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Lena 07-03-2004 05:50 AM

The Staff and Court of the Royal Family
I know that this is slightly off topic...and if the moderators feel, that it´s not suitable for LTR, then they should please remove it!
But as Elisabeth Tarras Wahlberg almost became a cult-person here, and because a Royal court is far more than the actual Royal family I decided to open an own thread. Here you can post and discuss all information about the organisation of the Royal court and the people who are involved (Lord stewarts/adjutants/ spokesmen/Royal cooks/florists/tailors...)

And the current reason why I´ve opened this thread is, that Elisabeth Tarras Wahlberg gave an quite open interview to Aftonbladet...she talked about her unfaithful ex-husband (how could he dare!!!), and a lot about her work and the Royal family. I probably will try to translate it later.

Interview-in swedish

GrandDuchess 07-03-2004 11:23 AM

Here is the translation of Aftonbladet's interview with Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg!

My husband found another woman

This summer, Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg is going make paintings and think through her life. This spring was the worst she has ever experienced during her 28 years at the Royal Court: Brunei, speeding and engagement rumours. And her own 50-years crisis.

I can see her head from far away on the terrace where we have decided to meet; an airy silver helmet (meaning her hair). Clothes in a controlled black and white, matching jewellery. The figure/body is like one of a young girl; 15 kilos disappeared during 12 months at her divorce a few years ago. She likes to keep her weight.

We sit down in the chair; she speaks about mother-complexes, the job as the Crown Princess’s mentor – and why she feels that The King is being bullied in public.

There is something strict and authoritarian about you, where does it come from?
- Mm. Many people say so. Maybe it’s because it’s important in my job to be exact and clear. For outsiders it can be like strictness. As a private person I laugh very easily. It’s quite easy to find the fun parts in the job too.

What is comical about what happened in Brunei?
- Comical is the wrong word. But never before has a state visit been so written about. And then what happened – you know they found a memo from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs with these exact wordings about Brunei like “open country”. Well, it felt a bit funny, it’s worth a smile.

Describe your upbringing…
- We were a very close family, very loving. A home without any fuss on the countryside of Skåne outside Kristianstad. No luxury. Father was a veterinarian and mother a housewife. She had a very conventional woman’s role.

How has it characterized you?
- For a long time I had trouble getting away from her ideals and realise that I don’t have to bake and do all the food from seed to finished bread (her she uses an old Swedish saying/proverb, which I tried to translate so that you understand).

How were you as a girl?
- Very shy, insecure, insignificant. Was often marked as a swot. Was never asked to dance at school dances if I went to them. I wasn’t really noticed. Except fir when I got good grades.

What were you afraid of?
- To make a fool of myself, I think. In front of boys, but also girlfriends. In front of everybody. I lisped – well, I still do. Father called my history teacher and asked him that I should not have to read out loud in the classes. Because I couldn’t, I couldn’t get out a word.

How did you get over it?
- It took time. But when I went to the USA to study, I wasn’t shy, but I think I have mothers Småland:sih stubbornness. I wanted to become an interpreter and there was no pre-education in Sweden. In Massachusetts, at an all-girls college, I got a so-called academic adviser who thought me that I was good enough.

How did you come to the Royal Court?
- I was at the Swedish Institute and in the same house was also the Ministry of Foreign Affairs information office where Jan Mårtensson was the boss. He took me to the Royal Court 1976, there had been a wedding and the press department had their hands full.

What did you think about the Royal House then?
- Nothing really. I didn’t read gossip magazines. But when Jan described the medias interest for the Court, I became interested. Because no newspaper wrote one line about what I was doing.

What do you think about The King and Queen now, after 28 years?
- They are extremely professional. I see them as a family business. We have a working relationship, but with a deep knowledge also about how we are as persons. They trust me, I think. But just because of that, it doesn’t mean we spend time with each other in private.

Where does the personal line go?
- I don’t have any special position, even though I’ve been here for 28 years. Many people think that I’m a good friend to them, and get invited to their private dinners. That is not the case. But I can, just as the other staff, get invited to a working lunch at Drottningholm.

You and The Queen are about the same age, what do you have in common as women?
- It’s hard to express. Take The Queen’s interest in exploited children – it’s a personal interest. But even if she asks how my children are, we don’t ask each other for advice when our children are sick. We don’t speak as friends about how we are.

