Monday, 3 May 2010

New books: An album about Queen Ingrid

Five years ago Rosvall Royal Books began the series “Swedish Princes and Princesses” with a book on Queen Astrid of the Belgians and now the second book in the series has finally appeared – Ingrid, 1910-2000 by Randi Buchwaldt and Ted Rosvall, published to mark the centennial of Queen Ingrid of Denmark’s birth.
The book is primarily a photo album, but it begins with a biographical essay (in Danish and English) by the 80-year-old Norwegian-born Danish journalist Randi Buchwaldt, who has earlier written books about Princess Benedikte and Queen Alexandrine. Buchwaldt does not really have any new revelations to make, but she stresses her involvement with her patronages and charities to a greater extent than other authors who have written about Queen Ingrid.
Buchwaldt has interviewed Queen Margrethe, Princess Benedikte and Queen Ingrid’s brother, Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg. However I most enjoyed some of the anecdotes told by Carl Johan’s wife, Gunnila Bernadotte.
The Countess speaks of how her husband and his sister every summer would go to visit their childhood paradise Sofiero, now open to the public. Once they overheard a guide telling a busload of Swedish pensioners that Queen Ingrid would often come there, whereupon the Queen exclaimed loudly in Swedish “Here I am!” Another time Queen Ingrid and Count Carl Johan were walking around the garden reminiscing quite loudly as they were both hard of hearing and Gunnila noticed how they were followed by a tail of tourists listening in.
If one compares text and pictures there is a certain unbalance – the biographical essay focuses on Queen Ingrid’s years in Denmark and says quite little about her Swedish years, while there are lots of pictures from her childhood and youth and quite few from her old age.

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