Sunday, 30 May 2010

Swedish court confirms HRH style for Daniel Westling

In connection with the banns of marriage for Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling, held in the Palace Church in Stockholm today, the royal court confirmed the obvious (external link), namely that Daniel Westling following the wedding on 19 June will be styled HRH Prince Daniel of Sweden, Duke of Westrogothia.
Following a claim made by the tabloid journalist Herman Lindqvist (external link), a self-styled “historian” and “expert” on any conceivable topic, that Mr Westling would not be HRH as this was reserved for “born princes and princesses”, the Royal Court’s somewhat chaotic press department made known that this had not yet been decided.
Decisions about styles and titles for members of the royal family are the King’s prerogative, but of course it would have been unthinkable for him to withhold the HRH title for the heiress’s husband as this would have been a clear break with tradition and would have been interpreted as a sign of the King’s disapproval of the marriage (to which he had given his consent).


  1. And Lindqvist changed his tune yet again in recent days, without anyone questioning him on it (as far as I know)...

    It's still strange that the king only decided on Daniel's style late this week (according to the court's press department), and that there is seemingly so much opposition to his receiving the HRH (an unrepresentative reader poll in Aftonbladet showed over half opposed), while the equally "commoner" Silvia Sommerlath's receiving the title of HM The Queen goes totally unremarked upon.

    Also surprising, to me, was that the press release stated that Daniel Westling was to become a member of the Kungliga Huset, as opposed to the more narrowly defined Kungafamiljen. It's quite odd that Carl Philip and Madeleine should be part of the "inner" family, while the future monarch's spouse is in the same category as the current king's aunt and sister.

    On a related note, recent media reports have sometimes referred to foreign "precedents" for male consorts, e.g. Henrik of Denmark, but the example of Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden is hardly ever brought up. As I'm not familiar with Swedish history, I'd like to ask you - what was her husband called during her reign, and is there some reason this isn't cited as a precedent? (Actually, even the recent examples aren't good precedents, in my opinion, since they stem from male-preference systems of monarchy - but perhaps the Swedish king is indeed consulting his neighbors for guidance.)

  2. Dear E and Trond,
    My observation (and I hope the court reads this!), is that the Swedish court must Get-Things-Right-From-The-Start. If it was the case (and I think it was) that the King only recently decided upon mr Westling's HRH, then it should have been "inserted" into the news flow with much lower profile. Now, the court let SVT:s TV-news "Rapport" know, on Thursday evening, that the King was considering the "HRH". Thereby, the story was subjected to rough treatment in the media for 3 days (web-polls "denying" mr Westling the title, confusing comments by undeducated journalists etc.). The court must become much better at presenting the monarchy as a tighly knit, self-assured and elegant package deal -- a "take it or leave it" attitude (although not arrogant) which does not allow itself to be deconstructed in tiny bits, each of which the average Swede seems tragically unable to understand, and media all to eager to confuse.

    As for E's comment on Kungliga Huset: I see no problem here. Kungliga Huset denotes dynastic proximity, whereas Kungliga Familjen is more of a biological affair. For me, Kungliga Huset is indeed the inner part.

  3. Personally I find it hard to believe that the King actually made this decision only a few days ago - at the time of the engagement it was made known by the royal court that Mr Westling would be "Prince Daniel, Duke of Westrogothia" and I, like most other people, took it for granted that this involved HRH and Prince of Sweden. Anything else would simply not make sense at all.

    I would not read too much into Aftonbladet's unrepresentative reader's poll - such polls and the comment option at online newspapers tend to attract those who are negative towards the royal family whatever they do, the angry, bitter and envious ones as well as the nutcases.

    I too see no problem in the royal court's announcement that the future Prince Daniel will be part of the Royal House. Traditionally there have been two categories since 1888: The Royal House, which consists of the dynasts, and the Royal Family, which includes the former dynasts and their spouses. "Kungafamiljen" (perhaps best translated as "the King's family" to separate it from kungliga familjen/the Royal Family) is a more informal notion. As all the HRHs are members of the Royal House (the more official thing) it is only logical that the future Prince Daniel will also be so, but this does not mean that he will not be considered part of "Kungafamiljen".

    Queen Ulrika Eleonora the Younger's husband was to the best of my knowledge never given the title Prince of Sweden, but remained Hereditary Prince Friedrich of Hesse-Cassel throughout her reign (similarly, Queen Victoria of Britain's husband was simply Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha until created Prince Consort in 1857). Ulrika Eleonora however wanted him to be king and co-monarch (like William III and Mary II) and when this turned out to be impossible she rather abdicated in his favour (however, if he had predeceased her she would have become monarch again).

  4. I too do not believe the king only now just decided, but rather not announcing he will be HRH was an oversight. I never questioned if he would be HRH, as I can't see a good reason to deneil it to him. I assume the press release only stating he will be apart of the royal house, but failing to address if he will be apart of the royal family as another oversight. The queen is neither related to the king or in line for the throne, yet shes is included because by marriage and because shes mother to those that are. The same will be for Daniel married to the heir, and the father to future heirs. I've come to expect these little mistakes sadly, I wonder how (if at all) they will respond to this.

    Although I could see the reasoning for Madeleine and Carl Philip spouse being left out of either the royal house or royal family (depending on which one the court considers to be more official, what we might see as more official might not be the same for them) depending on how much of an active role they will take on.

  5. It is my impression that membership of the Royal House comes with the HRH and the HRH comes with the title "Prince(ss) of Sweden" - in 1888 Prince Oscar was demoted to "Prince Oscar Bernadotte" (not Prince Bernadotte as many seem to believe) without the HRH and then moved to the Royal Family section of the State Almanach. Considering that Princess Madeleine's former fiancé was to become Duke of Helsinga and Gastricia and not Prince (and to keep his own surname), I think it is fairly safe to say that he would not have become an HRH and thus he would probably not have counted as a member of the Royal House (although the King could of course have decided otherwise).

  6. Thanks for the information about Prince Friedrich, Trond.

    Panoptes, I was actually referring to the Kungafamiljen (not the Kungliga Familjen), which - as you can see on the page linked in my original comment - is the "inner" family when compared to the Kungliga Huset (officially translated as the Royal Court, although Royal House would probably be a better translation).

    I am indeed hoping that Daniel will be part of the Kungafamiljen as well as the royal house, since, like J says, he is basically in the same position as the queen. Hopefully (as most here have commented) the court will display more clarity and consistency in the future, among other things with regards to defining Daniel's place in the royal family (in the practical as well as formal sense), although in my opinion, the manner in which the public roles of the younger royals have been handled doesn't bode very well for that.

  7. I can now add that I have checked the Fredrik I scenario an extra time and indeed he never received the title Prince of Sweden. On 6 December 1718 he was granted the style of Royal Highness, but he received no other Swedish titles until he was elected King.

  8. I find this discussion of Daniel Westling's title and position fascinating because it is really about how the monarchy and centuries of tradition will be adapted in a world which is increasingly democratic and less reliant on tradition. I was interested to recently learn that Debrett's Peerage, famous for their authoritative published guides to the British aristocracy (they have a website) now also publishes a special book of important people in Britain, not related to titles or aristocracy, in recognition of the way society has changed. It is an interesting kind of problem solving to adapt such old traditions to modern life.


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