Wednesday, 30 June 2010

What to see: Carl XIV Johan’s sarcophagus, Stockholm

King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden and Norway, founder of the Bernadotte dynasty, rests in a monumental sarcophagus in the Bernadotte Mausoleum in the Riddarholm Church in Stockholm.
It would perhaps have been a more obvious solution if the King, following his death in 1844, and his descendants had been buried in the Carl Johan Church at Skeppsholmen (now the Eric Ericson Hall), the Pantheon-inspired church which had been built by his favourite architect Fredrik Blom.
However, to stress his natural place in the line of kings it would not do for the “upstart” Carl Johan to be buried anywhere else than with his predecessors in the Riddarholmen Church, where he was at first laid to rest next to Gustaf II Adolf, with whom he liked to be compared.
His sarcophagus is made of what is called “granitell” in Swedish (a sort of granite) and came from the porphyry factory at Älvdalen in Dalarna which Carl Johan had bought and thus rescued from bankruptcy. The factory thereafter provided the King with countless porphyry items which he used as gifts for subjects and foreign sovereigns alike – one example can be seen in the Summer Garden in St Petersburg.
Based on the sarcophagus of Agrippa, which in 1734 had been “recycled” for Pope Clemens XIII in the Church of San Giovanni in Laterano in Rome, it took eight years to complete the monumental piece, which measures 3.04 x 2.29 x 2.40 centimetres and weighs sixteen tons.
In the winter of 1856 it began its long journey from Älvdalen to Stockholm, dragged over the snow by local peasants while a fiddler sat on top of the sarcophagus and played to keep their spirits up. At last they reached the waterways and on 28 August 1856 the sarcophagus arrived at the Riddarholmen Church. But still it would be another four years before the Bernadotte mausoleum, designed by Fredrik Wilhelm Scholander, was completed.
The sarcophagus stands in the middle of the mausoleum, in front of stained-glassed windows bearing the arms of Carl XIV Johan’s two kingdoms. In front of it is a smaller sarcophagus of green marble from Kolmården, which originally contained King Oscar II but now serves as the last resting place of Carl Johan’s widow, Queen Desideria.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Some Swedish opinion polls on the monarchy

Great royal occasions nearly always result in various opinion polls and the recent royal wedding in Sweden was no exception.
Some are naturally more interesting than other, among them the opinion poll made by SIFO Research International for SVT (external link), which showed that 32 % think King Carl Gustaf should abdicate when he reaches the age of retirement next year, while 50 % think he should remain on the throne (18 % are in doubt or have no opinion).
In February last year the same poll (external link) made by the same institute but back then for Aftonbladet showed almost exactly the same result: 32 % said the King should retire, 45 % were opposed to the idea, 15 % thought it did not matter and 8 % were in doubt or had no opinion.
This could be compared to a Danish opinion poll earlier this year which showed that 23.5 % thought Queen Margrethe should abdicate on her 70th birthday, 22.1 % that she should do so before she turned 80 and 42.6 % that she should never abdicate. Perhaps one can conclude that a rather significant percentage both in Sweden and Denmark do not support (or perhaps do not understand?) the central idea of a hereditary monarchy, namely that the head of state is in office for life.
(As my report on the Danish poll this spring caused some confusion to one reader I should perhaps add already now this time that these are results of scientific opinion polls and not my personal opinion – the same goes for what follows).

Another opinion poll (external link), made by Forskningsgruppen för Samhälls- och informationsstudier (FSI, roughly “The Research Group for Society and Information Studies) on behalf of Dagens Nyheter, seems to have asked a rather oddly phrased question. According to this poll 40 % think the royal family “is good”, while 28 % think it “is bad”, while 46 % think the monarchy “is good” and 25 % that the monarchy is “bad”. This could be compared to the results of the same poll in 1996, when 69 % thought the royal family was good and 13 % that it was bad and 70 % thought the monarchy was good and 10 % that it was bad. This, held together with two recent opinion polls which showed 56 % and 58 % in favour of the monarchy, seems to confirm that the Swedes have again become more critical of their monarchy and royal family in recent years.

On the other hand one of the tabloids last week referred to an opinion poll which allegedly showed that 72 % were in favour of the monarchy and 16 % in favour of a republic replacing it. I have however been unable to find any reference to this poll on the Internet and the newspaper did not give any details such as when the poll had been taken up. It would have been very interesting to know if it had been done just after the royal wedding as several analysts, including me, have long expected that the royal wedding would cause a boost in support for the monarchy. If this poll was indeed made just after the wedding it would seem that the boost materialised quickly.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Updated information on the Bernadotte bicentenary

With the Swedish royal wedding safely behind us it is perhaps time for an update on the many exhibitions and other events which are held this year to mark the other great royal occasion in Sweden, namely the bicentenary of the Bernadotte dynasty’s arrival in Sweden, which happened on 20 October 1810 after Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of the French Empire and Prince of Pontecorvo, had been elected Crown Prince of Sweden on 21 August 1810. Here is a calendar of some of the events:

6 May-11 July: The exhibition “Sigvard Bernadotte – Inspiratör, entreprenör, designdirektör” is shown at the Swedish Institute in Paris.

7 May-10 October: The National Museum – Architecture in Oslo shows the exhibition “The Palace and Linstow: The Cornerstone of the New Capital”, which deals with the palace built in Oslo for Carl XIV Johan and the architect he chose for that commission, Hans D. F. Linstow.

13 May-28 November: “Kronprinsessan Victoria och Bernadotterna på frimärken”, an exhibition about stamps bearing the images of Bernadottes, is shown at the Post Museum in Stockholm. Oscar II was the first of the family to appear on a Swedish stamp, in 1885.

15 May-16 January: Örebro was the city where the Four Estates met two centuries ago to elect a new crown prince and on the occasion of the bicentenary Örebro County Museum holds the exhibition “Folkets väl – folkets val? Bernadotte och Örebro 1810”, which deals with the events of that year and the town as it was 200 years ago.

15 May-31 August: The exhibition “Spåren av Karl XIV Johan” (“Traces of Carl XIV Johan”) is held at Stjernsund Palace in Askersund, which he bought as a resting place when travelling between his two capitals.

19 May-3 October: The Royal Armoury holds the exhibition “Bröllop för kung och fosterland” about Swedish royal weddings during the last five centuries. This summer there are also photo exhibitions about royal weddings at the palaces Ulriksdal and Strömsholm.

28 May-28 November: “Karl Johan och folket” (“Carl Johan and the People”) is a folk art exhibition at the Nordic Museum in Stockholm featuring five paintings from Dalarna made in the traditional local style.

30 May-31 August: Eidsvoll Manor at Eidsvoll (Norway) holds the exhibition “Kongelige gaver” (“Royal Gifts”), mostly consisting of jewellery given by Carl XIV Johan to Betzy Anker, a Norwegian noblewoman and courtier.

2 June-19 September: Another exhibition on the design works of the late Sigvard Bernadotte, titled “Design Bernadotte”, is shown at Örebro County Museum.

5 June-4 September: “Royal gifts – Carl XIV Johan’s Rapiers of Honour” is an exhibition held at Falkenberg Museum showing the beautifully crafted and decorated weapons of honour presented by the first Bernadotte monarch to deserving civilians and military men.

6 June-11 July: At Bohr Manor one can see the art exhibition “Bernadotte Rules!”, the artist Liselotte Kronkvist-Höglund’s paintings of the seven Bernadotte monarchs.

