I went to the library the other day to dig up one of my favourite books: "Kungen som grävde" (= the king who dug) with photos by Jan Mark. It´s a reportage from one of King Gustav VI Adolf´s archeolgical work trips to Italy, where he excavated some Etruscan ruins.
Gustav Adolf first took part in a dig in 1898, when he was 15 years old. A grave field from the Iron Age was being dug out near one of the summer homes of the royal family, Tullgarn, and he got himself involved. A few years later, his mother´s close friend and doctor, Axel Munthe, arranged a dig for him at Capri, where he had a villa. Munthe was also very interested in antiquity (it was a bit of a gentleman´s sport in the 19th Century, wasn´t it?); we visited the villa a few years ago, and it was full of debris from ancient cities.
|Queen Margrethe of Denmark, at 16.|
Gustav Adolf´s parents were King Gustav V, who is mostly known today for being a homosexual tennisplayer with a keen interest in embroidery, and Queen Viktoria, a Preussian princess who spent much of her time in Italy, both because of a cold marriage (I understand she had a very close relationship with her doctor) and severe asthma. He was set up with a granddaughter of the British Queen Victoria, but fell in love with her sister instead, and married Margaret of Connaught in 1905 at Windsor Castle. They had five children and then she died, very young, after an unfortunate series of minor colds, chicken pox, and ear infections. Gustav remarried, a great-grandchild of Queen Victoria this time, Louise of Mountbatten. They had no children together.
|Queen Louise on the right.|
Gustav was also a good photographer, as was his mother, Queen Viktoria. I´m queueing at the library for a book from last year, about Viktoria´s photographs from Egypt, and will blog about that later.
|Ok, maybe not always so elegant...|
The photographer Jan Mark, by the way, seems to still be active. His father-in-law was the king´s marshal of the court, and his wife took part in the digs. This is how come Mark and his camera became involved, at this and other royal projects. He has also shot a photo book about Capri and the villa San Michele, where Queen Viktoria spent so much of her time.