I don’t really understand the line…
- No, well it’s hard to explain. Like in all family businesses. The professional and the private role go into each other in many ways of course. I get a lot of knowledge about the family, because they are a part of the business. But I don’t run into their office without an errand.

How do you handle questions in your personal life about The King and Queen?
- It happens that some person tries to use me as a channel into the family. But it’s very easy to discover what the reason for inviting me to lunch is. A long time ago I made clear to my friends and family that my job is secluded, I don’t speak about it, and I never review my bosses.

But sometime you have to be allowed to “puke” over your boss?
- But for that you have the colleagues, we’re a team. We’re open towards each other.

Also about being irritated on the boss?
- Even for that.

What does the Swedes feel about The King, do you think?
- One journalist once said that he’s so “Swedish”, and that’s why people like him.

Swedish how?
- He has difficulties to express himself at times, he likes the nature. He’s not a very demanding person. Quite the opposite, he doesn’t like when people fuss and fawn around him.

But the magic? There is no royal glimmer around a man who liked to shoot mosses but not talking.
- It’s a question of balance. A symbol you’re supposed to be able to identify yourself with – but not too much. I think The Queen stands for much of the other, charm and beauty.

Do you ever think, like after Brunei, that “oh no, the boss is making a blunder again”?
- Well, he’s a dyslectic. He never answers shortly but speaks for a while. The Crown Princess is the same. But everybody doesn’t want to have that insight and show understanding. I can say that no other handicapped person is allowed to be bullied in public like The King is.

- Yes. It’s very obvious when you read the newspaper clips. That hunt was public bullying. Stupid, dumb…. All those adjectives. On the line to slander.

How can you help him?
- It’s difficult. You can prepare yourself and go through it – and we do. But it’s hard to point out.

Do you get irritated, or struck by compassion?
- I can feel hope in that his way to speak and be is well known to most journalists and most of them are able to get the important things out of it. There are important nuances in long statements. For those who have the patience, can and wants to understand.

Isn’t it easier if he learns to answer directly?
- Yes, but there is also an urge to do well from The King, to give.

Is he hurt?
- Yes. He is more reduced now, we think. He has no urge to do interviews. (laugh) He thinks, “If I don’t say anything it’s wrong, and if I do say something it’s wrong too”.

What did you think when he speeded?
- From my professional point of view I can think that it was a little… unnecessary. Because I know what it means.

Overtime for you?
- Yes, at the least (laught). Then I can think, as a Swedish citizen, that most people drive too fast sometimes. A few weeks ago I went with a car on exactly that stretch and we were stopped for speeding. The driver tried to explain himself, as you often do. So the police officer looked into where I sat and said “The only one who can get away is your boss”.

You’re Crown Princess Victoria’s mentor, what do you advice her now, when the interest for the boyfriend is huge?
- She thinks that when she is in private with her boyfriend, she is also being private. I try to tell her that what is hard to get is the most exciting.

How should she be instead, be more open?
- It’s hard to say. But I don’t think so, not right now. She is now aware of that the day she turns up in public with Daniel Westling, like for example at a christening – then it’s the same as she had made her choice. But she hasn’t done that yet.

What if fun, do you think?
- A lot. I love beautiful things, clothes, and environments. To find interior decorating details who aren’t expensive. Last time a striped cotton cloth from Indiska in cool colours.

What hollows/depression have you had in life?
- Maybe I’m having one now. A late 50-year crisis? When it’s been stormy at work, I’ve had a safe harbour at home. I don’t have that in the same way after my divorce. After this spring when it’s been messy and stormy I haven’t been able to sail in somewhere, even though I have my great children.

Why did you divorce?
- My husband found another woman. I don’t think I’ve handled that enough – yet. I’ve put it off and dived into work.

It’s not a shame to be abandoned?
- No, oh no. I don’t see it that way. But I’m now in a searching after next epoch. It’s been said that there’s three teen stages of life: the real teens, the 50’s and the 70’s. It’s the changing times.

- How would you like to change?
It’s about my longing for comfort and security. To know where I stand and what I want. That I’m gonna think about this summer. I have been prescribed to do watercolour painting!

