Tuesday, 12 July 2011

On this date: Count Oscar Bernadotte’s 90th birthday

The Bernadottes are known for their longevity and today another of them turns ninety. Count Oscar Bernadotte af Wisborg, who was born on 12 July 1921, is the second son of Count Carl Bernadotte af Wisborg and his first wife, Baroness Marianne De Geer af Leufsta, and a grandson of Prince Oscar Bernadotte, the second son of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway.
From his mother’s family Oscar Bernadotte inherited the entailed estate Frötuna, eight kilometres east of Uppsala. Despite his parents’ divorce in 1935, his father looked after the estate until “Oscis” had completed his military education. It was his grandfather, the only admiral in the family, who wanted him to join the navy, but after the end of WWII he switched to the air force and reached the rank of captain.
Oscar Bernadotte has a great interest for family history and was a member of the board of the Carl Johan Association for sixteen years. Last year he was present when Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel visited Pau, the hometown of their ancestor, but otherwise his contacts with the royal family are few these days and unlike his elder sister, Dagmar von Arbin, he was not invited to the royal wedding.
Count Oscar Bernadotte has been married twice, but was widowed in 1999. He is the father of four daughters and one son and now lives in Uppsala.
While researching my MA dissertation several years ago, I discovered documents which showed that Oscar II upon the dissolution of the Swedish-Norwegian union in 1905 offered the Norwegians his second son, Prince Oscar Bernadotte, as their new king. If the proposal had been accepted by the Norwegians, it might have been King Oscar IV of Norway who celebrated his ninetieth birthday today. When I told Count Oscar that he might theoretically have been King of Norway, he laughed and replied that we should probably be glad that he is not.

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