Madeleine of Sweden: Why is she so unpopular?

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Madeleine of Sweden: Why is she so unpopular?
Madeleine of Sweden: Why is she so unpopular?

Princess Madeleine of Sweden celebrates her 40th birthday on June 10, 2022. But instead of being cheered on by her fellow Swedes, the princess has decided to stay in her adopted homeland of the USA on her special day of honor. A decision that will offend the Swedes and will probably increase Madeleine's unpopularity with the people. Why does the princess not have a good image? We look back on a royal life that hasn't always been easy.

The private life of the young princess caused a hype in the press

An attractive young woman. Well married, happy mother of three children, respected at work - and with a sonorous title: Her Royal Highness Madeleine, Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland. In their adopted home of Florida, where people have been very receptive to the pompous not just since Donald Trump and his princely summer residence Mar-a-Lago, it makes quite a difference. But there she is plain: 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 daughter of a king: Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine, her full baptismal name, is named after her siblings, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Carl Philip the baby of the Swedish monarch couple King Carl XVI. Gustaf and Queen Silvia.

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 for doing what most young people tend to do: enjoying their youth.

Madeleine went to the party and showed a lot of skin

Conservative circles in particular were incensed about pictures that were obviously taken during Madeleine's student days 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 woman of the world, often with a lot of bare skin and her changing friends, all boys from a good family, with fine suits and half-length hair slicked back, was photographed", reported the "Berliner Morgenpost".

The fact that she was and is also 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 fulfil.

But the Swedish gossip press preferred to focus on appearances and the apparent superficiality of the princess. In 2002, the then 20-year-old fell in love with the attractive Swedish lawyer Jonas Claes Bergström. 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.

Dramatic disengagement and great love

Madeleine and Jonas Bergström got engaged in 2009 and the preparations for the wedding had already started when the Swedish royal court announced on April 24, 2010 that the engagement had ended. Previously, Norwegian handball player Tora Uppstrøm Berg had claimed in the tabloids that she was having an affair with the princess' fiancé.

Escaping the ensuing media frenzy, Madeleine flew back to the United States to work at the Childhood organization's New York office. Through friends she met and fell in love with the we althy and handsome British-American investment banker Christopher O'Neill.

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 judge people immediately. With Madeleine I saw these eyes, this charming smile. She's 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, attention and generosity. "He's a true gentleman," she said.

Another engagement and finally the 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: daughter Leonore in 2014, son Nicolas in 2015, daughter Adrienne in 2018.

Actually, that should be enough for one of the top places in the popularity list, but somehow the public displeasure was also 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 become any celebrity, nor do I benefit from it in my job," he told King magazine in 2018, according to Adelswelt.

Madeleine is considered the "laziest princess"

When the young family 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 leaving her country and her family behind Sting. Even when it became known that Princess Madeleine, unlike her siblings, no longer received any allowances, that didn't earn her any plus points.

2020, a Swedish nobility expert publicly criticized the princess because she had kept so few royal appointments. And only one appointment – throughout the year! Madeleine won the title of laziest princess. In a poll in 2021, she received another smack: Swedes don't trust her and accuse her of living a life of luxury.

Even far from Sweden, Madeleine can still get a lot wrong. She was accused of cheating on her father Carl XVI's 75th birthday. Gustaf was absent. However, due to the corona pandemic, international air traffic was severely restricted and travel restrictions were strict.

The last time her absence on the Swedish National Day on June 6th 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.

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