for lunch and they made several shopping together on the town.
But tomorrow is the big day. Then the Crown Princess celebrates her 40th birthday.
Madeleine and Chris will then attend the thanksgiving service in Stockholm and then fly to Öland to celebrate the Victorya Day organized there every year.
But it will also be a private celebration, of course.
"It will be so much fun. It's always fun to celebrate my sister on her birthday,"says Madeleine when Expressen meets her in Stockholm.
Chris O'Neill also looks forward to the big day.
"We look forward to celebrating her birthday," he says, adding: "My wife has arranged gifts from us. She has been responsible for steering it up," he says with a smile.
When Princess Madeleine hears what her husband has said, she laughs.
"Well, I'm well the best part of our family," she says with the glimpse of the eye, and continues:
"No, but Carl Philip and I have arranged a gift together. We have spoken together."
When will the Crown Princess get that gift?
"The program is full tomorrow, so I do not really know when it will be! Maybe it will be the day after," Madeleine says, laughing.
"No, it will be enough in the evening after she has been celebrated on Victora Day. Then we usually have a family dinner together and then we will celebrate her privately."
The rest of the summer, Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill will stay mainly in Sweden, something that the couple looks forward to.
This is where the entire royal family is gathered and Madeleine and Chris tell with great joy how they look forward to meeting the King, Queen and Victoria and Carl Philip with their respective families.
"It feels wonderful to be in Sweden. As always," Chris says.
"We are so excited to be in Sweden. The Swedish summer is the best, and spending it here and at Öland is something we appreciate very much,"said Madeleine.
Before Madeleine finishes she says smoothly:
"We look forward to this summer!"

Original article published by Expressen.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Princess Marie of Denmark: "My husband is a real Viking"

Photo: David Atlan
While Denmark is often cited as an example for its social model and the well-being of its inhabitants, the wife of Prince Joachim welcomed us to the royal palace of Amalienborg to speak with enthusiasm and passion of her adoptive country.

For years, Denmark has been considered "the country of happiness". How do you explain it?
There are many factors. The social model, education and even the weather! The rigor of the climate justifies the Danes being so robust and courageous: no storm will stop them. Long winters also make them like to spend time at home, it is the famous "Hygge", this pleasure to stay together with the family, to share simple joys. We do that a lot too. Being at home, lighting candles everywhere for more cheerfulness, sitting by the fire, hearing the children playing inside, reading a good book, what could be more enjoyable? In general, Danes have a balanced relationship between work and family life.

How does this happen?
Here we do not work until 8 pm. My fellow citizens are effective, they avoid the loss of time and start their day early. Besides, as a Frenchwoman, I had rather Latin schedules. This required some rehabilitation to be fully productive at 6 in the morning! But I made it ... And with the children, anyway, we have to get up early. Another form of wisdom, the Danes are gifted enough to leave their laptops when they get home. It's difficult. For my part, I tend to want to respond quickly to the mails I receive.

But you still have a "Danish" daily life?
We live a simple life. I have a point of honor to take care of my children. They are all for me, and it is important that they are not brought up by people other than my husband and myself. Of course, we are fortunate enough to have some help in getting our job done, but I want to take on the job. If my daughter needs something, she calls me. Same for my son. Even if I tell them sometimes that I do not have time! (Laughter). We have the same existence as our fellow citizens, with the difference that when we work, the press is present.

Is this exposition complex to manage?
It depends on the personalities. It should be noted that, despite all good will, unfortunately we can not please everyone. In any case, I would not be able to play a role, not to be myself. This is how. I am doing my best. The human being has always been critical, perhaps today with the social networks that is more understood, but I know how to concentrate on what is important.

Photo: David Atlan
If you were to describe in three adjectives the Danish spirit...
First in everything, positive, without hesitation.

It looks like you!
I may look very cheerful, but you know, I can also be quite French ... (laughs). Otherwise the other two adjectives that immediately come to me are: peaceful and honest. You can really count on the Danes.

Your fellow citizens are so honest that we find at the entrance to restaurants and shops strollers with sleeping children in without relatives in the immediate vicinity...
It's actually great. This shows that the Danes feel good, they are not afraid, they trust. It is a safe country, where society works harmoniously. This does not mean that the model is exportable all over the world.

