21 February 2014

Swedish Royal Birth in New York City

The Swedish Royal Court announced early this morning that Princess Madeleine the evening before, at 10.41 p.m. (local time), at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, USA, had given birth to a girl. Princess Madeleine, the youngest child of King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, has been married to Christopher O'Neill since June 2013. The pregnancy was announced on 3 September 2013.

According to another press statement released later the same morning, both mother and child are in good health and Mr Christopher O’Neill was present at the hospital throughout the birth. The birth was marked by a 21-gun salute at noon today. The names and titles of the baby girl, who was born into this world as no. 5 in the line of succession to the Swedish throne, will be announced in a cabinet meeting, probably early next week (no date has been set yet). The Royal Court's solicitor informed last fall that Princess Madeleine's child woult be titled, so it would be rather surprising if the king in the meantime has changed his mind.

Chris O'Neill told in a press meeting tonight that baby girl has got five names, which might be somewhat surprising, considering that the newborn's grandfather as well as Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Estelle, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine all received four names "only". On the other hand, King Carl Gustaf's sisters all got three names, so the "four names tradition" is far from being deep-rooted. And if we go back to the king's father's generation, Prince Gustaf Adolf had six names, the then Prince Sigvard three, Princess Ingrid (later Queen Ingrid of Denmark) five, Prince Bertil also five and the then Prince Carl Johan only three.

According to the information given at the press meeting, the newborn princess weighed 3150 grams and measured 50 cm. She looked like her mother, O'Neill said, and had brown hair and dark brown eyes.

It will of course be interesting to hear the names the parents have chosen. After the announcement of Princess Estelle's call name, I am not sure if I will take the chance to make a guess. But as I have said on similar occasions before, I would love a tradtional royal name or at least a name with Swedish/Norse roots, but Princess Madeleine and Chris ONeill might have opted for a more "modern" and trendy call name. Katharina Leibring at the Department of Scandinavian Languages at Uppsala University, who has researched personal names traditions, finds it hard to imagine "something like Hjördis", a comment I thought was rather amusing. According to the Dagens Nyheter article, Elouise and Desirée are the betting companies' favourites.

The Royal Court has informed that a Te Deum thanksgiving service will take place on 2 March in the Royal Chapel at the Royal Palace of Stockholm.

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