Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Bernadottes in Bologna and Pontecorvo

On the final day of their state visit to Italy last week, the King and Queen of Sweden visited Bologna. That city has old links to the Bernadotte dynasty – King Carl Gustaf’s great-great-great-grandmother, Queen Josephina of Sweden and Norway, was created Princess of Bologna by her step-grandfather, the Emperor Napoléon I, shortly after her birth in 1807.
Another of the King’s ancestors, King Carl XIV Johan, was also given an Italian principality by Napoléon (who was also King of Italy). Between 1806 and 1810, when still a Marshal of France, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte reigned as Sovereign Prince and Duke of Pontecorvo, a small town between Rome and Naples.
Bernadotte himself never set foot in his principality and I have frequently wondered if any other member of the Bernadotte dynasty has ever visited Pontecorvo. Recently I finally found the answer when going through King Gustaf VI Adolf’s photo albums and scrapbooks at the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. In one of them were three pictures taken during a visit the then Crown Prince of Sweden paid to Pontecorvo in 1949.
The picture shows what Pontecorvo looked like when I was there in January 2008.

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