Greetings. For many of us who live in countries without royalty, the thought of a royal wedding is both intriguing and amusing. And a bit difficult to comprehend. Especially when the wedding in question occurs in Sweden, that land of humility and egalitarianism and a place where the king has no real authority over affairs of state or his nine million loyal "subjects." Still, it's a place where a majority of the population take the idea of royalty quite seriously and the lives of the royal family are constantly featured in the real news media, the tabloids, and every publication in between.
So when Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria–heir to the Swedish throne–married Daniel Westling this past Saturday in Stockholm Cathedral it was an event of epic proportions complete with plenty of pomp, circumstance, history, and spectacle. It was also a happy and much appreciated break from the global financial crisis, a slow and uneven economic recovery, the uncommon absence of Sweden's national football team from the World Cup, and the slow start to the country's normally beautiful summer weather. It was also a chance for much of the world's royalty to get together and party as only royals know how to do. Then again, if you or I had a three million dollar party budget we might throw a pretty impressive bash too!
But there are a few other facts that make this story an important source of insight for you and your company or organization–and, as a result, a topic for this blog. First, the Swedish royal family isn't entirely Swedish. Now I know this requires a bit of clarification. It turns out that the current king–His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustav–is a member of the House of Bernadotte and can trace his ancestry to King Charles XIV of Sweden (who was also King Carl III Johan of Norway). But before assuming these two crowns in the early 1800's he was Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte of France, a marshal in the French military who was elected heir to the Swedish crown when the existing Swedish royal family was dying out. And the current Swedish Queen–Her Majesty Queen Silvia–was actually born in Germany to a Brazilian mother and is a direct descendant of a Portuguese king.
Second, Crown Princess Victoria married a commoner who also happened to be her personal trainer. Now that's a pretty impressive career transition, and also suggests that the world of royalty is much less exclusive than most of us could have ever imagined. And according to several leading Swedish publications, her dad was not particularly keen on the idea–probably believing that royalty should marry other royalty, or at least investment bankers or J. Crew models. But love doesn't always work out that way. And some would argue that this expansion of the royal gene pool is a pretty clever thing. Which leads us back to the world of business…and the simple notion that many of our workplaces are a bit too exclusive. Led, not necessarily by royalty, but by a select and somewhat limited group of people who come from the very same backgrounds, the same colleges, and the same types of experiences and expertise. And they too, could benefit from a bit of change and stirring the pot. Otherwise they run the risk of dying out from a lack of fresh ideas and innovation.
And for those of you experiencing a bit of monarch envy, here's a brief clip from the royal wedding…
We win in business and in life when we treat those around us like royalty no matter what their pedigree. And when we seek to adapt to changing times with a keen appreciation for everyone's potential to make a difference.