15 June-3 October: Prince Eugen’s Waldemarsudde in Stockholm holds an exhibition related to the Bernadottes, which will include several portraits of members of the dynasty as well as works by Prince Eugen and Princess Eugénie.

16 June-23 January: “Bernadotter i svart och vitt” is an exhibition of black and white portraits of members of the Bernadotte dynasty held at the National Museum in Stockholm.

21 August: The actual 200th anniversary of the election of Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte will be commemorated in Örebro in the presence of King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine – possibly also the King of Norway and the President of France. There will be several events, including a mass in St Nicolai’s Church and King Carl Gustaf will make a speech at Järntorget (the Iron Square).

15 September-23 October: The exhibition “Sigvard Bernadotte – Inspiratör, entreprenör, designdirektör” will move from the Swedish Institute in Paris to the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Pau.

30 September-23 January: The highlight of the bicentenary exhibitions will no doubt be “Staging Power: Napoleon, Alexander and Charles John”, a huge exhibition at the National Museum in Stockholm. The exhibition will be opened by King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia on 29 September and will later be shown at the State Hermitage in St Petersburg.

1 October-27 February (preliminary dates): “Hemma på slottet”, an exhibition on the private and family life of Carl XIV Johan, is held at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

20 October: The 200th anniversary of the future King Carl XIV Johan’s arrival in Helsingborg will be marked in that city. The day will begin across the Sound in Helsingør (Elsinore) in Denmark with a visit to the Swedish consulate before the royals will go by boat to Helsingborg, where they will step ashore at 1 p.m.
The exhibition “Konsten att bli kung” (“The Art of Becoming a King”) will be opened at Dunker’s House of Culture and an artwork will also be unveiled at Sofiero Palace. A service will be held in Maria Church and a dinner held at Wärdshuset Gamlegård, as well as several events in the streets of the city.
While it was said earlier that Crown Princess Victoria and her brother Prince Carl Philip would represent the royal family, it has now been confirmed that they will be joined also by the King and Queen, Prince Daniel and Princess Madeleine. I understand Queen Margrethe has also made known her intention to attend the celebrations and Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg, who lives in nearby Båstad, can certainly also be expected to attend.

Sunday, 27 June 2010

A royal museum in Oslo at last?

Ten years after the Royal Palace in Oslo opened its doors to the public during the summers, most of the royal collection gathers dust in unsuitable storage facilities. Years ago there were plans for a palace museum, plans which have now been dusted off.
A few years ago Olav Aaraas, managing director of the Museum of Cultural Heritage, was asked by the Ministry of Culture to look into how one could secure the 400,000 items included in the royal collections. However, the Ministry has so far not taken any further steps, but there is a hope that something may happen in connection with the King and Queen’s 75th birthdays in 2012.
Bearing in mind that the Royal Court’s standards when it comes to researching and presenting its own history and heritage unfortunately are not always as professional as one might expect, it would in my opinion perhaps be a good idea if such a palace museum were created in cooperation with another institution or perhaps even organisationally part of another museum, such as Oslo Museum or the Museum of Cultural Heritage, which is also in charge of the manors Bogstad and Eidsvoll as well as the Ibsen Museum.
Years ago it was hoped that such a museum might eventually be located in the palace mews, but this is now out of the question as the Court has recently asked for 500 million NOK to reconstruct the Palace Square, repair the palace roof and turn the mews into offices, storage facilities and a library – the Court has long outgrown the Palace with its 173 rooms (compared to the 608 rooms of the Royal Palace in Stockholm).
However, the building boom which will see several institutions relocated into new buildings in the coming years will also leave several older institutional buildings empty and in an interview with Aftenposten recently (external link), Anniken Thuse, the outgoing managing director of Bergen Art Museums, recently suggested the building of Norges Geografiske Opmaaling (pictured above), which will soon be vacated by the Art Academy and which is situated across Wergeland Road from the Palace Park.
This seems like an excellent idea, as it is not only an interesting (and available) building located close to the Palace, but as Thue points out it will also provide outdoors space for old cars and carriages. One can only hope that the plans for such a museum will be followed up soon.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Prince Albert II engaged to Charlene Wittstock

The princely palace in Monaco has today announced the engagement of Sovereign Prince Albert II to Charlene Wittstock, a South African former swimmer and teacher. No date for the wedding was announced.
The future princess of Monaco, Charlene Lynette Wittstock, was born in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe on 25 January 1978. Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock was first seen together in 2006 and she has recently accompanied him to a number of official events, including the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel in Stockholm on Saturday.

The ancestry of Prince Daniel

As a response to the discussion below about the family of Prince Daniel and the maiden name of his mother it might be appropriate to post some links to the ancestry tables the Swedish National Archives worked out last year.
Prince Daniel himself and his parents are not included, probably for privacy reasons, but one can see the ancestry of his four grandparents:

The ancestry of his paternal grandfather:

The ancestry of his paternal grandmother:

The ancestry of his maternal grandfather:

The ancestry of his maternal grandmother:

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Summer opening of the Royal Palace

The annual summer opening of the Royal Palace in Oslo, which has been a tradition since 2000, began on Sunday. This year there will again be no special exhibition, but the state apartments and the main guest apartment will be open for guided tours until 14 August. More information may be found at the royal website (external link).

Monday, 21 June 2010

New books: A tabloid newspaper in hard covers

The Swedish royal wedding on Saturday has occasioned a flood of royal books, including three books on the bride by three tabloid journalists: Catarina Hurtig, Herman Lindqvist and Johan T. Lindwall. While Herman Lindqvist’s Victoria – Drottning med tiden was a sycophantic panegyric, Johan T. Lindwall has in his book Victoria – Prinsessan privat almost chosen to collect what his employer Expressen has written about the Crown Princess over the years.
One only needs to read the first sentence – “Victoria again felt that feeling” – to realise how unreliable this book is. Not only is the author able to tell us what the Crown Princess felt inside her as she walked to Drottningholm Palace from her own home, he will also tell us what King Carl Gustaf did, said and thought while alone in the kitchen, what Princess Madeleine whispered to her sister or what Victoria and Daniel said to each other on the phone. These are all things Lindwall cannot possibly know.
He starts with the dinner where the Crown Princess first told her family about Daniel Westling and then goes back to 1995, the year she turned eighteen and he started covering the royal family as a journalist. That chapter is perhaps the best part of the book as the story of how he experienced his first meetings with the royals and the court’s press department is told in a rather entertaining way – particularly his portrayal of the then head of the press department, Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, is worth a smile.
But from then on it goes downhill again. Her birth, childhood, school years and youth are dealt with quite summarily, always with a focus on the problematic issues, such as her dyslexia and her eating disorder. Her previous relationship with Daniel Collert takes up much space before the rest of the book is devoted to her relationship with Daniel Westling. And Lindwall’s version of that story is well-known: how she had to fight her parents, in particular the King, for years to win their acceptance for her boyfriend.
Throughout the book Lindwall casts himself in the role as some sort of special confidante of Victoria’s, the journalist she would take aside to tell the truth when the others were not there. “I and Victoria [yes, in that order] have talked about her dyslexia many times”, we learn. When he bursts in on her alone with Daniel Westling playing golf, “Victoria lit up” when she saw him, he assures us.
Lindwall will occasionally contradict himself. He tells us that Victoria changed from the Smedslätt school in Bromma to Enskilda gymnasiet in 1990, but between these two schools she attended another (Carlssons) – which Lindwall gets right another place in the same book. On page 190 Lindwall tells us that on the day of the engagement (24 February 2009) he had “naturally no idea” that Daniel had a kidney disease, a fact which he repeats when he meets Daniel the next day on page 193. But when he undergoes the kidney transplant three months later, Lindwall tells us on page 200: “I had known about Daniel Westling’s kidney problem for a long time. I knew from friends of the couple that Daniel was not doing well. That there had been talk of a possible transplant on several occasions”. So “a long time” must be less than three months.
And then there are all the silly mistakes. There is no “Princess Christina Magnuson”, Princess Cristina of Spain married in Barcelona, not Madrid, and the current king was not an “almost two-year-old crown prince” at the time his father died, but a nine-months-old prince. And the name of Daniel’s mother is not spelt correctly even once.
A press announcement becomes “a personal speech” and it is odd to read that people suddenly started to see Victoria as “the future heir to the throne” as she has actually been the heir to the throne since 1980. When Prince Bertil is buried Princess Lilian places a bouquet of lilies of the valley on his coffin, “picked at home at Djurgården” Lindwall adds although this is plainly impossible as the funeral took place in mid-January.
And then there is the hyperbole which characterises the tabloid manner of this book. When Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling kneel before the altar of the Cathedral “a new phase of their life and a new chapter of Sweden’s history begins”, the book ends. Although a royal wedding is a nice thing its significance is certainly not big enough to make it a watershed in the country’s history.

