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Naming princess Estelle a 'political statement' by Swedish Royal Family

28 Feb 2012, 16:12

Published: 28 Feb 2012 16:12 GMT+01:00

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Everyone was surprised over this name - Estelle. No Swedish princess in history has ever had that name.

But there was another Estelle Bernadotte in the past. She was married to Folke Bernadotte, who was King Carl Gustaf's godfather.

Folke Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948 while on a mission for the United Nations.

Many circumstances surrounding the murder remain unexplained. No one has been held accountable for it, despite the fact that it quickly became apparent who was behind it.

One of them was named Yitzak Shamir, who later became Israel's prime minister.

Swedish authorities and the Swedish public were very unhappy with how the Israelis managed the murder investigation.

The government even had a diplomat visit to Tel Aviv and express suspicions that the Israeli government was involved.

But after various diplomatic moves, all suspicions of dirty tricks were swept under the rug and the murder of Folke Bernadotte was forgotten.

To name the little princess Estelle is a political statement from the Royal Family.

It is widely known that the King and Queen are dissatisfied with how Swedish authorities have handled the case of Folke Bernadotte.

And the royal couple has never visited Israel.

Once upon a time, the Israeli government solemnly promised to continue the search for the murderers, but nothing happened, despite the fact that the perpetrators came forward a few decades later and admitted what they did.

And Swedish governments since 1950, when the case was buried, have never asked how the search was progressing

Not only was the assassination of Bernadotte neglected, but his legacy has been soiled by various campaigns against him.

In his mediation work, he tried to achieve a reasonably fair solution to the question of how Jews and Palestinians could live together in Palestine.

As a result, he was widely hated in Israel; a whispering campaign was started claiming he was an anti-Semite, and so on.

Consequently, he has also come under suspicion in Sweden.

His efforts to rescue Nazi concentration camp inmates in 1945 with the "White Buses" are reasonably well known, but few people know anything about the magnificent work he did in Palestine and if one knows anything, one has the idea that he was well meaning, but not so smart and did not understand quite what he was doing.

Story continues below…

When Israel's President Herzog visited Sweden the royals wanted say something pointed about Folke Bernadotte, but the foreign ministry wouldn't allow it.

It is not unreasonable to interpret the Royal Family's choice of name for Sweden's new princess is an attempt to contribute to the restoration of the Folke Bernadotte's legacy.

It is not known what name they had in store had Victoria and Daniel had a little boy - Folke is a good guess.

Göran Burén is an author who has recently published a book about Folke Bernadotte.

This article was originally published in Swedish on the Newsmill opinion website. English translation by The Local

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Your comments about this article

18:14 February 28, 2012 by RobinHood
FD saved about 30 000 Jews from various Nazi death camps. He was repulsed by the Holocaust and did all he could to save as many Jews as he could, at considerable risk to himself. He was similarly repulsed by Israel's treatment of the Palestinian population of what was then Palestine, and he opposed with the same ferocity that he opposed the Nazis' crimes against the Jews. Some of the very people FD had saved from the gas chambers colluded in his murder. Also murdered was FD's colleague, Colonel, André Serot.

The United Nations described it as "A cowardly act which appears to have been committed by a criminal group of terrorists." Fair comment in most people's opinion. The ungrateful cowards who organised this disgusting execution of a man who had saved 30 000 of their people were: The later Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir, Yisrael Eldad, Nathan Friedmann and Emmanuel Strassberg. What fine men they must have been. How they must make their country proud; even now.

In 1995, Shimon Peres blessed FD with his "thanks for the rescue of the Jews and regret that he was murdered in a terrorist way." One must assume from these weasel words that Mr Peres' regreted that FB was not murdered in another, less disgusting way. He also said, "We hope this ceremony will help in healing the wound." It hasn't. It remains the most disgraceful betrayal and murder of a man with 30 000 Jewish souls to his credit, and a lesson to anyone interested in the moral values of the state of Israel.
19:23 February 28, 2012 by colombianska_tjej
Good words, RobinHood

I am no particulary pro-semitic or anti-semitic, but for sure I am always amazed how the jews treat the palestinians in the few places they live in in israel.

