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).