victoriaI was going to write about the romance of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling, whom she met when she enroled at the gym he owned, in the style of a romance novel blurb, but it sounded so unbelievably tacky that I pressed “delete”. In plain words: Some eight years ago, Princess Victoria, after successfully battling anorexia, enroled in said gym and became friends with her personal trainer. If the yellow press is to be believed, friendship turned into love. Although the princess’s father, the king, was not pleased with his daughter’s choice, Victoria, otherwise the pattern of a princess, insisted. The royal parents came around, and last Saturday Victoria and Daniel, now Duke of Västergötland, got married in a magnificent ceremony in Stockholm.

A firm republican where my own nation is concerned, I have a soft spot for royalty in other countries. Victoria is very likeable – open about her dyslexia, hard-working, down-to-earth and yet charming and elegant. I wish her and her husband all the very best.

It is probably Daniel who faces the greater difficulties in the future, as he comes from a solidly middle-class background, and what he has achieved so far is esteemed among the middle classes, but very likely not much among the aristocracy. The present crown princes of Norway, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands all married women with a non-aristocratic background and seem to be happy, but one wonders how a man, even a man of the 21st century will deal with the purely decorative, always-taking-second-place role that awaits the new prince. On the other hand, gender roles are merging, and perhaps Daniel will find it easier than I think to create a place for himself as husband of a future queen. As I said, all the best!

– Rike Horstmann