DI Weekend, a Friday magazine of Dagens Industri, has followed Daniel in his work and Daniel gave a large interview to them.
After five years as husband to Sweden's future queen, Prince Daniel has carved out his own role in the public sphere, where health and entrepreneurship are his priority issues. "It is fantastic to represent an institution that can act as a unifying force for good when it is at it's best", he says.
Prince Daniel of Fatherhood:
"When you hear your daughter roaring with laughter one becomes really reminded of what life is about. You just want to be there and then, and look after her needs".
"I think it's great that it can be an apolitical, joint force for people of different opinions in different parts of society. King's tsunami speech is the best example of it in modern times".
His acclaimed wedding speech to Crown Princess Victoria:
"It's great that it was well received, but I have higher ambitions with my mission than that. I do not want it to be the only thing you will remember me".
It has been ten years since Di Weekend met Daniel Westling, for his first big interview. Now we have followed him during some hectic work weeks, and he knows exactly what he wants to convey: "I want to tell you how I have interpreted this role. I want to show what questions I have taken up, what I run for and what challenges we face in society", he says.
Daniel at Karlstad with Prince Daniel Fellowship: "When we are in the schools it's not my role to be the great entrepreneur, that's why the others are there. But I like to talk about my experiences, for the health and fitness industry can be a little more understandable than the IT industry. That one needs staff, little equipment and a local to start a gym is easy to understand".
The students were told how he wrote training programs to his mates already at age 16, how he became one of the first personal trainers and how he eventually converted his great passion for health to gym companies Master Training and Balance. Students heard also that they shouldn't be afraid to start a business with their friends (You don't want to take a financial risk with someone you don't know) and that they should treat failures as necessary experience.
Are there any own examples of that?
"Absolutely. When my friends and I launched Balance, we were so optimistic about the concept that we thought people would stand in line, but it doesn't work like that. We should have thought marketing and pricing better at start. Now the owners had to invest more money and everything took longer. I learned a lot of that".
Prince Daniel is also an example of a desire to be his own boss and to have control over his own time. But when he became prince, he left operational missions and board membership of his gyms, where he is a silent partner.
Wasn't it difficult having to leave your companies?
"I do not think so. In this role, I get an outlet for my entrepreneurial talent in other ways, I have, for example, put together this program with the Royal Academy of Engineering Sciences. Another project I have started is the Foundation En Frisk Generation that organizes physical activities for families in resource-poor areas. I also want to have total focus on this mission. No one should be able to say that I'm sitting on double chairs. As a Prince I should do good and serve Sweden and the Swedish people. It may sound a bit pretentious, but that's exactly what it's about".
The time is just before nine in the morning and Prince Daniel will give a speech at a welfare seminar at the Grand Hôtel.
"Today is a good day", he shouts energetically, although a ten hours long work day with three appearances awaits. He gives his speech without a script, and my tape recorder shows that he keeps his specified time almost to the second. There is no one else on the speakers who does that. The Marshal of the Court, Karolin A. Johansson tells that Prince Daniel usually writes his speeches himself, but he balls them with his employees in advance.
He speaks of the plague of our time, diseases of affluence. A paradox is that Swedes are the people in Europe who train the most, while among those who mostly sit still. "Sedentary is the new smoking", he says, citing research that shows that we can reduce insulin and blood glucose levels by 30 and 7 percent respectively for standing up and walking around for three minutes every half hour.
Prince Daniel knows what it means to be sick. Six years ago, he went through a kidney transplant after a few tough months of dialysis. He suffered from a congenital but not hereditary disease that was discovered by accident when he was a teenager. His father Olle Westling donated the new kidney: "When the kidneys are not working properly, the blood becomes poisoned. Just a few hours after the transplant, I felt so clean and clear, it was amazing".
He has spoken increasingly about the transplantation last year: "In the beginning I didn't think it was so fun to talk about and it felt private, but I have realized that I need to be able to contribute in the way I can. My message is that if you are willing to receive an organ for yourself or to a relative, you must also be willing to give. Actually, it's that simple".
Children and parents have gathered for an evening shift in taekwondo in a school in Haninge. The children get wide-eyed as Prince Daniel turns up. He throws off his jacket and tie and sits next to a little girl: "You don't actually want to be with? You know, sometimes my daughter wants also take it easy at first but then she usually gets started after a while".
It's not long before the girl goes around with the other kids, and the prince is sure to show to her that he has noticed it. The idea for the foundation is his own, and he turned to Professor Claude Marcus at Karolinska Institute, who helped him find the operations manager Anja Nordenfelt leading the effort.
"En Frisk Generation is special because the parents are with the children, the entire family's health is affected. Moreover, it's not so easy to get into sports clubs nowadays, if you are ten years old and want to play football", said Prince Daniel.
The training is free and different sports are tested on during the semester. After each pass there is a nutritious dinner.
After military service, Prince Daniel worked a year with children with special needs in schools and recreation centers. Before that he had also worked nearly nine months as a care assistant in a nursing home.
"I've always had a good relationship with my grandparents and I have great respect for the elderly. I like people of all ages, pure and simple. Now I sound like a very cute guy, but it's true. In this role, I have been grateful for that experience many times. I know what it is to care for demented people. They should be showered, fed and given medicines. It is an experience to carry with throughout your life".
When he as 18 years old began working in an elderly home, it was quite unusual with young guys in healthcare.
"But you know young guys are popular in health care because it is very heavy lifting to do. And I really wanted to prove that I did a good job, oh how I lay flat and hoovered under the couches at home of the ladies".
Ambitious already then?
"Well, I've always had a pretty good draft in my work ethic".
A few weeks ago, the court announced that Princess Estelle will have a sibling in March.
"The emotions are all over the place, as usual", said Prince Daniel.
A few days before our interview, he visited a home for unaccompanied minors with Crown Princess Victoria.
"We visit both homes for unaccompanied and asylum lodging at regular intervals. After such conversations, it is impossible not to be touched and wants make a difference", said Prince Daniel.
He tells about a visit when they went around the circle and each child told of their origins and their contacts with relatives and friends.
"Ultimately it was 15-year-old boy, who raised his hand. 'It's only me', he said. He had no track of a single family member, uncle, aunt or friend. He was all alone, could not speak the language and had traumatic experiences".
Prince Daniel finds it frustrating not being able to do whatever he wants in those situations: "What we can do is to try to spread joy and encouragement and be a voice for the difficult questions."
Being a prince has given him a deeper understanding and knowledge of how society looks, he says. It has been a bit easier to get into his work than he thought.
"It's probably because I was recognized far before I got my public role in connection with the engagement. I also had an understanding of what it meant by my 'role model', which is my wife. She had really shown how this work should be performed".
Has it been difficult to define your own mission at her side?
"Both yes and no. My main task is to be her support, especially in her next assignment as head of state. But she is happy that I have found my own areas, so that we can make good on a broader front. She burns especially for the environment, international development cooperation and peace work, as she has a more general role".
It is 13 years since he became acquainted with Crown Princess Victoria and he has had time to adapt to royal life.
"I live very much here and now. But when I meet my old Ockelbo Gang, who I've known since I was five years old, any of them can say: Imagine how it was nevertheless'. Then it is clear that I reflect".
After completion of martial arts training practitioners have dinner with the prince. "I love the meetings with the kids," he says.
»Jag låg raklång och dammsög under sofforna hos tanterna« - Di Weekend