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Old 12-19-2004, 09:30 PM
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The Change of the Act of Succession - 1979 Constitution Change

Column by Gioffredo Godenzi at Etoile

Wednesday 10 November 2004
The Next Queen Victoria

Like lots of other young career women, she doesn’t get much free time but when a spare moment appears, she likes nothing more than sweeping up her thick, dark hair, putting on a pair of jeans and visiting friends. She’s a regular at the local gym, which is where she met her boyfriend, its owner and in a warm, slightly husky voice she describes her job as, ‘helping mum and dad’.

In reality, there’s not much that is ordinary about 27 year old Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland or the family business she’s involved in. This pretty young woman with warm, brown eyes will eventually head the House of Bernadotte as Queen of Sweden.

In one particular way, her life has already set a standard for modern constitutional monarchies when, as a two year old, the hereditary crown was removed from her infant brother’s head and placed on hers by an Act of Parliament. From that moment on, the Act of Succession decreed that the first born child of a Swedish monarch will inherit the throne and not the first born son.

What, if any, effect the Swedish government’s decision of 1979 had on the relationship between Victoria and her brother is unknown. Whilst there is a clear historic precedent for boys to take place over their sisters where crowns are concerned, there has never been a whisper from Carl Philip about the situation and brother and sister appear to share a rapport like any other siblings.

The one person who has let his feelings show about the Act on more than one occasion, is Victoria’s father King Carl Gustav, although he is careful to add that his words do not undermine his daughter’s capabilities. The trouble is that while he might say that he is proud of his daughter’s handling of the role, it can’t be easy for Victoria hearing that the King would still prefer his son to be Crown Prince.

Of course, after the Act, Victoria’s life was destined to be different from that of an indirect heir. Unlike the British line of succession, which goes on down to the hundreds, the Swedish line is tartly short and consists of only the monarch’s children. As it stands, the current line includes Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and the Nordic beauty Princess Madeleine. Perhaps, one day, Victoria would have faded into near obscurity like some of King Carl Gustav’s sisters but fate has other plans.

Instead, Victoria will carry the House of Bernadotte into the next generation. It’s a duty that she takes very seriously and one that she says she would never renounce for any reason. She firmly believes that the monarchy plays an important role in Sweden, despite the fact that the monarch’s powers are extremely limited. Although the role of monarch in Sweden is a purely ceremonial one, the Swedish government makes sure that its future sovereign is as prepared as she can be for what awaits her.

The Swedish Government is not what you would call fervently monarchical. At best, a number of Swedish political parties seem to marry such an ancient institution as monarchy with the country’s renowned modern progressive ways, cordially.

Only recently the King was reprimanded during a trip to Asia, for publicly saying that the Sultan of Brunei was not such a bad leader as he met weekly with members of the general population in special audiences.

The Swedish media and government were aghast because the Sultan rules Brunei rather autocratically. To imply that the Sultan might be anything close to a democrat was therefore preposterous. As a result of this faux pas, the King must now face the demoralising proposition of a government official accompanying him on State visits so that nothing like that happens again.

While the bureaucrats of Sweden may, on the whole, be in two minds about the merits of their monarchy, the public holds a very different view. Victoria is tremendously popular with her countrymen and the royal family’s public standing is very high. If the Swedish public has its way, the monarchy will be around for some time to come and this is perhaps why the government, working closely with the palace, has ensured that Victoria receives a solid grounding in the running of Sweden.

Her education in preparation for her future role can only be described as gruelling, especially when one considers that she spends much of her time travelling the world representing Sweden. Following studies in Political Science at Yale and Uppsala, the government’s programme included a study of the workings of the Swedish Parliament, stints at both the United Nations and the European Union and a course at the Swedish Trade Council. She even impressed the ranks of the Swedish Army during a combat training programme. Not bad for a twenty-seven year old who battles dyslexia!

The Crown Princess, like her father and brother, suffers from this syndrome. She has said that there were periods in her childhood when learning proved difficult. She was sometimes made to feel stupid at school – a common experience amongst sufferers – but in the end she triumphed, which is just as well for a young woman whose life consists of endless study.

Victoria also suffered briefly from an eating disorder in her early twenties. Rather than keeping the fact under wrap, her parents issued a statement declaring that the Princess had developed the disorder and asked the Swedish public and media to give her the space and time to recover, which she did, surprisingly quickly.

Although no one would choose to suffer from dyslexia or an eating disorder, people who face such challenges tend to develop an understanding of what others can go through in their lives. Such compassion from first hand experience can only be an asset, albeit a bittersweet one, to someone who shall one day be a Queen.

