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Royal Wedding
Who's who in the extended royal family

Who's who in the extended royal family

Published: 21 May 2010 11:59 GMT+02:00
Updated: 21 May 2010 11:59 GMT+02:00

The King, Queen and their children might be the best-known members of the Swedish royal family, but there are numerous other Swedish princes and princesses - including the last surviving great-grandchild of Britain's Queen Victoria, writes Juan Navas.

The Royal Wedding is rapidly approaching. In about one month Crown Princess Victoria will finally say "I do" to Daniel Westling. Final preparations are being made for the big event, but something that has already been signed, sealed and delivered are the actual invitations for the big event.

The guest list for the June 19th nuptials and banquet have been complete for quite some time now, but the list of attendees will not be made official until the big day - just in case there are some no shows. There are a few people who are most definitely on that list though, and that is the other members of the Royal House and the extended Royal Family. The wedding will be one of the relatively rare occasions when the extended royal family will be seen in public together.

Today the Royal Family includes King Carl XVI Gustaf, his wife Queen Silvia and their three children Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. They are furthermore the most well known Swedish royals.

The family does not end there however. In what is known as the Royal House you also have the King's second eldest sister, Princess Birgitta (see photo, second from right) as well as the widow of the late Prince Bertil, Princess Lillian.

Unlike her other three sisters who married outside of royalty, Princess Birgitta married Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern. This entitled her to retain her royal status, her title of ‘Her Royal Highness’ and is why she is considered a member of the Royal House. Today Princess Birgitta, a mother of three, lives on Mallorca where she is known for her avid interest in golf. Princess Lillian is also a member having married directly into the family. While it is almost beyond a doubt that Princess Birgitta will attend the wedding of her niece, Princess Lillian will most likely remain at home that day. The Welsh-born Princess rarely participates in official functions these days due to her age - she will be 95 in August.

Included in the extended Royal Family are the King's other sisters. Members of the Royal Family who married non-royals previously lost their titles. This has now changed, and Princess Madeleine will remain HRH if and when she marries. Those of the King’s sisters who married outside royalty retained their titles as princesses, but lost their right to call themselves Her Royal Highness.

His eldest sister, Princess Margaretha, Mrs Ambler (photo, second from left), has lived in England since her 1964 wedding to John Ambler. The couple had three children. The couple separated in the late 1990s, although they remained married up until John Ambler's death in 2008. If today’s succession laws had applied in 1973, Margaretha, as the oldest child of Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla, would now be Queen of Sweden. As it is, she lives a private life and carries out no official duties.

The third eldest daughter of the King's parents is Princess Désirée, the Baroness Silfverschiöld (on the right of the photo). Like her eldest sister she too lost the right to call herself Her Royal Highness after marrying a non-royal, Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. The couple have three children and reside at Koberg Castle in the west of Sweden.

While Margaretha and Désirée rarely participate in official functions, the King's sister Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson (on the left of the photo) often takes part in state dinners as well as the Nobel festivities every December. The former chairman of the Swedish Red Cross has been married to Tord Magnuson since 1974. The couple, who live in central Stockholm, also have three children. Like two of her other sisters she too lost the right to use the HRH, but was like her sisters able to keep the honorary title of Princess.

The extend Royal Family also includes one of its eldest members, Carl Johan Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg. The former Prince of Sweden is the son of King Gustaf VI Adolf, and uncle to the present King. Born in 1916 he lost his title when he married a non-royal in 1946. He now lives with his second wife, the Countess Gunilla, in southern Sweden. The title he now holds as Count of Wisborg was bestowed upon him by the Grand Ducal Family of Luxembourg. On  an interesting note, according to Wikipedia, he is also the last surviving great-grandchild of Britain's Queen Victoria.

Marianne Bernadotte, Countess of Wisborg, the widow of Sigvard Bernadotte as well as Princess Kristine Bernadotte, the widow of Prince Carl Bernadotte, are members of the extended Royal Family as well. Sigvard Bernadotte, most known as being Sweden's design prince, and Prince Carl both lost their princely titles because of their morganatic marriages. Carl however was made a prince by King Leopold III of Belgium, although he did not regain the style of HRH.

Not members of the Swedish Royal Family, but undoubtedly invited to the Royal Wedding are the many children of the King's sisters. They too will get to share in their cousin, the Crown Princess's, big day. Also included on the list are many of the Queen Silvia's relatives from Germany and Brazil, as well Daniel Westling's family, making the wedding a true family affair.

