The Swedish Republican Association wants all references and images relating to the monarchy removed from coins and bills. Hardly to become reality considering that three of four Swedes solidly support their monarchs
While facing bills for the wedding of his oldest daughter that can easily climb over $20 million, beleaguered Carl Bernadotte (known nowadays as H.M. King Karl XVI Gustav of Sweden) had this financial injury compounded with the insult that his portrait should be removed from the very money that he's spending.
In an open letter to the Bank of Sweden, which was meeting to discuss revamping the graphics on money, the anti-royalist group, the Swedish Republican Association, demanded in their meeting on the Ides of March that the monarch's likeness should be eliminated from new denominatioins of coins and, moreover, that new folding money replace existing notes that carry his face. Further, they ask that all references to the Swedish Royalty be purged from the country's currency.
"The minting of coins with the king's portrait or name crowned slate must stop," declared the statement of the Stockholm-based group which is headed by Peter Althin, the highly visible defense attorney who might be characterized as Sweden's equivalent to a Perry Mason advocate.
"We believe that there is only one single modern form of government, namely the republic, and that family background should not control who is Sweden's head of state. Kings and queens do not belong in a democracy. Those things which symbolize the monarchy on banknotes and coins can, as a suggestion, be replaced by the people and things that represent modern day Sweden," proclaimed the association's directors.
Among their association, which is a sister group of similar anti-monarchy organizations throughout Europe, a large number of members' ideas listed the Swedish moose to replace the King on the one crown coin. Other ideas included bears, lynx, birds, hedgehogs or persons such as Astrid Lindgren and Alfred Nobel or articles with Swedish identity such as cell phones, automobiles or meatballs. They went on to demand that ancient Kings, including the liberator and founder of the country, Gustav Vasa, as well as the popular Charles XI, who founded Sweden's bank, be respectively - albeit not necessarily respectfully - removed from the largest 1,000 and 500 crown notes.
On Sweden's national holiday, June 6 (which is incidentally the day that bears the King's name!), the Republican Association likewise holds its fifth annual celebration in Stockholm along with all their European comrades against kings. However, considering that three of four Swedes solidly support their monarchs, and with the forthcoming Royal Wedding promising to bring this to even more overwhelming approval, few odds makers estimated that the Republican Association's demands would achieve serious attention at least during the next few seasons.
Photo: Detail of oil canvas showing Charles XI (at about age 37) in his coronation outfit (although he became monarch at the age of five years), painted around 1690 by Swedish nobleman and Royal artist David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, (1628-1698). He appears today on the 500 crown currency.
500 SEK banknote with a portrait of Karl XI, King of Sweden between 1672 and1697. He founded Sveriges Riksbank (The Bank of Sweden, 'The Fed') in 1668. Sveriges Riksbank issues all banknotes and coins in Sweden.
1,000 SEK banknote showing Gustav Vasa, 1456 - 1560. Gustav Vasa founded the Swedish hereditary monarchy and united the loosely connected Sweden of the 16th century into a state with a central government. Following the Reformation he also turned the young Lutheran church into a Swedish state church in 1527.