What Swedes are curious to know is the name of the man who will win their future Queen’s heart. Victoria has dated a couple of young men, but her current boyfriend of three years, Daniel Westling, is rumoured to be the one.

Opinion of the entrepreneurial gym owner in the media appears divided, as are the reports of what the King and Queen think of the man who may stand beside (behind?) Crown Princess Victoria. One report declared that King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia feel Daniel to be a perfect match for their daughter while, a week later, another said that they lamented his reportedly poor English and background.

A more likely guide is his increasingly frequent appearances with the family in public and Victoria’s reluctance to confirm or deny that he is currently undergoing and intensive course in royal life.

If photographs are anything to go by, the two seem happy in each other’s company. It can’t be easy running a relationship where the outcome is of importance to the entire country and Victoria realises that being her boyfriend is more difficult than it would be were she a regular Swedish girl. In a recently aired documentary she said, ‘It’s not easy to be together with me but the situation is the same for anyone who’s in the spotlight’.

The life of a Prince Consort has historically been an uneasy one. Prince Albert battled with the role, as have modern men like Prince Philip of Great Britain, Prince Claus of the Netherlands and Prince Henrik of Denmark. Crown Princess Victoria can only be well aware of the pressures her husband will face as Consort and no doubt wants to be sure that Daniel will cope.

Sweden has not had a Queen since the reign of the eccentric madcap Queen Christina in the 1600’s. Apart from steering the country into bankruptcy, Christina was, to put it bluntly, a crackpot and hardly a role model for a Crown Princess of the 21st Century. However, Victoria appears to share her resolute conviction to duty with an Englishwoman who bore the same name. And, if the young Princess’s flawless work ethic to date is anything to go by, the reign of Queen Victoria of Sweden will be just as golden as that of her namesake.
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Old 12-20-2004, 12:37 AM
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‘helping mum and dad’

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandDuchess
What, if any, effect the Swedish government’s decision of 1979 had on the relationship between Victoria and her brother is unknown. Whilst there is a clear historic precedent for boys to take place over their sisters where crowns are concerned, there has never been a whisper from Carl Philip about the situation and brother and sister appear to share a rapport like any other siblings.
He's probably breathing (on more than one occasion) a big sigh of relief.

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The one person who has let his feelings show about the Act on more than one occasion, is Victoria’s father King Carl Gustav, although he is careful to add that his words do not undermine his daughter’s capabilities. The trouble is that while he might say that he is proud of his daughter’s handling of the role, it can’t be easy for Victoria hearing that the King would still prefer his son to be Crown Prince.
Daddy's old-fashioned ..... and perhaps envious that his daughter will reverse a trend that he was unable to?

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She firmly believes that the monarchy plays an important role in Sweden, despite the fact that the monarch’s powers are extremely limited. Although the role of monarch in Sweden is a purely ceremonial one, the Swedish government makes sure that its future sovereign is as prepared as she can be for what awaits her.
That's good that she has this conviction. Her great grand-dad had not choice but to relinquish of the rights, and can perhaps be persuasive in "reversing" that trend. Her Dad, bless me just didn't (doesn't) have that wherewithall .... if his Dad had lived, perhaps ....

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Only recently the King was reprimanded during a trip to Asia, for publicly saying that the Sultan of Brunei was not such a bad leader as he met weekly with members of the general population in special audiences.
I'm on record to have said here that he was "set up" in this regard, and I stand by that. Only people in the know could have 'endorsed' such a basis that lead to such a speech. No wonder, and rightly so, the King was furious to have been made a public fool. No wonder he's so antagonistic .... he doesn't know who to trust. Hopefully Victoria can 'capitalize' on this.

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Aa result of this faux pas, the King must now face the demoralising proposition of a government official accompanying him on State visits so that nothing like that happens again.
and ETW, what's her reward in this regard?

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the public holds a very different view. Victoria is tremendously popular with her countrymen and the royal family’s public standing is very high. If the Swedish public has its way, the monarchy will be around for some time to come and this is perhaps why the government, working closely with the palace, has ensured that Victoria receives a solid grounding in the running of Sweden.
the ruling class always has to mind, that they heed the masses.

