The Swedish royal family was established in 1818, with Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden currently holding the throne. The King and the members of the royal family reside at the Royal House of Bernadotte. In recent years, both the Swedish and international media has been paying more attention to the family due to an uptick in marriages, births, and a bit of controversy. Take an in-depth look into the personal lives of the members of the royal family including their history, relationships, drama, and what they have recently been up to.
Princess Sofia Was Quite Different Before Meeting Prince Charles Philip
Sofia has quite an interesting past compared to other members of the royal family. Back in the day, she was best-known for modeling for male magazines, as well as for her role on the reality television series Paradise Hotel. Yet, she’s also accomplished more than just becoming a princess.
She majored in accounting in New York and is a certified yoga instructor. She has also done volunteer work in South Africa, Senegal, and Ghana. Her tattoos were also a topic of discussion, which could be seen on her wedding day.
They Were The First Monarchy To Change Their Succession Laws
In 1980, Sweden became the first monarchy to change its succession rites so that the first-born child of the monarch is heir to the throne regardless of their gender. Like all other monarchies, for centuries, only males could inherit the throne, yet Sweden decided to shake things up a bit.
The Succession Act was changed just three years after the birth of Victoria but was made retroactive. This changed Victoria’s title from Princess to Crown Princess. She will ascend to the throne once King Carl passes away.
Princess Madeleine Was Almost Set Up With Prince William
Back in 2001, Princess Madeleine was studying English in London. During that time, it was rumored that King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Elizabeth II were in cahoots, with the hopes of setting her up with Prince William.
It is alleged that William was definitely interested in the arrangement, but Madeleine was less enthusiastic. She claims that the only reason she was in London, to begin with, was to live a more private life, not to date an English royal.
Princess Madeleine’s Husband Did Not Add Bernadotte To His Name
After moving to New York in 2010, Victoria’s younger sister, Madeleine, met the British-born American businessman Christopher O’Neill. The two announced their engagement in 2012 and were married on June 8, 2013. Princess Madeleine did not change her surname to O’Neill in order to keep her title Royal Highness.
In turn, O’Neill opted to not be granted royal status in order to remain a private citizen. This way he could retain his US and UK citizenships as well as his job as the Head of Research at an investment firm in New York. If he were to become a member of the royal family, this would not be possible.
King Carl Is Rumored To Have Had An Affair
Over the years, there have been accusations regarding King Carl’s raucous past including wild alcohol-fueled escapades and false promises to common girls in exchange for intimacy. Yet, in 2010, the newspaper Aftonbladet published excerpts from Thomas Sjöberg’s The Reluctant King, claiming that Carl had had a year-long love affair with the Swedish pop star Camilla Henemark in the late 1990s.
Carl commented stating, “I have spoken with my family and the Queen and we choose to turn the page and move forward because, as I understand, these are things that happened a long time ago.”
Prince Carl Philip Met Princess Sofia Through Mutual Friends
Prince Carl Philip met his future wife, Sofia, in a rather unroyal situation. Back in 2010, the two were eating in the same restaurant and each of the friends they were with happened to know each other. The prince recalls “We started with a shy greeting and everything followed.”
The two started a relationship and began living with each other starting back in 2011. Over time, Sofia could be seen on Carl Philip’s arm more frequently at official events. Eventually, the two became engaged and were married in 2015.
Princess Madeleine And Chris O’Neill Announced They Are Moving To The United States
In August 2018, the Swedish Royal Court announced that Princess Madeleine, Chris O’Neill, and their children would be moving to Florida. However, this would not be the first time the couple lived in the US. They lived in New York during the early years of their marriage, with their first daughter Leonore being born there.
After moving, Madeleine intends to continue her work with the US branch of the World Childhood Foundation and O’Neill will run his European business remotely. However, in order for their children to still be viable for the throne, they must attend school in Sweden beginning at the age of six. With their daughter being four years old, it’s unknown whether they will return on time.
The King Decides His Grandchildren Won’t Have Royal Titles Anymore
In October 2019 the King of Sweden made a surprising announcement, stating that the children of Princess Madeleine and Prince Carl Philip would no longer be royals or be expected to perform royal duties.
The Swedish royal palace announced, “His Majesty The King has decided that the children of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, and the children of Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine and Mr. Christopher O’Neill will no longer be members of The Royal House.” Princess Madeleine said that change had been discussed for some time, and she was happy that her children would have more freedom.
Queen Silvia Is The First Swedish Queen To Have A Career
In 1972, the Crown Prince Carl Gustaf met Silvia Sommerlath in Munich during the Olympic Games. It was there that Silvia was working as the chief hostess. At the time, she was a trained interpreter without any royal origins.
So, when she married Carl Gustaf in 1976, she became the first Swedish queen ever to have a professional career. Since becoming queen, Silvia has worked to modernize the position so that it is more conducive to the ever-changing times.
The Monarch Is A Mostly Ceremonial Position
Today, Sweden is a representative democracy in a parliament system that is based on popular sovereignty. The monarch, as well as other members of the royal family, are involved in numerous official, unofficial, and representational duties both at home and abroad.
At its core, the King of Sweden is a unifying symbol more than anything. According to the 1974 constitution, the monarch has no true political affinity and no formal powers. Essentially, their duty is mainly ceremonial and representational.