Lena 07-03-2004 11:27 AM


Originally posted by GrandDuchess@Jul 3rd, 2004 - 3:23 pm
Here is the translation of Aftonbladet's interview with Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg! I hope it's okay that I did it Lena?

Of course it is!! :flower: Thanks a lot for doing it. It would have been a little bit long for me, as both, english and swedish aren´t my native languages...well, it surely was a lot of work for you as well, though being a Swede. :flower:

Here it seems as if ETW and Victoria would be friends...even though she´s very "modest" about her connections to the RF in the interview

Yennie 07-03-2004 12:37 PM

haha, perhaps Lena :P

I think she has a close bond(sp?) to the rf, but as she said, its more of a professional one. They dont have dinners together, but she is very close to them. Especially to Victoria, they have made some trips, like the one to Africa, together. Elisabeth Tarras Whalberg is also co-writer of some of the books written about the rf, like "Victoria, Victoria!"

hrhcp 07-03-2004 12:51 PM

Excellent topic, Lena .. wish I would have thought of it.

Is this just going to be all about ETW, or are we -- you (Lena) and I -- going to get on our knees and beg Yennie and GrandDuchess to dig up some poop on CG's personal butler, Sylvia's longest serving assistant, the chef, the servers and so on ? :flower:

Lena 07-03-2004 01:09 PM


Originally posted by King Christian@Jul 3rd, 2004 - 4:51 pm
Excellent topic, Lena .. wish I would have thought of it.

Is this just going to be all about ETW, or are we -- you (Lena) and I -- going to get on our knees and beg Yennie and GrandDuchess to dig up some poop on CG's personal butler, Sylvia's longest serving assistant, the chef, the servers and so on ? :flower:
This can and should be about ALL people at the court.
Though her holiness ETW has a sepcial place in my :heart: , but of course all members of the Royal court are interesting, since they have a very special job (like in fairy tales)

Portrait about the carekeeper of the Royal household Ebba von included

I will translate this later.

hrhcp 07-03-2004 01:51 PM

A start ...


Im Dienste der Royals: Die schwedische Haushofmeisterin Ebba von Mecklenburg

Sie ist der gute Geist im königlichen Schloss von Stockholm - auch wenn Ebba von Mecklenburgs offizielle Funktion mit "Hofhausmeisterin" umschrieben wird. Ganz früh an diesem Morgen verlässt Ebba das Schloss, in der auch sie eine kleine Wohnung hat. Das gehört bei ihrem Job dazu, erzählt Ebba uns, deren deutschstämmige Familie vor fünf Generationen nach Schweden ausgewandert ist. Heute steht der wöchentliche Besuch beim Blumenhändler auf dem Programm. Was Ebba hier aussucht, muss ganz bestimmte Kriterien erfüllen: Blumen für den Hof dürfen nicht riechen, keine Allergien auslösen und sollen lange halten. Ebba trifft die Auswahl normalerweise alleine, nur bei speziellen Anlässen reden andere mit.

Die Hüterin des Schlosses

"Vor einem Staatsbesuch gibt es zum Beispiel immer einen Vorbesuch, bei dem man sich unser Haus ansieht. Der findet viele Wochen, manchmal auch mehrere Monate vorher statt. Eine der obligatorischen Fragen ist dann: Gibt es besondere Wünsche bezüglich der Blumen? Sind die Gäste allergisch? Mögen sie vielleicht die eine oder andere Blume nicht? Wir wollen schließlich, dass unsere Gäste einen so schönen Aufenthalt wie möglich in unserem Schloss haben", erklärt die Haushofmeisterin.

Wenn trotz dieser Vorgespräche doch noch Fragen offen bleiben, bittet Ebba die Königin um Audienz. Königin Silvia kümmert sich, wann immer es geht, persönlich um die Vorbereitungen und zeigt dabei, dass sie ein besonderes Händchen für Blumen und eine Vorliebe für Orchideen hat. Ebba hat am Morgen bemerkt, dass die Lieblingsblume im Büro der Königin die Köpfe hängen lässt und hat daraufhin Nachschub gekauft, der mit besonderer Fürsorge behandelt wird.

