3 July 2014

Sofia Hellqvist's ancestry

Following the announcement of the engagement between Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist last Friday, 27 June 2014, the genealogist and publisher Ted Rosvall has worked hard to trace the ancestors of the (most likely) princess-to-be and future member of the Bernadotte family. The second edition of Rosvall's book Bernadotteättlingar (The Bernadotte Descendants) was published in 2010.

Ted Rosvall's first results were published in the blog Rötter (Roots) on the website of Sveriges Släktforskarförbund (Swedish Roots, Sweden's Genealogists' Society), on Monday 30 June 2014. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet followed up with an article on 1 July 2014, in which also the Älvdalen genealogist Roland Skoglund was interviewed. Skoglund, who is chairman of Runslingan, Uppland Genealogical Society, has in earlier works covered the population of Älvdalen from the period 1600-1900. Because of Skoglund's work, which I hope will eventually end up with a published genealogy of Sofia Hellqvist's mother's family, Ted Rosvall has focused his research on Sofia's father's family.

Based on the above-mentoned articles and Ratsit, a credit report company which at it's website has public records from the Swedish public register, I can present a short summary of Sofia Hellqvist's ancestry.

1. Sofia Kristina Hellqvist, b. Täby 6 December 1984, later moved to Älvdalen
2. Eric Oscar Hellqvist, b. --- Denmark 3 June 1949.
3. Marie Britt Rotman, b. Älvdalen 2 May 1957.
4. Stig Hellqvist (deceased)
5. Ingrid --- (deceased)
6. Janne Herbert Ribbe Rotman, d. 2005.
7. Britt Ingegerd ---, b. 10 June 1937.

Sofia's sisters are Lina Maria Hellqvist, b. 16 January 1982, who lives in Stockholm, and Sara Helena Hellqvist, b. 30 May 1988, who lives in Sollentuna.
Sofia's grandfather Stig was born in Lidhamn outside Malmö, but his father was a handelsresande (salesman/commercial traveller) from Norrköping. Going one generation further back, we find tullvaktmästare (some sort of customs officer) Anders Fredrik (Andersson) Hellqvist (1850-1927), who was born in Norrköping/Hedvig as the son of factory worker Anders Nilsson and Anna Maria Persdotter (1823-1904).

The surname Hellqvist actually stems from the latter's family. Her father, grenadier Petter Häll/Hell (1793-1852), was from Hällebyle i Gistad parish. At least one of his children, Johan Fredrik (1833-1916), later took the surname Hellqvist, something his sister's son also settled on. Peter Häll was born in Svinstad parish southeast of Linköping. Svinstad was in 1804 renamed Bankekind, possibly because of the original name (svin means swine/pig). As Rosvall sums up, in Sofia's father's family we only find commoners - cotters/crofters, soldiers and workers. On her mother's side, 3/4 of the family has roots in Älvdalen in Dalarna, and most of them were farmers.Through her Älvdalen family Sofia Hellqvist is related to Gyris Marit Ersdotter, who died in captivity in 1669, most likely she suffered death at the stake for witchcraft.

I am sure that more details will be published as we get closer to the wedding next summer. In the meantime, you can also find some information at Nobiliana provided by Netty Leistra.

27 June 2014

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden engaged to marry Sofia Hellqvist

The engagement between Prince Carl Philip of Sweden and Sofia Hellqvist was announced today by the Royal Court. The press release read as follows:
Engagement between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist

The Marshal of the Realm is delighted to announce the engagement between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist.

After His Majesty The King of Sweden had given his consent to the marriage between Prince Carl Philip and Miss Sofia Hellqvist, His Majesty requested the approval by the Swedish Government, in accordance with the procedures set out in the Swedish Constitution.
- Sofia has today said yes to the question to spend the rest of her life together with me. Today is a very happy day for Sofia and I, says Prince Carl Philip.
The wedding date has not yet been decided but it is planned to take place during the summer of 2015.
The newly engaged and happy couple met the media for a short press conference and photo session, where we learned among others that Prince Carl Philip had proposed the same morning and that Ms. Hellqvist had been taken by surprise. They had been waiting for this day for such a long time... According to today's press, the couple met in 2009, became a couple in early 2010 and moved in together in 2011. She seems to have been welcomed by the royal family from the start and have attended several royal events, including Princess Madeleine’s wedding in 2012 and Princess Leonore’s christening earlier this month.