Is this harmony linked to the small size of the country?
The size probably plays, because the territory is homogeneous. But we must also take into account our very ancient history. We have the oldest monarchy in Europe and are deeply attached to our traditions. At the same time, the country is very modern. Education also plays a great role.

In which way?
In Denmark, it is taught not to compare each other. The idea is to be happy with what you are, with what you have. This avoids jealousy and competition. At school, there are no notes, for example, until very late. Everyone is on the same level. Children do not feel devalued. They do not doubt of themselves. You can always find negative aspects, but it seems to me that on the whole, it is fundamentally positive. Particularly because children like to learn. My son cries if he can't go to school! He is overjoyed to go there in the morning.

What are the keys to learning?
The creativity of children is very encouraged. They are taught to be themselves, not to be stressed. In France, we had, from toddlers, satchels filled with very heavy books. Here, children enter school only at the age of 6. It is considered that before they need to play. I have adopted this idea for one of my children, the other will start a little before 6 years because I feel it is the right time. Each personality is different.
Another Danish feature is that there are less classes per day here. My son starts for example at 8 am and finishes at 1 pm. Then the afternoon is devoted to extra-curricular activities such as sports, art, music or excursions. This afternoon, my son leaves to the forest to go and watch animals. They are outdoors as often as possible, and the connection with nature is fundamental. From birth, babies sleep a lot on the outside.

Even in extreme cold?
Be careful when the temperature falls below 0°C. (Laughter). The first time my husband showed me this method, I was ... quite surprised! I was frankly frightened, but I was quickly converted. Children sleep visibly very well ...

Do you have any education what's coming from your family?
I am very riding on the fundamentals. Politeness of course, good manners at the table ... For example, children do not have to interrupt adults who are talking. They have to look carefully at the person they say hello. I am very strict on these points, and I find that it does not prevent a child from being free, having fun and feeling loved. Respect for adults is very important. We must be able to live together. There are moments of adults and moments of children.

Your father-in-law is of French descent, would you say your husband is a perfect Dane?
He resembles his mother very much, he inherited a great creativity. He is very talented in artistic fields even if nobody knows. From his father, he took elegance, a considerable culture and also a good living side. He's of an ultrapositive nature and very equanimous. I've never seen him in a bad mood! He will always see the bright side of things. He never complains. He's indeed a perfect Dane while being open to the world, since he has chosen a foreign woman.

And your children?
They are really a mixture of the two of us. With a little of my spirit of freedom. They have a formidable character and a great curiosity.

Photo: David Atlan
Since in Denmark we value simple pleasures, could you tell us what are your "little pleasures"?
Go and get my kids to school. I do not get enough of it. Being with my husband just before dinner. Drink a glass of wine together, talk about our days. And then the great walks in nature. I can walk for hours. As soon as I have the opportunity, I walk. On the other hand, I do not like running!

Is there a Danish proverb that strikes you at the corner of common sense?
"The word is silver and the silence is golden." It also exists in French, but it seems to me particularly adapted to the Danish spirit. My fellow citizens speak very little about themselves. They know how to listen, which sometimes makes them a little silent. I find this ability to be interested in others charming.

On the contrary, are there any clichés about Denmark that annoy you?
What for example?

That it is a country of Vikings.
It's also true. My husband is never sick. He never goes to the doctor. He's very tough. It's quite a Viking. They have very good genetics!

That all the Danes travel by bike ...
That is true! Even the ministers. You see even very sophisticated women, in stiletto heels, facing the rain and the wind, or mothers who use it to drop their children to school. I totally adopted this habit: I take my son, my daughter and my dog! Everyone does it.

The dog must be of reasonable size, then?
Yes, it's a curly bichon. It's called Apple. I had her before coming to Denmark.

How old is she?
12 years old and has an absolute obligation to stay fit. I want her to stay with us for a very long time.

Photo: David Atlan
Did some things surprise you when you arrived in Denmark?
People who bathe in the winter! It seems that this creates a real feeling of euphoria. I will try it because I am very curious and I do not want to die silly ...