Prince Daniel finally included at the royal website

Finally, two days after the wedding, the Swedish royal court has at least created a page about Prince Daniel under the royal family section - so far only in the Swedish version (external link).
The press department at the royal court told Aftonbladet earlier today (external link) that it was only this morning that the company putting together the photo and the monogram had been sent the material (surely this could have been done before the weekend) and that a new group photo of the royal family will appear at the royal website in August.
But the new page seems to have been made in a hurry. His first names are in the wrong order (Daniel Olof rather than Olof Daniel) and we are still told that the royal family consists of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. When Countess Sonja Bernadotte died in 2008 it was several weeks before she was removed from the list of members of the King’s family, so this should perhaps not be surprising.
Altogether the official website has not been entirely satisfactory in connection with this wedding and wrong information has been given out on several occasions. The King of Spain and the Crown Princess of Japan were included in the official guest list although they had sent their regrets, Princess Margaretha is said to have worn Queen Victoria’s sunray tiara although she wore her own acquamarine tiara, the names and titles of Princess Birgitta and Princess Christina were given wrongly (as was the year Princess Christina married) and all newspapers have written that the bridal veil was first worn by Queen Sophia at her wedding in 1858 as this was what the press release said, although the wedding took place in 1857.
A press release also mentioned the wrong tiara for Princess Madeleine (this has since been corrected) and according to the court the necklace worn by Queen Silvia was ordered by Emperor Pavel I of Russia for his daughter Maria Pavlovna when she married in 1804 although by then three years had passed since the Emperor was murdered.
All in all the press department seems quite sloppy and it is regrettable that the information given out to the media on such a great occasion cannot be trusted. If it was they or someone else who forgot to include the Hereditary Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein in the official group photo remains an open question.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

My latest article: Victoria’s heritage

Among my contributions to the coverage of the Swedish royal wedding in the Norwegian media is an article today in Aftenposten, Norway’s largest newspaper, titled “Victoria’s heritage” (external link), which deals with the development of the Swedish monarchy during the past two centuries or so.
As mentioned on several occasions before the Bernadottes celebrate the bicentenary of their arrival in Sweden this year. It was the Bernadottes who brought dynastic stability to Sweden – following the end of the Kalmar Union in 1523 four dynasties had sat on the throne of Sweden and it was quite rare for a king to be succeeded by a grown son on his death. Between 1718 and 1810 there were seven elections for monarch or crown prince and the years around 1800 saw three coup d’états, the assassination of one king and a marshal of the realm being lynched by a mob at a royal funeral.
The survival of the Bernadottes, the only remaining Napoleonic dynasty and long considered parvenus by other dynasties, has happened against most odds and in my article I chart the political and constitutional developments of the Swedish monarchy during the reign of the Bernadottes and take a closer look at some of the key events of its history – events which have led to the current powerless state of the King of Sweden, a situation which will be one of the challenges facing Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel in their future roles.
The photo shows the statue in Oslo of the founder of the Bernadotte dynasty, Carl XIV Johan, a few days ago.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Royal jewels: The Swedish cameo tiara

There has been much speculation over whether Crown Princess Victoria at her wedding tomorrow will wear the same cameo tiara as her mother and two of her aunts wore for their weddings. It remains to be seen what she will wear, but nevertheless the cameo tiara is a piece of jewellery with a long royal history.
It has often been said that it may have belonged to Empress Joséphine of the French, but the first known wearer is the Empress’s daughter, Queen Hortense of Holland, who was portrayed wearing it by Anne-Louis Girodet in 1812. However, Crown Princess Margareta once appeared in her elder sons’ schoolroom adorned with this tiara and told the children that it had been worn by Empress Joséphine.
It is not listed in the inventories of the Empress’s jewellery made up at the time of her coronation in 1804 or her death in 1814, but a possible explanation may be that the Empress gave some of her jewellery to her children at the time of her divorce from Napoléon I in 1809 and thus it may have “escaped” both inventories. To this day the tiara lies in what is believed to be the original box, which bears the name of Nitot, one of the favoured jewellers of the Napoleonic court.
Somehow the tiara found its way to the Empress’s granddaughter and Queen Hortense’s niece, Princess Josephina of Leuchtenberg, about the time she married the future King Oscar I of Norway and Sweden. In her later years Queen Josephina is portrayed with matching earrings and a necklace (which originally had four strands of pearls, but now only three). There is also a brooch to go with the parure, but it is somewhat uncertain if all these pieces originally belonged together.
Queen Josephina left the tiara to her only daughter, the childless, sickly and artistically gifted Princess Eugénie. From her it passed to her nephew, Prince Eugen. He had no wife who could wear it, but on several occasions he lent it to his niece-by-marriage, Crown Princess Margareta, to whom he was close.
One such occasion was the wedding of Count Carl Bernadotte af Wisborg to Baroness Marianne de Geer af Leufsta in 1915 and it was on that occasion Margareta entered her sons’ schoolroom wearing a golden dress and these jewels and said to the children: “This diadem has been worn by Napoléon’s Empress. It is not mine, but today I have been lent it by Prince Eugen”.
Margareta died in 1920 and twelve years later Prince Eugen gave the tiara as a wedding present to Princess Sibylla, the bride of his great-nephew Prince Gustaf Adolf and mother of the current king. In 1933 she lent it to her sister-in-law Princess Ingrid when she dressed as Queen Josephina for a charity masquerade (photo above).
Following her husband’s violent death in 1947 Princess Sibylla’s hair went white almost overnight and subsequently she rarely wore the tiara as she thought it did not go well with white hair. Two of her daughters borrowed it for their weddings – Princess Birgitta in 1961 and Princess Désirée in 1964.
As mentioned Queen Silvia also wore if for her wedding in 1976, by which time Princess Sibylla had been dead for some years. Unlike several of the other grand Swedish tiaras, the cameo tiara is King Carl Gustaf’s private property and has so far in his reign only been worn by his wife.
The fact that it is accorded its own paragraph at the Royal Court’s wedding website, where its wearing at weddings is described as a tradition, it may seem quite certain that Crown Princess Victoria will wear this tiara tomorrow. However, she might yet surprise us and, as she does not entirely share her mother’s taste for grandeur, other good choices could be the so-called “Princess Sibylla’s tiara”, the sunray tiara or a delicate floral wreath tiara from Crown Princess Margareta which now belongs to Princess Lilian and which the latter has stated will be inherited by Crown Princess Victoria. Wearing Princess Lilian’s tiara would also be a nice gesture towards a beloved great-aunt who will sadly not be able to attend the wedding.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Top 10: Architecture of Stockholm

Oxenstierna’s Mansion (begun by Jean de la Vallée 1653, never completed) is one of the prime examples of Roman palatial architecture in Stockholm (the Royal Palace itself being another).

