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In the palace

This editorial was published in ROYALTY DIGEST QUARTERLY 1/2013

In January 25th a historical seminar took place in the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. The reason for this seminar, to which around 200 people – the editor of this magazine included – had been invited, was to honour Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, otherwise known as King Carl XIV Johan, who was born 250 years ago. Under the theme "Carl XIV Johan - builder of society", seven scholars lectured on various aspects of the King’s character and achievements; the peace-maker, the reformer of agriculture and medicine, the creator of hospitals, the founder of banks and sound finance and so on.

The seminar was to start at 9 AM, but the invitation card clearly stated, ‘All guests should be seated no later than 8.50.’ Why? Well, because the Royal Family was to attend, and absolutely no one arrives after the King! At 9 sharp, the doors opened and the King and Queen, with the Crown Princess and Princess Christina and their husbands, entered the library where a bust of their revered ancestor had been given pride of place. King Carl XVI Gustaf himself gave a personal talk on how he regarded Jean Baptiste Bernadotte and how important it was to show what a versatile and brilliant man he was, and then opened the session.

At 10.30 there was a break for refreshments and conversation. The King and Queen stood in a corner and soon enough a line formed of people who wanted to present themselves to the Royal couple and exchange a few words. "It is now or never", I thought, and placed myself in line. After a few minutes I stood before Queen Silvia, presented myself and grasped the opportunity to thank her for the help she gave me when I was researching her Brazilian family and ancestors for my book "The Bernadotte Descendants". The Queen, char-ming as ever, replied that it was nice to put a face (mine) to the name, and that it must be considerably more difficult to do genealogical research in Brazil than in Sweden. Ushered on to where the King was standing, I thanked him too for allowing me access to the Royal Picture Collection for my two books on Queens Astrid and Ingrid, to which the King answered that it pleased him that some of these rare and stacked away pictures had been made available for the public to enjoy.

After the seminar, there was a luncheon at the Royal Coinery Museum, with an interesting slide show focusing on the Bernadotte Museum at Pau in France, and in the evening the Ambassador, M. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, invited everyone to a reception at the French Embassy in Stockholm. What a day! Far too much for a simple country man like yours truly....

Ted Rosvall

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