Monday, 24 February 2014

The legal status of Princess Madeleine’s daughter

Following the birth of a daughter to Princess Madeleine of Sweden in New York on Thursday (local time) I have observed that there has been some confusion about the child’s status.
This even involves the acting director of the royal court’s information and press department, Annika Sönnerberg, who told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter (external link) that it was not clear whether the child would be a Swedish citizen and thereby in line to the throne, obviously assuming that the child this far is only a US citizen.
This must be a case of the press department having insufficient information. The Act of Succession of 1810 (revised in 1980) does not say anything about citizenship; in other words there is no constitutional requirement for Swedish citizenship in order to be in line of succession (and this can only be altered by a decision of Parliament, not by the King or the royal court’s information and press department). Consequently, the child is fifth in the order of succession.
Furthermore, there is no doubt that the newborn child is a Swedish citizen. This is made quite clear by the website of the Swedish Migration Board (external link), which says: “The child of a Swedish mother will always become a Swedish citizen”. The Swedish version of the website makes this even clearer by adding: “It does not matter whether the child is born in Sweden or abroad”. Consequently, the newborn child is a Swedish citizen by birth.
Some have also claimed that the child will not or cannot be a princess, some arguing that this is not possible because her father is not a prince or because this would be contrary to Swedish laws. Firstly, there are no such laws; the titles of the members of the royal family are decided by the King. Secondly, the father’s status is irrelevant in this context. Since gender-neutral succession was introduced in Sweden in 1980, princes and princesses have equal rights, but it has not been given how this would influence the titles of King Carl Gustaf’s grandchildren. However, in September Axel Calissendorff, lawyer to the King of Sweden and legal adviser to the royal court, stated in an interview that Princess Madeleine’s children would be princes and princesses of Sweden with the style Royal Highness.
Since Gustaf III reintroduced ducal titles in 1772 all princes in line of succession have been granted a dukedom (except those born as crown prince until 1979, when King Carl Gustaf granted a dukedom to the then Crown Prince Carl Philip). Since the introduction of gender-neutral succession in 1980 this has also been extended to princesses. Thus it seems highly likely that the newborn princess will also receive a dukedom. Her names and titles will be announced by the King in a meeting with the members of the cabinet. This is normally held immediately after the birth, but as King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia have gone to New York to visit their newborn granddaughter the council will not be held until the King has returned to Sweden, although I suppose this delay is not strictly necessary as the Crown Princess could hold the council in her father’s absence abroad.

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