The House of the Nobility (begun 1641 by Simon de la Vallée, completed 1674 by Jean de la Vallée) is by many reckoned the most beautiful building in Stockholm.

The Hereditary Prince’s Palace (Erik Palmstedt, 1783-1794) was built for Princess Sophia Albertina and now houses the Foreign Ministry

The Eric Ericson Hall (Fredrik Blom, 1832-1842), the former Carl Johan Church (commonly known as “Skeppsholmskyrkan”), was inspired by Rome’s Pantheon and is one of the highlights of Swedish empire style.

The great hall of the Nordic Museum (Isak Gustaf Clason, 1889-1907) – a 19th century interpretation of Renaissance architecture

Rosenbad (Ferdinand Boberg, 1898-1902), the architect’s rather free interpretation of a Venetian mansion in art nouveau style, now houses the government’s offices

The City Hall (Ragnar Östberg, 1904-1923) has become somewhat of a signature of Stockholm

The City Library (Gunnar Asplund, 1920-1928) – Asplund’s masterpiece

Västerbron (Birger Borgström, David Dahl and Paul Hedqvist, 1931-1935) – “the Western Bridge”

The King’s Towers (Sven Wallander, 1919-1924, and Ivar Callmander, 1925) – Europe’s first “skyscrapers”, which were meant to transform Kungsgatan into the Swedish Broadway

The (digested) official guest list for the Swedish royal wedding

The Swedish court earlier today released the official guest lists for the royal wedding – one list of those attending the ceremony in the Cathedral and one of those attending the dinner and dance at the Royal Palace.

Members of reigning royal families with partners:
HM King Carl XVI Gustaf and HM Queen Silvia of Sweden
HM Queen Margrethe II and HRH Prince Consort Henrik of Denmark
HM Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
HM King Harald V and HM Queen Sonja of Norway
HM King Albert II and HM Queen Paola of the Belgians
HM King Abdullah II and HM Queen Rania of Jordan
HRH Grand Duke Henri and HRH Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg
HSH Sovereign Prince Albert II of Monaco and Miss Charlene Wittstock
HM Queen Sofía of Spain
HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden, Duchess of Westrogothia and Mr Daniel Westling
HRH Crown Prince Frederik and HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark
HRH Prince Felipe of Spain, Prince of Asturias and HRH Letizia, Princess of Asturias
HRH Prince Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, Prince of Orange and HRH Princess Máxima of the Netherlands
HIH Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan
HRH Crown Prince Haakon and HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway
HSH Hereditary Prince Alois and HRH Hereditary Princess Sophie of Liechtenstein
HRH Prince Philippe and HRH Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Duke and Duchess of Brabant
HRH Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg
HRH Prince Christian of Denmark (pageboy)
HRH Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands (bridesmaid)
HRH Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway (bridesmaid)
HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Duke of Wermlandia
HRH Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Duchess of Helsinga and Gastricia
HRH Princess Birgitta of Hohenzollern, Princess of Sweden and HSH Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern
Princess Margaretha, Mrs Ambler
Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld and Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld
Princess Christina, Mrs Magnuson and Mr Tord Magnuson
HRH Prince Edward of the United Kingdom, Earl of Wessex and HRH Sophie, Princess of the United Kingdom, Countess of Wessex
HRH Princess Benedikte of Denmark and HSH Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
HRH Princess Elena of Spain, Duchess of Lugo
HRH Princess Cristina of Spain, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca and HE Iñaki Urdangarín, Duke of Palma de Mallorca
HRH Prince Constantijn and HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands
HRH Prince Friso and HRH Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau
HH Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Mr Ari Behn
HI&RH Princess Astrid and HI&RH Prince Lorenz of Belgium
HRH Prince Laurent and HRH Princess Claire of Belgium
HRH Prince Ali and HRH Princess Rym of Jordan
HRH Prince Hassan and HRH Princess Sarvath of Jordan
HRH Prince Rashid of Jordan
HRH Princess Noor of Jordan
HRH Prince Félix of Luxembourg

Former members of reigning royal families with partners:
Countess Marianne Bernadotte af Wisborg (widow of the former Prince Sigvard of Sweden)
Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg (by birth Prince of Sweden) and Countess Gunnila Bernadotte af Wisborg

Members of non-reigning royal families with partners:
HM ex-King Konstantinos II and HM ex-Queen Anne-Marie of the Hellenes
HM ex-King Simeon II and HM ex-Queen Margarita of the Bulgarians
HRH (Crown) Princess Margarita and HRH Prince Radu of Romania
HRH ex-Crown Prince Aleksandar and HRH ex-Crown Princess Katherine of Yugoslavia
HSH Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Miss Carina Axelsson
HRH Princess Alexia of Greece, Mrs Morales and Mr Carlos Morales
HRH Prince Nikolaós of Greece and Miss Tatiana Blatnik
HRH Prince Philippos of Greece
HRH Prince Kyril of Bulgaria
HRH Princess Rosario of Bulgaria
HRH Prince Manuel and HRH Princess Anna of Bavaria
HSH (Hereditary) Prince Hubertus and HSH (Hereditary) Princess Kelly of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
HSH Prince Carl Christian and HSH Princess Nicole of Hohenzollern
HSH Prince Hubertus and HSH Princess Ute Maria of Hohenzollern
HSH Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Count Jefferson-Friedrich von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth
HSH Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Mr Alexander Johannsmann

Descendants of royals with partners:
Baroness Sybilla von Dincklage (daughter of Princess Margaretha)
Baroness Madeleine von Dincklage (daughter of Sybilla von Dincklage)
Mr James Ambler (son of Princess Margaretha) and Mrs Ursula Ambler
Mr Edward Ambler (son of Princess Margaretha) and Mrs Helen Ambler
Mrs Désirée von Bohlen und Halbach (daughter of Princess Birgitta) and Mr Eckbert von Bohlen und Halbach
Baron Carl Silfverschiöld (son of Princess Désirée) and Baroness Maria Silfverschiöld
Baroness Christina De Geer af Finspång (daughter of Princess Désirée) and Baron Ian De Geer af Finspång
Baron Ian De Geer af Finspång (son of Christina De Geer) (pageboy)
Baroness Hélène Silfverschiöld (daughter of Princess Désirée)
Mr Gustaf Magnuson (son of Princess Christina)
Mr Oscar Magnuson (son of Princess Christina) and Miss Emma Ledent
Mr Victor Magnuson (son of Princess Christina) and Miss Frida Bergström
Count Michael Bernadotte af Wisborg (son of the late former Prince Sigvard) and Countess Christine Bernadotte af Wisborg [Countess Christine did in the end not attend]
Countess Kajsa Bernadotte af Wisborg (daughter of Michael Bernadotte)
Countess Bettina Bernadotte af Wisborg (daughter of the late former Prince Lennart) and Mr Philipp Haug
Count Björn Bernadotte af Wisborg (son of the late former Prince Lennart) and Countess Sandra Bernadotte af Wisborg
Mrs Madeleine Kogevinas (daughter of the late former Prince Carl Jr of Sweden)
Mrs Dagmar von Arbin (granddaughter of the late former Prince Oscar of Sweden and Norway)
Count Bertil Bernadotte af Wisborg (grandson of the late former Prince Oscar of Sweden and Norway) and Countess Jill Bernadotte af Wisborg

