Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, the former Director of the court press department and a Marshal of the Court as the Head of Crown Princess Victoria's Household, has written a new book "Journalister är också människor" (Journalists are also human beings).
ETW wrote the book for novices, to those who are not accustomed to the media and who do not have large communication departments available. She has been interviewed about her book and she has spoken about her work at the court.
I get of course both provoked and amused by the title. How did you come to the conclusion that we are human?
- By appealing to your common humanity. When Crown Princess Victoria was only 15 years old, I remember that she got in advance a question for her interview that was something like: "Can the Crown Princess define the monarchy and explain why it is important for Sweden in the future?"
- And it was expected, that she could answer to that! I turned then to the journalist in question, who had children of the same age, and asked if he thought that they in turn could answer something like that and they of course couldn't.
- There were many who saw the royals as supernatural beings, that they lived in a different world, had other abilities, were more grown up, more resistant, all that.
By the way are royals human?
- I think I have already said it. They are that in the highest degree, and they take offense at like any other.
Surely your connection to the court has given you a sort of special status in many contexts?
- Yes, both positive and negative. Negative in the sense that I sometimes felt that I wasn't me, that I wasn't always invited to a dinner because I was considered to be a fun and friendly guest but because I represented something that the sender wanted to get in touch with via me. The positive thing is that I got to experience very many exciting things.
What has been the most exciting?
- At the risk of sacrilege: the state visit to Saudi Arabia in 1981. I had never experienced that kind of society before and never been to dinner in the tents in the desert where the royal couple were driven up in a Bentley to meet the host, Crown Prince Fahd and where real mats were widespread across the sand. I was sitting there with a bunch of press people. Desert romanticism vanished unfortunately when we heard the aircraft on the way in to land in Riyadh close above our heads.
After you left the court the king has been in a couple of controversies. If you had been there, he had not turned a page then?
- I write about it in the book too. No other king had been before in front the massive walls of the beast. I think I had tried to suggest that the press conference would have been cancelled although there would have come a lot of talk. It would have been good if he only had had time to read the so-called book first.
Do you still have contact with the royals?
- Yes, and primarily with the family at Haga.
Man är rädd för att bli hudflängd_ _ Nyheter _ Expressen
At TV4's Nyhetsmorgon ETW was asked what is her strongest memory of a meeting of a member of the royal family and media.
ETW says that Victoria was going to study French at the University of Angers. ETW was with Victoria when she enrolled to the University. There was huge media interest from the continental and Swedish media. When Victoria came out from the door to be photographed, there were a lot of photographers at the bottom the stairs, elbows were used and there was rivalry between the photographers. ETW still remembers that sight.
But there are also many very good and restful interviews of the members of the royal family, like the king’s interview due to his 50th birthday. ETW says that during her 32 years work for the royal family she never told any royal “you must say like this” if she wasn’t asked to tell what one should say, she tried to create the foundation for the royals' work. When she started at the court, the king was very accustomed with the media, the queen was quite new at the situation that she was the queen. And the queen was disappointed that the press was so interested about her clothes. The queen said: “If they were as interested in what I have in my head than they are in what I have on my head”. The members of the royal family want that the press writes about their work, not how they walk, stand or what kind of clothes they wear. Of course they are conscious of that a lot of the culture around the royal court is on traditions, clothes, furniture.
The reporter says that Victoria is very skilled on her role. What is ETW’s role in Victoria’s competence?
ETW says that Victoria had got the base from her home. And ETW had the great job to follow Victoria and support her, she had experience of almost 30 years and the king and queen thought she could help Victoria. ETW says that she has been there for Victoria, she is still there for Victoria, and anyone, who wants help from her, and she and Victoria are still in contact.
Jag finns fortfarande tillgänglig för Kronprinsessan_ - TV4 Play