Wednesday, 26 February 2014

HRH Princess Leonore Lilian Maria of Sweden, Duchess of Gotlandia

Her Royal Highness Princess Leonore Lilian Maria of Sweden, Duchess of Gotlandia. Those are the names and titles of the newborn daughter of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O'Neill, the King of Sweden just announced in a council meeting with the cabinet held at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. She will be called Leonore.
The choice of name includes some surprises, primarily that the father only a few days ago said that there would be five names. There have been four Swedish queens with another version of the name: Maria Eleonora, the consort of King Gustaf II Adolf and mother of Queen Christina; Hedvig Eleonora, the consort of King Carl X Gustaf, who acted as regent for her son Carl XI, was a great patron of arts and built Drottningholm Palace, where Princess Madeleine was born; Ulrika Eleonora the Elder, the wife of Carl XI; and Ulrika Eleonora the Younger, who in 1719 succeeded her brother Carl XII as Swedish monarch, but abdicated a year later in favour of her husband, Fredrik I.
It is not the first time that the Swedish royal family chooses a foreign version of a name from Swedish royal history; Madeleine is the French version of Magdalena, while the consort of Gustaf III was Queen Sophia Magdalena.
The name Leonor is known from Spanish royal history, including a reigning queen of Navarre and the eldest daughter of the current Prince of Asturias. Princess Eléonore of Belgium is the youngest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of the Belgians, while Countess Leonore of Orange-Nassau is the daughter of Prince Constantijn of the Netherlands.
Lilian is obviously in honour of Princess Madeleine's beloved great-aunt and substitute grandmother, Princess Lilian, who died almost exactly a year ago.
Maria is the middle name of the child's paternal grandmother and apparently of other female members of that family. It is also known from Swedish royal history. Maria Eleonora has already been mentioned and in the Bernadotte family it can be found in the person of Countess Maria Bernadotte af Wisborg (1889-1974), a granddaughter of King Oscar II. There might also have been a Bernadotte queen of that name, as only the final illness and death of Carl XV in 1872 prevented him from marrying Countess Maria Krasinska after the death of Queen Lovisa. Maria is probably the most used queenly name in history, and in Catholic mythology the virgin Mary is accorded the status of queen of heaven (the child's father is a Catholic).
Since 1772 Swedish princes with succession rights have been granted dukedoms, a practice which was also extended to princesses when gender-neutral succesion was introduced in 1980. There has been one previous Duke of Gotlandia, namely Prince Oscar, the second son of King Oscar II (and father of the aforementioned Countess Maria). However, Prince Oscar renounced his ducal title along with his succession rights when he married a commoner, the former lady-in-waiting Ebba Munck af Fulkila, in 1888. Another royal connection to Gotland is that Princess Eugénie, the daughter of King Oscar I, had a summer house, Fridhem, on the island, about which Princess Madeleine wrote a paper when in university.
Following the council there was a press conference with the Marshal of the Realm, the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister and the Mistress of Robes. Nothing of particular interest was said there, except that the Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, stated that they have interpreted the Act of Succession's rather vague requirement for royal children to be brought up in Sweden to mean from approximately the age of six. The Princess will be christened in the Church of Sweden, and the christening will take place in Sweden in early summer.
The photo is a press handout by Princess Madeleine/


  1. Having viewed the father's meeting with the press in full, I believe he was misquoted. Mr. O'Neill did not comment on the number of names.

  2. Addendum: Upon review of the video of the meeting, I can confirm that one of the attendees humorously proposed that the child would have five names, whereas Mr. O'Neill himself demurred.

    Thank you for elucidating the royal heritage of the dukedom!

    1. Thank you; I have not had the time to watch the whole press meeting, but I shall take your word for it. However, someone suggested, which is probably true, that there may indeed be five names and that the fourth and fifth are O'Neill and Bernadotte. These days members of the royal family are not exempt from the rule that all Swedish citizens must have a surname, so Prince Daniel's full name is for instance Olof Daniel Westling Bernadotte.


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