27 February 2014

HRH Princess Leonore Lilian Maria of Sweden, Duchess of Gotland

In the Council of State at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on Wednesday 26 February 2014, King Carl Gustaf informed his government that his new granddaughter, born in New York City on 20 February 2014, had got the name Leonore Lilian Maria. Her call name was Leonore, and besides her princess title with style of Royal Highness she had also got the title Duchess of Gotland.

According to Dagens Nyheter's coverage of Chris O'Neill's press meeting last Friday, the newborn princess had got five names, but that seems to have been a misquote, unless O'Neill referred to his daughter's middle name and surname as well (Bernadotte O'Neill or the other way around). I guess three given names are far enough...

Princess Leonore's parents have not yet said anything in public about the given names, so it is impossible to know for a fact their motivation behind their choices. We can only guess. It is, however, not difficult to gather that the name Lilian comes from Princess Madeleine's late great-aunt Princess Lilian, who died in 2013. Princess Leonore's paternal grandmother is named Eva Maria, so that surely explains her third name.

The name Leonore surely surprised most people. It could be described as a more modern and trendy version of the name Eleonora, which is well.rooted in Swedish royal history. Queen Ulrika Eleonora (1688-1741), who became reigning Queen of Sweden in 1719, but abdicated in favour of her husband, Fredrik I, the year after, is just one example. One can also find the name, or a variation thereof, in other European royal families (Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands). I think the Swedish connection is more important, but Princess Madeleine and her husband have most likely chosen the name because they like it. It is as simple as that.

The last Duke of Gotland was King Oscar II's second son Prince Oscar (1859-1953), who lost his succession rights, membership of the royal house as well as his ducal title when he married a Swedish "private man's daughter", Ebba Munck af Fulkila in 1888. It is nice that such and old ducal title has come back to light again. It is also nice that in this way the beautiful island of Gotland might get more attention and attract more tourists, as the governor of Gotland, Cecilia Schelin Seidegård, touched upon in an interview on Wednesday. The county administration issued a short press statement, expressing happiness in the fact that the island of Gotland would have a special place in the heart of the royal family.

After the Council of State, the Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, informed that the requirement in article 4 in the Act of Succession, which says that "princes and princesses of the Royal House shall be brought up [...] within the Realm", was interpreted into saying that it would be fulfilled if the princess lived and started school in Sweden from the age of 6. In other words, while Princess Leonore and her parents live in New York City today, they would have to move to Sweden by August 2020.

The christening will take place in the Royal Palace Church in the spring.

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