The Crown Vs. Corona
“Many people are worried about their health, about their relatives, about their livelihoods,” King Carl XVI Gustaf said.
In mid-March, the kings of Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands also addressed their people, as did the queen of Denmark.
In Sweden, King Carl Gustaf, who is 73, sought to address people of his own age who are at most risk from the coronavirus but who have at times bridled at new limits on their freedom.
“To be honest, for me and many of my generation, the king is kind of an irrelevance,” said Daniel Lindell, a 33-year-old art director who was out walking his dog past the royal palace.
In Spain, where the royal family was recently embroiled in a corruption scandal, a speech by King Felipe VI was met by a cacophony of pot banging and jeering from thousands of quarantined Spaniards who went out onto their balconies to register their disapproval.
The ill will was exacerbated by a feeling that the king had been slow to respond to the pandemic, only addressing the nation after royals in several less-affected parts of Europe did so, as a number of local dailies pointed out.
“My guess is that the king will give a longer and more personal speech, addressed to the people, if death tolls keep rising and hospital resources are reaching their limits,” said Widestedt, the Swedish academic.