Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Dick Harrison tutoring Daniel Westling in history

Sydsvenskan reports (external link) that since February Dick Harrison, professor of history at the University of Lund, has been hired by the Swedish court to tutor Daniel Westling in history. Harrison is the author of numerous books and also has a blog at Svenska Dagbladet (external link) where he answers readers’ questions about Swedish royal history.
This seems a much better choice than the tabloid journalist and self-styled historian Herman Lindqvist, who claims to be Crown Princess Victoria’s and Princess Madeleine’s history tutor, a claim which seems to be greatly exaggerated by Lindqvist himself.
Herman Lindqvist has by the way now also a blog (external link) where he answers readers’ questions about royal history, the difference from Professor Harrison’s blog being that Lindqvist’s answers are quite often wrong - such as his saying that Daniel Westling will not be HRH, as this is “reserved for born princes and princesses”. One wonders how he will then explain the existence of HRH Princess Lilian.


  1. Does Lindqvist speak with any kind of insider knowledge? Much of his writing about the royal family is confusing, as he often discusses personal details which only a close acquaintance would know for sure (such as the king's presumed new policy of reserving HRHs to born princes and princesses, which obviously hasn't been officially announced), and yet he doesn't display the reticence one would expect of a family friend in discussing presumably private information.

  2. That is indeed one of the puzzling things, as well as his attempts at making the Swedish royal family look better by talking trash about the Norwegian royals, lauding Crown Princess Victoria by talking down Prince Carl Philip and so on. This would be very indiscreet behaviour of someone actually hired by the court and one could also imagine what the Crown Princess would think of her tutor talking about her family and friends in such a way.

    Herman Lindqvist has certainly met and interviewed members of the royal family, but it seems he does not really have the connection to the royal family that he (probably for marketing purposes) claims to have. He has suddenly begun to insist that he is a historian although he has no academic training and books packed with factual mistakes as well as the blatant lies he tells the media make him come across a someone with little credibility.

    But his books sell well and he has actually said that it does not really matter if what he writes is accurate or not as he writes for the general reader, not academics - in other words is does not matter if general readers are misinformed, which seems to be a very disrespectful attitude towards his readers (who pay for his living).

  3. Hi Trond,
    Mr Lindqvist's answer to the "HRH" issue for Daniel Westling is probably a reaction to questions from commentators to his blog, asking if it is really the case that Mr Westling will be styled HRH, when the press release from the court does not mention "HRH". Although Lindqvists explanation is nonsensical, it may still yet be the case that Mr Westling is not styled HRH. Actually, the media climate is now so poisoned by republican propaganda, that anyone who'd try to have a go at explaining the difference between "style" and "title" would be ridiculed in Sweden. Very few Swedes these days can understand how it is possible that an Earl can be HRH (e.g. Wessex) while at the same time a Prince may not necessarily be an HRH, but just an HH or something else. If the Swedish Court is not more clear on this, it may create problems for itself.

  4. I cannot possibly imagine Herman Lindqvist knowing the difference between style and title. You can read the full question and his answer here:

    Lindqvist's answer is that Daniel Westling will not be HRH, as that is reserved for born royals. This is plain nonsense, as the case of Princess Lilian shows.

    I cannot possibly imagine a situation where the consort of the heir to the throne is not accorded the HRH - that would be on par with Queen Silvia not being HM.

    To me this is simply another example of Lindqvist's ignorance - his blog as well as his books and articles are full of factual mistakes and his own misunderstandings.

    But I agree with you that it would have been a good thing for the Royal Court to have made clearer statements about the future titles of Daniel Westling and Jonas Bergström.

    (Please note that I would prefer comments to be signed (at least by an initial)).



  7. Hi Trond,
    (I am the anonymous "style-title" poster.)
    I have been on the Internet since 1987, but I never post with my real name, or initials. I usually go by the name "Panoptes", and will do so henceforth also here. Hope that is OK.

    The lack of clarity touches something very critiacl in today's Swedish royal media climate. Unless the Court and the State communicates things very clearly, and unless they "frontload" the news with educative tidbits of information designed to remedy the average Swede's total lack of historical understanding, the media mob is simply not able to handle what they hear and see, and will inevitably conjur negative things out of whatever the royal family does.

    For example: no one even remembers that the King, if he so wished, could seal off the entire Djurgården (at his disposal), and so we get the silly protests about the fence around Haga Slott. Or, when rumours spread that the Crownprincess may have wished for the King to lead her to the altar at the marriage, people immediately made the erroneous connotation with "Hollywodd-style"-marriages, being totally ignorant of the fact that this is an inherent custom in most Nordic countris, and that even the famous Swedish archbishop, Nathan Söderblom (source: Magdalena Ribbing/DN), sometimes in the 1930's led his daughter to the altar. Or that Gustav VI Adolf led three of his daughters to the altar in the 60's (source: Roger Lundgren, S). Instead, people have been pouring out disgust for the Crown Princess' "White Trash Wedding".

    Keep up the good work.

  8. Correction of my previous post: GVIA of course led three of his GRAND-daughters to the altar in the 60's.

    (the subject of royalty certainly is an error-prone subject, when writing in haste Lindqvist-style...)

  9. Yes, pseudonyms are also OK, indeed everything which is some sort of name or signature - the problem is that when people are plainly "anonymous" it is impossible to tell them apart or keep track of who said what.

    The Swedish court's information department does indeed come across as quite unclear and confused at times - for instance the contradictory information given out about whether Princess Madeleine would attend Queen Margrethe's 70th birthday (one said no, another that it had not been decided) or the lack of clarity about titles (the Palace said Jonas Bergström would become Duke of Helsinga and Gastricia, but only when someone asked did they say that he would also keep his surname, a fact which was obviously lost on some who insisted he would become a Bernadotte by marriage).

    Personally I am no fan of the custom of fathers giving away daughters at their weddings, but this is indeed a tradition in the Swedish royal family although not in Sweden in general. King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia walked in together in 1976, but as you say King Gustaf Adolf gave away the three granddaughters who married in his lifetime (and Prince Bertil did so at Princess Birgitta's religious wedding in Sigmaringen) and he also gave away his daughter Ingrid in 1935. The Princesses Margaretha, Astrid and Märtha were also given away by their father Prince Carl in 1919, 1926 and 1929 respectively.


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