King Carl Was A Rambunctious Youth
In his younger years, Carl Gustaf made sure that he didn’t miss out on taking advantage of his youth. He was an avid outdoorsman and a playboy in a sense, going from one girlfriend to another, doing what young men do.
He was and still is a huge fan of sports cars and made little attempt to not act like he was wealthy and the Crown Prince. He struggled in school due to his dyslexia but went on to study finance and economics. Of course, over the years, he matured into the king we know him as today.
It Took A While For The King To Be Accepted By The People
As a young king, it took a while for King Carl to earn the respect and love of his people. Thomas Sjöberg, author of the King Carl XVI biography The Reluctant Monarch commented:
“He does all the things that aristocrats tend to do. “Expensive holidays on the French Riviera, traveling all over the globe, throwing ridiculously expensive parties, socializing with lots of women when his wife is not present. The Swedish people seem to be very tolerant, and partly that’s because they don’t see him as a grown-up person.” The king himself admitted that he didn’t feel accepted until he was well into his middle age.
Crown Princess Victoria Suffered From Anorexia
From a young age, Crown Princess Victoria had proven to be the definition of a royal family member. By the age of 18, she had made her first public speech and frequently made appearances and regally executed her royal duties.
Yet, in 1997, the palace confirmed that Victoria’s studies were being put on hold so she could receive treatment for her anorexia in the United States. She went on to attend Yale University for five semesters which allowed her to have a normal college experience with her identity remaining relatively unknown.
An Unlikely Match
After breaking up with her longtime boyfriend, Daniel Collert, Crown Princess Victoria began dating her personal trainer Daniel Westling in 2002. Of course, since the Crown princess was involved with an average Joe, the media was buzzing on the matter. Everyone was trying to find some kind of dirt on the personal trainer, but nothing came up.
So, they resorted to poking fun at his humble past, something the king didn’t exactly approve of either. It was rough for Westling at first but after some new clothes and royal tutoring people backed off. The two were married in 2010, and it was the most anticipated royal wedding since Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981.
O’Neill Partially Regrets His Decision
Even though Christopher O’Neill made the decision to not join the royal family to keep his citizenship’s and position at his company, apparently, he has some regret over his decision.
In an interview with Hello! magazine, O’Neill commented on the king and queen saying, “I’m very lucky to have known them […] “If I had to do it all over again, I would. I’d be part of the royal family. A million times over. They’re the most generous people I’ve met.” However, no true harm comes from not being a member of the royal family.
Princess Madeleine Was Previously Engaged
Before meeting her current husband, Madeleine was engaged to the lawyer Jonas Bergström. After years of dating, Bergström proposed to Madeleine during a vacation in Capri in 2009. At one point, the wedding had to be pushed back due to the royal family’s busy schedule.
Yet, in 2010, the engagement was officially canceled after it was revealed that Bergström had cheated on Madeleine with a 21-year-old college student while on a ski trip. The college student made a statement claiming she didn’t know who Bergström was and wouldn’t have done anything had she known otherwise.
The King Is Big On Environmental Awareness
Since a young man, King Carl has always been a lover of the outdoors. Whether it was hunting, camping, or climbing, his time spent in the wilderness led him to become a major environmental activist. He cares deeply about environmental issues and is viewed as a global authority on the matter.
In turn, he was once awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Award and the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award for “his tireless campaigning to promote an environmentally sustainable human habitat.”
The King Is A Busy Man
Throughout the year, King Carl visits countless political leaders, attends summits, and makes appearances across the globe. Annually, he goes on international trips for the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the World Scout Foundation. In addition, he and the royal family also receive thousands of invitations to events from all over.
Once a week, the king, queen, crown princess, and trusted advisor meet to decide which are the most important and who will attend. In Sweden especially, they try to make as many appearances as possible.
The Queen’s Father Was Accused Of Being A Member Of The Nazi Party
Queen Silvia was born in Heidelberg, Germany in 1943. In 2002, the queen came under fire when it was reported that her father had joined the Nazi party in 1934 while working for a German steel company. In 2010, a documentary alleged that her father was a member of the party and made a fortune making weapons at the steel factory after he took advantage of the Jewish owner.
However, in a prior documentary, the Queen explained that her father had joined the party to protect his family and that he wasn’t personally involved in anything. In 2011, it was discovered that her father acquired the factory to help the Jewish owner escape to South America with his family.
The Queen’s Mixed Heritage Influences Her Decisions As Queen
Being born in Germany to a German father and a Brazilian mother, Queen Silvia believes that both cultures have had a great impact on her, which therefore influences her actions as the queen. According to Queen Silvia:
“I was born in Germany, during the Second World War, and with only two years I moved my family to Brazil. Twelve years later, in 1957, we returned to live in Germany, so these two countries marked me a lot. You can say that I have remnants of both cultures, something that has served me to know the best of both worlds. My mother was Catholic and my father, a Protestant, so I grew up in a home where tolerance and respect were always present.”
King Carl Rose To The Throne Sooner Than Expected
When Carl Gustaf was born in 1846, he was third in line for the throne. However, when he was just nine years old, his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, was killed in a plane crash. After his father’s death, Carl then became the second-in-line for the throne. The only person in front of Carl was his grandfather, the Crown Prince Gustaf VI Adolf.
After his great-grandfather, King Gustaf V died, his grandfather ascended the throne and Carl was then named the crown prince at just four years old. Carl came to be King of Sweden when he was 27 years old.