Princess Madeleine of Sweden spoke to People Magazine about her passion for protecting children, especially since she is now a mother of two.
While in New York City last week for meetings with the United Nations, the Swedish royal attended panel discussions on the rights of children. The Sustainable Development Goals regarding ending sexual violence against children were a focal point. Madeleine told People, “It was a big day to be at the UN, addressing this issue. We’ve come far. When my mother founded WCF 17 years ago, nobody talked about these children and nobody really wanted to recognise that this problem existed. To be at the UN speaking about this group of children was really important.”
Madeleine recognises that this is a difficult topic for some to discuss, but it is important that adults know the signs to look for in a sexually abused child. This is why she helped launch the Stewards of Children Prevention Toolkit, which you can buy on iTunes.
She also attended the World Childhood Foundation’s Thank You Gala while in the city. Andrea Bocelli, Forest Whitaker, and Paul Polman, Unilever were awarded for their work in furthering the cause of children’s rights worldwide.
After the event, Madeleine said on her Facebook page, “So thankful to Andrea Bocelli and Forest Whitaker for joining me this past weekend at the Childhood gala in NYC and receiving this years’ ThankYou by Childhood award! So proud of everything we are accomplishing with our initiative #EyesWideOpen and #ThankYou by Childhood!”
Her Royal Highness was also thrilled to meet her “personal hero” Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who she called inspiring in another post on her official Facebook.
Queen Silvia of Sweden, Madeleine’s mother, created the World Childhood Foundation in 1999 to combat sexual abuse against children and fight for children’s rights. Madeleine has been working with the foundation for a number of years and lived in New York City from 2010 through 2015. It was while living in New York for her work that she met her husband, Christopher O’Neill, who she married in June 2013. They have two children: Princess Leonore, 2, and Prince Nicolas, 1.
Princess Madeleine and Prince Nicolas at Prince Alexander’s christening. Photo Credit: Busschots E. & Dekkers L.
It was her two children who have inspired her more to work hard to ensure no more children have to live an abusive life. She explained to People, “When you have your own kids, you understand and realise how vulnerable children are. Every day, I try to protect them and want to create a stable surrounding. There are so many kids out there who don’t have parents, who live on the street – we have to help all the children out there.”
Madeleine also told the publication that she considers herself a normal mom saying, “They wake me up and we fix breakfast together and the breakfast flies all over the place! And then we go out to the park and we swing, we try to do a lot of activities because my little Leonore, she has lots of energy, so we have to keep her stimulated and busy.”
She added that her own childhood experiences helped shape the way the mothers her two children. She told of how her parents were very busy with their obligations, but they would always have time for their children when they were home. She mirrors that with Leonore and Nicolas. One look at her Facebook page will show you just how proud she is of her kids. She loves sharing personal photos for the world to see saying, “For me to blend in a little bit of my personal life and to show who I am and who my family is, is important.”
Madeleine told the magazine of how her mother’s work with the World Childhood Foundation influenced her to fight for children’s rights all across the world, “When she travelled with her work, she met many children in difficult situations. And she always talked and told us these stories about these kids when I was young and it affected me a lot. I felt that I wanted to do something as well to help and to help her.”
Her Royal Highness would love for Leonore and Nicolas to take on issues, like those with the World Childhood Foundation, that they are truly passionate about when they are older.
Princess Madeleine with Enna. Photo: Kate Gabor, The Royal Court Sweden
The World Childhood Foundation is not the only organisation that she works with to help children. She is also the patron of Min Stora Dag (My Big Day in English), which works like the Make a Wish Foundation in the United States and the United Kingdom. Recently, she and her mother made a 7-year-old little girl named Enna’s lifelong dream of meeting them come true.