Juan Navas, a journalist and former information secretary at the Royal Court, is writing a series of articles about Swedish royalty in the run up to the royal wedding on June 19th. He is also blogging about the wedding for The Local

Related links:

Paul Rapacioli (paul.rapacioli@thelocal.com)

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Your comments about this article

19:34 May 21, 2010 by munched
Probably the largest collection of the economically parasitic and physically infirm, the only questions that come to mind are: Who cares? and When will it end? Like pigs at a trough, this royal family swills about 120 million crowns a year of taxpayer money not including the final tally of this summer's nuptuals, renovations and other extravgances. Still, HRH found time after the recent economic collapse to complain about losing about 70 million on the stock market. If he can afford to lose 70 million, what is his total financial worth and does he really need my money as much as I need my money?
23:07 May 21, 2010 by lurker
If you disapprove of the royals for being funded by the state (I happen to think they give value for money) might I suggest that you limit your criticism for those members that actually receive state money.

None of the minor royals named above receive state support. Indeed, Princess Margaretha reportedly flies Ryanair to royal events in Sweden. I think your barking up the wrong tree here!
00:09 May 22, 2010 by jojoholmes
Lurker, I think whether the royals give value for money or not is not the point. You can question whether or not an elected official is value for money because they have earned that position. The question should be, should any person be entitled to taxpayer support over and above the average citizen merely because of who their parents are.
09:44 May 22, 2010 by munched
Lurker - So according to you we forget about the milions given to those because of the others who don't receive taxpayer's money? I think it's you that wants me to bark up the wrong tree. Sorry, as they say, that dog won't hunt.
18:34 May 22, 2010 by Mr Gee
The Royals and their funding is always a hot topic. Somehow I don't like to admit I'm logically a republican but I have a soft spot for some of the Royal history. Still, today is different and there is no real place for Royals. How we should transition into Republic I don't really know.

As most of us don't know what Royal gets what I suggest the following:

An offical list of:

a) who gets what - published annually.

b) a list of their engagements for the coming year and responsibilities e.g. patron of whatever society or charity etc...

At least that would give some indication of who does at least something to earn their position.
19:04 May 22, 2010 by ooh456
Royalty is so anti-Swedish its hard to believe anyone here takes these clowns seriously. All the Swedes I know find them embarrassing. Who and where are these people who support the monarchy?
02:33 May 23, 2010 by Toonie
Royalty is so anti-Swedish. Really? Are you saying there is no such thing as a Swedish upper-class at the apex of which stands the Swedish monarchy? No large landowning class? No small business-owning class that controls large swathes of the Swedish economy? Are you sure there isn't a mismatch between rhetoric and reality here? Monarchies serve functions. Calling them clowns and being embarrassed by them is just posturing. How about some hard-nosed analysis of the interests they serve?
21:19 May 23, 2010 by MTemplar
It would be very interesting to really discuss what Sweden would be like as a republic. All I ever hear is how bad the monarchy is and why it's un-democratic to enherit a position (which by the way never happens within politics, nor the business world - duh!).

What would a Swedish president do? Would he or she have political power, or simply function as head of state? Who would pay for him or her?

If we were to replace the king with a president, would this president alone represent Sweden, or would he or she have the same help the king has today?

As I see it the Swedish Royal Family are PR-consultants on a corporate level, and as with all PR it's not always easy to detect how it works, and what lies behind every decision - unless you're on the inside; which none of us are.

PR-consultants on that level are highly paid, and why should it be different with the Royal Family? If you want the best, you are going to have to pay for it.

And I don't mind paying the approx 14 SEK a year that it costs every Swedish citizen a year to maintain the monarchy.

Honestly, what's the alternative? Horst Köhler, Mary McAleese, Karolos Papoulias or any of the other elected heads of state without real political power...
00:45 May 25, 2010 by Isabel Carneiro
hi, I'm brazilian and I loved this story

I would love to have some kind of kindship with Queen Silvia here in Brazil, so i would go to the wedding!!
23:27 May 25, 2010 by chiron69
What are you anti-royals daft or what? As an American in the travel industry I can assure you that your monarchy is not only cost effective, it probably rakes in a ton of tourist Krona for you yearly. From what I can discern, the family is parsimonious. If you want to look at waste, simply take a gander at what we have here. Our current occupant of the WH blows through cash ( literally) up his nose. He wastes tax payor bucks flying over New York in a spin around. His pretend spouse spends big money dressing herself in God awful get ups and hosting tacky 'events' every other day. He may have been elected but not on the up and up. George Washigton should have accepted a crown when offered, we'd be better off today. Your King may be a figurehead, but he is a gentleman, and a fine emblem for Sweeden. At least you know that the family provides stability. Want to trade?
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