Princess Madeleine of Sweden always makes negative headlines. Why is the daughter of King Carl XVI. Gustaf just so unpopular?
An attractive young woman. Well married, happy mother of three children, respected at work – and with a sonorous title that seems particularly impressive in the original: “Hennes Kungliga Höghet Madeleine, Prinsessa av Sverige, Hertiginna av Hälsingland och Gästrikland”.
Outside of Sweden it could be translated as: Her Royal Highness Madeleine, Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland. In her adopted home of Florida, where people have been very receptive to the pompous not only since Donald Trump (75) and his princely summer residence Mar-a-Lago, it makes a good impression. But there she is simple: Mrs. Madeleine O’Neill.
There are said to be people in the vicinity who have no idea that the nice Mrs. O’Neill is a real king’s daughter: Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine, her full baptismal name, is after her siblings Crown Princess Victoria (44) and Prince Carl Philip ( 43) the baby of the Swedish monarch couple King Carl XVI. Gustaf (76) and Queen Silvia (78). This Friday (June 10) she celebrates her 40th birthday.
Loving and celebrating in the spotlight
It hasn’t always been easy for the eighth heir to the Swedish throne. The Swedish public apparently had a special interest in the private life of the youngest royal princess. Her capricious behavior was criticized, but she had only done what most young people tend to do: enjoy their youth.
Conservative circles in particular were enraged by the pictures that were obviously taken while she was studying at Stockholm University. «Countless photos of the nightlife of the exclusive Stockholm clubs showed the princess dancing in front of tables overflowing with drinks. She was a life woman who was often photographed with a lot of bare skin and her changing friends, all boys from a good family, with fine suits and half-length hair that was pulled back,” reported the “Berliner Morgenpost”.
The fact that she was and is a dutiful young woman who was conscientiously trained for her tasks in international humanitarian work is probably one of the requirements that a member of the royal family has to tacitly fulfill.
In the case of Princess Madeleine, only outward appearances were noticed and commented on. In 2002, at the age of 20, she fell in love with the attractive Swedish lawyer Jonas Claes Bergström (43). When the couple spent a few months in New York, it was initially classified under the jet-set attitude category. In fact, Madeleine did an internship at Unicef for six months to prepare for her job at the World Childhood Foundation, a children’s charity founded by her mother.
The dramatic betrothal and great love
She became engaged to Bergström in 2009 and the preparations for the wedding had already begun when the Swedish royal court announced the dissolution of the engagement on April 24, 2010. Previously, Norwegian handball player Tora Uppstrøm Berg had claimed in the tabloids that she was having an affair with the princess’ fiancé. And Madeleine got her fat off again…
Fleeing the media hype that followed, the princess flew back to the United States to work in the New York office of the Childhood organization. Through friends she met and fell in love with the wealthy and handsome British-American investment banker Christopher O’Neill (47 today).
He remembered getting to know each other on the Norwegian-Swedish talk show “Skavlan” in 2015 and said it was part of his job “that I can assess people immediately. With Madeleine I saw those eyes, that charming smile. She is a very open person, very honest, very accommodating and very sweet.” And Madeleine was certain that she had finally found her prince charming. She raved about his humor, charm, looks, attentiveness and generosity. “He’s a true gentleman,” she said.
Re-engagement and dream wedding
The engagement was announced in October 2012, and nine months later a lavish wedding was celebrated in the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The couple’s three children were born in quick succession: 2014 daughter Leonore, 2015 son Nicolas, 2018 daughter Adrienne.
Actually, that should be enough for one of the top places in the popularity list, but somehow the public displeasure was transferred to Chris O’Neill. For one thing, annoyed by the hype of the paparazzi, he had given some photographers the middle finger. So he was considered a bully. On the other hand, on the occasion of the wedding, O’Neill had rejected Swedish naturalization and an elevation to the nobility with the appointment as Prince of Sweden. That was taken as arrogance, but he wasn’t overly impressed. “I have no desire to gain any fame, nor do I benefit from it in my job,” he told King magazine in 2018, according to Adelswelt.
Emigrate to Florida
When the young family then moved to Florida, where Chris O’Neill goes about his business and Madeleine works for the World Childhood Foundation, the opinion spread in Sweden that the princess was abandoning her country and her family.
She was also resented for being absent from her father’s birthday party. However, due to the corona pandemic, international flight schedules were severely restricted. Even when it became known that Princess Madeleine, unlike her siblings, no longer received any allowances, she didn’t earn any plus points.
Most recently, her absence on Sweden’s national day on June 6 was criticized. In the past two years, she had at least posted Instagram posts with photos of her three children holding Sweden flags in their hands. This year even these greetings were missing.
Princess Madeleine is also celebrating her 40th birthday in the United States, as Margareta Thorgren, head of information at the court, told the magazine “Svensk Damtidning” on Thursday.
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