Visite in der Wäschekammer

Zurück ins Stadtschloss, das die offizielle Residenz des Königspaares ist. Eine Art königlicher Dienstsitz, gewohnt wird auf Schloss Drottningholm. Aus der königlichen Wäschekammer hat man einen guten Blick auf die Wachablösung, von der auch Ebba sich gerne einen Moment ablenken lässt. Mit Tula, der Leiterin der Wäschekammer, bespricht sie, welche der wertvollen Damast- oder Leinen-Tischdecken beim nächsten Essen zum Einsatz kommen.

Unter Tulas Aufsicht wird die gesamte Wäsche per Hand kalt gemangelt und getrocknet – eine wahre Sisyphosarbeit: "Sie müssen bedenken, dass für einen großen Tisch etwa sieben bis acht Tischdecken gebraucht werden und 170 Servietten. Es dauert ungefähr drei Monate bis die Wäsche wieder im Schrank ist. Sie muss ja mehrmals gemangelt werden und dann trocknen. Dann werden mögliche Flecke mit Chlor und Q-Tips entfernt.

Immer Ärger mit Souvenirjägern

Die Vorbereitungen für ein Galadinner im Spiegelsaal des Schlosses dauern mindestens eine Woche. Bis schließlich alles akkurat ausgerichtet ist und vor dem prüfenden letzten Blick ihrer Majestät besteht. Was aus der Wäschekammer als Serviette kam, ist nun ein wahres Kunstwerk - unter dem sich übrigens ein Knäckebrot verbirgt. Wenn es kein Galaessen gibt, ist der Spiegelsaal öffentlich zugängig, was Ebba vermutlich nicht nur mit Wohlwollen sieht. Auf ihrem heutigen Kontrollgang entdeckt sie, dass mal wieder Teile der Wandverzierung abgebrochen worden sind – die goldenen Ornamente sind bei den Besuchern als Andenken beliebt.

Verantwortlich für das "schönste Haus in Schweden"

In den Gästesalons hat sich die Borte an einem Sofa gelöst, Ebba zeigt dem Hausmädchen Anna was zu tun ist. Als letztes hat hier das jordanische Königspaar gewohnt. Bis zu vier Staatsbesuche sind es im Jahr. Anna putzt auch, wenn keine Gäste da sind. Im Winter manchmal mit Handschuhen, denn dann wird im großen Schloss nur spärlich geheizt.

Nicht einfach, denn hier braucht auch die Putzfrau das richtige Fingerspitzengefühl, so Ebba: "Man kann nicht so sauber machen wie in einem normalen Büro. Hier ist es wie in einem Museum, da herrschen ganz andere Voraussetzungen. Man darf zum Beispiel nicht viel Wasser nehmen und man darf auch kein Ajax benutzen. Hier spürt man ständig den Geist der Geschichte, in einem solchen Haus ist soviel passiert." Ebba ist stolz darauf, hier arbeiten und wohnen zu dürfen. "Im schönsten Haus Schwedens" wie sie zum Abschied sagt.

In Royal Service: The swedish Royal Court Chamberlin (hope that's the right word) Ebba von Mecklenburg

She is the good ghost of the royal palace of Stockholm - even when Ebba von Mecklenburgs official title is Court caretaker. Ebba leaves very early this morning from her small apartment in the Palace. Ebba shares with us, that this is part of her job. Her family emigrated to Sweden five generations ago. The program for today includes the weekly visit from the flower shop. The criteria that Ebba checks here is: flowers delivered to the Court must not smell, must not cause allergies, and must have a long shelf life. Ebba usually makes the decisions on the selections ... only for special occasions does she defer to others.

The Curator of the Palace

"Typically before a State Visit there is for example a pre-visit, to check out our House, which occurs weeks if not months beforehand. Some of the required questions then are, "Are there special requests with respect to flowers? Do the guests have allergies? Are they disinclined to one or the other flower?" The Court Chamberlin goes on, "It is our desire naturally that our Guests have as fine a stay as possible in our Palace."

If despite these pre-meetings, there are still questions, then Ebba requests an audience with the Queen. Queen Silvia personally involves herself, when she can, with the preparations and demonstrates a personal touch with flowers and a preference for orchids. Ebba noticed this morning that the favourite flower in the Queen's office is drooping and bought a replacement that is handled with care and special attentiveness.

