The Swedish royal family’s hitherto unblemished reputation as a model of regal respectability has been shattered by a book that portrays King Carl Gustav as an incorrigible philanderer with an insatiable appetite for sex parties and strip clubs.
The book, The Reluctant Monarch, has caused a scandal in Sweden, a country that has a high regard for its royal family, with many expressing their anger towards the authors in the run-up to publication, which at times appeared to be in doubt.
One of the authors, Thomas Sjoberg, said: “It has created a media Third World War,” he said. The book sold its initial 20,000 print run on the day it was published. It has exploded the idealised world of Sweden’s royal family exemplified this year by the fairytale televised marriage of the king’s daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, to a commoner.
In Sjoberg’s book, Carl XVI – hitherto renowned for his love of scouting and fast cars – is exposed as a frequent participant at wild sex parties hosted in a Stockholm club by Mille Markovic, a man reported to have links to the mafia.
It also contains sinister allegations that Sapo, Sweden’s secret police, worked to conceal the king’s activities, kept guard outside his sex clubs and pressured women to hand over photos and compromising material that would expose him.
The book has also exposed another murky side to Sweden, supposedly a country that champions free speech. Pressure to stop The Reluctant Monarch is said to have resulted in Sjoberg’s co-author, Tove Meyer, being sacked from her job in Swedish public broadcasting merely because she was working on the book.
Her employers defended their decision by saying she did not have her contract renewed because she was working on a second, unsanctioned project.
But the chairman of the Swedish branch of Reporters Without Borders, Jesper Bengtsson, said: “If this is a way to silence somebody who is looking into the Swedish royal family critically, then that is ill-boding. We must be able to scrutinise the royal family the way we scrutinise any other institution, without risking our jobs.”
Sjoberg’s book cites several women who allegedly attended the king’s sex parties. They describe how elaborate dinners were rounded off with sessions in a communal whirlpool when scantily clad women would “throw off their clothes and sit on the men’s laps”.
It is claimed ordinary “suburban girls” were brought to the club where the king is said to have “led them on with promises” to have sex with them. When that failed, the club owner resorted to prostitutes.
Once, the king, 63 – Queen Elizabeth II’s third cousin – is said to have bedded two women at the same time.
Further claims include his having spent some US$10,000 at Atlanta’s Gold Club nightclub during the city’s 1996 hosting of the Olympics, when he spent two hours in a room with a stripper.
The book also details his apparently lengthy affair with Camilla Henemark, a Swedish singer and model. Sjoberg claims Queen Silvia, Carl Gustav’s wife of 34 years, knew about the affair but could do nothing because the king had fallen in love “like a teenager” and the two were talking about escaping to a distant island to “live on coconuts”.
The Reluctant Monarch has been given credibility by the king’s reaction to it. Instead of issuing a stern rebuttal to the allegations, he appears to admit they are true. “I have spoken to my family and the queen and we chose to turn the page and move forward because these are things that happened a long time ago,” he said.
Most Swedes appear shocked by the book’s claims. But the scandal seems set to deepen.
The ex-Mafia boss Markovic has claimed that he made videos of the royal sex parties and was planning to publish them, saying: “He appeared never to keep his word about helping them with their careers or jobs after he got what he wanted.”