Another important part of a culture: gastronomy...
The Nordic and Danish kitchens are now extremely popular and internationally renowned. Tourists from all countries come to discover this culinary school based on the naturalness of the products, the importance of organic, the creativity of the agreements. I am also a patron of the Copenhagen Cooking & Food Festival, which is a great pleasure for me because I am very glutton! And this commitment goes hand in hand with another mission that is dear to me, the fight against food waste. Denmark is a pioneer in this fight. We are taking more initiatives on this issue than any other European country.

Could you tell us a traditional dish that you particularly like?
I like to cook a lot and one of my favorite recipes is the fæskesteg, the "crispy pork", which is eaten almost like chips. It is eaten all over the country, however it is not very "dietetic". Another delicious thing: the bread of rye, there are two hundred different kinds. We do not have white bread here. I also cook French dishes of course...

If you were to introduce our readers to your country, where would you start?
When friends come to visit us, I like to show them the National Museum of Contemporary Art, the Louisiana Museum outside Copenhagen, but also the small galleries of the city. The Opera is worth a visit, as are the ballets at the Royal Theater: a must! Finally, the magnificent castles are truly the historical identity of the country. And what could be more enjoyable than a walk on the beautiful Nyhavn harbor with of course a mandatory passage to Tivoli for the children ... and the parents! Another thing to discover absolutely and that fascinates me: the design that has become one of our trademarks. It began in the 1950s and since this purified, ultra-modern trend, has not stopped developing.

Photo: David Atlan
Do you have any houses to recommend us?
A tour at llumsbolighus will give you a good idea of ​​the Danish style. There are some for all generations. The classics and the oldest such as Royal Copenhagen porcelain, furniture by Arne Jacobsen, Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl or Fritz Hansen, silver and jewelery by Georg Jensen ... You will also find new houses such as Hay , Very young and creative, Normann Copenhagen or Muuto. The architecture is really dynamic too. Today we have the chance to see the success of the young architect Bjarke Ingels. At just 42 years old, he creates exceptional places around the world. For example, he was selected to build the second tower of the World Trade Center and the Google campus in California, while in Copenhagen he is preparing to build a waste incinerator whose roof will be transformed into a... ski run. In France, he oversees the Europacity project, near Roissy.

Even in the country of happiness, there are things to improve, could you tell me about the causes for which you have committed yourself?
Wherever you are, you have to pay attention to the most vulnerable among us. I take care as much as possible of those with disabilities, such as autistic children or people with epilepsy. I also work with the foundation of the fight against AIDS. These moments are important to me. I love to spend time with these people, and I am proud to live in a country that takes care of its people.

Originally published by Point de Vue

Interview: "My whole life is for Sweden" - Crown Princess Victoria talks about her personal life.

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer
The interview was done on a glassed-in veranda facing the private part of the garden behind the palace. From here you can see the gravel path and into the sandbox on the playground, where the aunts of the Crown Princess - the Haga Princesses - played in childhood.

What did you feel after returning to Haga?
It was something very special for me, I did not have the opportunity to meet my grandparents, so when I moved to Haga, I learned a lot about what was important to them, what was important for their children - it's incredible. It seems that I'm getting closer to them, trying to find out.

How do you combine your activities with the role of the mother of a 5-year-old girl and a one-year-old baby?
I have many responsibilities, but I want to be a really good mother, real, I also want to be a mother who is a role model, and I admit that it's not easy to do. Unfortunately, I miss many important moments of my children's life. To those people who want to carefully monitor them to take care of them and educate them themselves. I watch them, and often record their small victories and undertakings.

The king once expressed the hope that you would be "a mother and care for your family" as long as possible, before it's time to take on his responsibilities.
"It's a different time now, not the same as before, I'm often at home, they're still young, and I still need them very much. With age, when they grow up, it can change." Oscar is very calm. "Quietly calm. He is calm and respectful of people and loves his older sister. Estelle is very cheerful, loves people, she's self-confident and has a great sense of humor and she is very caring"

Photo: Jonas Esktrömer
Tell us about the day after the terrorist attack, when you came to Drottinggatan to pay tribute to the victims.
"I felt great sorrow, all of Stockholm, all of our society, plunged into it, it was an attempt to hit us, but we showed that we can be a united backgammon, take part in the universal sorrow."

