The Royal Family: biographies

Just what is it about the royal family that keeps the hacks scribbling and the photographers clicking, long after their influence over the country's affairs has vanished? Perhaps it's a need to connect with the past. Perhaps it's a desire to drop anchor in an increasingly stormy sea. Or perhaps it's the fabulous frocks and good teeth.

King Carl XVI Gustaf

Born 30th April 1946

Acceded to the thrown on September 15th 1973 following the death of his grandfather, Gustaf VI Adolf. His duties are almost entirely ceremonial, which may account for his, and his family’s, continuing popularity among Swedes. Lives in Drottningholm Palace, a popular tourist destination.

Queen Silvia

Born 23rd December 1943

The daughter of a German father and a Brazilian mother, Silvia Sommerlath served on the Organising Committee for the Munich Olympics training hostesses. At the 1972 Olympics she met her handsome young prince and they married in 1976.

Crown Princess Victoria

Born 14th July 1977

Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland, is heir to the Swedish throne and performs official engagements in between her somewhat varied studies. According to her biography on the royal web site, she ‘enjoys leisure pursuits’. See, they’re not so different, are they? Although she does live in Drottningholm Palace.

Prince Carl Philip

Born 13th May 1979

Carl Philip is studying graphic design in Stockholm, which is just as well because the year he was born it was decided that the oldest child, rather than the oldest male child, would succeed to the throne.

Princess Madeleine

Born 10th June 1982

Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, is studying the royal’s favourite, History of Art, at Stockholm University. Apparently she also has a ‘European Computer Driving Licence’.

Princess Lilian

Born 30th August 1915

Born Lilian Davies in the Welsh town of Swansea, Princess Lilian married the King’s uncle, Prince Bertil, in 1976 and became Duchess of Halland. The pair first met in London during the Second World War, but King Gustav VI Adolf refused to accept the relationship as Lilian was a commoner and divorced (from actor Ivan Craig, who appeared in The Buccanners, among other things). Things improved for the couple after the current king came to the throne, and they were eventually allowed to marry, although they never had children. Princess Lilian is now treated as a core member of the Royal Family, and has a prominent role at the Nobel Prize ceremonies and other major occasions.