Seems like someone learnt well from the nazis. The wrong lessons, but learnt well.
20:55 February 28, 2012 by goran.buren
In my book (in Swedish language) I try to tell the complete story of the assassination, as far as it can now be reconstructed. My main thesis is that count Bernadotte was assassinated with the silent consent of the Israelian government. The Israelian authorities didn´t provide him with armed protection, although the Stern Gang had publicly threatened to kill him. They had very strong indications that the outrage would take place, but they looked the other way and they let the perpetrators slip away. All this was well known to the Swedis authorities after the assassination, but they choose to forget it.

Göran Burén
08:29 February 29, 2012 by jwlundgren
While I can understand the royal family wanting to have closure on this matter, one wonders if the baby´s name is an appropriate way to revisit the affair. One also wonders, if this is the case, why Victoria and Daniel would go along with it since they are making so much effort to be "modern royals" and show how "ordinary" they really "are". I am surprised they would agree to a name that has such political connotations.
08:50 February 29, 2012 by karex
Personally I believe the name of the baby has nothing to do with the above case. It's a common and lovely female name, it was my great-grandmother's name. With so many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of women past and present in the world with the same name, it is rather not very appropriate of any author, historian or any othe professional who lives from writing and knows that published matter needs to be backed up by facts and sources to make generalized assumptions like this. Who is the "we" in "we were all surprised with the choice of names"? It is two people, a dozen, the entire country?

Even if the choice of names was because of the above case (again I seriously doubt it), where's the evidence to back up this claim?
10:05 February 29, 2012 by Australian History Teacher
karex you are an idiot
10:53 February 29, 2012 by robban70226
Quite interesting and informative but...

Water under the bridge and spilled milk..
12:37 February 29, 2012 by motti
Raoul Wallenbourg was a real hero who will always be remembered witth affection by Israel and Jews around the world. Robin Hood, the country whose name you bear was in total charge of its mandate in Pal;estine. To even allege of anti Arab action by the Jews there is a total fabrication and just records further your own prejudice and ignorance. I am bemused by the fact that the Swedes would not take the case of this upstanding man very far due to it's fear of the then Soviet Union and even today, of Russia. Of couurse to pick on lil ole Israel is another matter.

That the Swedish royal family have never visited Israel is quite unimportant. The same goes for the British royal family and the others. The oil commoditiy is far too important to lose. The Arabists in the european civil serices will never allow it.

The hashemite kings of the newly formed countries of Iraq and transjordan were trained, led and armed by the British in the invasion during the war of independence. That is, the Arabs who invaded the newly formed Jewish state The armed fortresses spread around the country were handed over to the Arabs with weapons. while at tghe same time, Jews who were caught holding arms were severely punished, often by hanging.

whether or not Bernadotte saved lives of Jews I don't know. However, to say he was neutral is stretching the truth somewhat. Like the vast majority of hie elitist ilk, he was no friend of Israel.

Robin Hood, you besmirsh a fine "fictional named person," you show your coulours openly and one does not have toi scratch your surface very deeply to see what is underneath. Are you a fascist loony leftie or a nazi creepy rightie?
13:00 February 29, 2012 by eltechno
With all the incredibly beautiful names the Swedes have for girls, I was surprised that Estelle was chosen too. For a while I worried that it could have come from the craze for that wretched program "Dallas" which for unknown reasons become popular in Sweden (one of the big stars was named Estelle.)