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The life of a Prince Consort has historically been an uneasy one. Prince Albert battled with the role, as have modern men like Prince Philip of Great Britain, Prince Claus of the Netherlands and Prince Henrik of Denmark.
See, see ....
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Old 12-20-2004, 03:15 AM
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Great article! Thanks for posting it. About the whole thing about Prince Carl Phillip losing the title of CP, I can't help but notice that it seems like he and Princess Madeleine seem to be closer in pictures and such. I'm sure he and CP Victoria get along well, but I think he is closer with Princess Madeleine since they are both younger and in the same position of being a royal, who as they get older will play a smaller and smaller role in the royal family.
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Old 12-20-2004, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandDuchess
The one person who has let his feelings show about the Act on more than one occasion, is Victoria’s father King Carl Gustav, although he is careful to add that his words do not undermine his daughter’s capabilities. The trouble is that while he might say that he is proud of his daughter’s handling of the role, it can’t be easy for Victoria hearing that the King would still prefer his son to be Crown Prince.
Just to CLARIFY - the King actually never said it this way, this is how the media immediately interpreted him. What he said (in the interview that this originally comes from, and has stuck with us) is that he finds it very strange for a Government to change such an important law in the constitution and then make it valid posthumously/afterwards - turning back the tape and stripping Prince Carl Philip of the Crown Princely title and role - not that he would like Prince Carl Philip to be Crown Prince and heir instead of his older sister - just that it was done in a peculiar way.

I must say that I agree that it's indeed very strange to change a law posthumounsly/afterwards like this, and not before it was on the agenda (before the Royal couple's children were born). But this was before my time, and it was good that the constitution was indeed changed in this matter; it just should've been earlier. And I'm glad that Victoria is indeed the Crown Princess, she will make an excellent Queen! I can't really imagine Prince Carl Philip having this role at all...
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Old 12-20-2004, 01:01 PM
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Originally Posted by GrandDuchess
Just to CLARIFY - the King actually never said it this way, this is how the media immediately interpreted him. What he said (in the interview that this originally comes from, and has stuck with us) is that he finds it very strange for a Government to change such an important law in the constitution and then make it valid posthumously/afterwards - turning back the tape and stripping Prince Carl Philip of the Crown Princely title and role - not that he would like Prince Carl Philip to be Crown Prince and heir instead of his older sister - just that it was done in a peculiar way.

I must say that I agree that it's indeed very strange to change a law posthumounsly/afterwards like this, and not before it was on the agenda (before the Royal couple's children were born). But this was before my time, and it was good that the constitution was indeed changed in this matter; it just should've been earlier. And I'm glad that Victoria is indeed the Crown Princess, she will make an excellent Queen! I can't really imagine Prince Carl Philip having this role at all...
I also agree, that it is strange to change a law posthumounsly. But I´m also very sure, that the king has complained about the female succession, then when it was changed in the late 70ties. He said something like "Women aren´t good (enough) for this job". This was quoted so often, that I believe it´s true. And when you think of the interview in Amelia, that you´ve translated, then you will notice, that she was asked how this is for her, that her father wasn´t happy about the idea of female succession. And she didn´t deny, that he said that:

Wasn’t it hurting when The King said that he preferred a male heir?
- I didn’t take it personal. My father said it when there was still a male heir, it’s always hard to look into the future. My father meant that is was a change that would mean it would be a difficult role for a women to have and at the same time be a mother. But times change, and so do we.


What you mean, he has said in 2003. And the journalists reacted of course on that with writing, that he is still against Victoria as crown princess.
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Old 12-20-2004, 01:10 PM
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PS: IMO the king should clarify it once for all! I mean he should tell us, what he´s thinking now about the female succession in general.
With this comment in 2003 he has rather given the impression, that he´s still against it. And to be honest, if I would be a journalist/columnist I would have also wondered, if this comment was the one of a still sulking father of a son, the one of a still worried father (though I think there´s no reason to worry. These times princes are also involved in the education of their children. And IMO those 12-18 months breastfeeding-when you have 2-3 children-don´t carry weight) or if it really was just refered on the politicians and the unusual retroactive change of the law.
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Old 12-20-2004, 03:18 PM
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I can't really imagine Prince Carl Philip having this role at all...
me neither! I think Victoria does a great job and imo, her personality is much better for the role as heir/official person than Carl Philip´s.
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Old 12-20-2004, 03:38 PM
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me neither! I think Victoria does a great job and imo, her personality is much better for the role as heir/official person than Carl Philip´s.
But maybe Carl Philip´s personality would have developed differently, if he would have been crown prince (?) And he surely would be better in meetings with the press etc., since he would have had 7 years hard training.
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Old 12-20-2004, 05:05 PM
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But maybe Carl Philip´s personality would have developed differently, if he would have been crown prince (?) And he surely would be better in meetings with the press etc., since he would have had 7 years hard training.
I definitely agree with you on this one Lena.

