Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Oscar II’s princely crown and Order of Seraphim for Princess Estelle

In little over an hour the christening of Princess Estelle of Sweden will take place in the Palace Church in Stockholm. Already in place next to the magnificent silver baptismal font is the crown which symbolises the Princess’s royal rank, a tradition which goes back to the christening of the future King Gustaf IV Adolf in 1778.
Very unusually, Sweden has crown not only for the King and Queen, but also for the Crown Prince and for princes and princesses. The first princely crowns were made for the 1772 coronation of Gustaf III, but as the royal family grew, new crowns had to be acquired up until 1902. Princess Estelle is direct heir to the throne, but not first in line, so the crown used today is not the crown princely crown, as when the then Crown Prince Carl Philip was baptised in 1979, but Oscar II’s princely crown. This crown was made by court jeweller Marc Giron for the then Prince Oscar to be worn at the coronation of his parents, King Oscar I and Queen Josephina, in 1844. At the time Prince Oscar was Duke of Ostrogothia, the same dukedom which was bestowed on Princess Estelle the day after her birth.
Also placed on a blue velvet cushion next to the font is the Order of Seraphim, which Princess Estelle will be given today. This signifies a return to the tradition whereby princes in the line of succession were given the royal orders at their christening.
However, when the new Constitution was introduced in 1974, the award of orders to Swedish citizens, including the royal family, was banned. This remained in force until 1995, when an exception were made for members of the royal family, and meant that no orders were given at the christenings of King Carl Gustaf’s children.


  1. I have seen pictures of the pre-1974 state opening of parliament in which the princes wore their crowns (a truly spectacular sight, even in black and white). Are there any occasions on which they physically wear their crowns today? For that matter, do the king and queen ever wear crowns?

    1. Crowns are only worn if the monarch has been crowned. Oscar II was the last Swedish monarch to be crowned (in 1873); his son Gustaf V dispensed with a coronation when he succeeded his father in 1907. Since then no Swedish monarch (or consort) has worn a crown, which also means that the princely crowns have not been worn after 1907. Since then they have only been used as symbols of rank at funerals, weddings and christenings - the three most recent examples being Carl XIII's princely crown on Prince Bertil's coffin in 1997, the crown princely crown and Prince Wilhelm's crown on the altar at the wedding in 2010 and Oscar II's princely crown next to the baptismal font yesterday.


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