Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden
When her mother fell ill with dementia, the Swedish monarch Sylvia was completely clueless, according to her own statements. Since then, she has learned a lot about the disease and its pitfalls.
In Munich we experienced a very moving and very empathetic Queen, who has given her affliction even more meaning through her fragility. The compassion that the Queen radiated touched all hearts.
Sweden’s Queen Silvia, according to her own words, initially had no idea about the dementia of her mother Alice Sommerlath, more than 25 years ago.
“My father protected my mother very much and also partly took over the household, because she could no longer do that,” said the 78-year-old on Friday in Munich. It was only after the death of her father in 1990 that she noticed there was something wrong.
Sommerlath spent her last months with her daughter at Drottningholm Castle near Stockholm before she died in 1997. The Queen’s insight after this time: “You have to adapt to the patient; you have to help him. You cannot ask questions that push them to the wall, you have to tell.” Her mother also did not dare to move from one room to the next because she thought the carpet was an abyss.
Dementia was also the reason for Queen Sylvia’s visit to Munich.
Queen Sylvia attended a donation gala of the association Desideria Care of her niece Désiree von Bohlen und Halbach, which supports those affected and their families. For relatives, this fate is tragic, said the monarch, who herself provides help through her Silviahemmet Foundation, which had been founded in 1996. Health Minister Klaus Holetschek (CSU) praised her social commitment: “The Queen has been personally committed to people with dementia for decades and is therefore a great role model,” said the minister.
The monarch also remembered the 1972 Olympic Games. She was a hostess and fell in love with the future King Carl Gustaf of Sweden. The first period of the Games was beautiful – until the attack on September 5, in which eleven athletes, a policeman and five terrorists died. Everything had collapsed like a card game, said the Queen. “That was a terrible disaster.”
HM The Queen’s personal interests and commitments
Her Majesty The Queen has long had a deep interest in humanitarian issues. In particular, The Queen has chosen to focus on children’s vulnerability and caring for people with dementia.
The World Childhood Foundation
In spring 1999, The Queen took the initiative to establish the World Childhood Foundation. The Queen is Honorary Chair of the Foundation, which aims to improve conditions for vulnerable children and children who are exposed to violence or sexual attacks. Over the years, the Foundation has supported more than 1,200 projects in 19 different countries. Childhood now has a presence in Sweden, Brazil, Germany and the USA.
In 1994, The Queen founded the Mentor Foundation, now known as Mentor International, which strives to give young people a sense of self-esteem and the power to grow through mentoring. Its vision is a world where young people are empowered to make healthy decisions and live drug-free.
More than 100,000 young people in Sweden have taken part in Mentor’s programmes. As well as Sweden, Mentor also has a presence in Germany, Latvia and the USA. Mentor Arabia is the regional coordinator for operations in 22 Arab nations.
The Queen is President of Mentor International and an honorary board member of Mentor Sweden.
The Global Child Forum
In 2009, The King and Queen initiated the World Child & Youth Forum, now known as the Global Child Forum. The forum works within industry to raise awareness of children’s rights, and to help businesses integrate these perspectives into their operations using effective tools.
Queen Silvia’s Foundation – Care About the Children
Queen Silvia’s Foundation – Care About the Children was established in 2013 to mark The Queen’s 70th birthday. The foundation supports vulnerable children in Sweden and around the world by assisting established aid agencies with clearly defined projects.
The Silviahemmet Foundation
The Silviahemmet Foundation was established at The Queen’s initiative in 1996. The Queen chairs the foundation’s board. It promotes research and education, and works with Sophiahemmet University College and Karolinska Institutet to train assistance officers, assistant nurses, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and dementia doctors. The foundation also certifies entire care units in dementia care.
Funds for research
The Queen chairs the Royal Wedding Fund, which supports research into sport and physical activities for young disabled people. She also chairs Queen Silvia’s Jubilee Fund. The fund was established in 1993, and supports research into children’s disabilities. Queen Silvia’s Foundation for Research and Training was created in 1993 to promote scientific research, particularly within dementia. The Queen chairs the foundation’s board.
With a growing number of grandchildren, The Queen likes to spend time as much time as possible with her family. The Queen also enjoys flowers and gardening. The Royal Family spends much of the summer at their summer palace Solliden on Öland, where The King and Queen are involved in the long-term preservation of the beautiful grounds. The Queen is interested in performing arts, and enjoys attending the theatre, the opera and concerts. Her Majesty has a keen interest in history, and enjoys reading during her spare time. The Queen also shares The King’s interest in nature and outdoor activities. The King and Queen enjoy skiing during their annual visits to their cottage in Storlien, Jämtland.