Members of Queen Silvia’s family:
Mr Ralf de Toledo Sommerlath (the Queen’s brother) and Mrs Charlotte de Toledo Sommerlath
Mrs Carmita Sommerlath Baudinet (daughter of Ralf Sommerlath) and Mr Pierre Baudinet
Mr Thibault Radigues de Chennevière (son of Carmita Sommerlath Baudinet)
Miss Chloé Radigues de Chennevière (daughter of Carmita Sommerlath Baudinet)
Mr Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath (son of Ralf Sommerlath) and Ms Bettina Aussems
Mr Tim de Toledo Sommerlath (son of Thomas Sommerlath)
Mr Philip de Toledo Sommerlath (son of Thomas Sommerlath)
Miss Giulia de Toledo Sommerlath (daughter of Thomas Sommerlath) (bridesmaid)
Mrs Susanne de Toledo Sommerlath (ex-wife of Thomas Sommerlath)
Mr Walther L Sommerlath (the Queen’s brother) and Mrs Ingrid Sommerlath
Mrs Sophie Pihut-Sommerlath (daughter of Walther L Sommerlath)
Mr Patrick Sommerlath (son of Walther L Sommerlath) and Mrs Maline Luengo
Mr Leopold Lundén Sommerlath (son of Patrick Sommerlath) (pageboy)
Mrs Camilla Lundén (ex-wife of Patrick Sommerlath)
Miss Helena Christina Sommerlath (daughter of the Queen’s late brother Jörg Sommerlath)
Miss Vivien Nadine Sommerlath (daughter of the Queen’s late brother Jörg Sommerlath) (bridesmaid)
Mr Carlos Augusto de Toledo Ferreira and Mrs Anna Luiza de Toledo Ferreira
HE Mrs Maria Virginia Braga Leardi and HE Mr Eduardo Longo
Mr Luiz Machado de Melo och Senhora Maria Fernanda Machado de Melo
HE Mrs Vera Quagliato
Mr Carlos M Quagliato
Mr Pedro Ferreira

Members of the groom’s family:
Mr Olle and Mrs Ewa Westling (parents of the groom)
Mrs Anna Westling Blom (sister of the groom) and Mr Mikael Söderström
Miss Hedvig Blom (Anna Westling Blom’s daughter) (bridesmaid)
Miss Vera Blom (Anna Westling Blom’s daughter) (bridesmaid)
Mrs Anita (Daniel Westling’s aunt) and Mr Olle Henriksson
Mr Tommy Henriksson (Daniel Westling’s cousin)
Mr Hans Henriksson (Daniel Westling’s cousin)
Mr Nils (Daniel Westling’s uncle) and Mrs Ann-Catrin Westling
Mr Andreas Westling (Daniel Westling’s cousin) and Mrs Amanda Tegnér
Miss Frida Westling (Daniel Westling’s cousin)
Miss Sara Westling (Daniel Westling’s cousin)
Mrs Anna-Britta (Daniel Westling’s aunt) and Mr Hasse Åström
Mr Hans Åström (Daniel Westling’s cousin) and Ms Helena Olsson
Mrs Anders Åström (Daniel Westling’s cousin) and Mrs Kety Lund
Ms Anna-Karin Åström (Daniel Westling’s cousin) and Mr Christer Wigren
Mr Erik (Daniel Westling’s uncle) and Mrs Birgitta Westling
Mr Ove (Daniel Westling’s cousin) and Mrs Yvonne Westling
Mr Bo (Daniel Westling’s cousin) and Mrs Carina Westling
Mr Per (Daniel Westling’s cousin) and Mrs Rose-Marie Westling

Among the other interesting guests are:
- The President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, and his wife Dorrit Moussaieff
- The President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, and her husband Pentti Arajärvi
- The Speaker of Parliament, Per Westerberg, and three vice-speakers
- Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his wife Filippa Reinfeldt
- Foreign Minister (and former Prime Minister) Carl Bildt and his wife Anna Maria Corrazza Bildt
- The other members of the government and four state secretaries
- The leaders of two of the three opposition parties (the third, Lars Ohly, leader of the Left Party and a former communist, declined his invitation because of his republican views)
- The parliamentary leaders of all parties in Parliament (including the Left Party)
- The leaders and the deputy leaders of the parliamentary committees
- Three former speakers of parliament
- Former PM Göran Persson and his wife Anitra Steen (the other former PMs – Torbjörn Fälldin, Ola Ullsten and Ingvar Carlsson – will not be attending)
- The journalist Susanna Popova, who is writing the official book on the wedding
- The documentary maker Gregor Nowinski, who made the recent six-part documentary “The Bernadotte Family”
- Solfrid Söderlind, managing director of the National Museum and in charge of the coming exhibition on Carl XIV Johan, Napoléon I and Alexander I
- The journalist Herman Lindqvist, who claims to be the court historian
- Professor Dick Harrison, who tutors Daniel Westling in history
- Professor Tommy Möller, who has been tutoring the Crown Princess in political science
- The county governors and a whole bunch of other officials, including the Archbishop, Anders Wejryd, which is quite obvious given that he is the one who will conduct the service
- Friends of the King and Queen
- Friends of the bride and groom
- Representatives of various institutions, organisations, museums, academies, business, the Wallenberg family, religions and embassies as well as editors-in-chief of leading newspapers and TV companies and reporting journalists.

No members of the Royal Court are included in the list, but can be counted on to come out in force, headed by the Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, and the Mistress of the Robes, Countess Alice Trolle-Wachtmeister.

The official lists earlier today stated that the King of Spain and the Crown Princess of Japan will also be attending, but this has now been corrected. A bit strangely Nathalie Ellis, who recently broke up with the bride’s cousin Gustaf Magnuson, is listed as attending the dinner but not the actual wedding – they have probably just forgotten to remove her.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Royal jewels: The Swedish sunray tiara

As the name “stråldiademet” (“the [sun]ray tiara”) indicates, this is a diamond fringe tiara. It consists of 47 rays and unlike a traditional kokoshnik it is considerably taller in front than on the sides.
It was a wedding present from Grand Duke Friedrich I and Grand Duchess Luise of Baden to their only daughter Victoria on the occasion of her wedding to Crown Prince Gustaf of Sweden and Norway in 1881.
Victoria wore it as a necklace at her wedding and later also wore it as a corsage piece. She left it to King Gustaf V’s and Queen Victoria’s Foundation, one of the two family foundations of jewellery available to the ladies of the Swedish royal families.
It was Queen Victoria’s wish that this tiara should primarily be worn by the Crown Princess and since her coming of age in 1995 it has been a favourite of Crown Princess Victoria, who now seems to have the exclusive use of it (thus it might also be another good choice for a bridal tiara).
In recent decades it has also been worn by Princess Lilian, Princess Christina and Queen Silvia – the latter wore it for instance for a state visit to Canada in 1988 and during a visit to the previous pope in 1989.