How did you cope with anorexia?
"It was a hard period, I was lost for a long time, nothing unusual at that age, I'm grateful that I got help because it's not so easy to get out of that situation when you feel very bad."

How do you find harmony within yourself?
"I'm not a closed person, I feel much better when I'm on the street. So for me it means a lot - to get out, enjoy a walk or run, walk with the kids. "

One day you will have to sit on the throne.
"My whole life is for Sweden It may seem pretentious, but I feel it, it's true, I see my parents and their tireless work, and I notice with joy how they do it, with never-ending interest. I hope that I can experience the same joy at their age."

What are your plans after the 40th anniversary?
"Aaa ... It flows fast enough, I do not feel like a 40-year-old, but Princess Lillian always said that you are who you feel, in that case she's right, because I do not feel that I'm 40. Right now I'm ready to begin my summer vacation!"

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Prince Daniel talks health and sports for Dagens Nyheter.

Seven years ago he became part of the Royal Family. In a big DN interview, Prince Daniel tells us about the fight for all children to get an active life. And why he wants Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar to learn everyday things like going underground and standing in line.

Two girls with exactly the same hairstyles can not stop freaking out.

On the walkway outside the school there is a Prince. He is there to learn more about how the students at Bällstaberg School in Vallentuna combine study and movement.
All of the 4C class is out on glossary. This means that they take turns after laps along a small loop, while they are training to understand different English words.

-When I'm going to learn something, I usually go for a walk. I bring the paper that I'm going to read, says Prince Daniel.

His visit is a surprise for the children. Kerstin Nilsson, associate professor and teacher in sports and health, has prepared the students for Dagens Nyheter to come. But she has not revealed that the purpose of our visit is to make an interview with a member of the Royal Family.

It was the court that chosen the place of the meeting: Bällstaberg School is featured on the Prince's list of schools that he wants to visit, schools that try to get the pupils in motion.
At Kerstin Nilsson's lessons in sport and health, it is not a question of letting school classes race to the high jump rink or that students can choose teams on the soccer field.

"Now we are in the forest almost all the time with adventures and we play. We drive in the rough terrain and that gives students versatile exercise and balance, she tells.

Her guest can only praise that attitude: Swedish schools have to go back to the movement.

"For many, sport lessons can be an exposed environment. Here is the weakest link that must be given the chance. Those who play football and hockey and basketball and exercise five times a week and have parents who are warm to them, they do not need more stimuli. They need to learn to adapt to those who don't have it so easy, "says Prince Daniel.

Kerstin Nilsson tells that she encouraged the parents to go out and move together with the children now on the spring edge. Such suggestions may well work for many of the families in Vallentuna's residential neighborhood.

"But depending on who the recipient is, it can be very tough. If I'm a single mother-in-law who works in health care, then I'm not wondering if I'm going to stand out and jog with my children. I will have the clothes clean and the food in order, "says Prince Daniel.

This is what we meet in Vallentuna: A Royal that wants to talk about equality.

At Bällstaberg School there is a blue flag, but the study visit takes place without any ceremonies. Instead, it happens to be crazy hair day. We meet students with wigs and artificial pastries in the hair. A teacher has released the hair into a cactus wrinkle. The racer wears a diadem with two rocking hearts.

Prince Daniel's haircut may well be described as somewhat more dimmed.

"I was getting a little extra this morning. I would also like to be a little crazy, he assures the students.

I embrace myself by turning the "prince" and "you" into the appeal, with an inconsistency that can cure both royalists and republicans in the reading circle. When I regret, he quickly says there is nothing he reflects on.

It was last summer that the Crown Princess couple launched Generation Pep, a non-profit organization that brings together big companies, foundations and nonprofit organizations in the fight for children and young people's health.

- It's a paradox. We belong to those who exercise most in Europe, and to those who are most quiet, the prince finds.

Both he and his wife, Crown Princess Victoria, have noticed the differences during their travels in the country.