From the released CV, today’s newspapers and Dt.se we learn that Sofia Kristina Hellqvist was born at Täby (outside Stockholm) on 6 December 1984, but grew up in Älvdalen in Dalarna. She is the second daughter of Erik Hellqvist and Marie Hellqvist, née Rotman. Her big sister is named Lina, while her younger sister is Sara.

Sofia attended primary school at Älvdalen and the local Montessori school and studied at the high school in Vansbro. I cannot find too many details about her family, but Svensk Damtidning published a survey of her family in no. 14, 2013 (which I haven't read). Erik was born in Denmark and works or has worked at the local post office, while Marie, who comes from Älvdalen originally, used to be an active member of the Liberal People’s Party. I am sure we will get more details and more accurate information later.

According to the information released by the court, Sofia has studied accounting with computer application, specialising in business development, at the Institute of English and Business in New York. Sofia has also studied various courses such as global ethics, child and youth science, children’s communication and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in theory and in Swedish practice at Stockholm University. During her time in New York, Sofia also studied at YTTP, Yoga To The People, to become a certified yoga instructor. She was also involved in setting up a yoga centre. During September and October 2009, Sofia carried out voluntary work in Ghana. She visited orphanages and helped build a centre for women.

In 2010, Sofia founded the organisation Project Playground, together with her friend Frida Vesterberg. Project Playground is a non-profit organisation that helps vulnerable children and young people in areas and townships outside Cape Town, South Africa, primarily in Langa, which is the oldest township in the area. Project Playground strengthens children’s personal and social development via support programmes and organised activities. With a focus on children and young people’s leisure time and the individual, Project Playground creates a safe platform and meeting place with activities and programmes, run by adults that act as leaders and role models. The business has a total of 29 employees (26 in South Africa) and is one of the largest employers in the township of Langa. Sofia is President of Project Playground, and Frida Vesterberg is Vice President.

So far, so good. But the future Princess Sofia of Sweden has a past. Maybe not as wild as many would claim, but there are photos out there, from the time she was a glamour model and participant in a reality show. She surely regrets some of the choices she made when she was young.

The reactions of today’s news have obviously been mixed, as one could expect. You can read comments by the more Catholic than the Pope kind of people who find Ms. Hellqvist totally unsuitable to marry into the Swedish royal family and on the other side comments by the royalty is a fairytale kind of people who believes love conquers everything and nothing else matters. The republicans are always bothered by the cost of the wedding, and then again there are many who wouldn’t care less. If the monarchy falls, it will most likely not be because of Prince Carl Philip’s choice of bride.

Some will regard her as a gold digger and worse, while others prefer to talk about how they met at a party and fell in love. Regardless, the couple made a great impression at the press conference today. It is too early to say what impact the engagement and wedding next year will have on the support of the monarchy. She will most likely grow into her role and perform her duties well. She will be accepted by the majority, while the skeptics will never forget. Sofia Hellqvist seems to be a charming and warm-hearted person who will be of great support to her husband. Those who are critical of the union and want someone to blame, should go after Prince Carl Philip, who by his more or less controversial choice of a woman «with a past» is challenging the bedrock the monarchy is leaning on and exposing the royal house to more criticism and negative headlines. Something the royal house doesn’t really need. It is kind of sad, though. An engagement is supposed to be a celebration not only of a young couple’s love, but also of the monarchy itself. Instead we end up with mixed feelings and debates.

Constitutionally speaking, the king and the government have given consent to the marriage, cf. article 5 of the act of succession, just as expected. The Government gave its approval yesterday by the way. Upon marriage Sofia will become Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Värmland with the style of Royal Highness, and any possible children will be Prince or Princess of Sweden just like their cousins Estelle and Leonore.

Updated on 30 June 2014 at 10.05 (minor corrections about Sofia's parents, link added).

22 June 2014

The 31st International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences

Are you interested in genealogy and/or heraldry? Why don't you come to Oslo between 13th and 17 of August this year, where the 31st International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences takes place?

The theme of the congress is "Influence on Genealogy and Heraldry of Major Events in the History of a Nation", a theme chosen because of the two major jubilees which are marked in 2014 - the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution and Oslo's 700th anniversary as the capital of Oslo. Whether Oslo really could be defined as a capital 700 years ago or not has with good reasons been a subject of discussion, but the anniversary is nevertheless being marked, although not in the same style as the 17th of May anniversary.