Ten bridal children will attend Crown Princess Victoria

The Swedish royal court has announced (external link) that there will be no less than ten bridal children accompanying Crown Princess Victoria at her wedding on Saturday. The Crown Princess is a godmother to three heirs to European thrones, who will all take part as expected: Prince Christian of Denmark, Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway and Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands (according to the court the latter is the daughter of the Belgian crown prince!)
They will be joined by Baroness Madeleine von Dincklage, the eldest granddaughter of Princess Margaretha, and Baron Ian De Geer, grandson of Princess Désirée. The family of Queen Silvia will be represented by Vivi Sommerlath, daughter of her late brother Jörg, her great-niece Giulia Sommerlath and her great-nephew Léopold Sommerlath. Hedvig and Vera Blom, daughters of Daniel Westling’s sister Anna, will also join them.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

What to see: Stockholm Cathedral, Stockholm

Many eyes will be on the Cathedral of Stockholm on Saturday when Crown Princess Victoria marries Daniel Westling. The ceremony will be the latest of many historical events which have taken place in this church.
“Storkyrkan”, as it is called in Swedish (meaning literally “the Great Church”), was first mentioned in 1279 and was then called St Nikolai after the patron saint of the seafarers. Since then it has been much altered, expanded and rebuilt, including a tower which was begun around 1420. Later fourteen side chapels were integrated into the church itself. It received the status of a cathedral in 1942 when the Diocese of Stockholm was founded
The Cathedral is situated next to the Royal Palace, but in a rather unfortunate position. The façade facing Slottsbacken is actually the backside of the Cathedral, while the main entrance faces Trångsund, a very narrow street with no room for spectators at grand events like Saturday’s wedding.
Already Gustaf I wanted to demolish the church in order to gain a direct firing line from the old castle and later kings up to Gustaf III have also toyed with the idea of having the church demolished in order to build a new one which would fit better into their plans for a royal city.
In 1736-1742 the architect Johan Eberhard Carlberg altered the church to the baroque style to harmonise better with the new Royal Palace which was built in 1697-1754. During a renovation in 1903-1908 the whitewashed walls were stripped bare to reveal the red brick, something which was very fashionable at the time but does not harmonise with the original architectural intention.
Among the star sights of the Cathedral are the two royal chairs, seen in the third picture, designed by Nicodemus Tessin the Younger and executed by Burchardt Precht of Bremen in 1684-1686, and Bernt Notke’s sculpture of St George and the Dragon (fourth photo), unveiled on New Year’s Eve 1489.
The first coronation to take place in this church happened in 1336 and eventually it took over Uppsala Cathedral’s position as the coronation church. The last Swedish king to be crowned was Oscar II, whose coronation took place in this church in 1872.
It has also been the scene of numerous royal weddings, including three which also took place on the date 19 June – those of the future Oscar I and Joséphine of Leuchtenberg in 1823, of the future Carl XV and Louise of the Netherlands in 1850 and of Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath in 1976. The most sumptuous royal wedding so far was probably that of Princess Ingrid to Crown Prince Frederik (IX) of Denmark in 1935.
While Riddarholmen Church was the traditional burial church for Swedish royals, the Cathedral has been the scene of the funerals of Crown Princess Margareta, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Prince Carl, Princess Ingeborg, Queen Louise and King Gustaf VI Adolf and the coffin of Crown Princess Margareta rested in the Cathedral for two years until it was transferred to the Royal Burial Ground at Haga in 1922.

Monday, 14 June 2010

My latest article: Oscarshall as crown princely residence

In St. Hallvard no 4-2009, which was published today (severely delayed), I have a long and richly illustrated article about the plans to turn Oscarshall Palace into the Crown Prince’s official residence in 1929.
Oscarshall, which had been built between 1847 and 1852 as a summer residence for King Oscar I and Queen Josephina, had been turned into a museum dedicated to the Bernadotte dynasty by King Oscar II in 1881. In the 1920s it underwent a much-needed renovation and when Crown Prince Olav became engaged to Princess Märtha of Sweden in January 1929, it was soon decided that Oscarshall would be their home.
However, in its current form it was not large or modern enough to be a family home and an architectural contest was held with the intent of erecting a new wing on the western side of the existing palace.
From the 106 entries a jury consisting of the architects Georg Eliassen and Fredrik Crawfurd-Jensen, assisted by King Haakon, chose five projects which would proceed to a second round. However, growing protests over the damage a royal residence would cause to the nature and to the public’s access to Bygdøy led to the city assembly passing a motion against the plans. The motion was passed by Labour’s eleven votes against the right wing’s ten votes.
With the plans having become a bone of political contention, it was announced on 3 June 1929 that the plans had been scrapped, officially because there was too little money available. Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Märtha eventually found their home at the farm Skaugum in Asker, which King Haakon bought from the diplomat Fritz Wedel Jarlsberg.
Today these plans are mostly forgotten – indeed the King himself stated in a badly researched documentary broadcast on NRK1 on 2 May that this had been unknown even to him until very recently. Today Oscarshall is again primarily a museum, but following the restoration carried out in 2005-2009 the court now intends to use it more actively and on 28 May hosted the annual diplomatic reception there.

