Today is the birthday of one of Europe’s most charming royals, Princess Lilian of Sweden, who turns 97. Born into poor working-class conditions in Wales, Lilian was at the centre of one of the great love stories of the twentieth century, waiting 33 years for Prince Bertil of Sweden to be able to marry her. Although she only became a princess at the age of 61, Princess Lilian turned out to be one of the greatest assets of the Swedish royal family.
However, this much-loved princess has not been seen in public since 30 April 2008, when she fainted while taking part in the celebrations of King Carl Gustaf’s 63rd birthday. Princess Lilian has since suffered a series of health problems and receives around the clock care in her home Villa Solbacken at Djurgården in Stockholm. The royal court has confirmed that she is suffering from senile dementia and in a recent interview her niece, Princess Birgitta, said that Princess Lilian is no longer able to recognise family members.