Alisa 07-03-2004 02:31 PM

Many thanks to King Christian, Lena, and Grand Duchess for translating. Wonderful insights. :flower:

I think it is terribly sad that because of the press the King is reduced to think this way:

He thinks, “If I don’t say anything it’s wrong, and if I do say something it’s wrong too”.


hrhcp 07-03-2004 02:47 PM


Alisa  Posted: Jul 3rd, 2004 - 10:31 am

I think it is terribly sad that because of the press the King is reduced to think this way:

He thinks, “If I don’t say anything it’s wrong, and if I do say something it’s wrong too”.


... what a star to be born under ... blessed with Silvia and having a tongue that "has two left hands".....

Lena 07-04-2004 05:18 AM

Here the 2nd part of the translation...probably amateurish looking next to King Christian´s. :rolleyes:

Inspection/visit in the chamber of the laundry/washings

Back in the Royal castle, which is the official residence of the Royal couple. Kind of an Royal "office-residence", but they live in Drottningholm-castle.
Out of the Royal Chamber of washings you have a good view on the changing of the guards, of which also Ebba gets easily distracted.
With Tula, the head of the chamber of washings, she discusses, which of the exclusive/valuable damask- or linen-tablecloths will be used at the next dinner.
Under Tulas control the whole washing is cold mangled and dried-a real Sisyphos-work.
"You have to consider, that for one big table about 7 to 8 tablocloths are needed and about 170 napkins.
It lasts about 3 months until the washings are again in the cupboard.
It has to be mangled a few times and then dried. Then possible spots/stains are removed with chlorine and "Q-Tips" (-> So Madeleine and clumsy Victoria should better not make a mess at state dinners ;) )

Always trouble with the hunters for souvenirs

The preparations for a gala dinner in the mirror-hall of the castle last at least one week.
Until all finally is accurately aligned and can "pass" the scrutiny of her majesty.
What came as a napkin out of the chamber is now a real "piece of art"-under which btw a crispbread is "hidden".
When there´s no gala dinner then the mirror hall is publicly available, at which Ebba probably doesn´t look only with "goodwill"
On her inspection walkway today she finds out, that again parts of the ornaments on the wall are broken off-the golden ornaments are very popular among the visitors.

Responsible for the "most beautiful house in Sweden"

In the salons/parlors of the guests a braid/lace at the couch came off. Ebba shows the housemaid Anna, what she has to do (there)
The last time the jordan Royal couple has lived/stayed there.
Up to 4 state visits take place in one year.
Anna also cleans, when there are no guests. In winter sometimes with gloves, because then the big castle is hardly heated.
Not easy, because here a cleaning lady needs the right "flair", so Ebba.
"You can´t clean here, like in an normal office.
Here it´s like in a museum, here are completely other conditions.
Man darf zum Beispiel nicht viel Wasser nehmen und man darf auch kein Ajax benutzen.
For example you aren´t allowed to take/use too much water and you aren´t allowed to use "Ajax" (well known cleaning agent)
Here you can feel the "spirit of history" all of the time, in such a house so many things happened."
Ebba is proud to be allowed to work and live here "In the most beautiful house in Sweden" as she says at the good-bye

GrandDuchess 08-30-2004 09:48 AM

Summary of the press release from the Royal Court (posted below by Josefine):

A press release from the Royal Court today states the news that from 1 October 2004, the Royal Court will have a new department: HRH Crown Princess Victoria's Household!

The Household will bear the responsibility for the co-ordination and implementation of Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine's business.

Head of Crown Princess Victoria's Household will be Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, who thereby becomes Court Marshall. Secretary will be Susanne Franchell who comes from the Government Offices and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

Temporary new head of the Information and Press Department will be Information Secretary Ann-Christine Jernberg, who will divide the work within the department, work with press business dealing with the Royal Palaces and parks, and also be responsible for the website. The press contacts for the Royal Family will be taken care of by Information Secretaries Catherine Broms and Morgan Gerle (new appointment to him).

Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg will from now on be a special adviser to the Royal Family in communication matters, and will also keep the responsibility of the co-ordination of the speech writing for Their Majesties The King and Queen.

royal_sophietje 08-30-2004 11:57 AM

Interesting move by the court, isn't it??