Itinerary and guests for the royal wedding

With only five days to go until the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling the last preparations are underway in Stockholm before the wedding celebrations kick off on Wednesday.
On Wednesday night the county governors will host a buffet dinner for the 170 guests, including the bridal couple, at the old ship “Götheborg”, which will anchor off Skeppsholmen. Altogether 21 ships will be on parade around Skeppsholmen, including “Norge” and “Dannebrog”, the only two remaining royal yachts in the world, and the British naval vessel HMS “Kent”.
On Thursday the foreign guests will begin to arrive. About 30 guests will stay at the Royal Palace and a further 30 at Drottningholm Palace. The Royal Court has also rented half of Grand Hôtel, while the Danish and Norwegian royals will stay onboard their yachts.
In addition to those I mentioned on Friday more royal guests have now confirmed their presence for the wedding, among them the Queen of Spain (but not the King, who recently underwent lung surgery and nevertheless rarely attends weddings) accompanied by the Prince and Princess of Asturias, the Duchess of Lugo and the Duchess and Duke of Palma de Mallorca, the Sovereign Prince of Monaco, the Hereditary Prince and Princess of Liechtenstein, the ex-Crown Prince of Yugoslavia and his wife, and Countess Marianne Bernadotte af Wisborg.
The King and Queen of Sweden will on Thursday host a lunch for family and friends at Rosendal Palace, which was built as a pleasure palace for King Carl XIV Johan and is rarely used for such occasions as it has been a museum since 1913 and is rather fragile. In the evening the King and Queen will also host a private party at their home, Drottningholm Palace, for 200 guests.
On Friday the royal guests will go by boat from Drottningholm to have lunch at Sturehov Palace at Botkyrka and on the same day the final inspection of the bridal couple’s new home, Haga Palace, will take place.
Between 2.30 p.m. and 4 p.m. the royal family will attend the government’s reception in the City Hall for 700 guests from the Swedish municipalities and county assemblies and from 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m. the government hosts 300 guests for dinner in the Eric Ericson Hall (the former Carl Johan Church, commonly known as Skeppsholmskyrkan, which ceased being a church nine years ago). Thereafter the Parliament of Sweden will welcome 1,600 guests to a performance in the Concert House in which 300 artists will take part. But the evening will not be over by then: the Royal Court holds a reception in the Grünewald Hall of the Concert House and then follows a party at Café Opera.
On Saturday, the day of the wedding, there are no scheduled events before the wedding takes place in the Cathedral at 3.30 p.m. Having made their vows, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel will leave the Cathedral at 6.40 p.m. to drive through the streets of Stockholm in an open landau accompanied by nearly 80 horses.
They will go around the Cathedral and down Slottsbacken, along Skeppsbron and across Norrbro to Gustaf Adolfs torg, continue along to and past Kungsträdgården, turn left into Hamngatan and cross Sergels torg, drive along Sveavägen, turn into Kungsgatan and drive on to Stureplan, down Birger Jarlsgatan and along Strandvägen across the bridge to Djurgården, where they at 5.10 p.m. will embark “Vasaorden”, a replica of a ceremonial barge first used for the wedding of the future King Carl XIII and Queen Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotta in 1774, and be rowed around Skeppsholmen under gun salutes to Logårdstrappan. There they will step ashore at 5.35 p.m. and walk up the stairs to the Royal Palace. At 6 p.m. they will appear on Lejonbacken to listen to 250 singers and the Army band perform. The gala banquet will take place at the Royal Palace and at midnight there will be a show at Strömmen for the general public.
On Sunday the wedding festivities will come to an end with the King and Queen hosting a brunch for their guests at Drottningholm.

Daniel Westling’s monogram and coat of arms published

The Swedish Royal Court has today released the monogram and the coat of arms of the future Prince Daniel. The monogram (external link) is a rather simple D surmounted by a princely crown, while the coat of arms (external link) is quite similar to Crown Princess Victoria’s.
The differences are that his is of course the male version, that it is surmounted by a princely crown rather than the crown princely and that the centre shield shows not the Bernadotte arms but Daniel Westling’s personal arms, created for this occasion and inspired by the coat of arms of his hometown Ockelbo.
That the King of Sweden has granted his future son-in-law a coat of arms may also be an indication that the King intends to award him the Order of Seraphim. However, the Constitution makes it impossible to give orders to Swedish citizens other than members of the royal house, meaning that such an award strictly speaking must happen after the Crown Princess and Mr Westling have been legally married.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Royal jewels: Princess Sibylla’s tiara

Although commonly known as Princess Sibylla’s tiara, this beautiful piece of jewellery first belonged to her mother-in-law Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden. Made by E. Wolff & Co. in 1904, it was presented by the Duke and Duchess of Connaught to their eldest daughter when she married Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden in June 1905.
Margareta never lived to be queen and the tiara was inherited by her eldest son, Prince Gustaf Adolf, and became a favourite of his wife, Princess Sibylla. Following her death in 1972 it is the property of King Carl XVI Gustaf and has been used frequently by Queen Silvia, who first wore it to the opera on the eve of her wedding.
Princess Christina wore it as a bride in 1974 and again at the Nobel banquet in 2001 and in 1983 it was also lent to Princess Lilian for King Olav V of Norway’s 80th birthday celebrations in Oslo.
The tiara is in the shape of loops made up of forget me not flowers bound together by bows. The diamond drops hanging within the loops can be unhitched and Princess Madeleine frequently wears the drops attached to a simple necklace string. She has so far never worn the tiara itself, but perhaps her sister’s wedding on Saturday could be a good occasion to do so (unless the bride herself chooses to wear this lighter diadem rather than the cameo tiara)?
The above photo of Crown Princess Margareta wearing court dress and the diadem was taken by court photographer Florman shortly after her arrival in Sweden. I bought it at an antiquarian bookseller in Stockholm and as far as I have been able to tell it has never been published before.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Royal jewels: The Leuchtenberg sapphires

The sapphire and diamond parure frequently worn by Queen Silvia of Sweden must surely be counted among the most beautiful works of art ever made by a jeweller. The tiara is also very versatile, making it possible to wear it in a great many different ways.
Its first known owner was Duchess Auguste Amalie of Leuchtenberg, daughter of the first King of Bavaria. One may assume that it was a wedding present when she married the French Prince Eugéne, Viceroy of Italy in 1806 – either from the groom or from his mother and adoptive father, Empress Joséphine and Emperor Napoléon I of the French. If so, the parure is probably created by Nitot, one of the leading jewellers of imperial Paris.
In her will Auguste Amalie left the sapphires to her eldest daughter, Queen Josephina of Sweden and Norway, while her emerald parure was left to her youngest daughter, Empress Amélie of Brazil.
Eventually Queen Josephina also inherited most of her sister’s jewellery as well as her mother-in-law Queen Désirée’s jewels, thereby establishing what must have been a most astonishing collection of jewellery. Several of these treasures today adorn the royal ladies of Sweden, Norway and Denmark, but several tiaras are also unaccounted for.
Following Queen Josephina’s death in 1876 the sapphires were inherited by her third son, King Oscar II, whose wife Queen Sophia is not known to have worn them. In 1881 King Oscar and Queen Sophia presented them to their daughter-in-law Victoria upon her marriage to the future Gustaf V.
The postcard shows Queen Victoria wearing the tiara and the necklace from the sapphire parure (together with virtually the rest of her jewellery box and the Order of Seraphim). Queen Victoria would be the last private owner of this parure; as Queen of Sweden she made the decision that the sapphires should be part of one of the family foundations and thereby made sure that they would remain in Sweden.
The jewels of these foundations are available to the ladies of the royal family, but, probably because of its sheer magnificence, the sapphire parure has mostly been worn by the queen or first lady – since Victoria’s death in 1930 it has been seen on Queen Louise, Princess Sibylla and Queen Silvia, but on one occasion (in 1976) it has also been worn by Princess Birgitta.
It now consists of a tiara, a pair of earrings, a necklace, a brooch and two hairpins. The magnificent necklace is made up of fourteen sapphires with nine sapphire pendants. The original earrings disappeared in the days of Queen Victoria, who never wore earrings, but Queen Louise had new ones made from two of the four hairpins. Last worn by Queen Silvia at the gala performance at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in connection with Queen Margrethe’s 70th birthday, the sapphire parure would also be a natural choice for the bride’s mother to wear at the royal wedding in Stockholm next Saturday.

Female prime minister for Finland

At the Finnish Centre Party’s congress today Mari Kiviniemi was elected leader of the party in succession to Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen. In the second round Kiviniemi defeated Mauri Pekkarinen with 1,357 votes to 1,035.
41-year-old Mari Kiviniemi, since 2007 Minister of Public Administration and Local Government, will thus also become Prime Minister of Finland when Vanhanen resigns in a week or so. Thus Finland will again be in the unusual position of having women as both head of state and head of government.
Kiviniemi will be the second female prime minister of Finland, following Anneli Jääteenmäki, who was in office for two months in 2003 before she was forced to resign over allegations that she had lied to Parliament about how she acquired secret documents on the Iraq war for use in her election campaign (she was acquitted at the subsequent trial and is currently an MEP).