I think that had Carl Philip been a Crown Prince from birth, or even a very young age, I think his attitude and personality would be quite different than what it is today. He would likely have lived a much different, more rigorous life as Victoria has, and perhaps not had as much privacy as he has had.

In cases where the heir unexpectedly/suddenly passes on and a younger sibling takes over, I always feel sorry for the younger sibling taking on his or her brother or sister's role. The younger sibling is so much less prepared as he or she wasn't "trained" for the role from birth, even if you do say that he or she is second in line to the throne. To me being second in line doesn't mean much. For example in the case of Frederik and Joachim, if something were to happen right now, I don't think Joachim would be as prepared as Frederik is as he hasn't had the military training or "Crown Princely" training as Frederik has had. Likewise if Carl Philip were to step in suddenly for Victoria or Martha Louise for Haakon, etc.
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Old 12-20-2004, 06:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lena
He said something like "Women aren´t good (enough) for this job". This was quoted so often, that I believe it´s true. And when you think of the interview in Amelia, that you´ve translated, then you will notice, that she was asked how this is for her, that her father wasn´t happy about the idea of female succession.
I have NEVER heard that the King has said that women are not good enough for the job.

The only thing I know (and remember very well) he has said is what Victoria says in the interview I translated - that he felt that the role of being Queen and Head of State is much more hard for women and not really ideal or made for women - because it will mean that they are a mother at the same time. Now saying that might in itself point to his oldfashioned upbringing, and I remember that I gave his comment a lot of though afterwards - but of course some of it is also true (women are still the ones who have to give birth to the children, but let's hope she has a family before her day comes).

Of course I don't know everything, and he might have said this (that "women are not good enough for the job") before I was born or to young to understand or know it.

- My father meant that is was a change that would mean it would be a difficult role for a women to have and at the same time be a mother.
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Old 12-20-2004, 07:10 PM
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I have NEVER heard that the King has said that women are not good enough for the job.
He once said, like someone wrote earlier, that he found it strange that the parliament "made" the children switch places. Carl Philip was after all born crown prince.

But queen Silvia has been more specific. She said that she, as a woman and mother, tought it would be difficult for Victoria to be able to have two roles, as queen and as mother. But she also said she thinks Victoria will be a good queen.
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Old 12-20-2004, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by GrandDuchess
- but of course some of it is also true (women are still the ones who have to give birth to the children, but let's hope she has a family before her day comes).


- My father meant that is was a change that would mean it would be a difficult role for a women to have and at the same time be a mother.
Yes, women will always give birth to children, but that´s not a chronic disease. And even if one wants to see it as problem (8-12 weeks around the birth, in which a woman isn´t as fit as usual, nursing...) CG should look at his family and his situation:

A) In the opposite to an employee a Royal can choose, how many duties he or she wants to do. Of course important events like the NPA can´t be missed intentionally, but there are many duties, which are chosen of the Royal. And thanks god the nature is kind and the children aren´t really brought as a surprise of the stork. So such things could be planned around the birth date of the child.

B) Usually a swedish Royal has 3 official duties a week. And some hours in the office. But unlike an employee a Royal can skip the hours in the office, when the child is ill etc. And usually most offical dates are in Stockholm, so that the parent would be soon at home again. Yes, there are some duties abroad, but I wouldn´t say this is comparable to the job of a pilot or a business men, or a person, who has to commute 100 miles a day to the job and back. And as Rania and Mette Marit have shown the nursed baby can be with them, when they go abroad. Mette Marit´s daughter travelled a lot in her first year, but usually there aren´t so many Royal weddings in one year.

C) When the Royal parents really have no time and both have to work then the Royal baby or toddler can be given in the hands of a nanny. Again something, which a lot of parents can´t do, because they can´t always pay and find a babysitter.

D) Looking at the Royal calendar and at the reports and many pics of the 80ties of the swedish Royals, I dare to say that Queen Silvia works as much, maybe even more as her hubby (she also does a lot for charity). Logically a crown prince or king can´t have children without a wife. And it´s also expected from the wife, that she works for the monarchy. Comparing the crown princesses and Queens through birth and the crown princesses and Queens through marriage in the past 50 years I don´t see a big difference, when it comes to work. Though one person is the sovereign, in a Royal family mostly all persons are involved!

E) Usually in a Royal family the crown prince(ss)es has enough time to raise a family, and when their children are in their teens or twenties then their (through birth Royal) parent will succeed the throne. Carl Gustaf had bad luck, since his father died so young, but I guess you all will agree that this isn´t the norm.