"We have good conditions, we are just getting more and more aware. Those who already have it tough financially and socially, they are those who always suffer from disease and even there is the hardest thing. One may feel that it is so unfair, says Prince Daniel.

○ ○ ○

The research confirms the health gaps.

Prince Daniel has taken the impression of Scapis (Swedish cardiopulmonary bioimage study). It is a unique study in which all six university hospitals collaborate to study the presence of cardiovascular disease and lung diseases with studies of 30,000 people.

"In the pilot study in Gothenburg, it was seen that those living in areas where they are less privileged and have a worse financial situation, they have twice the risk of having a stroke, depression and myocardial infarction. And they have up to three times higher risk of type 2 diabetes," he says.

He goes out with his hands:

-And I mean: what? In Sweden? Today? Depending on where you were born? It's so incredibly unfair. And this is part of my commitment to this issue. We can not have it like this. We must try to change it with common forces. Everyone must ask themselves how they can contribute.

There are several high-ranking politicians who find it hard to be as committed as the Prince when they are agitating against injustice. But his dedication also raises questions.

For those who see the Monarchy as the height of inequality, it is not clear how a member of the Royal Family should address class differences.

"I think it's quite clear that I can gather and one lot of strong forces in a common endeavor to improve, for example, public health," replies Prince Daniel. Now, hopefully, you will write about this in a good way. Those who read your newspaper may not be the most vulnerable. But there are perhaps many decision makers and people who can influence their own environment and have the resources and ability to engage. We want all children in Sweden to be able to move for sixty minutes a day. If we can get it, we would change public health enormously.

The latest initiative from Generation Pep is a collaboration with Bonnier Carlsen with a book in the series Saga-sagas by Josefine Sundström and Emma Göthner.

The "Nice Body and Pretty Button" is about how Saga tries to embroider an S and is sent out to play. After an adventurous moment in the fresh air, the task goes a lot better. Readers will also learn about the body and the brain, and some tips on fun everyday games.
The book will be published to all 4-5 year olds in Stockholm.

"I've read it to Estelle and she loves it," says Prince Daniel.

What are the hopes of the book?

Just reading for our children is so incredibly important. This time I personally value it so highly, because you get close and you can talk about everything possible. I see this as a little inspiration and education. How easy it is to take the kids out. So spontaneal that is so important. It's about adding positive habits. It permeates our thinking. We know it's so hard to take away the bad habits. Then we want people to add.

These tips on everyday movements - like ramp dancing and living pyramids - will you try it out at Haga?

Yes I hope so! But it is also the case that we are the ones who are out with our children. It is not us who have problems. It's great fun to hear what we do. But I'm not worried about Estelle and Oscar when it comes to these pieces.

○ ○ ○

- Match Daniel!
- Which Daniel?

It is not everyone in the schoolyard who recognizes the man in the red-randed shirt and understands that it is a member of the Royal Family who took part in the ball game "King" at Bällstaberg School.

Those who think about it find it funny when the Prince can advance in the field and change the box.

"Now you're King," he said.

Some balls later divide them if the Prince really stayed inside the line for his box.

- He stood there!
- No, there!

It's not just the ball game "King" who has to stick to the frames. Even for a member of the real Royal Family, certain restrictions apply. When a successful gym owner marries a Crown Princess, he must take good care of life as an entrepreneur. It took nine years from the first meeting to the wedding, so he thought.

"I feel I've found a right place," he says.

His life has taken the most special of turns. However, his interest in sport and health forms a straight line from growth to today.

"You do not choose the career I did if you do not desire to change people's health. I have devoted all my adult life to it. As a teenager, I also dedicated myself to training and writing training programs to others and trying to inspire friends and the environment to live healthy. I knew early that I would work with people and sports and health, he says.

As a teenager, Daniel Westling received the message that he had a congenital but non-inherited disease on the kidneys, and that he eventually needed a transplant. From time to time, his future plans were affected - not at all.

"I did not believe the doctor when he said I would need a new kidney at any time. I was the world's most active and did not feel any symptoms, he says.

It was far later that he understood that he was actually suffering from a disease. But then there was also a suitable donor: Dad Olle Westling gave a kidney to his son in May 2009.