Dennism 08-30-2004 12:12 PM

Yes, since the Crown Princess, Princess and Prince are all adults, they probably wanted to have their work separate in the future from that of the Kungaparet and the older members of the RF. A future where Victoria will be regent. The move by ETW is interesting as well.

mixer2002de 08-30-2004 12:57 PM

Vic gets an own household? What for?

GrandDuchess 08-30-2004 05:54 PM

The Royal Court has wanted to establish an own and traditional household for Crown Princess Victoria since she left Yale University years ago. And after she had been home for a while, she did get her own little “household” (which didn’t get an official position in the Court organisation), but it was merely an office that is integrated with the Court.

But now with this press release, they seem to have finally taken the full step to realizing a more traditional household for the Crown Princess, which will also care for her siblings.

And as Dennis said, this is also a final step to breaking loose the business of Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philip from HM The Queen’s Household, which has so far taken care of their arrangements. Now all three of them stand a little more on their “own feet”….

robby86 08-31-2004 02:39 PM


Originally Posted by GrandDuchess
The Royal Court has wanted to establish an own and traditional household for Crown Princess Victoria since she left Yale University years ago. And after she had been home for a while, she did get her own little “household” (which didn’t get an official position in the Court organisation), but it was merely an office that is integrated with the Court.

But now with this press release, they seem to have finally taken the full step to realizing a more traditional household for the Crown Princess, which will also care for her siblings.

And as Dennis said, this is also a final step to breaking loose the business of Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philip from HM The Queen’s Household, which has so far taken care of their arrangements. Now all three of them stand a little more on their “own feet”….

What is a "household" and what does it do? I don't know much about the Court yet. :)

GrandDuchess 10-01-2004 07:15 PM

Today was ETW's first day on her new job! She is now a Marshall, and has taken on a new role withing the Royal Court as the head of H.R.H. The Crown Princess' Household!

To inform on this, and "honour" her years as the Director of the Royal Information Department - SVT's news programme "Rapport" today aired a story on her. I highly recommend it - you must see it! In it, you can among other things see her as a younger woman, spelling out the name of Princess Madeleine after her birth! Go here: and then click on "Tarras-Wahlberg lämnar sin post" under the word "video" a bit further down the page. Hurry, cause I don't know for how long it'll be there!

Lena 10-01-2004 07:29 PM

Thank you for the link GrandDuchess. OMG in this picture ETW looks like "Ronja Rövardotter"...a Ronja, who has gotten too much sun ;)

And then this radio-moderator, who´s imitating her...very amusing.

This is the direct link to the video...maybe it will stay on longer:

GrandDuchess 10-02-2004 01:57 AM

Is there any other country that you feel treats royal worse than others?
- Yes, right now Princess Madeleine is experiencing a tough time in London with the paparazzi’s hanging after her. She hates when the photographers come out and sticks the camera in her face. And it’s a shame, says Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlbergs with compassion, because it will be with her in the future. I guess it’s the same group that chased Princess Diana in her time. Unfortunately it’s impossible to help one self from them. They live off of it and there’s no one who carries the responsibility. One can’t call the magazine, editor or agency because these photographers are freelancers. Then we have the German press who writes the most terrible things. Made up things from page to page.

Do you confront things like that?
- Yes, we try to. Unfortunately we’ve done so many times, and know that it mostly doesn’t change anything. It’s about the same things that apply to the photographers. The magazines say that they’ve bought the article, it’s a pseudonym and then there’s no one to answer for it.

Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg shows us a German weekly magazine with faked nude pictures of Crown Princess Victoria. These, the magazine had gotten from the Internet.
- We intervened via lawyers and the magazine has paid a fine. At the same time the magazine has fired the journalist who wrote the article. Or so they say. Often it’s private citizens that call in and tells about things they’ve found on the Royal Family online. We have regular contact with our lawyers when it comes to matters of this kind. They make sure things like this is take off the Internet. But mostly you fight pretty defenceless. And when it comes to the Internet, it’s pretty hopeless.

Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg thinks Internet is a practical and great mean of communication, but that there are backsides. Do you think they should tighten the law when it comes to the Internet?
- There is no reason that either paper magazines, TV broadcasts or radio should have more restrictions than other media does. It’s just different channels.

Don’t you, as a public person, get more toughened when it comes to all lies that are written?
- I don’t think so. I think that you might develop some kind of shield, but you are after all, a normal human being with feelings.

