I wrote in this space in March about the funeral of Princess Lilian of Sweden, and noted that we planned to organize a memorial service later in the year at the English Church.
The service took place yesterday. It was a memorable event for all of us at the Embassy and in the English church involved in organizing it. I’m including below the report I’ve just sent back to London about it.
“1. A memorial service for Princess Lilian was held at the English Church opposite the Residence on 8 September, in glorious late summer sunshine.
2. The whole of the immediate Swedish Royal Family attended the service, to celebrate the life of the woman from Wales, who married the King’s uncle and died in March, aged 96.
3. Recollections of her life were given by her god-daughter, by a former Palace official who wrote a book with her and by Sir Roger Moore, a friend over many years. The Crown Princess, a local parishioner and I read poems of love and friendship.
4. Young musicians played and sung Charles Trenet’s La Mer, written in 1943 the year Lilian met Prince Bertil, and celebrating the Mediterranean where they lived for many years.
5. The organist played Handel’s arrivial of the Queen of Sheba as a tribute to Lilian’s sense of humour. When her future husband had introduced himself in a London night club, saying “I’m Prince Bertil of Sweden”, the young fashion model had replied “and I’m the Queen of Sheba!”.”
6. The Royal Family, her own family and friends and the British community here turned out in force to celebrate the last of three British-born princesses of Sweden in the last 100 years.
7. Coincidentally, but appropriately, the King’s younger daughter, Princess Madeleine, who married a Briton, Christopher O’Neill in June, announced this week that she is expecting their first child next Spring.