How much does the disease affect today?

- Not at all, so long as I suffer in some way. But it has given me a deeper understanding when someone says "I am sick, I feel bad, I have these concerns." If I continue to feel like this, I can feel that experience has been good and that it has added something to my life. A humility for life and for others who are much worse.

Even during the illness, he tried to keep physically alive, albeit at a low level. He sees it as an example of how people adapt to the conditions.

During these years and even before the last refugee crisis, Victoria and I have met very many unaccompanied refugees and have been in refugee camps focusing on single-born refugees. No comparisons in general. But we humans are amazing at getting through things. We adapt. We accept. Let's move on. We buy the situation. You can not lay down and die. There's always somebody who's worse, he says.

He would like to take this opportunity to peep others with their positive experiences from the transplant.

If I go to take samples, I usually try to ask the doctor if they can plan so I can meet some families and some children that are going through something. Then I can be a good example of how it can go.
It has almost given me more gratitude and humility to life than my own situation. Because it went quite sharply anyway.

Between 1994 and 1996 the future Prince studied sports education at a public high school. There was an awareness of the problems that people moved too little and ate too much already. But Sweden has also changed since then.

Just take the soda. What did you drink? What size? Take the fast food entry in Sweden. It has been a very fast development, he says.

A private trip to the United States with Crown Princess Victoria 12-14 years ago made a strong impression.

By the coast we came to a long pier into the water with big stones. Just like when I was a child, I began to bounce between the stones on it. It was not the same excitement, though, the gods will know. But we got such energy and thought back on how we could go on like that when we were children. One bounced out. But then I see a guy. A giant overweight guy. He goes on all four. Zero joy. Just anxiety. He could not stand upright on these stones because he was so overweight.
It was such a moment when I felt that this should not be it.

It was in February 2009 that Daniel Westling and Crown Princess Victoria announced their engagement. In a small movie, the prince found that his primary task would be to support his wife and her important role for Sweden. But he also wanted to contribute himself.

Healthcare and entrepreneurship is what I'm passionate about, he said. I had enough thoughts early on how I could use my interests in this role, with this incredible platform, he says.

In conjunction with the wedding in June 2010, a foundation was established to counteract exclusion and promote good health. Since then, Prince Daniel has also spent time on the Prince Daniel Fellowship and the task of supporting young people to become entrepreneurs.

I do not drop those questions, not at all. But now in recent years I have started thinking more and more and putting more and more time on health issues. If you are to succeed in things then you have to focus and not do everything at the same time. It was the place to create something new, he says.

An entrepreneur is usually described as a person dare to try new and see opportunities rather than obstacles. I think it was with the entrepreneur's eyes that the former gym owner Daniel Westling entered his new role as Prince.

He does not protest against that description.

-That's how it is. Absolutely. I have the ability to want and dare to do things and test. I would not mind if I did not try to make the most of my possibilities. Then we'll see. Come back in 30 years and see if I've done anything.

When can you feel this falls in place?

I have never thought," What should I do? ". We make lots of exciting things, with our travels and meetings with people. We try to draw attention to key issues. There is so much to do. It is important to prioritize and do things that make a difference.

○ ○ ○

Just six years ago, I followed the Crown Princess couple in the tracks when they went to Ockelbo. It was the Prince's first official visit to his home municipality.

I'm incredibly homely. I really love Ockelbo. To my hometown in this role ... It's clear that I thought before: How should this be?

When the train with the Royals rolled in to the train station in Ockelbo, the hill was facing the village packed with people. Old and young.

What a great thing it was. To see everyone, from the youngest and then the entire age range. I remember how my friend and big brother stood there and waved and said hello. Then I met my old colleague at the retirement home and hugged her.

The Crown Princess couple's journey continued on some worn countryside roads to villages and companies: Window manufacturers, Pannkaksfabriken, Museijärnvägen. Vikortsvackra was the hills and valleys of the landscape.

I best remember the older ladies who got up at the roadside to get a glimpse of the royals on the way to the Åmot public park. The schedule was hectic, yet the minibus brake. The Crown Princess couple stepped out and greeted.