Do you often have conflicts with journalists?
- Yes, it happens, but most of all I think they have conflicts with us – even though not very often. But there are journalists who miss-use the trust and that’s hard for the Royal Family to take. They are welcome to write critical articles and make sharp interviews, but it has to be fair and true.

Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg tells us that when they royal children where young, mother and father said: “Okay, we want our children to be left alone from the press photographers. Don’t chase them at kindergarten and playgrounds when they are with friends. Instead, you’re invited to us a few times a year to take pictures”. With times, these occasions came to be The King’s birthday, the Crown Princess’ birthday and before Christmas.
- But now they are grown up, so it’s hard to gather them more than maybe 2-3 times a year. But the Swedish photographers has actually respected The King and Queen’s wishes and did really leave the children alone, with the exception of a few times. But those few times have been hard to melt. Nordic press, included photographers, have another respect for privacy than others. It can be because they live under different commercial terms. The danger today is that the other countries don’t respect this and then the risk is that the Swedish press and photographer will be considered as dorks if they don’t do the same things.

How will the work as the Crown Princess’ advisor affect your other tasks?
- Well one is not alone in this job, we are a department of four persons, so I guess the other poor things will have to work more, says Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg and laughs. I put about fifty-fifty on the two jobs, but sometimes one of them takes more times. Like for example now that I’ve been travelling with Crown Princess Victoria for three weeks.

Which newspapers and magazines do you have here on the palace?
- We’re one organisation, but we sit spread across the palace, and different department subscribes to different newspapers and magazines. Here at the Information Department, we have for example Svenska Dagbladet, Aftonbladet and Expressen. In the next corridor they have Dagens Nyheter. The Royal Collections has cultural magazines. And also weekly magazine. But then we have a press clip service, which covers everything of interest for us.

Do you have any foreign magazines at the palace?
- No, that’s why we rely on our embassies being nice and sending them home.

How does the private Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg relax?
- I have been here for almost exactly 25 years now and it took 23 years before I learned not to wake up with the job. I like to read books and cook. And I also like to be with family and friends. It’s nice to be at our place in Dalarö (archipelago island). There you can really relax in the summers.

What are you most proud of in your professional life? And is there anything you regret?
- Often you look at things that are close in time, and I’m incredibly proud to have gained the enormous trust to be the Crown Princess’ adviser. It’s a challenge and it means a lot of responsibility but is in the same time very stimulating. To help her, the Princess also has two very wise parents. And the rest of the organisation as well, even if I’m the one who’ll be keeping it all together. If I regret something? Well, it would be that I foremost was a very tired person and in second hand a professional woman when I on the evening of 12 May 1979 decided to put the telephone receiver aside to get some sleep. And then it turned out that is was that night that Prince Carl Philip was born. Since then I’ve never put the phone receiver aside. But we once had a Kobra telephone. And those can be a bit tricky if you don’t put them down thoroughly. Then they can end up on the slope and not get the signal through. The night Olof Palme was murdered, it had ended up on the slope, and the First Marshall of the Court tried to phone me.

How often do you have meetings at the palace?
- Once a week we have planning meetings. At those times, The King and Queen gathers the Marshall of the Realm, the First Marshall of the Court, the Lady of the Court, the Chief of Staff, the Court Superintendent and me for a discussion on incoming things. It can be about questions to take part in things that The King and Queen has to decide on, and how to schedule for example State Visits.

Can it not be sensitive to choose among companies?
- Yes, it can be very sensitive. But that’s why we have this mix in the group. The Marshall of the Realm is an academic. The First Marshall of the Court is a lawyer, the Lady of the Court is a cultural (vetare), the Chief of Staff is a military and I represent the information side. It’s a consciously chosen group with people of different backgrounds to get a balance in the advising.

Do you ever get critique for your choices?
- Oh yes, the last time we received critique was when the Crown Princess was a godmother for “Team SEB”, who takes part in Volvo Ocean Race and is sponsored by SE-Banken (bank). But we had really gone through this really carefully. Okay, the boat was sponsored, but it was about sports, and tell me one team that is not sponsored. It was about “Sweden propaganda” on a rather high level and it was our country that the Crown Princess supported.

Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg also tells us that there’s a group where the directors of all the deparments and offices meets every other week under the management of the Marshall of the Realm. At those meetings they go through organisational issues, like for example the preparations for the work with the budget every year. It then goes to The King’s Council, which is a third forum.

GrandDuchess 10-02-2004 01:58 AM

My translation of an interview with ETW from a company magazine, December 2001:

25 Years in The King’s Service!

Short Facts – Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg
Born: 15 September, 1950
Family: Husband Björn, daughters Filippa, 17, and Louisa, 13
Lives: Lidingö
Career: Information and Press Secretary at the Swedish Institute 1973-1976, Press Assistant at the Secretariat 1976, Press Secretary at the Office of the Court Marshall 1979-1987, Director of Press for the Royal Court since 1988, Director of Information since 1995, advisor to Crown Princess Victoria since 2001
Car: Mercedes A160 Avantgarde and Volvo V70
Drinks: Water and red wine
Smokes: Never
Likes: Chocolate, preferably dark
Dislikes: Gossip

The Royal Court’s Director of the Information Department, Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, is the Royal House’s face to the outside world and in that role she often stands in the limelight behind the Royal House. And now she has also become the Crown Princess’s personal adviser. Among her many other tasks, her work means frequent contacts with the media. On good and bad.

How did you really end up on this unusual job?
- Via contacts as it’s so popularly called. I was working as an information secretary at the Swedish Institute in the Sverigehuset (former headquarter for tourism). I started there as a “summer kid” as they said (summer job), and got to help out with foreign study visits that were always many more during the beautiful half year than the dark one. At the Swedish Institute, I had a working partner in the Head of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Information Office, Jan Mårtenson. He moved to the palace in 1975 and became the Head of the Secretariat. And the experiences after the wedding between The King and Queen, when the media practically stormed in with all sorts of requests, made it so that he needed help.

And you don’t regret it, do you?
- No, absolutely not, but it wasn’t like I left my very nice job at the Swedish Institute just like that – I took a leave of absence first for a year.

Media lives off of news about celebrities and the Royal Family. But doesn’t the Royal Family also need the media?
- Of course the Royal Family needs the media. Everyone who works with some sort of representational PR or symbol like organisation needs channels to reach out with their work. And at that point, media is an important channel.

“For Sweden, With the Times” is The King’s motto. Does The King adapt his profile on the basis of the motto, and do you conduct any surveys about what people thinks and feels, to adapt the Royal Family’s profile in public?
- Of course The King lives according to his motto. It is often brought up in our internal discussions when decisions is to be made about saying yes or no to various engagements, and how to schedule various engagements. The motto is something that is a guiding star for the both the Royal Family, but also for us who works here. We never do surveys. But then again there are other who do that. It’s also a principle- and policy issue. I think it would bring a lot of attention if we did do surveys.

The debate about abolishing the monarchy seemed to have been toned down by politicians and public during the last few years. During which years do you feel they have been the most intense?
- First of all, I don’t agree. I think that during the last year, there’s really been a discussion about this in the media – in all ways and directions. Last time at the Social Democrats Party Congress. In Västerås (where the congress was held), there were several wishes of Parliamentary Bills. And in the Parliament they have written bills on it. I think it comes and goes, so I think it’s been discussed pretty intensely. I have no personal memories on how it was in the late 60’s, but I’ve read that it was Herbert Tingsten who initiated the debate. The debate was hot in those days, and they re-wrote the Act of Succession and the Constitution. It was the one that came into effect in 1974. The King got a new job and all the political power was removed. There must’ve been a lot of discussion about Gustav V’s courtyard speech. At least measured in the terms of those days. Today, the media has a much broader range and more channels, like the Internet, radio and TV. But at the same time, one could say that the popularity of the Royal Family has never been as big as it is now.

How did it start with the programme about the Royal Family that is aired every year around Christmas and New Year? Who took the initiative, the Royal Court or the media?
- Being 90% sure I say it was pretty much SVT that took the initiative. Since then it’s become a tradition. It was one of my first assignments, in December 1976. Sven Lindal interviewed The King and Queen at Tullgarn Palace where they cracked nuts and played filipin. It has in a way become an annual report, besides the written one we have. The programme shows the year that has passed. And a lot that they from TV’s side doesn’t feel they can have in the news, is shown there instead.


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