The British royal family have been marking a historic few years, but they're not the only European royals who have banner occasions in the works. Indeed, in September 2023, Sweden's own monarch—King Carl XVI Gustaf—will mark his golden jubilee, honoring 50 years since he took the throne. With such a historic moment on the horizon, now's the perfect time to get reacquainted with who's who in the House of Bernadotte.
King Carl XVI Gustaf
Born on April 30, 1946, at Haga Palace in Solna, Carl was the first son (and fifth child—he has four older sisters) of Prince Gustaf Adolf, then second in line to the Swedish throne, and his wife Princess Sibylla. In 1947, his father died in a plane crash, leaving the infant Carl as the heir apparent. When his grandfather, Gustaf VI Adolf, took the throne in 1950, Carl officially became the Crown Prince—a title he would hold until his own accession on September 15, 1973. As a young man, he trained with the Royal Navy, Army, and Air Force, attaining the rank of Second Lieutenant in all three and studied at Uppsala University and Stockholm University. In 1972, at the Olympics in Munich, he met Silvia Renate Sommerlath—the couple announced their engagement in March 1976 and married that June. Together, they have three children: Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Madeleine.
She may be the queen of Sweden, but Silvia was actually born Silvia Renate Sommerlath in Germany on December 23, 1943. As a child, she lived with her family in São Paulo, Brazil and later Düsseldorf, Germany. There, she studied as a translator before taking a position at the Argentinian consulate in Munich. In 1972, while working as a training manager for Olympic hostesses at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, she met the young Carl Gustaf, then Crown Prince, and the two began dating. The couple married in June 1976 at Stockholm Cathedral. They would go on to have three children and eight grandchildren together.
Crown Princess Victoria
The first born child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, Victoria ushered in a new era of the Swedish monarchy. Born July 14, 1977, she was a princess at birth, rather than Crown Princess, due to the agnatic order of succession which favors male heirs of the male line. However, the order of succession was altered to favor heirs by birth order, regardless of gender, by the 1979 Act of Succession, making Victoria next in line for the throne. Among a number of institutions, Victoria was educated at Yale University and Uppsala University—from which she received a bachelor’s degree in 2009—and received military training at the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre. In 2009, she announced her engagement to Daniel Westling. The couple married on June 19, 2010, and in 2012, welcomed their first child, Princess Estelle. Their son, Prince Oscar, was born in 2016.
The husband of Crown Princess Victoria, Daniel was born Olof Daniel Westling on January 19, 1974. He grew up in Ockelbo, Sweden, and focused on health and physiology when he studied at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. He served in the military and worked with youth sports programs before becoming a personal trainer and fitness consultant. He and Victoria met at a gym where he was training in 2001 and they married in June 2010. Daniel and Victoria share two children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar.
The eldest child of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, Estelle is currently the second in line to the throne of Sweden. Born on February 23, 2012, she lives with her family at Haga Palace in Solna.
Born March 2, 2016, Oscar is the youngest child of Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. Like his older sister Estelle, he lives at Haga Palace and attends school at Campus Manilla on Royal Djurgården in Stockholm. He is currently third in line to the throne, following his mother and older sister.
Prince Carl Philip
The only son and second born child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, Carl Philip was actually the Swedish Crown Prince at his birth in May 1979. However, legislation that changed the line of succession to favor the eldest child of the monarch, regardless of gender, went into effect when he was a baby, making his older sister Victoria heir apparent in 1980; Carl Philip’s title then became Prince (he is currently fourth in line to the throne.) He trained as an officer in the Swedish Navy and in 2002, and progressively rose through the ranks to achieve the rank of Major in 2014. Additionally, he studied graphic design at Forsberg School in Stockholm and the Rhode Island School of Design, and received a masters degree in agriculture from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. In 2015, he married Sofia Hellqvist, now known as Princess Sofia; the couple have three sons—Prince Alexander, Prince Gabriel, and Prince Julian. Carl Philip is fourth in line for the throne.
The wife of Prince Carl Philip, Sofia was born Sofia Hellqvist on May 26, 1985. The second of her parents three daughters, she grew up in Älvdalen, then, in 2005, moved to New York City to study business and accounting at the New York Institute of English and Business. In addition to her studies, Sofia also modeled and had a role on the reality show Paradise Hotel, and was certified as a yoga instructor. In 2009, she met Prince Carl Philip through some friends, and in June 2014, the couple announced their engagement. They married a year later, and in 2016, welcomed their first child, Prince Alexander. She and Carl Philip now share two more sons; Prince Gabriel, who was born in 2017, and Prince Julia, born in 2021.
The first of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia’s three children, Alexander was born on April 19, 2016. Like his brothers, Alexander is a member of the royal family and part of the line of succession (he is fifth in line, after his father) but is not part of the royal house following a 2019 decision made by his grandfather, King Carl XVI Gustaf, which stripped the children not in the direct line of succession of their HRH status (the use of the title His or Her Royal Highness) and relieved them of royal duties, reportedly in an effort to pare back the number of working royals. At the time of the decision, Carl Philip and Sofia posted on Instagram, saying that they "see this as positive as Alexander and Gabriel will have freer choices in life."
The middle child of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia’s Gabriel was born on August 31, 2017.
Born March 26, 2021, Julian is the youngest of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia’s boys.
The youngest of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia's three children, Madeleine was born on June 10, 1982. In 2006, she received a bachelor's degree from Stockholm University, and later completed a master's program there in organization and leadership. The princess also interned with UNICEF and continues to be active in supporting causes around child welfare. She was, for a time, engaged to lawyer Jonas Bergstrom, but their relationship ended and she later met financier Christopher O'Neill while she was living in New York City. In October 2012, the couple announced their engagement, and were wed the following June. She and Christopher have three children, Princess Leonore, Prince Nicolas, and Princess Adrienne. In 2015, she and Christopher moved their family to London, and in 2018, they relocated to Florida. While they had planned to move back to Sweden in 2023, the move was later delayed until 2024.
Though Christopher was born with dual citizenship, he is not Swedish. In fact, he was born in London on June 27, 1974 to Paul and Eva Maria O'Neill with UK and US citizenship. He grew up in London and attended Eaton and the Institut auf dem Rosenberg in Switzerland, later receiving a bachelor's degree from Boston University and and MBA from Columbia University. He met Princess Madeleine while he was working in finance in New York and the two married in 2013. Together, they have three children. Unlike the rest of his family, Christopher does not carry a royal title, having chosen to remain a private citizen in order to continue his career.
Born February 20, 2014, Leonore is eldest of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill's three children. While she carried the title princess, Leonore and her siblings were stripped of their HRH (His or Her Royal Highness) status in 2019 when their grandfather King Carl XVI Gustaf chose to pare back the royal house. At the time, Madeleine wrote, "This change has been planned for a long time. Chris and I think it's good that our children are now getting a greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future."
The second child and only son of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill, Nicolas was born on June 15, 2015. Like his siblings, he's lived internationally in both the UK and U.S. throughout his childhood.
The youngest of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill's children, Adrienne was born on March 9, 2018.
The Swedish Line of Succession in 2023:
Crown Princess Victoria
Prince Carl Philip
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