At 3 p.m. today a memorial service will take place in the Norwegian Sailors' Church in Calahonda in Spain for the King's aunt, Princess Kristine Bernadotte, who died suddenly in her home in Benalmádena on Tuesday, aged 82. The Princess rarely missed out on a family event in Norway and was in Oslo as a guest at the wedding of Princess Astrid's son Carl-Christian Ferner as recently as last month.
Kristine Rivelsrud was born in Eidsfoss in Vestfold, south of Oslo, on 22 April 1932. In 1960 she was hired as a secretary by Prince Carl Bernadotte, who had moved to Spain following his aquittal for his involvement in the so-called Huseby scandal two years previously. After he divorced his second wife in 1962, Kristine Rivelsrud was promoted to life partner, but it was not until 8 June 1978 that the couple married at the Swedish Embassy in Rabat in Morocco.
Prince Carl Bernadotte, né His Royal Highness Prince Carl (Junior) of Sweden, Duke of Ostrogothia was the only son of Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, and as such the younger brother of Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, Queen Astrid of the Belgians and Princess Margaretha of Denmark. He forfeited his rights to the Swedish throne when he married a commoner, Countess Elsa von Rosen, in 1937, but received the title Prince Bernadotte (of the Belgian nobility) by his brother-in-law, King Léopold III of the Belgians. Thus Kristine Rivelsrud became a princess by marriage, and she was also listed last among the members of the Swedish royal family on the Swedish royal website.
However, she did not have much contact with the Swedish royal family, although King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia attended Prince Carl Bernadotte's 90th birthday in Oslo in January 2001 and his funeral in Danderyd in July 2003 and she was invited to the opening of an exhibition on the life of her sister-in-law Queen Astrid at the Royal Palace in Stockholm in 2005.
On the other hand she had a very close relationship with the Norwegian royal family, perhaps in particular with Princess Astrid (her exact contemporary). Prince Carl and Princess Kristine Bernadotte always spent Christmas with the Norwegian royal family until Prince Carl's declining health made the journey from Spain impossible, but after his death in June 2003 Princess Kristine returned as an annual Christmas guest. She was also very close to her brother, the hotelier Jan E. Rivelsrud, and his family, and enjoyed a good relationship with her stepdaughter Madeleine Kogevinas.
Princess Kristine Bernadotte looked rather grand, but she was in fact a very nice and likeable down-to-earth lady with a well-developed sense of humour.
Princess Kristine Bernadotte's funeral will take place (the date is yet to be announced) in the small Palace Church at Drottningholm Palace outside Stockholm, which was recently the venue for Princess Leonore's christening. She will be laid to rest in the Royal Burial Ground at Haga in the same grave as her husband and his parents.