So I am thankful there are better reasons than THAT.
13:07 February 29, 2012 by RobinHood

Please would you post more on this theme. We "fascist loony lefties" and/or "nazi creepy righties" at the Local very much enjoy hearing from you. My own "open coulours" (sic) clearly aren't quite open enough for you to differentiate a Nazi righty from a loonie Leftie. All the same, I particularly enjoyed the bit "To even allege of anti Arab action by the Jews there is a total fabrication." That was a great. Lots more about that please.

Also, Robin Hood is not a country.
13:56 February 29, 2012 by gabeltoon
As a SCOTSMAN i am unaware of this topic.I will have to research this piece of history. I think it is nice that a name from the family history is being revived.
16:32 February 29, 2012 by Atlas
OK, how about this theory now, Estelle is also a derivative French name that means Star. And considering the fact that The Royal Swedish House was founded by Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, a French and the name of the princess is a tribute to the dynasty founder's heritage?
16:41 February 29, 2012 by Åskar

You forgot to mention that Menachem Begin, later Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was the leader of the Stern Gang.
17:38 February 29, 2012 by kirub
Interesting information: literature & history of Sweden.
20:31 February 29, 2012 by dizzymoe33
Maybe the new baby's name has a special meaning to someone in the family that no one is aware of or maybe they just liked the name? I think too much is being made out of Princess Estelle's name.
22:29 February 29, 2012 by tgolan
Folke Bernadotte was not assassinated in Israel, he was assassinated in palestine.
23:25 February 29, 2012 by Palden Jenkins
Hälsningar ifrån Bethlehem, Palestine! Bernadotte indeed was potentially an important figure in the evolution of events in this land, and this was precisely why he was assassinated. But it's important not to resort to full-frontal attacks - thisachieves nothing but self-justification and continued victimhood to circumstance. This land is one of conflicting rigid certainties, and Bernadotte in a sense presented the ultimate threat: a notable balance and fairness which has been anathema to the Zionist side of Israeli politics (there is another, more reasonable side). As for the royals, they have every right to commemorate a notable member of their family, if this is what they're actually doing. I have an Israeli settler friend named Sven, of Danish-Jewish stock, living on the West Bank, and that's perfectly fine too. I don't think it's too helpful to extrapolate a load of politics from the choice of a name. FB was a great man, that's all, and his murderers are no doubt having to square that with their G-d. Meanwhile, there's a future to get on with, all people have equal rights and are children of God, and we've just got to get used to that in the 21st Century. All things are okay in the end, and if it's not okay, it's not the end. Ma'assalam, Shalom, Palden.
03:58 March 1, 2012 by blursd
Isn't it possible they just liked the name Estelle, and there isn't some anterior motive or meaning behind it.

It's amazing how people can create issues that were never there to begin with ...
04:07 March 1, 2012 by Greysuede

Sounds unprecedentedly interesting...You didn't say what was the reason of assassination, did you?
06:41 March 1, 2012 by Rishonim
@ eltechno, beautiful names like these?:










08:27 March 1, 2012 by karex
@blursd and dizzymore33

Just the point that I was trying to make. Thank you.

#6 Methinks that your choice word would be better suited to describe someone who claims to know what goes on inside other people's minds.

BTW, rudeness is a common strategy for one who lacks intelligent arguments.
11:33 March 1, 2012 by motti
@Aasker, M. Begin was the leader of the Irgun, Avraham Stern was leader of Lehi, or the stern gang, just to correct you.

@Robinhood. my typing, Meant to write from the country. I am pleased you enjoy reading more truthful accounts and not just revised history. No, I am unable to note whether you are loony left or rabid right ,as both display an awful ingnorance and hate towards the jews and history. In fact one is National Socialism, the other is International Socialism, so what's the difference?

