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Princess Madeleine launches her children’s book

Princess Madeleine of Sweden has attended the official release her children’s book “Stella och hemligheten” (Stella and the Secret) at a children’s museum in central Stockholm with 140 people in attendance. The book, which is written in connection with the World Childhood Foundation, will be on sale in the Swedish bookstores from today.

Princess Madeleine of Sweden has attended the book launch of “Stella och hemligheten” (Stella and the Secret) at the children’s museum, Junibacken in Stockholm, calling it a “dream come true.” The Princess wrote the book with Karini Gustafson-Teixeira and Marie Oskarsson in cooperation with the World Childhood Foundation. The colourful illustrations are made by Stina Lövkvist.

Photo: Sara Friberg/Kungl. Hovstaterna

Princess Madeleine’s mother, Queen Silvia, founded the World Childhood Foundation, a children’s rights organisation that tries to prevent violence and sexual abuse against children. The Princess has been working for the organisation for several years. This year the World Childhood Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary, and the organisation will benefit from the sales of “Stella and the Secret.”

“Stella and the Secret”. Photo: Royal Court, Sweden

Princess Madeleine chose not to use her title on the book cover and instead opted for the discreet “Madeleine Bernadotte”. The book “Stella and the Secret” is the Princess’s literary debut and with an important reason. Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine of Sweden explained: “Our hope is that the book can help children find their inner strength to stand up for themselves in situations of discomfort, and show that those who fall victim to abuse are not alone. We let the main character, Stella, experience both good and bad secrets. Good secrets should always remain secrets, but a bad secret is too heavy for a child to carry on their own.”

Integrity, self-esteem and trust are the main themes of the book, and the targeted audience are children of the primary school age and their parents. A summary reveals the storyline of the book: “When nine-year-old Stella and her father are moving to Sweden, everything feels new, and a bit strange: the language, the school, and leisure activities, everything is different and it takes some time to get used to. Then one day, her friend Elena tells Stella a terrible secret. Something that Stella cannot tell anyone. Promise it! But Elena’s secret feels like a heavy stone in Stella’s stomach. What should she do?”

Her own experience as a parent and the horrible examples of child abuse Madeleine has been confronted with during her work for the World Childhood Foundation have inspired the Princess to author a children’s book addressing difficult topics. “I feel that as a parent, it’s difficult to find the right moment to talk to your kids about difficult things. I hope that this book can help children, parents and teachers to find new ways to discuss topics that may otherwise be tricky to address. It’s also an introduction to more difficult areas like sexual abuse and body integrity,” says Princess Madeleine.

She echoed this during the launch remarking, “I really hope that many will take that moment and read with their child and discuss the situations that Stella encounters in the book.”

Photo: Sara Friberg/Kungl. Hovstaterna

Thus the children’s book has a very important aim. Princess Madeleine talked in an interview with about the fact that she felt that all the current projects about violence and sexual abuse are aimed at adults and that there is a need to reach further and involve children, as well. Regarding the importance of this, the Princess said: “It’s important because we need to break the silence around the fact that one out of five children are subjected to violence and sexual abuse. This is happening across all levels of society all over the world. It has been considered taboo even to discuss the topic, but I think we’re finally seeing some progress. It’s very important that we reduce the feeling of shame that is tormenting many of these children. If we can reach kids and parents with the notion that it’s ok to talk about these things – and that every child has the right to say “no” – then we have come quite far.”

When Madeleine was asked if there will be other books, she remained mysterious by stating “you never know”. She did reveal that she loves reading – despite her dyslexia – and that her children enjoy it as well. “I do [read to my children] and increasingly now as they get older. Leonore is five, and she thinks it’s a lot of fun to read books together. Nicolas enjoys it, too. It’s a cosy and valuable moment sitting down together and getting to feel that connection. We try to read a little every day.”

After the launch of today, the Princess will also participate in a seminar on the book during the Göteborg book fair in September. More information on this event will be released in due course.

Earlier today, the Princess also shared a photo on her Instagram and Facebook pages where she is recording words of welcome for the audio version of the book. At the moment the book will only be available in Swedish, in print and an audiobook format. The sales are going very well as the book is already in the top three most sold books of the publisher, Bonnier Carlsen.

Princess Madeleine flew in from her home in Florida, USA on Sunday. Her husband Chris and their three children will join the Princess later this week. The Princess and her children are expected to spend the Summer months in Sweden while her husband alternate between Sweden and his work in the US.

About author

Laura is from Belgium and has a passion for all things royal. She is Europe Correspondent for Royal Central since October 2016 and has contributed to other news websites. In her daily life she is a fulltime student in EU-politics and political communication.