Anyway, there are many interesting topics being presented during the congress, including themes covering royalty and nobility. The timing and venue for each presentation has now been decided, and these can be seen on the Congress website – Program.

Under Presenters you can see the names of the speakers and title of the presentations, and clicking further on the individual names takes you to a synopsis of the talk. In addition to general registration, it is possible to register for individual days for talks of particular interest – contact the Congress at post@congress2014.no for details.

The organizers behind the congress is the Norwegian Genealogical Society (Norsk Slektshistorisk Forening) and the Norwegian Heraldry Society (Norsk Heraldisk Forening).

The blazon of the emblem is as follows: Shield: Azure a Tree eradicated Argent. Supporter: Issuant from behind the Shield Saint Hallvard (Oslo’s patron saint) Azure with a Millstone resting in Dexter Hand and holding three Arrows in Sinister Hand, all Argent. (Source: Slektshistoriewiki - The Norwegian Genealogy Wiki).

The 31st International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences Oslo 2014 is under the distinguished patronage of His Majesty King Harald V of Norway.

Hope to see as many of you in Oslo in August this year!

19 June 2014

Spanish abdication act published

The Spanish abdication act was published in the Official Gazette (Boletín Oficial del Estado, BOE) just over midnight on Thursday 19 June 2014:

Ley Orgánica 3/2014, de 18 de junio, por la que se hace efectiva la abdicación de Su Majestad el Rey Don Juan Carlos I de Borbón

Long live King Felipe VI!

18 June 2014

Spanish abdication bill signed into law

The abdicacion bill was approved in the Spanish senate yesterday (233 in favour, 5 voted against, 20 abstentions).

In a ceremony at the Royal Palace tonight King Juan Carlos signed the abdication bill into law (which was also countersigned by President of the Government Mariano Rajoy). The act will come into effect "from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette",* i.e. at midnight. 160 people attended the ceremony, including King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia, the Prince and Princess of Asturias (soon-to-be King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia), Infanta Leonor, Infanta Sofia, Infanta Elena, the King's sisters Infanta Pilar, Duchess of Badajóz and Infanta Margarita, Duchess of Soria (the latter with her husband Carlos Zurita, Duke of Soria), the Duke and Duchess of Calabria (the king's first cousin Infante Carlos and his wife Anne, née d'Orleans), the king's aunt by marriage Infanta Alicia, as well as former King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes and the former King Simeon of the Bulgarians.

On Thursday morning, 19 Juner, King Felipe VI will take the oath in the proclamation ceremony before both houses of Parliament. Besides the new king and queen and their daughters the Princess of Asturias (Leonor) and Infanta Sofia, also Queen Sofia, Infanta Elena, Infanta Pilar and Infanta Margarita and members of Queen Letizia's family will be present. King Juan Carlos has decided not to attend so that the new king will get all the attention. The king and queen will observe the military parade from stairs of the Congress building before being driven to the Royal Palace where they will greet the Spanish people from the balcony. The Princess of Asturias, Infanta Sofia, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia will also be present.

At 1 p.m. a reception will be held attended by around 2000 people. The English edition of El Pais has given a nice survey of tomorrow's events. In addition the Royal Court has issued a 90 pages long document with all the details about the abdication and the ceremony on Thursday (for the Spanish version, which has 3 more pages, go here).

*Postscript 23 June 2014: It should be added that I based the translation of the abdication act on the draft bill published by the Government on 3 June 2014, where the text of the final provision said «This Law shall come into force as from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette".» In the translation at the Royal Court’s website the final provision reads «This organic law shall take effect when it is published in the "Official State Gazette".» The latter translation was made available after the act was published in BOE.

There is obviously a minor, but still significant, difference between the two translations. The former translation would mean that the then Prince of Asturias became king (as Felipe VI) at midnight on 19 June regardless of when the act was published that day, while the latter clearly says that the succession started from the time of publication. Not much difference in time, though, as the act was published two minutes after midnight.

Even though my understanding of Spanish is limited, it seems to me that the translation at the Royal Court’s website is more accurate. The draft bill’s final provision in Spanish said that «La presente Ley entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el Boletín Oficial del Estado".», while the published act read «La presente ley orgánica entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el «Boletín Oficial del Estado». » The only difference is that the word «orgánica» was added during the process.

Updated on Monday 23 June 2014 at 22:20 (postscript added).