Did you find anything to correct regarding my account of the British mandate of Palestine? The Arabs rioted and were responsible for slaughtering of Jews. Still that is nothing new, as the Muslims in Islamic lands have a record of just that. did you check the Tegart forts the British handed over to Arabs, along with arms and munitions, while ensuring the Jews were unallowed to hold weapons to defend themselves against Arab aggression. In 1948, the world sat on the side, so soon after the Holocaust in Europe and waitied for another slaughter of Jews in Israel. Just as the world is doinf today with Syria, though on a lesser scale.

regarding the name, surely the choice is for the parents and if they want to commemerate FB that is their choice. From what I have read FB was hardly neutral, as far as his plans showed, he was openly on the side of the Arabs. There is no doubt that if the British had not played people off against each other, many problems around the globe would not be present today. Lawrence promised the Arabs indepent homelands after the Ottomans were kicked out. Look at the countries they received, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc. The Kurds, too, were promised their own independent state and they never received it. The Jews were promised their own homeland in Palestine. Britain did everything it could after the San Remo Declaration in 1920 to stop Jewish independence. Their chattering classes were (and still are) suffering from a serious outbreak of Jew hatred. Britain needed to retain control of the land, as a course between the UK and India.

Anything else you need to know? Most of this can be found quite easily in any library, or on intelligent sites on the web. Happy hunting laddie
12:10 March 1, 2012 by RobinHood

That was jolly interesting. Please would you write some more. My "library" and "intelligent sites" seem to have been written by ignorant fellows from either the "loony left or rabid right" and it's great to read your "truthfull account", of the assisination of FB, correcting the mistakes and obvious lies of the world's respected but clearly misinformed historians - such as Göran Burén.

Carry on Motti. You're doing a great job informing us Jew hating chattering classes here at the Local about how it really is.
00:08 March 2, 2012 by whoye
this is pure slave mentality to be so supportive of monarchy, that paying millions of dollars every year to a bunch of low IQ ("hello!! cousins marrying, IQ down the toilet" - E.Izzard) so called royal family to live in palaces. this is no "culture", these people are the ones repressing nations for centuries, creating a dark ages enslaving people. and ironically most of these 17 (i guess) constitutional monarchies are the ones so called "progressive european countries" teaching the whole world what is a "democracy", "human rights and fundamental freedoms". my hope for humanity is long gone
09:46 March 2, 2012 by jonathanjames61
Its just a little baby,whats this hulabula all about, let her alone,be happy mama and baby are well,and papa is happy.
16:59 March 2, 2012 by Reason abd Realism
@ karex

Agree that it could be a random choice of name, but royalty is so much about symbolism that it is likely in my opinion that the name is meant to evoke a reference to FB.

The main item of interest that no one disputes is that FB acted for the benefit of the oppressed, during and after the war, according to his own judgement of the very different situations, and so the only controversy here surrounds the manner of his death, not his valour as an individual.

According to this article, the royals wanted to say something about FB when the Isreali president Herzog visited Sweden, but they were not allowed. By naming the future Queen Estelle, this can be viewed as making a silent statement of protest that will last a lifetime.
17:57 March 2, 2012 by Bleichroeder
The Swedish Royal family are as righteous as they are relevant.

During the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Sweden allowed the Wehrmacht to use Swedish railways to transport (June-July 1941) the 163rd Infantry Division along with howitzers, tanks and anti-aircraft weapons and associated ammunition, from Norway to Finland. German soldiers traveling on leave between Norway and Germany were allowed passage through Sweden - the so-called permittenttrafik. Iron ore was sold to Germany throughout the war.

Also the father of Queen Silvia made a fortune from a factory seized from Jewish owners in Nazi Germany.
18:23 March 2, 2012 by Archie1954
Princess Estelle will make a lovely queen some day. I hope she will have better luck in reviving her esteemed ancestor's reputation. I have always said the Israelis get away with murder.
19:03 March 2, 2012 by motti
@robinhood, firstly, I never made any accusations regarding FB's assasination. I'm unsure what library you do read, as I have just wikipedied,as I have never heard of Goran Buren. There was no information on this person. do you have another spelling to this name? Why don't you read properly what has been written and absorb what you read, try to understand before you reply. Surely that has to be a better response than what you are doing presently.