The tants became so happy.

- What privilege to have a situation where you can enjoy happiness just by saying hi and watching someone in your eyes and asking how are they. It's an incredible luxury, says Prince Daniel. It is one of the strengths of our state that we have the ability to donate joy and draw attention. But then you have to like it. It's very easy if you think it's fun to stay there. You have to think it's fun to come out here at school and meet teachers and students.

Has that role always felt comfortable?

I have been in charge of the job in various contexts, and have had the staff to enjoy and create energy and see people. Just like my dad. We are very similar, he and I. He is also social and thinks it's fun to be with people and to create energy.

Olle Westling worked for a period as Social Manager in Ockelbo. He has never given interviews about his relationship with the Royal Family. But after a few hours at the Bällstaberg School in Vallentuna, I think that his work with vulnerable he has been an important source of inspiration for a future Prince.

It's a 22 miles trip between Stockholm and Ockelbo. It is the distance between a growing metropolis and a shrinking rural community north of Dalälven. Perhaps we get stuck in the subject because I come from the countryside too. But Prince Daniel repeatedly recalls how he feels strength and joy to grow up in Ockelbo.

"You care about each other and have a sense of community and unity that is incredibly strong," he says.

There was also a strong ideal commitment. An example was the ski slope run by the Open Air Promotion. During the winters it was an obvious gathering place.

- Every weekend there was a family who drove this facility. My parents were also included. Then we were in other smaller backs as well. Then you had mini slides. And then you jumped up the hill and drove down, says Prince Daniel.

It's not just the memories from the ski slope and, for that matter, the basketball court and the hockey stick that makes him pay tribute to the upbringing. There was and is something else too. That everyone can join.

He tells about people with disabilities who always had a place in society.

It is clear that, as a child, I may not be listed in those who had difficulties. There have always been those who lived in challenging situations. But I feel that this trust and this social security network were so very strong where I grew up. Everybody knows everyone in a small society, one knows who is the parent of what child and his brother, his sister. I believe that the strong trust is one of the success factors on which Swedish society is based. Of course, there is a difference in trust if you live in Ockelbo, compared to whether you live in a big city with many people with no relation.

A Prince who was raised in the countryside - what perspective does the Royal Family bring?

Maybe the King or Queen should answer. They are the Stockholmers who have been in most of the rural areas. They have traveled around a lot. I think they understand as well as me and know how it is in rural areas.
At the same time, it is clear that I am very pleased that my wife has her background, and I have mine, and they are very different. I think we give our children very good through it. I have worked with children with special needs, I have worked with retirees, I have run my own business and encountered all possible people. It has enriched me very much. And it's experiences that I have a lot of enjoyment in the role I have now.

Sport has a cohesive force.

I think we can broaden it to the whole community. I think of the scouts, the open air promotion, Friskis & sweat. We hope that we will be able to maintain this so that we parents today who think we are so incredibly important and stressed that we take the time to practice teams and engage in the scouts. So it does not happen that you do not have time and that any professional should do it. There is, of course, a quality in it, but I also think that there is a quality of being involved as a parent.

Can it be done if you are a part of the Royal Family?

I speak less about myself and more generally. But that's not impossible. Now Estelle goes to dance and I'm not the right person to step in there. Even if I like to dance.

But you go to games?

Exactly. Being with your children is the best activity. I also think it's important to let the kids be in all environments. One should know how the subway works and how it is to go by bus and how it is to quit and what it is like to feel this passion in the sports movement when there's a game and the Black Army sings for full neck. That's something I do not want them to miss.

○ ○ ○

In the teacher's room, cakes and a craft await, and I wonder what it's like to be a health conscious Royal woman and always meet with dignity.

It's worse if you come to a hometown farm and there are some older women who make sure that their business survives. Then they have baked seven kinds of cakes. Then I take seven varieties and enjoy it, says Prince Daniel.

He is used to questions about how he can live healthy with all the fine dining. The answer is that it's okay just watching the alcohol.

You could drink seven glasses of wine. But you do not have to. If you want to drink at all, you can take very little. And then I think the food is so good. Even if there are three, four dishes, he says.