15 June 2014

Royal birth in Luxembourg

The Grand Ducal Court of Luxembourg released the following announcement earlier today, 16 June 2014:
Their Royal Highnesses Grand‐Duke and Grand‐Duchess of Luxembourg are very pleased to announce the birth of Prince Félix and Princess Claire’s first child.

The baby girl was born on 15 June 2014 at Maternité Grande‐Duchesse Charlotte in Luxembourg.

The little Princess will be named Amalia, Gabriela, Maria Teresa. On birth, the baby weighed 2,950 kilograms and measured 50 cm.

Prince Félix was at the side of his wife in the delivery room. Her Royal Highness and her baby are both doing well.

The Grand‐Duke and the Grand‐Duchess as well as Mr and Mrs Lademacher and both families are delighted with the news.
The exact time of the birth was for some reason not included in the announcement. Prince Felix is the second son of Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg. He married Claire Lademacher on 17 September 2013 (religious celebration 21 September 2013). The pregnancy was announced by the court on 14 January 2014.

HRH Princess Amalia of Nassau, who is  third in line to the Grand-Ducal throne, is the third grandchild of the Grand Ducal couple. Prince Félix' younger brother Prince Louis and his wife Princess Tessy have two boys – Prince Gabriel (b. 2006) and Prince Noah (b. 2007).

I am not sure what has motivated the choice of Amalia as the baby's call name, but one can at least find several examples of Amalie or Amalia in the various Nassau lines. The other names (Gabriela Maria Teresa) are surely after Princess Amalia's grandmothers.

11 June 2014

Spanish Congress of Deputies passes abdication bill

The Spanish lower house, the Congress of Deputies, processed the abdication draft bill today. Some representatives used the event to mark their opposition to the monarchical form of government, but as the major parties voted in favour of the bill, everything went as expected.

For the record, 299 representatives were in favour, while 19 voted against. In addition there were 23 abstentions.

The relevant documents:
Information in English (provided earlier):
Press release from Prime Minister (President of the Government) Mariano Rajoy
The text of the abdication bill is quite simple:
Sole Article. Abdication of HM King Juan Carlos I de Borbón.
  1. HM King Juan Carlos I de Borbón abdicates the Spanish Crown.
  2. The abdication will become effective as from the entry into force of this Constitutional Law.
Sole final provision. Entry into force.
This Law shall come into force as from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette.*
The bill will now move on to the Senate, where it will be processed on Tuesday 17 June 2014 at 4 p.m. The following day it is expected that King Juan Carlos will sanction and promulgate the abdication law in accordance with the Constitution Article 62. But as the text of the bill suggests, the law will not come into force until the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette.* Nothing is official yet, but it seems that Felipe will take the oath on Thursday 19 June 2014.

According to El Pais (3 June 2014), "The exact date when the law goes into effect is set to coincide with the proclamation of the new monarch, as there can be no transitional period. In the meantime, “the king continues to be the king to all effects and purposes,” said an expert in royal affairs."

I find this claim a bit odd. If Juan Carlos had died in his sleep still being the king, there would most certainly have been a transitional period, so why should there be a difference when the king abdicates and becomes "constitutionally dead"?

We will surely obtain more information as we get closer to the main events next week.

*Postscript 23 June 2014: It should be added that I based the translation of the abdication act on the draft bill published by the Government on 3 June 2014, where the text of the final provision said «This Law shall come into force as from the date of its publication in the Official State Gazette".» In the translation at the Royal Court’s website the final provision reads «This organic law shall take effect when it is published in the "Official State Gazette".» The latter translation was made available after the act was published in BOE.

There is obviously a minor, but still significant, difference between the two translations. The former translation would mean that the then Prince of Asturias became king (as Felipe VI) at midnight on 19 June regardless of when the act was published that day, while the latter clearly says that the succession started from the time of publication. Not much difference in time, though, as the act was published two minutes after midnight.

Even though my understanding of Spanish is limited, it seems to me that the translation at the Royal Court’s website is more accurate. The draft bill’s final provision in Spanish said that «La presente Ley entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el Boletín Oficial del Estado".», while the published act read «La presente ley orgánica entrará en vigor en el momento de su publicación en el «Boletín Oficial del Estado». » The only difference is that the word «orgánica» was added during the process.

Updated on Wednesday 11 June 2014 at 22.35 (press release from La Moncloa added), last time on Monday 23 June 2014 at 22.20 (postscript added).