I suppose to what you and some others of your Israel hating clique, I am sure it will be interesting. I noted that you made no effort to agree or disagree though with what I wrote regarding history.

The only difference between rabid rightwing National Socialism hatred of the Jews and the loony leftwing International Socilaism hatred of Israel is "Inter." That is why I say there is no difference between the two.

It is such a pity that people need to hate as they must be so unhappy. Me? No, I refuse to hate, I don't wish to lower myself to that level as a human being.

How do you answer that then Robin? Going to rob the poor to pay the oil rich Arabs ?
00:53 March 3, 2012 by eltechno

No. Those were not the names I had in mind when I thought of the Beautiful Swedish names for girls. I was thinking more of Astrid, Sonja, and Christina. Of course I am not the least bit objective-those names are attached in my memory to some real woman who brought a LOT of beauty into my life.
01:16 March 3, 2012 by gh2008
@ motti,

"It is such a pity that people need to hate as they must be so unhappy. Me? No, I refuse to hate, I don't wish to lower myself to that level as a human being."

i assume that you fail to recognize Palestinians as human beings! and i can tell you why is that... rolling those tens of comments you made on this very site.
09:03 March 3, 2012 by TheWatchman
Israel banned Lehi after the assassination. It was morally wrong to kill him, even if his presence threatened the existence of a Jewish homeland because he saved so many Jews. I personally condemn these things as a Jew, but the Swedes were naming their child in an act of malice, by using her as a political means of attacking Israel, which is a wrong thing to do.


I agree with everything you wrote but the last line, showing how it was indicative of Israeli morals. It was extremely horrible that that even happened, but assuming that Israelis would support this action if they knew he saved 30,000 Jews is unacceptable. I don't even think they know of this man in all honesty, I did not myself until now.


Israelis recognize 'Palestinians' as human beings. It is the other way around my friend. The leader Mahmoud Abbas does not recognize a Jewish Israeli state, and the leading militant group in the country Hamas wants to kill Jews. Maybe if they changed those things they would be nicer to the 'Palestinians'. From the Hamas charter:

"The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews [and kill them]; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!
11:00 March 3, 2012 by RobinHood
@The Watchman

Bernadotte was in Jerusalem as head of a UN mission sent to resolve what was then known as "The Palestinian Question". Every Jew in Palestine knew exactly who he was, why he was there, and that he had saved 30 000 Jews from the Holocaust. Many of those 30 000 actually lived in Palestine at the time. No place should have been safer or more welcoming.

There can't be many more debase acts in the modern history of the Jews than this assassination. It's hardly surprising you and Motti hadn't heard about Bernadotte before. If my people had done something so awful, I wouldn't want people to know about it either.
17:40 March 3, 2012 by AHA
The Israelis kan get away with anythíng not because that God All Mighty is on their side, rather it´s because that the All Mighty Dollar is on their side. But still, I don´t think that that was on the minds of the parents when they picked the name. IT IS SIMPLY A BEAUTIFUL NAME.
17:55 March 3, 2012 by motti
A@RobinHood, why do yo uclaim that I had never heard of FB? I have never stated this and I had indeed known of hiom as a Swedish negotiator, well meaning perhaps, but certainl;y biased in favour of the Arabs. I had not known that he had saved Jews.

Your figure of 30,000 Jewws is incorrect, the total included some 1,600 Jews who were brought to Sweden with others of varying nationility, many Scandinavians amongst them.

I wrote that I had never heard of Goran Buren and asked whether the spelling was correct. Nothing was shown on Wikipedia.

The watchman certainly real historical facts beeter than you, unfortunately you choose to disregard any history which is afvourable to the Jews or Israel. Why would 30,000 Jews living in Israel need FB during the war? This is not untrue, it is ridiculous and I suggest you are clutching at anything at all to discriminate your arguement.

