Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Carl XVI Gustaf becomes longest-reigning Swedish monarch ever

One of these days, Carl XVI Gustaf becomes the longest reigning monarch in Swedish history.
The previous record holder was Magnus Eriksson, who at the age of three was acclaimed King of Sweden on 8 July 1319. His father, Erik Magnusson, Duke of Södermanland, was the younger brother of King Birger Magnusson, who in 1317 imprisoned both his brothers (Erik and Valdemar). The brothers were either killed in captivity or left to starve to death. His brutal treatment of his brothers led to a rebellion, which forced King Birger to flee to Denmark and placed the young Magnus Eriksson on the Swedish throne.
He was already King of Norway, having inherited the Norwegian crown from his maternal grandfather two months previously, but in 1343 the personal union was dissolved when Magnus ceded Norway to his second son, Håkon VI, while his eldest son Erik was declared heir to Sweden.
In 1357, Erik became co-monarch of Sweden, but following his death two years later Magnus Eriksson was again the sole ruler of Sweden until February 1362, when Håkon was elected co-ruler. Magnus and Håkon were both deposed as Swedish kings in February 1364. As the exact date of this event is unknown, it is impossible to say for sure exactly how long Magnus’s reign lasted and therefore also to calculate on which date Carl XVI Gustaf overtakes him, but it is one of these days.
King Carl Gustaf came to the Swedish throne at the age of 27 when his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf, died at 8.35 p.m. on 15 September 1973. (His father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, had died in a plane crash in 1947).
There will be no official celebrations of this milestone. King Carl Gustaf himself, accompanied by Queen Silvia, is on an official visit to Japan these days.

UPDATE: After consultations with the National Archives, the royal court chose to mark the occasion on 26 April, claiming that this was the day Carl XVI Gustaf had been on the throne a day longer than Magnus Eriksson. However, this is based on the date Magnus's successor, Albrecht of Mecklenburg, was acclaimed king, which was not necessarily the same day as Magnus was deposed. In other words, the exact date remains unknown.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Royal jewels: Princess Ingeborg's Fabergé brooch - sold during WWII?

A Fabergé brooch (external link) which was given by the King's maternal grandfather, Prince Carl of Sweden, to Princess Ingeborg on the occasion of their fifteenth wedding anniversary in 1912 was sold by the auction house Coutau-Bégarie in Paris this week.
Several people have asked me about this and the auctioneer's claim that the brooch was sold by Crown Princess Märtha out of necessity during the Second World War. I do not know what is the auction house's source, but to me this seems like a misunderstanding or a supposition.
As I was able to reveal in my 2007 biography of Princess Astrid, Kvinne blant konger, the emerald parure now worn by the Queen was given to Crown Princess Märtha by Princess Ingeborg at the Central Station in Stockholm when she departed for the USA in the summer of 1940. Princess Ingeborg's intention was that her daughter could sell the emeralds if she never returned to Norway (which must have seemed a likely outcome in 1940), but the daring rescue of that the Bank of Norway's gold reserve meant that the Norwegian government-in-exile (unlike others) was able to provide for itself throughout the war and that the royal family did not have to sell their possessions in order to survive.
It therefore seems highly unlikely that Crown Princess Märtha sold the Fabergé brooch out of necessity during WWII.

Monday, 9 April 2018

My latest article: The viceroyalty of Norway

One of the forgotten institutions in Norwegian history is the viceroyalty, which existed between 1814 and 1891, when the Crown Prince or his eldest son could be appointed Viceroy of Norway and exercise the King's functions when the King was in Sweden. This is a unique example of an independent kingdom being governed by a viceroy, but it gave the heir to the throne the chance to get to know Norwegian affairs. Although this was warmly welcomed at first, the viceroyalty eventually became very unpopular.
Until now nothing has been written about the Viceroys of Norway, but on pages 10-17 in the new issue of the Swedish royal history magazine Royalty Digest Quarterly (no 1 - 2018) you may find my article "From Patriotic Desire to Colonial Stigma: The Viceroyalty of Norway, 1814-1891", which is a revised version of a lecture I gave at the conference "Courts and Viceroys: Viceregal Courts in Comparative Perspectives" at New York University in London in 2015.

Friday, 6 April 2018

My latest articles: Prince Henrik & Christian IX

In the April issue of the British monthly magazine Majesty (Vol. 39, No 4) you may read my obituary of Prince Henrik of Denmark, a man of many talents who was, in my opinion, one of the most interesting and colourful royals of Europe.
In the same issue I also write about King Christian IX of Denmark, who was born 200 years ago on 8 April 1818. Known in his later years as "the father-in-law of Europe", he was also for a long time a highly controversial figure because of his role as conservative party king during the struggle for parliamentary democracy.
Also in this issue: Ian Lloyd writes about Queen Elizabeth II of Britain and the Commonwealth, Lucinda Gosling on historic royal fashion, Ingrid Seward on royal childbirth in Britain and Paul F. Cockburn on Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's Scottish retreat, the Castle of Mey.