The King of Sweden, His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, is the highest patron of the Swedish Academy. As the institution is now experiencing one of its worst crisis in history, the King has involved himself in trying to help out.
The crisis started in November of last year when the French-Swedish photographer and theatre director Jean-Claude Arnault was accused of sexual assault and harassment by several of the Swedish Academy’s members, and their wives and daughters. Arnault is not a member of the Academy himself, but the organisation decided to break all ties with him. The question is what happens to his wife, lyricist Katarina Frostenson, who is a member of the Swedish Academy.
He released a statement regarding the issue yesterday saying:
“The contradictions that have arisen within the Swedish Academy are deeply unfortunate and risk seriously damaging the Academy’s important activities. It is crucial that all involved now realise their responsibility for the institution and contribute to resolving conflicts. For members of the Swedish Academy, responsibility for the institution must always be paramount.
“It is my conviction that the Monarch has authority over the statutes of the Swedish Academy, which my predecessor, Gustav III, established. In the light of developments, I will consider the need for supplementary provisions, including the right to withdraw.”
His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has now commented on the ongoing drama in the organisation to the press. “It is a very, very sad development,” said the King, and added that he would closely follow the development in the case.
“All problems can be resolved. We just need to give it some time,” said the King the Swedish newspaper Expressen. The King met with the press after he left a lengthy meeting with the Swedish Academy’s secretary Sara Danius, to discuss the problems within it. For one and a half hours Sunday afternoon, His Majesty and Mrs Danius spoke.
After the King had left the academy building, Danius said to the press, “I will continue as secretary as long as I can; I think our mission is more important than the disagreements within the Academy.”
When His Majesty visited the Grand Hôtel on Monday, he chose to make another short statement to the media regarding the crisis. “I am the protector of the Academy, and kings have been this for generations. It is a very important institution. I am kept informed about developments in this crisis. It is a sad development that has arisen,” said His Majesty.
His Majesty was asked if he thought it was time to reform the Academy by the Swedish news agency TT. His Majesty replied shortly, “That is up to the Academy. They are working with the current problems as we speak. They are thinking through this whole situation, and I am sure good things will come from this”.