1953: the blackmail of gay Swedish King Gustaf V

Kurt Haijby gustaf v

In 1953, the Perth Mirror reported on the jailing of Kurt Haijby for his lucrative blackmailing of gay Swedish King Gustaf V.

The Mirror reported that Kurt Haijby obtained about £AU20,000 from the Swedish Royal Family. But — over almost two decades — Haijby actually scored the equivalent of over AU$600,000 from the Royal Court and probably much more from Gustaf V’s private funds.

Gustaf V

In his youth, Gustaf’s mum thought her somewhat effeminate son spent rather too much time alone with other young men. She and her husband pressured the crown prince to both butch up and to marry. He obeyed, but after his bride produced an heir, a spare and a runner-up, he ceased marital relationships.

Later, as Gustaf V, he happily oversaw the transition of Sweden to a constitutional monarchy. The popular king died in 1950 after 43 years on the throne.

But for almost two decades, the king and the royal court had tried to buy off a blackmailer named Kurt Haijby who claimed he’d been Gustaf V’s gay lover. Haijby kept wanting more money, and more — even with the king dead and buried. In 1952, word of the ongoing extortion leaked into the public domain. The Swedish authorities had little choice but to prosecute.

Kurt Haijby

Kurt Haijby served six prison sentences between 1915 and 1925 and killed a police officer during an escape attempt. He was a thief, con artist, liar, blackmailer and sexual abuser of children — a complete and utter arsehole.

In 1933, he attended a mass royal audience seeking approval to sell wine despite his previous criminal convictions. He later told his wife the King seduced him. She subsequently filed for divorce on the grounds of her husband’s infidelity with the monarch. The Royal Court paid both husband and wife to shut up and for him to move overseas. However, Haijby soon returned and moved back in with his wife.

Over the following years, the Royal Court kept on paying so Haijby kept coming back. Committed to an asylum in 1938 for molesting 11 and 13-year-old boys, he talked his way out and returned with his hand out. Jailed in Germany in 1939 for abusing boys, he scooted home after his release and fronted up for more money.

He later added to his original story, claiming a renewed royal affair from 1936 until 1947. Obvious bullshit. Gustaf V was in his 80s then; tall, eccentric, and instantly recognisable. His Majesty couldn’t sneak anywhere. To go to Gustaf, Haijby had to bypass royal courtiers, no doubt alert for any sign of him.

Next, he alleged the King first seduced him as a 14-year-old when he and another schoolboy were granted an audience while selling charity pins. However, no one believed him this time. That story required the King to lure a schoolboy away from his mate to a secluded spot during a daytime public audience in a busy palace and abuse the child — all unnoticed.

Additionally, although Gustaf famously went weak at the knees in the company of good-looking young men, no other stories ever emerged of him being attracted to boys.

In 1952, Haijby redistributed a novel he first published in 1947, a thinly disguised account of his claimed relationship with the King. In 1947, the palace arranged to buy up every copy, but by 1952, it was time for a new strategy. Haijby was prosecuted for blackmail and spent the next six years in jail. After his release, he returned again to his either long-suffering or complicit wife. She died in 1964, and he by suicide the following year.

Many Swedish commentators believe the King probably did have a sexual relationship with Haijby in the 1930s. Several palace servants later revealed that they too received payments to stay quiet about sexual relationships with Gustaf V.

More Queer Royals:

Umberto II, outed before his coronation.

The gay royals at the funeral of George V.

Ludwig II of Bavaria, the Swan King.

ludwig ii swan king

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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  1. Cosmos Ellias Svensson
    19 December 2023

    He was also a nazi! He wholeheartedly endorsed the regeime and gave them permission to use the railways of sweden.

    Im surprised you left that part out, a gay Swedish Nazi… Titillating stuff!

    • 19 December 2023

      Because it’s simply not true.
      He was rightly accused of being a Nazi sympathiser over some of his diplomatic actions as king designed to protect Sweden from a Nazi invasion – no different to diplomatic actions taken by numerous other European countries.
      Some of the accommodations made for the Germans by Gustaf and his government can be explained by the isolated country’s desperation to fend off a German occupation.
      And Gustaf helped save Jews deported from surrounding countries by distributing Swedish passports.
      So no – Gustaf was not perfect – he made some egregious errors – but he was not a Nazi – a word which should not be thrown around so lightly.

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