Royal cheat sheet: Who are the Swedish princes and princesses?

The Local Sweden
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Royal cheat sheet: Who are the Swedish princes and princesses?
Prince Oscar and Princess Estelle. Photo: Karin Törnblom/TT

Swedes' love for their royals is one the more glaring of their many paradoxes. But who are they, and how have they managed to thrive in one of the world's most egalitarian countries?


A people obsessed with modernity, equality, and rationality will gather in large numbers to cheer their hereditary monarch as he passes by on a gilded horse-drawn carriage. 
What makes this all the more surprising is that, unlike the Danish Queen, who can trace her descent back to the rulers of the 10th Century, the Swedish royals are newcomers. The founder of the House of Bernadotte, Charles XIV John of Sweden, was the grandson of a tailor from southern France, who rose to become one of Napoleon's generals, before being voted into his position by the Swedish parliament. 
So who are the Swedish Royals, and what do you need to know about them to hold your own with royalist Swedes, or even republicans?  
Carl XVI Gustaf 
At 73, Sweden's king has shed the playboy image that dogged him when he became king in 1973,  achieving, if not gravitas, the sort of affection you might hold for an ageing but slightly goofy uncle. 
His undiagnosed dyslexia led Swedes to initially underestimate him. He was reported to have misspelled his own name when signing his accession documents in 1973. 
But he has been true to his motto: 'For Sweden – with the times'. He married a commoner, breaking down a rule that Swedish princes must marry royalty to inherit. The Swedish monarchy in 1980 became the first  to introduce gender-equal succession, and Carl Gustaf swapped his formal title 'King of the Swedes, the Goths, Geats and the Wends' for the more 'lagom' 'King of Sweden'. 
In 1997, he won plaudits for coming forward about his dyslexia, and after the 2004 Tsunami, he spoke movingly about growing up without his father, who died in an air crash when he was nine months old.
He had a difficult start to the decade, with the publication of a salacious biography that claimed he had been a frequent participant at wild sex parties, and had a year-long love affair with a pop star. 
But the birth of his first grandchild in 2012 marked a turning point, starting a succession of good news stories around weddings, births, and christenings. 
In April 2018, Carl XVI Gustaf surpassed King Magnus IV to become Sweden's longest reigning monarch
He enjoys hunting, but his most enduring obsession has been cars, particularly his prized collection of Porsche 911s. 
Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT
Queen Silvia
Born Silvia Renate Sommerlath to Walther Sommerlath, a German businessman, and his Brazilian wife Alice, Silvia comes from a solidly upper middle class background. 
In an interview to celebrate their 40th anniversary in 2016 she remembered her first encounter with the King at the VIP lounge at the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, where she was working as a hostess. She turned around to find him scrutinizing her with a pair of binoculars, from one metre away. Their marriage in 1976 has been credited with reviving the monarchy. 
Silvia has also had her struggles with the media since a newspaper discovered in 2002 that her father had joined the Nazi party, and taken over a factory from a Jewish businessman. Silvia commissioned a Erik Norberg, a historian, to show that Sommerlath had in fact helped the Jewish businessman move funds from Germany. 
She is known for her tireless work for charity, fighting particularly for the rights of children through her charity the World Childhood Foundation.   
Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden 
The first-born child of the King and Queen (in 1977), Victoria is by far the most popular of the Swedish royals. She has perfected the delicate balance of being down-to-earth and accessible without losing her royal mystique.  
Victoria's decision to open up about the anorexia she suffered after stepping into the public eye aged 18 won her respect. Although she has inherited her father's dyslexia, she is more academically able, with a degree from Uppsala University and further studies at Yale. She speaks English, French and German.
She married her former personal trainer Daniel Westling in 2010 and the couple have two children, Estelle (7) and Oscar (3). 

Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland
Although described as Crown Princess Victoria's 'personal trainer',  Daniel Westling was in fact running a successful gym business by the time he moved into a one bed-room apartment at the royal Drottningholm Palace in 2009, the year before his marriage to her. 
His title 'Royal Highness Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland', and his position as a knight of the Royal Order of the Seraphim, are nonetheless a step up from his origins in Ockelbo, north of Gävle. His father was head of social services in Sandviken municipality and his mother worked for the Swedish post office. 
In public life, Daniel seeks to encourage young people to be follow in his entrepreneurial footsteps, visiting high schools around the country alongside people like Spotify co-founder Martin Lorentzen, with the Prince Daniel Fellowship and Entrepreneurship Program. 
Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland
The 40-year-old Prince Carl Philip only spent a matter of months as heir the Swedish throne before Sweden moved to gender neutral succession. He's since dropped down to fourth in succession. 
Like his father, Carl Philip's dyslexia brought him struggles at school, particularly at the famously tough Swedish boarding school Lundbergs. 
He is passionate about design, studying at Stockholm's Forsbergs School of Graphic Design and the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States, before in 2012, setting up Bernadotte & Kylberg with his Forsbergs classmate Oskar Kylberg. Their designs are sold in Sweden's Åhlens department store, among other places. 
Thousands lined the streets in Stockholm to celebrate his marriage to Sofia Hellqvist, a former glamour model and reality TV star, in 2015. The next year, Princess Sofia gave birth to a son, Prince Alexander, Duke of Södermanland. The couple's second child, Prince Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna, was born in 2017. 
Carl Philip is a keen sportsman, competing in sailing, running and cross-country skiing. Like his father, he is passionate about cars. He is a licensed race car driver and has competed in the Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia. 
Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT
Princess Sofia of Sweden, Duchess of Värmland
Princess Sofia grew up in the Älvdalen area of Sweden, with her mother working as a marketing manager for a plastics company and her father working for the Swedish Employment agency. 
She made her name when she was one of  young Swedes flown out to Mexico for the reality TV show Paradise Hotel in 2005. During the show she kissed 'Queen of Porn' Jenna Jameson. She had previously been crowned Miss Slitz 2004 for posing topless with a snake in the Swedish glamour magazine Slitz. 
By the time she became involved with Carl Philip, she had studied business and accounting in New York and in 2010 she co-founded Project Playground, a charity that works with street children in South Africa. 
Since marrying Carl Philip she has maintained her charitable work, becoming heavily involved in Queen Silvia's World Childhood Foundation. She is a qualified yoga instructor and a pescatarian. 
Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT
Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland
At 35, Madeleine is the youngest of the three royal children, and perhaps the least active in public affairs. She is the patron of Min Stora Dag (My Big Day), which helps children with life-threatening conditions fulfil their wishes. 
She married the British-American banker Christopher O'Neill in June 2013, after which she moved to New York, where their first daughter, Princess Leonore, was born in February 2014. 
Madeleine returned to Sweden in February 2015, where the couple's second child Prince Nicolas was born in June the same year, but by then O'Neill had already moved to London to set up payment solutions company Wilton Payments. 
That autumn Madeleine moved to join him. But she returned to briefly to Sweden in March 2018 for the birth of her daughter Princess Adrienne at Danderyd Hospital. 
Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT
Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill has refused to take Swedish citizenship or a royal title, meaning he has no official title and is referred to as simply Herr Christopher O'Neill in official communications. 
After getting an MBA from Columbia Business School, O'Neill cut his teeth at the elite investment bank Rothchild, before becoming Head of Research at the London hedge fund Noster Capital. 
He was forced to resign this position on his marriage to Madeleine in 2013, because otherwise the fund would have been banned from holding companies listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange.
Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT


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