Sweden bids farewell to Princess Lilian

A coffin draped in Sweden's blue and yellow flag was placed on a catafalque and topped by a crown once belonging to Sweden's Princess Eugenie at the Stockholm Royal Chapel funeral, which was officiated in Swedish and in English.

Sweden bids farewell to Princess Lilian

Skies were clear and temperatures hovered around zero as the funeral cortege then advanced through the Swedish capital, before the princess was laid to rest at the royal burial grounds in Haga Park on the outskirts of the city.

“It was a declaration of love, to be there without being seen,” Bishop Emeritus Lars-Göran Lönnermark said at the service, referencing the Welsh-born princess 33-year wait before being able to marry her lifelong love Prince Bertil.

“In this life choice of hers, there must have been a lot of pain,” he said.

Apart from the Swedish royal family, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II – a niece of the princess by marriage – and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt were among the invited guests. Princess Lilian’s blood family in Wales was represented by Barbara Davis, daughter of the princess’s cousin.

IN PICTURES: Scenes from Princess Lilian’s funeral

Sweden’s Queen Silvia held the hand of her son Carl Philip as the now-grown children of King Carl XVI Gustaf said farewell to the woman dubbed by Swedish media as “the grandmother they never had.”

Nick Howe, chaplain of Stockholm’s Anglican church, read in English from Corinthians. There were a number of other British touches to the service, which saw a union flag placed by the altar and which included hymns Jerusalem and For All the Saints, in Ralph Vaughan Williams’ arrangement. British Ambassador Paul Johnston attended the service with his wife Nicola.

Born Lilian Davies in the Welsh mining city of Swansea in 1915, Princess Lilian died on Sunday at the age of 97, after suffering from Alzheimer’s.

The former factory worker met her Swedish prince during World War II when he was stationed at the Swedish embassy in London. The couple’s romance flourished and she moved in to his London flat after hers was damaged in an air raid.

IN PICTURES: People at the palace share their thoughts about Princess Lilian

However, the prince’s father, King Gustaf VI Adolf, refused to give his blessing to a marriage so as not to jeopardise the future of the monarchy.

When Bertil’s eldest brother, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, died in a plane crash, he left behind an infant son who would one day inherit the throne.

But Bertil’s two other brothers had already relinquished their places in the line of succession by marrying commoners, and Lilian was forced to stay in the shadows.

IN PICTURES: Click here for a walk through the life of the Princess

Once the new king married in 1976, one of his first moves was to allow Bertil and Lilian to wed, which they did in December 1976, 33 years after meeting. She was 61, he was 64.

Bertil, who died in 1997, once said that one of his biggest regrets was that the couple had to sacrifice having children in order to protect the throne.

Princess Lilian maintained an active life for nearly a decade following Bertil’s death, taking over many of his patronages and attending royal events as one of the family’s most senior members.

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Scandal-hit Frenchman ‘groped Sweden’s Crown Princess’

Jean-Claude Arnault, the French photographer at the centre of the crisis at the Swedish Academy, has been accused of sexually harassing no less a figure than Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria.

Scandal-hit Frenchman 'groped Sweden's Crown Princess'
Crown Princess Victoria. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
According to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper, three sources, at least one within the Academy, claim to have witnessed Arnault groping the Crown Princess’s bottom at an event put on by the body, which awards the Nobel Prize for Literature. 
The Swedish feminist Ebba Witt-Brattström, who was present at the event at Villa Bergsgården in Stockholm, told both Expressen and Swedish broadcaster SVT that one of Victoria's aides had leapt to her rescue.
“Her female aide threw herself forward and pushed him away,” she said. “She pushed away his hand.” 
After the alleged transgression, the Academy’s then Permanent Secretary Horace Engdahl was reportedly instructed by the court to “undertake measures” to ensure that the Crown Princess, then still in her 20s, would never be left alone in the company of the then 60-year-old Arnault. 
The story, if true, is another blow to the claims of longstanding Academy members, Engdahl in particular, that they were unaware of Arnault reputation as a serial sexual harasser.
“We can’t comment on that particular information,” Margareta Thorgren, press officer at the Swedish Royal Court told the newspaper, although she said the court supported the #metoo movement against sexual harassment. 
“The information surrounding Jean-Claude Arnault which the media has reported since the autumn is terrifying,” she added. 
Svenska Dagbladet has translated their scoop into English German, and French
In November, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported accusations from 18 different women that Arnault had sexually harassed or assaulted them, either at Forum, the cultural centre he helped run, or at apartments owned by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm and Paris. 
Arnault is married to Katarina Frostenson, a poet and Academy member, and is reportedly a close friend of Engdahl's. 
The photographer has denied all the accusations of harassment and his lawyer on Saturday told Expressen and Swedish broadcaster SVT that the new accusation was “false and erroneous”, and had been “released to slander and damage him”. 
“The claimed transgressions never took place,” Arnault said, according to his lawyer. “This is idiotic”. 
The accusations have thrown the Academy into turmoil, with no fewer than six Academy members stepping down as a result, four in protest at the way they have been handled.
Katarina Frostenson and former Permanent Secretary Sara Danius said they would both leave their seats on April 12, after a tense meeting at which Frostenson reportedly said she would not resign unless Danius did too.  
Only ten of the Academy’s 18 members are still active, and the institution is expected to decide next Thursday if it will award the Nobel Prize this year, or postpone it to next year.