18 June 2015

Sweden and Spain: A new princess, a new prince and a revoked title

HRH Prince Carl Philip and HRH Princess Sofia. Photo: ©Mattias Edwall, Kungahuset.se.
I haven't been able to update my blog lately, with the exception of the Ferner article of Tuesday this week, so I thought I should summarize the events of the last few days.

1. Sweden got a new princess on Saturday 13 June 2015 when Prince Carl Philip, b. 1979, only son of King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, married Sofia Hellqvist, b. 1984, the second daughter of Erik Hellqvist and Marie Hellqvist, née Rotman, at the Palace Church in Stockholm. The officiants at the wedding ceremony were Lars-Göran Lönnermark, head predicate and bishop emeritus, and Michael Bjerkhagen, pastor of the Royal Court Parish. Prince Carl Philip's best man was his school friend Jan-Åke Hansson.Sofia didn't have a maid-of-honor, while Princess Estelle, Tiara Larsson, Anaïs Sommerlath and Chloé Sommerlath were bridesmaids.

Because I attended a party on Saturday, I was not able to watch the televised wedding ceremony, but came home just in time to watch and listen to Prince Carl Philip's impressive speech at the gala dinner.

More details about the wedding, including the guest list, can be found at the official website.

Last year I wrote an article about Princess Sofia's ancestry, based on among others research made by Ted Rosvall. In connection with the wedding I read that Princess Sofia also has Forest Finns (Finnish migrants who settled in forest areas in Sweden and Norway during the 16th and 17th centuries) among her ancestors (through her mother's line, I gather). However, no source was stated, and as I can't find where I read it, the reader should put a big question mark over it for the time being. Interestingly enough, also Prince Daniel has Forest Finn roots through his father. Anyway, it would be interesting to hear if more research has been done on Princess Sofia's ancestry since the above-mentioned article was posted in early July last year.

Time will show how Princess Sofia will be received by the Swedish people. Many find her background somewhat problematic, so the princess will have to work hard to impress. How the princess will communicate and connect with people is of course a key here. I am hardly the only one who has been impressed by how the couple, and especially Princess Sofia, has handled the press so far (at least from the engagement was announced and onward). The start of her "princess career" can only be described as promising.

2. Only two days after the wedding, the bridegroom's younger sister, Princess Madeleine, and her husband, Chris O'Neill, became parents for the second time. A boy was born at Danderyd Hospital in Danderyd municipality (Stockholm County) on 15 June 2015 at 1.45 p.m. The little prince weighed 3,08 kg at birth and was 49 cm long. Danderyd Hosoital is, by the way, also where Princess Sofia was born in 1984.

In the traditional Council of State held at Stockholm Palace on 17 June 2015, the names and titles of the little boy, currently 6th in line of succession to the Swedish throne, were announced: HRH Prince Nicolas Paul Gustaf, Duke of Ångermanland. His name in daily use will be Nicolas. Considering the fact that Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill had chosen Leonore as the call name for their firstborn child, a name not based on Swedish royal traditions, I wasn't surprised that the parents followed up with the name Nicolas for the second one. They could have landed on the more Swedish-sounding name Niklas, but seems to have wanted a more "international" name. Even spelt the French way. Well, the Bernadotte dynasty is after all French of origin. However, one can find several examples of Nicolas in various forms (Nicholas, Nicolaus, Nikolaus, Nikolai etc.) throughout European royal history. Within the Bernadotte family one can point at the former Prince Lennart (Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul) (1909-2004), Prince August (Carl Nikolaus August) (1831-1873) and Prince Eugen (Eugen Napeleon Nicolaus).

Most people had guessed that Paul would be one of the names, as Chris O'Neill's father was named Paul Cesar O'Neill. And thankfully the third name Gustaf is a common name in Swedish royal history, and is of course the second name of King Carl XVI Gustaf. All in all, I am not too disappointed with the names (my opinion is of course irrelevant, but when has that ever stopped me from commenting), although I as usual would have preferred a more traditional Swedish royal name as call name.

3. On Thursday 11 June 2015 in form of a royal decree, published in the Official Gazzette (BOE) the day after, King Felipe of Spain decided to strip his sister, Infanta Cristina of her title Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, which she had received by her father, the former King Juan Carlos, in connection with her wedding in 1997 to Iñaki Urdangarin Liebert. The reason behind the decision to revoke the title is of course the tax evasion charges against the couple, a scandal that has seriously embarrassed the monarchy, to say the least. Cristina remains an Infanta of Spain, so the real motivation behind the decision might be to stop her husband, most likely "the main crook", from using his (courtesy) title. Although the scandal is serious enough regardless of the outcome of the trial (no date has yet been set), I still find the timing of the decision somewhat unmusical.

1 comment:

  1. Regarding HRH Princess Sofia's Forest Finn ancestry: http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=185&artikel=6180231