4 September 2017

Sweden: HRH Prince Gabriel Carl Walther, Duke of Dalarna

In the Council of State held at Stockholm Palace today it was announced (*) that Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia's son, who was born on Thursday 31 July 2017, had received the name Gabriel Carl Walther. It was also announced his first given name Gabriel was to be his call name. He had also received the title Duke of Dalarna.

When I commented on the name possibilities on Thursday, I said that everything was possible. That was why I argued, with my tongue in cheek, that Alfred was a good alternative for the newborn prince. It would go well together with his brother Alexander's name  as well. I was certain, however, that Folke would be one of the names, as the three earlier princes of the present generation – Nicolas (Paul Gustaf), Oscar (Carl Olof) and Alexander (Erik Hubertus Bertil) – all had got one of their names from their grandfather King Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus. But I was wrong on that as well.

In the end no-one had guessed Gabriel for the baby prince's call name. No members of the Bernadotte family have the name Gabriel. But in the European Royal Family we have Prince Gabriel of Belgium – second child of King Philippe – and Prince Gabriel of Nassau, eldest son of Prince Louis. So in other words not a tradtional Swedish royal name, but something the parents opted out of personal preference. They might have felt that as Prince Gabriel was far down in the line of succession, they were less bound by tradition. Then again, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel were not so committed to royal traditions when they named their first child Estelle... Prime minister Stefan Löfven said that the prince «without any doubt was a little Gabriel», whatever he meant by that.

Gabriel is a common name in Sweden, but not among the most popular names. According to Statistiscs Sweden, 341 boys received the name Gabriel last year, which resulted in a 42nd place. All in all 17 709 men in Sweden have the name Gabriel, while 10 297 men has Gabriel as their call name.

It should be added that there have been a few surprises earlier as well. Just think about Prince Sigvard and Prince Lennart. The name Gabriel, even though it is not a traditional Swedish royal name, will work well, and it goes well together with Alexander too, I think.

The second name Carl is of course a very popular royal name in Swedish history. It is part of the current king's name, and is also the second name of Prince Gabriel's first cousin Prince Oscar. The third name Walther obviously comes from Queen Silvia's father Walther Sommerlath (1901–1990). One of her brothers also has the name Walther.

Many had guessed that Prince Gabriel would receive the ducal title of Dalarna, because his mother Princess Sofia grew up there. Then again, so did many before Prince Alexander's title was announced. As Trond Norén Isaksen pointed out in his blog article today, it was actually «the first time that such personal connections are taken into consideration for the choice of dukedom». Isaksen wrote, by the way, an excellent article on Swedish Royal Dukedoms in Royalty Digest Quarterly no. 2, 2016.

Prince Gabriel is the third member of the Bernadotte dynasty to receive the title Duke of Dalarna. Previous dukes of Dalarna were Prince August (1831–1873) and Prince Carl Johan (1916–2012) until he lost his titles in 1946.

Following the birth of Prince Gabriel, the line of succession to the Swedish throne is as follows:
  1. Crown Princess Victoria (1977)
  2. Princess Estelle (2012)
  3. Prince Oscar (2016)
  4. Prince Carl Philip (1979)
  5. Prince Alexander (2016) 
  6. Prince Gabriel (2017)
  7. Princess Madeleine (1982)
  8. Princess Leonore (2014)
  9. Prince Nicolas (2015)
(*) English version of the announcement.

Updated on Tuesday 5 September 2017 at 09.30 (subject title standardization).

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