Saturday, 24 April 2010

Princess Madeleine will not marry Jonas Bergström

The court of Stockholm (external link) today announced that Princess Madeleine and her fiancé Jonas Bergström have mutually agreed to go separate ways. Bergström proposed to the Princess on 12 June 2009 and the engagement was announced on 11 August.
The cancellation of the engagement comes after weeks of speculation. At the time of their engagement it was said that the wedding would take place towards the end of 2010 or in early 2011, but as months went by and no date was set the media began to speculate if everything was all right in the relationship. It was claimed that the relationship had been virtually at an end after Bergström had made a trip to the ski resort Åre without the Princess in April last year and that the relationship was only saved by his surprising proposal at Capri in the early summer.
Amid the speculations Queen Silvia remarked on 12 April that there would “unfortunately” not be any wedding this year, while adding the next day that she was not in a position to know if there were difficulties in the relationship.
A week ago it was noticeable how the Swedish media began to turn against Jonas Bergström, who they had earlier been quite in love with, and published reports on his “double life” and partying.
On Tuesday the Norwegian weekly Se og Hør published an interview with a 21-year-old Norwegian who claimed to have slept with Jonas Bergström during the said trip to Åre last year, a story which was splashed all over the Swedish tabloids on Wednesday. The fact that this girl claimed Bergström had introduced himself to her as Jacob Bergström caused a wonderful remark from Daniel Nyhlén at Svensk Damtidning (external link), who wrote that if this story were true, he might as well have called himself Jacob Anckarström (the man who shot Gustaf III).
With the Swedish media speculating that the relationship was in fact over, the royal court went to the unprecedented step of issuing an announcement saying that Princess Madeleine and Jonas Bergström were still a couple but that they now needed some peace (a statement which has now discreetly been removed from their website).
The latter phrase was a clear indication that things might be about to change and this afternoon it was formally announced that the Princess and Mr Bergström have ended their engagement. Princess Madeleine has left for the USA, where she will be working with the World Childhood Foundation for some weeks, and the court made it clear that no further comments will be forth-coming. The King of Norway has however made a brief comment (external link) that it seems better to end it now than after the wedding, which I guess most can agree with.
To my knowledge the last engagement within a reigning royal family to be broken off was that of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco and Jean-Yves LeFur in 1990, while in Scandinavia we will have to go as far back as 1922, when the engagement between Crown Prince Frederik (IX) of Denmark and Princess Olga of Greece came to an end after a few months.
Princess Madeleine and Jonas Bergström, a jurist by profession, had been together for eight years. Bergström has until now been quite a favourite with the Swedish media, which has praised his upper-class background, proper job, good looks, polite manners, discretion, loyalty etc. etc., thereby implicitly contrasting him with the “less suitable” Daniel Westling. Obviously there was not much loyalty or discretion to talk about and because of how he has embarrassed the Swedish royal family Jonas Bergström is likely to be remembered as the dream-prince who turned out to be a frog.
(The official engagement photo is by courtesy of the Swedish Royal Court).


  1. I like Princess Madeleine, but I think living in a royal palace is not a bed of roses. Perhaps Mr. Bergstrom was coerced into the engagement, and perhaps this was his way of breaking out of an unpleasant situation without putting any blame on his fiance. I wish him well, and Madeleine also.

  2. Wow, anon, you're really bending over backwards to make the breakup her fault.

    Here, let me have a try. Perhaps Princess Madeleine is really an evil demon sent from Hell to destroy all of Sweden. Jonas valiantly distracted the demon with a shiny engagement ring, then did the only thing that could drain the Madeleine-demon's power: her fiance having sex with a Norwegian handball champion. Now Jonas the hero is humbly riding off into the sunset, without putting any blame on the defeated demon. What a hero!

  3. Oh that actually made me laugh. No one makes you cheat. Besides, I don't think a little ring would haven enough of a distraction when held up in comparison to a tiara.

  4. Anon 06:27 - I, too, like your take on the modern day fairy tale ;)

    As for the blog post itself:

    Ah-hah, so that's who Jacob Anckarström is! In my ignorance I'd assumed he was at minimum a minor Europop star ;)

    Amid the speculations Queen Silvia remarked on 13 April that there would “unfortunately” not be any wedding this year, while at the same time saying that she was not in a position to know if there were difficulties in the relationship.

    Not quite, actually: It was at an official duty on April 12th that Silvia made the comment about there being no 2010 wedding (published the next day). At the time, she actually claimed that everything was “okay” between Madeleine and Jonas Bergström.

    It was the next day, the 13th, when she backtracked and said that she didn’t know enough to say whether the engaged couple were having problems.
    Her other statement from April 12th (about the wedding date) was also quickly contradicted by the court’s spokeswoman, who said in a statement published on the 14th that the wedding could still be this year.

    From the 13th on, Madeleine, Jonas Bergström, and the spokeswoman also refused to comment on the couple’s relationship – even though every one of them had issued denials on the subject back in February and March.

    So in fact the Swedish royal family and their press department switched overnight (literally!) from denials to ambiguous statements plus refusals to comment. Apparently it’s a pattern, as they also announced Madeleine’s and Jonas’ separation only several days after announcing that they were “still a couple.”

    In my view, the royal family and court made a stupid choice to torpedo their own credibility for the sake of trying to squash one story. It’s plausible, although it now seems unlikely, that the denials in earlier months were genuine, but it stretches belief to the breaking point to change the official story within the space of a day or three. Aftonbladet, for one, gave extensive column space to reprinting – and endorsing the credibility of – the court’s earlier denials; you wonder if they’ll get the same kind of consideration from the press in the future.

    And that’s a minor issue, compared to their future credibility in the eyes of readers who might be willing to take damaging tabloid reports with a grain of salt – and given the attention this story has received, some have surely noticed the obvious lies.

    And I agree with your observation that Jonas Bergström used to receive a great deal of media applause for, well, being born into the upper class (and for things like being familiar with formal etiquette and high society – in other words, being upper-class!). It surprised me greatly, coming from a nation famous for its egalitarianism.

  5. E, you summarized things very well , its nice to see the time line laid out. The court didn't handle it well at all, and I was shocked that the Queen got invovled and said "unfortunately" at that! It made it seem like she was disappointed that the wedding wasn't happening sooner, that there will be no wedding at all it seems like she either completely out of the loop or she wanted to get married anyways. I wonder if the court had planned to break the engagement after Madeleine left for New York, but the story broke and court was at a lose of how to handle it.

    And I've always felt that Jonas was accepted so easily based on where he came from and automatically given a pass by the media as being the perfect son in law, especially when compared to Daniel. They don't want the royal family to act like elitist as that would make them too out of touch, yet not only had no problem with one of them marrying one, but were over joyed when one (almost) married one.


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