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/

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.

Friday, 21 February 2014

A Swedish Princess born in the USA

Princess Madeleine of Sweden gave birth to a daughter at the New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York at 10.41 p.m. local time yesterday, i.e. at 4.41 a.m. today by Swedish time.
The names of the child (and the dukedom she will probably receive) will be announced by the King in a council at the Royal Palace, but this will only take place after the weekend, it has been stated.
King Carl Gustaf has earlier decided that the child will be a Princess of Sweden and a Royal Highness, but, incredibly, it seems the royal court’s press department has not yet managed to figure out whether the newborn Princess is in line of succession. The acting director of the information and press department, Annika Sönnerberg, says to the online edition of Dagens Nyheter (external link) that the child so far is only a US citizen and not a Swedish citizen and that she therefore cannot inherit the throne. However, there is nothing whatsoever about citizenship in the Act of Succession.
A newborn member of the royal family is traditionally viewed by the Speaker of Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Marshal of the Realm and the Mistress of the Robes shortly after its birth, which is a remnant of the older practice that a royal birth took place with witnesses present in the room or, later, in an adjacent room (a tradition abolished in Sweden in the early twentieth century). As this child was born in the USA, two doctors at the hospital where the Princess was born will confirm to King Carl Gustaf that they were present and that the baby is indeed the child of Princess Madeleine.
A 21-gun-salute was fired from Skeppsholmen in Stockholm today, while the service of thanksgiving which normally takes place immediately after a royal birth will only take place on 2 March at 2 p.m.
The child’s father, Christopher O’Neill, will meet the press at the hospital in New York at noon local time today (6 p.m. Swedish time).
UPDATE: While meeting the press, Christopher O’Neill revealed that he and Princess Madeleine have decided on five names for their daughter. However, these will only be announced by the King in council next week. The baby weighed in at 3,150 grams and 50 centimetres and looks like her mother, according to the father.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Book news: A Danish royal book in English

This is not a commercial stunt, but as books on Scandinavian monarchies in English are a rare thing I thought some of my readers might be interested in knowing that a book on the Danish monarchy, namly Amalienborg by Thomas Larsen, Jørgen Larsen and Bjarke Ørsted, has now been published in a smaller, abridged English version. While some of the material from the original book has been left out, the new version includes a new interview with Crown Princess Mary. The book is published by Gyldendal of Copenhagen.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Prince Amedeo of Belgium to marry

The Belgian royal court yesterday announced the engagement of Prince Amedeo to his longtime girlfriend Elisabetta Maria Rosboch von Wolkenstein, known as Lili.
Prince Amedeo, a businessman who is also Archduke of Austria-Este, was born on 21 February 1986 and is the eldest son of Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz of Belgium. He is thus a nephew of King Philippe and the eldest grandchild of former King Albert II. He is currently sixth in line of succession to the Belgian throne.
Elisabetta Rosboch von Wolkenstein was born in Rome on 9 September 1987 and is the only child of Ettore Rosboch von Wolkenstein and Countess Lilia de Smecchia. The Princess-to-be holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature and film from Queen Mary University in London and works as a journalist covering the arts for the American news organisation Bloomberg, using the name Lili Rosboch.
Her father is apparently an illegitimate son of an Italian aristocrat, Filippo Caracciolo, 9th Prince of Castagneto and 3rd Duke of Melito. The name Rosboch von Wolkenstein seems to be a combination of the surname of his mother’s husband and his maternal grandmother, Countess Maria von Wolkenstein.