Prince Daniel does not complain. On the contrary, he repeatedly emphasizes how privileged he is.
He might be in the coolest team if he did not always return to the injustices.

Before Kerstin Nilsson goes on to her lesson - where she will be part of a crazy hair day with a big banana in plastic as a headdress - she tells us that it was the 1994 curriculum that made her think differently about how she would get the students in motion .

Then you went to sport from three occasions a week to two or one occasion at some schools. It was in that turn that I began to think. Can we get moving during school days, at the classes in, for example, Swedish and math? We felt that we all need to be helped. Then there has been a catastrophic decline in the students' fitness, stamina and versatile mobility over the past ten years, she says.

Prince Daniel points out that there are schools that do not even have a gymnasium.

What I understand, they run one or two weeks of intensive camp somewhere. A few days from morning to evening to prick the subject, he says.

Generation Pep has devoted a lot of time to understanding how Swedish students are, and the organization plans to do more in the school environment. 

The members of the Royal Family are expected to avoid taking a stand in social issues with party political charge. It makes it difficult to, for example, discuss economic allocation.

When I ask Prince Daniel to try to give his opinion on how the health gaps in society arose, he just points to the role of the school.

We need a school where teachers get the opportunity to do their job. Professional teachers are so incredibly important. That they should be given the opportunity to provide good education and that students should be able to receive this education, it feels like a very important reason. Then it is clear that there are people coming to Sweden with different things in their luggage, and they may need more support than what we grew up in small municipalities in the 70s and 80s. But it's about resources and that the one who does not really have the conditions gets support and help.

The Prince returns to the example of the single-parent mother of three.

You can not expect that person to have energy after work to be the world's best in supporting their children in physical activities. The school has an incredibly important role. That's the reason. All children are in school. It is so important for our equality.

Is it in school that it has broken?

It's very different how it looks in schools. Both knowledge and health. Getting good education and getting health, it feels like two extremely important and basic things to build our future on.

○ ○ ○

In December, the Crown Princess couple released a film where the spouses wished a merry Christmas together with their children from a sizzling sausage grill in Tyresta National Park.

We would like to inspire. We have incredible environments close to us, even us that live in big cities. We like to be out in nature and want our children to have the same opportunities we have had to feel safe in that environment, says the prince.

The Crown Princess couple lives at Haga Palace with Haga Park around the knot.

Now Estelle is in the age when she's learning to cycle and it's incredibly fun.

What can we think about getting children in motion in the summer?

Generally, our children are hooking on us. They do what we do. We may interest them for different things. I have a wife who is incredibly skilled and knowledgeable in everything that has to do with nature. Estelle can already be sure - I do not know how many kinds of flowers and birds and plants she knows better than me. Children do what we do, not what we say. Test what's going on for the kids and what they think is fun.

Keep together in big and small - is it that we are supposed to summarize the message from Haga Palace?

Where the Republicans sees the Monarchy as an obstacle to equality, the royalist chooses to describe the Royal House as a symbol of a national community.

We are from a time when everyone looked at the "Children's Journal" because today it is so individualistic. We can be a one-way force. Just take our wedding. There were half a million people on Stockholm's streets and squares. It was this joy, says Prince Daniel.

The Crown Princess couple visited Drottninggatan the day after the terror attack on April 7 this year. Crown Princess Victoria received the question of how Sweden would move on and responded, noticeably touched, in a single word: "Together."

"She has the ability to put words on things," he says.

What did the prince learn from it?

It is not even possible to compare ourselves. She is so good and strong and has the ability to feel and see where an encouraging word and a pat on the shoulder when they are needed. But we both are really interested in people and have a strong social commitment. It is very stimulating to have a wife who has been involved in so many exciting things.

When Prince Daniel describes his mission, it sounds as if the own school of Royalty never ends.

You can of course say and think, "What do they know about how common people are?" Yes, maybe more than most of the people.
We meet everyone, from those who have the most difficult lives, to those who decide, and everyone in between. The entrepreneurs. The lonely mother. It is a benefit to gain that insight and hopefully deeper knowledge and understanding of the world in which we live. I feel so privileged that I have these opportunities. I feel grateful.