Debate over the Swedish monarchy.
Amidst all the excitement concerning the upcoming royal wedding, an intense debate over the very existence of the Swedish monarchy is flaring up. Swedish republicans have, over the years, been a quiet and peaceful group. To find an overt and excited republican, you have to go back to the days of Vilhelm Moberg (1898-1973, the author of “The Emigrants”). But this spring, regardless of all the wedding planning, they suddenly caught breeze. Less than a month ago, a study made by the SOM Institute at Göteborgs University, revealed that sympathies for the Swedish monarchy have decreased lately. Though a majority – 56% - wants to keep the monarchy, the support is dwindling; it has decreased all of 12% since 2003. And an even newer study, done by Novus Opinion, shows that 44% of Swedes would rather choose a head of state through democratic elections – that’s more than those who wish to keep the monarchy. Novus Opinion’s figures show 58% wanting to keep the monarchy, compare that to 85%, which is how many wanted to keep the monarchy ten years ago. Meanwhile, the Republican Organization has almost doubled its number of members (from 3,000 to almost 6,000). And the Facebook Group “Privatisera kungahuset” (Privatize the monarchy) has over 2,100 members and is growing steadily. And Aftonbladet, the newspaper, sells T-shirt with the slogan “Ner med monarkin” (Down with the monarchy).

'Parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy'
Suggestions on how to change the Swedish form of government keep coming continuously, and not only from those who’d rather see a president than an heir to the throne. Author Göran Hägg picks up the debate in his new book “Utveckla monarkin” (Develop the monarchy), and Nina Lekander, cultural editor at Expressen, asks if Sweden needs a head of state at all: “What’s wrong with just a parliament, a government and a prime minister?” The Swedish Act of succession, which is part of Sweden’s four constitutional laws, has been brought out into the limelight and those who are taking a closer look at it don’t like what they see. The law was legislated in 1810 and according to it “The King must always be of the pure evangelical faith”. That means, in plain language, that a king or queen that converts to Catholicism or who chooses to exit the Swedish Church to become an atheist may not keep the throne. It also states that a queen or king may not marry “somebody not accepted by the King or the government”. That a Swedish Crown Princess in the 21st century may not marry without having her intended be accepted by her father and the Swedish government, has been compared to how things are done in cultures of honor. But how would one dismantle something like a modern monarchy? Says Mats Lindberg, Professor of Political Science at Örebro University: “To abrogate the monarchy, a change in two of our constitutional laws, is needed: The Act of Succession and the form of government. That requires two parliamentary resolutions with one general election in between.” When asked how likely it is that we’ll see such a re-organization, Lindberg says it’s hard to say: “But of course the republicans are moving forward. Sweden was rather tepidly pro the monarchy before, although there were opponents to the royal house, they never formed any alternatives. What we see today is a polarization.” When asked whether Sweden really need a head of state, Lindberg offers the following: “According to me we’re already as close to being without a head of state today. The current Swedish system, where it is the speaker of the parliament chooses the person to create a government, means that Sweden doesn’t really have a constitutional monarchy. What we have is a ‘decorative monarchy’. The King is deprived of all formal political power.”

Björk and Ennio Morricone win Polar Prize 2010.
Icelandic singer Björk and Italian film composer Ennio Morricone have won the 2010 Polar Music prize. The Swedish honor is typically shared between a pop performer and a classical artist. The pair will be invited to accept the award - worth 1 million kronor ($128,668.32) - in Stockholm in August. The Polar Prize - founded in 1989 to honor exceptional achievements that transcend music genres - is awarded annually. It is described as the "Nobel prize of music" and was established by the late Stikkan Anderson, whose record company released the songs of among others ABBA. Björk and Morricone will both be presented with their awards by King Carl XVI Gustaf at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on August 31. Björk, 44, hit the big time with her solo album “Debut” in 1993 but had previously had success as the lead singer of the band The Sugarcubes. She also starred in Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark in 1999, which went on to win the Palme d'Or at Cannes, with Björk winning the best actress award. "Björk is an untameable force of nature, an artist who marches to nobody's tune but her own," said the prize committee. Morricone, 82, has composed more than 400 film scores, including “The Good The Bad and The Ugly”, “The Untouchables”, “Cinema Paradiso” and “The Mission”. The committee said Morricone's "congenial compositions and arrangements lift our existence to another plain". Previous winners of the Polar Prize include Pink Floyd, Sir Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Pierre Boulez and Ravi Shankar. For more info on the Polar Music Prize, see / on Ennio Morricone, and for a sample of Björk's music, go to

No birthday at Solliden for Victoria.
She won’t celebrate her birthday at Solliden this year, Crown Princess Victoria. The reason is as of yet unknown. The Crown Princess’ birthday is on July 14 and she always celebrates it at the Solliden Palace on Öland with her family, greeting press and well-wishers who drop by. King Carl Gustaf broke the news to Sveriges Television’s Smålandsnytt, but refrained from saying why the Crown Princess wouldn’t be at Solliden this year. Kay Wieståhl, who took the initiative to the so-called Victoriadagen (Victoria Day – a folkfest that takes place at Borgholm stadium in the presence of the royal family), says he has yet to receive information about who will participate in this year’s Victoriadagen. Wieståhl says Victoria has only been absent once before. “Of course it would be sad (if she doesn’t show up), but it is nothing new and it can happen,” he said.

Sofia stays the night.
Look who slept over at the Prince’s apartment! Sofia Hellqvist - yes that’s the former lightly clad model and reality TV-star - and Prince Carl Philip were caught on film when they left the prince’s dwelling together recently. The couple has also been seen shopping at a nearby grocery store at Järntorget in Gamla Stan, Stockholm. The future for them, however, looks a bit unsure: Sofia is planning on going to Africa as a volunteer while the Prince continues his studies at Lantbruksuniversitetet, SLU, in Skåne – before that though, they will spend a long summer together.

Treasure trove found in clothing store.
When the sales people at a Borlänge Indiska clothing store were rearranging the store, they found a mysterious package wrapped in aluminum foil. Inside the package were jewelry worth some 100,000 SEK ($12,871.00). Police is now looking for the rightful owner to the necklace, earrings and rings found. One of the rings alone was worth SEK 50,000 ($6,430). Nobody knows how the package ended up in the store.