Perhaps you might explain why the UN and the so called Arab refugees need UNRWA after all these years and the billions of dollars accepted by the PLO from western countries tax payers? All the millions of real refugees at the aftermath of world War II never had any UN organisation assistance. Nearly one million Jewish refugees from Islamic lands were forced to leave and neither did they, nor their descendents receive a penny or oere of assistance.

Probably this billions of $ given to the PLO (and the US State Dept in the late 1980's were concerned where the money had gone) explains how the terror organisation can afford to pay the late paedophilic Arafart's widow Suha an an annual stipen of $16 million. Any comments on that from you or from AHA?
06:54 March 4, 2012 by mikewhite
They wanted to call her Estrella, but then thought the association with beer and crisps unsuitable ...
07:29 March 4, 2012 by Andrea77
The comments make evident that a washed brain cannot think beyond the limits of its IQ.
12:26 March 5, 2012 by johan rebel
I the Swedes would just come to their senses and get rid of this anachronistic royal family, lock, stock and barrel, there would be no need for discussions such as these.

Having a king as head of state in this modern age is a joke. Having a simpleton for king is an embarrassment.

And by the way, Palden Jenkings, I'm not a child of a figment of your imagination, thank you.
21:46 March 5, 2012 by TheWatchman

True that Israel should have been more welcoming, and he should not have been assassinated. I don't know about it because no one even mentions Sweden in Canada. Not because of an alleged Israeli conspiracy. The only time Sweden gets mentioned in Canada is for 3 reasons, hockey, IKEA and Abba. There is nothing about Swedish history presented to us, nor even Scandinavian history.

As well, about $900 million donated to the Palestinians was transferred to Arafat's bank account. It is not a wild guess that some of this money was used to sponsor terrorism against Israel, if not at the very least starving them of economic assistance. Arafat and his cronies seemed to care far more about money than the average resident in the area. Perhaps RobinHood, I think you should find some youtube videos of Palestinian schools and media. It was really shocking for me.
01:08 March 6, 2012 by Max Reaver

Well well, all these talks and nothing new... I'd be tuned in to see what happens in the next few decades... Would be interesting to see if/when All Mighty Dollar gets exchanged by All Mighty Euro or All Mighty RMB.

However, I still think the royal family were aware whom the last Estelle Bernadotte was. It's common practice to re-use names of family members. They might not have done so on purpose though. If their next kid is a boy and he gets Folke as a name, then it definitely proves Goran Buren's point.

If I were into conspiracy theories, I might suggest a struggle between the Swedish government and the "unruly" royal house. Carl Bildt obviously doesn't want to mess with Israel, he seeks to silence the royals. But the birth of a princess carries too much PR power, it cannot be silenced by the government once the royal family starts referring to Folke's wife in press conference. As a last resort, the government hacked the royal families website to demonstrate power and cause confusion, which explains the strange " Ulrika Marianne Annika David" that showed up. Or maybe " Ulrika Marianne Annika David" was the agreed name between the royal family and the government, but the royals pulled off a surprise attack and later blamed the other name as "wrong" and "don't know how it got there". If the government cuts the royal funding in the next few months, then it might indicate the possible occurrence of such struggle.
12:56 March 7, 2012 by johnny1939
I have always felt that the same people that murdered Folke Bernadotte were behind the murder of Olof Palme.

I do not think however that the naming of the princess has anything to do w/ Count Bernadotte but honoring a beloved relative and friend his wife Estelle.
19:01 March 7, 2012 by motti
If you are accusing the Jews or Israel behind the murder of Olof Palme, please Isrel to do so. You make the allegation without foundation. Hello, any proof at all?
20:27 March 7, 2012 by johnny1939
I am not accusing anyone.
16:02 March 13, 2012 by Bleichroeder
If that is the reason that they decided to name her the way they did, they must be passive-aggressive self-indulgent degenerates.
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