Summarised I would say a Royal parent can have (if he or she wants) more time with the children, than many "commoners". So please, Carl Gustaf, don´t come up with such "specious" excuses! The only thing on which I agree is, that it might be harder for a crown princess to find a prince consort, but I don´t just see this negatively. It´s a challenge, yes, but when they have found someone, and respect each other, then the crown princess at least can be sure, that this man loves her really, since he gives up so much for her.

I hope Carl Gustaf thinks now differently about that, what he said then. And I hope he looks at his colleagues Margrethe and Beatrix (Elizabeth too...but she´s out of an other generation), which-sorry to say-seem to enjoy greater popularity than CG. And if CG wouldn´t have said that and would stop to speed, he would also get my admiration. I don´t care about his mistakes (naming things wrong, talking about politics...), but I really hope that he respects women in higher positions and knows, that fathers also have responibility, when it comes to changing diapers, playing with the children, telling them a "good night"-story, feeding and washing them...
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Old 12-25-2004, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Lena
PS: IMO the king should clarify it once for all! I mean he should tell us, what he´s thinking now about the female succession in general.
I think he is coming around to the good of change, albeit slowly, witness ....

"I would also like to express my delight of the fact that Crown Princess Victoria during the past year has become an even more important support for the Queen and me in our many official duties ... already at this point, she can help me, and get many expressions of affection and appreciation from the people she meets.
I feel pride for her, and I know that she is grateful and looks to the future with confidence."
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Old 12-28-2004, 05:25 PM
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http://www.thelocal.se/article.php?ID=769&date=20041227

An All English article. Maybe very interesting
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Old 12-29-2004, 02:45 AM
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You know, that piece with the King praising Victoria came as a real relief to me. There were so many times in the past where you would think that he wasn't proud of the job she's been doing and would prefer his son as the Crown Prince simply because he was a man. As an eldest daughter myself, that point of view would be humiliating, hurtful, and difficult to swallow.
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Old 04-12-2006, 05:43 PM
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The change of the Act of Succession - 1979 Constitution change

Sometimes I wonder how things would be different if the Swedish Succession Law never changed. How do you think Carl Philip's life would be different? Victoria and Madeleine's? I think if Carl Philip was still a Crown Prince; there would be much more media buzz around him and more gossip magazines hunting him down. I don't think he would be dating Emma but probably more high profile girls and he might be more outgoing. Also, If Victoria weren't Crown Princess; I think there would be more Victoria vs. Madeleine going on, especially about the guys they date and such. The relationship between Carl Philip and Madeleine would probably be very different also. They seem so close right now but if he were to be a future King; they might have seen less of each other and not have been so close. But I think if Carl Philip was Crown Prince, then Madeleine and Victoria would be closer. Carl Philip is very cute but I think the media would make him "cuter" and more "playboyish" if he was the Crown Prince of Sweden.

Just wanted to know some thoughts on this. What would have been different?
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Old 04-12-2006, 05:53 PM
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Yes. Everything could be different. Boys, girls, life... I don't think that they relationships could be different. As now they are close to eah other like it's only possible. Crown Prince Carl Philip would have more duties like CP Victoria have now, and Pricess Victoria could have engagements like her sister.
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Old 04-12-2006, 06:01 PM
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That's true, everything would be different. I also wonder about marriage though. Would Victoria marry before her brother or after her brother even though she's older? Say she's been dating Daniel the same amount of time; would they wait for Carl Philip or marry first because she's older? Right now I think both Carl Philip and Madeleine seem to be holding off marriage (both have been with their significant other for a good amount of time and both don't seem to be breaking it off anytime soon) because Victoria hasn't yet; plus she's older and the Crown Princess.
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:56 PM
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I believe that if Prince Carl Philip had of been Crown Prince that the media would of spent way more time covering his every move than they do with CP Victoria. Of course I live very far away and don't get much media coverage of the Swedish Royal Family but compared to other Royal Families CP Victoria does not appear to generate as much media frenzy.

I do not think this is a bad thing. I think it is nice that CP Victoria is treated so well by the media.
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Old 04-13-2006, 06:53 PM
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I think CP Victoria was taunted by the press when she was younger (remember when she had an eating disorder and it was because the tabloids were calling her fat). I think if Carl Philip were CP he would probably be more outgoing and taking on more official duties. I don't see his relationship with Emma changing but it would be put under more media scrutiny. As for Victoria I think she'll have it easy on her to be able to marry Daniel (if she wants to) and Madeleine will remain the same.
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