Another chapter in the never-ending story of King Carl XVI Gustaf, the scandalous biography and the gangsters was opened today, taking the story into what may be turn out to be a critical phase as it appears the King may have lied to his people. Calls for abdication if this is true have already been heard.
It may be recalled that it all began with the publication of the book Carl XVI Gustaf - Den motvillige monarken by Thomas Sjöberg, Deanne Rauscher and Tove Meyer, which made several scandalous claims about the monarch’s private life, claims which the King only partly denied. One of the few named sources in the book was a notorious gangster by the name of Mille Markovic, who threatened to publish compromising photos of the King and his friends. In May it was revealed that Anders Lettström, one of the King’s closest friends since childhood, subsequently contacted two other gangsters, Milan Sevo and Daniel Webb, in order to persuade them to get into contact with Markovic, buy the photos and make him deny the claims made in the book. The affair foundered when Markovic demanded too high a price.
In a written statement and in a highly embarrasing TV interview which surely marked the nadir of his reign, King Carl Gustaf was almost literally put up against the wall and forced to answer a series of detailed questions about his private life. In the TV interview he stated that there could not possibly exist any such photos and categorically denied that he had known about Lettström’s contacts with criminals in order to purchase such pictures. He distanced himself clearly from Lettström, even going as far as saying he would never again speak to his childhood friend, except perhaps at a deathbed reconciliation.
It was generally considered at that time that if it turned out the King had lied, he would probably be finished. And today the newspaper Aftonbladet publishes transcripts of conversations between Lettström and Milan Sevo and Daniel Webb, which the latter taped without Lettström’s knowledge, in which Lettström says, among other things, that he has informed the King that Markovic might be willing to deny the claims made in the book against payment.
When confronted with this by the newspaper yesterday, Lettström maintains that he never informed the King about the negotiations with criminals and claims that the tapes are manipulated. However, the latter claim is rejected by Swedish as well as British experts.
There remains the possibility that Lettström may not have spoken the truth when he said to the gangsters that he had informed the King about how the negotiations were proceeding.
But if it turns out to be true that the King knew about his friend’s negotiations with notorious criminals, he has made himself impossible as head of state, commentator Lena Mellin writes in Aftonbladet. The political scientist Ulf Bjereld says to Svenska Dagbladet that the King having lied to the people creates a very serious situation and that monarchists may now call for King Carl Gustaf’s abdication in favour of Crown Princess Victoria.
It seems this story, which was certainly the last thing the Swedish royal family needed, will not go away.
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