Friday, 11 June 2010

More royal wedding guests confirmed

Amalienborg has now confirmed that the Danish representation at the Swedish royal wedding next weekend will consist of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary with Prince Christian, and Princess Benedikte accompanied by Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg “and family”. The Royal Yacht “Dannebrog” will anchor at Skeppsbrokajen in Stockholm. As the Danish Constitution requires one guardian of the realm to stay behind in the country, Prince Joachim will remain in Denmark with Princess Marie and thus miss the wedding of his second cousin.
Among the other guests who have confirmed their presence are the King and Queen of Norway, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn, the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the Queen of the Netherlands, the Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, Prince Friso and Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, the Crown Prince of Japan, the King and Queen of Jordan, the President of Finland and the President of Iceland.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

On this date: Princess Ragnhild is 80 today

Today is the 80th birthday of Princess Ragnhild of Norway, Mrs Lorentzen, the King’s eldest sister. The King and Queen, who are currently residing at Bygdøy Royal Manor, will tonight host a birthday dinner for family and friends in her honour.
Princess Ragnhild was born at the Royal Palace in Oslo on 9 June 1930, a few weeks after the family home Skaugum in Asker burned down. She was the first princess born on Norwegian soil in 629 years. While Ragnhild is a name associated with the queens of the Norse sagas, she received her second name Alexandra in memory of her great-grandmother, Queen Alexandra of Britain.
During the Second World War Princess Ragnhild lived in exile in the USA with her mother and her two siblings, but returned to Norway two days before her 15th birthday in 1945. The following year she fell in love with Erling S. Lorentzen, a ship-owner and veteran of the resistance.
Despite initial opposition from King Haakon and Crown Princess Märtha they were eventually allowed to marry and the wedding took place in Asker Church on 15 May 1953. Following the wedding the couple settled in Rio de Janeiro, where the Lorentzen family had business interests. Three children were born of the marriage: Haakon in 1954, Ingeborg in 1957 and Ragnhild in 1968.
Although they were supposed to stay in Brazil for only two years, they have remained ever since and have made up their minds to do so until the end of their days. They will however be buried in the cemetery in Asker.
Since the death of King Olav in 1991 Princess Ragnhild also maintains an apartment in Oslo, near the Vigeland Park. Formerly she was a frequent visitor to Norway, but with increasing age and frailty the Princess is no longer seen as frequently in her native land. She performs no official duties, but most recently attended the lunch held for Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands during her state visit, at which time she had not been seen in public in 2 ½ years. She was awarded the Grand Cross of the Order of St Olav in 1982.
Princess Ragnhild sparked some controversy some years ago by making very critical remarks about the Crown Prince’s and Princess Märtha Louise’s choice of life partners in a regrettable interview with TV2. The interview was taped right after the King and Queen had abruptly cancelled a lunch with the Princess during their 2003 state visit to Brazil, naturally causing great disappointment to Princess Ragnhild, whose brother had not visited her home in Rio since 1968.
However, the King immediately made it clear that this unfortunate episode should not come between them and in the only interview she has given on the occasion of her 80th birthday, to the weekly Allers, Princess Ragnhild stresses great kindness as one of the best qualities her brother has inherited from their father.
Above is a postcard showing a very young Princess Ragnhild (to the left) with her younger sister Princess Astrid, who was always bigger than her (a sore point throughout their childhood, the latter once told me).

“State funeral” for Arne Nordheim

The government yesterday decided to grant the composer Arne Nordheim, who died last week, a funeral on the expense of the state - commonly, but not entirely correctly called a “state funeral”. The funeral will take place in Oslo Cathedral next Wednesday.
During his premiership Jens Stoltenberg has been very restrictive about granting such funerals, probably as a result of his predecessor Kjell Magne Bondevik granting such funerals to almost all and sundry, which made it a less exclusive honour.
During his lifetime Arne Nordheim was in 1982 also granted the use of the state’s official residence for deserving artists, “Grotten” in the Palace Park. He lived there until moving to a nursing home in 2008, but his widow Randi Getz will retain the right to live there for the remainder of her lifetime.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Royal jewels: The Midnight Diadem

The so-called Midnight Diadem is the work of the Danish jeweller Charlotte Lynggaard of the company Ole Lynggaard in Copenhagen, jeweller to the royal court since 2008. The tiara is made of silver, white gold, moonstones and brilliants, all of it held in the colours associated with the moon.
Created in 2009, it was first seen at the exhibition “The Tiara – Queen of Jewels, Jewel of Queens” held at the Amalienborg Museum between 14 March and 2 August 2009. During the exhibition Crown Princess Mary borrowed it for the Prince Consort’s 75th birthday party at Fredensborg in June and she wore it again at Fredensborg on Queen Margrethe’s 70th birthday on 16 April.
The price of the diadem is 1.5 million DKK and it is understood that the Crown Princess has not bought it but reached an agreement with Ove Lynggaard whereby the firm retains ownership of it but reserves the exclusive right to use it for the Crown Princess.

At the road’s end: The 15th Duke of Hamilton (1938-2010)

Angus Alan Douglas-Hamilton, the 15th Duke of Hamilton and 12th Duke of Brandon, died on Saturday, aged 71. The holder of the oldest Scottish dukedom, created in 1643, he was the Premier Peer of Scotland and hereditary Keeper of Holyroodhouse Palace, the monarch’s official residence in Edinburgh. In his capacity of Lord Abernethy he was also hereditary Bearer of the Crown of Scotland to the Parliament of Scotland and as such carried the Scottish crown at the 1999 opening of the first Scottish Parliament in nearly 300 years.
He was born on 13 September 1938 and succeeded to the dukedom on the death of his father in 1973. He later said he was furious when he became a member of the House of Lords and supported the 1999 reform which removed most hereditary peers from the upper house.
The Daily Telegraph (external link) has more on the turbulent life of the late Duke of Hamilton, who is succeeded in his titles by his eldest son, Alexander.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Norwegian royals and their yacht going to Stockholm

With less than two weeks to go to the Swedish royal wedding we are now beginning to know which foreign royals will attend. From Norway the King and Queen, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess, and Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn will all go, while the rumour that Princess Ingrid Alexandra will be a bridesmaid remains unconfirmed.
According to Princess Märtha Louise they will stay from Thursday to Sunday, but at least the King or the Crown Prince will probably remain in Oslo until after the State Council on Friday at 11 a.m.
Although they are on friendly terms with the King and Queen of Sweden, neither Princess Astrid nor Princess Ragnhild has been invited to this event. It seems one in general has chosen to invite mostly younger royals closer to the bride and her generation in age – naturally except the obvious members of the elder generation.
I hear there are plans for the Royal Yacht “Norge” to sail to Stockholm for the occasion, meaning that the Norwegian royals will be able to stay onboard.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Cities of the world: Stockholm in 20 pictures

The view from Katarina Road

The Djurgården Bridge

The Wrangel Mansion



The City Hall

The Great Square

From the Royal Opera House

Stockholm seen from above

Winter at the Royal Palace’s Outer Courtyard

Rosendal Palace, Carl XIV Johan’s summer palace

A view towards the Cathedral

The Nordic Museum


The spire of the Riddarholmen Church

The National Museum

Hedvig Eleonora Church

The Parliament Building at sunset

The King’s Garden with Carl XII pointing eastwards

A view towards Söder before Christmas