Tag Archives: princess lilian

A visit to Princess Lilian’s grave

Floral tributes at Princess Lilian's grave

Floral tributes at Princess Lilian’s grave

Today I went to pay my last respects at the grave of Princess Lilian at the Royal Burial Ground at Haga. Just as the funeral day this past Saturday, this Monday was a cold day with icy winds reaching through all layers of clothes and snowflakes tumbling down from the sky.

At the Royal Burial Ground

Just like after Prince Bertil’s funeral in 1997 the Royal Burial Ground has been extra open to allow members of the public to pay their last respects, normally the site is only open occasionally during the warm summer months. Since yesterday was a Sunday I thought that it would perhaps be a better idea to go today, a regular Monday, as I had the possibility to do so and thought that there might be less people there because of it. That did not turn out to be the case…

Tributes at Princess Lilian's grave

At the gates to the burial ground was a constant stream of people coming and going, that it was not a sunny day like yesterday Sunday did not seem to be of any hindrance whatsoever. Old and young, children and even a few dogs gathered in large crowds around the temporary blue cloth that covers the opening to the tomb were Princess Lilian’s coffin had been lowered. The heavy gravestone carved in gneiss from Bårarp in Halland has been moved to the side and all the beautiful wreaths and other floral tributes placed on and around the cloth that covers the temporary setting.

Tributes at Princess Lilian's grave

Princess Lilian’s last resting place was a sea of flowers to which a constant stream of people came to look and some to place their own flowers, cards or candles among them. In the good Swedish tradition a line was formed so that everyone could have the chance to walk around and see, but at times there were so many people that the line was double or triple. I took my time to look at all the different tributes though I have to say that the current cold spring, now even with more snow, had not treated the flowers, which are not made for such climate, very well. But it was indeed a beautiful tribute and it’s hard to imagine a more heart-warming send-off for Princess Lilian than the masses of people and many beautiful tributes at her last resting place.

Tributes at Princess Lilian's grave
Tributes at Princess Lilian's grave
Tributes at Princess Lilian's grave

Because of weather and wind, and also the amount of flowers, it was not easy to see each individual tribute but I did my best and from what I could spot there were fifteen floral decorations from royal descendants.

Carl Gustaf, Silvia

(King Carl XVI Gustaf & Queen Silvia of Sweden)

Victoria, Daniel, Estelle

(Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle of Sweden)

Carl Philip, Madeleine, Christopher

(Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Christopher O’Neill)

Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée, Christina med familjer

(Princess Margaretha Mrs Ambler, Princess Birgitta of Sweden and Hohenzollern, Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson with families)

Gunnila

(Countess Gunnila Bernadotte af Wisborg, widow of Count Carl Johan)

Marianne

(Countess Marianne Bernadotte af Wisborg, widow of Count Sigvard)

Mica, Ebba, Marianne, Carl Johan

(Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg’s daughter Monica Bonde af Björnö with children)

Christian & Marianne

(son of Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg with wife)

With tender affection
Madeleine Bernadotte Kogevinas

(daughter of Prince Carl Bernadotte)

Prince Oscar Bernadotte’s family

Daisy
Henri

(Queen Margrethe and the Prince Consort of Denmark)

Kronprins Frederik
og
Kronprinsesse Mary

(Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark)

Richard
Benedikte

(Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Princess Benedikte of Denmark)

Tino
Anne-Marie

(King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece)

Kongefamilien

(the Norwegian Royal Family)

Some of the other floral tributes came from the government, the county governors of Sweden together, Halland County, Stockholm County, the County Governor of Stockholm, the City of Stockholm, the staff of the Royal Court, the Wallenberg family, the Ulla Winbladh restaurant (Princess Lilian was a regular), The Royal Lawn Tennis Club of Stockholm, The Swedish Sports Confederation, KAK (The Royal Automobile Club), SOS Children’s Villages (a favourite charity of Princess Lilian, she was protector) and the editorial office of Svensk Damtidning.

Tributes at Princess Lilian's grave

To view more of my photos from the Royal Burial Ground at Haga, please visit my
Flickr album devoted to it and my visits there.

Funeral of Princess Lilian, The Duchess of Halland

Screen-caption from SVT showing the setting of Princess Lilian's funeral in the Palace Church.

Screen-caption from SVT showing the setting of Princess Lilian’s funeral in the Palace Church.

It was a cold day yesterday, Saturday 16 March, with the temperature meter pointing to -12 Celsius in the morning and icy winds making the coldness creep into marrow and bone despite sensible clothing with long johns, thick down coats or furs, hats, scarves and gloves on all the people that came out to the streets of Stockholm to pay their last respects. As the clock ticked to forenoon, the sun came up and its rays shone beautiful golden light over rooftops and church towers of Stockholm; warming things up as the security level around the Royal Palace in the Old Town was raised and roped off for passage.

Although the funeral was aired on national public service broadcasting (SVT), myself and two friends felt that we wanted to be near as it took place – firstly out of respect for the lovely Duchess of Halland (it’s with great sadness we see a great personality, as well as link to the past, gone) but also a little bit for the special display that a royal funeral is. The last royal funeral in Sweden was Prince Bertil’s in 1997 and at the time I was too young to go on my own and also did not have the same strong interest in monarchy and royalty as I do today.

At noon the bells of the Riddarholmen Church started tolling, not stopping until one hour later a little before 1 PM when the last echoes rang out and reached the palace’s outer courtyard by air. The traditional ‘seraphim ringing’ signals the death and funeral of a Knight or Member of the Order of the Seraphim and is followed by the mounting of his/her shield on the walls of the church. At the church were one officer and four soldiers from the Life Guards as the ceremony took place, and my friend Pia was one of the few visitors there.

Seraphim ringing for Princess Lilian in the Riddarholmen Church, photo by Pia Lagergren.

Seraphim ringing for Princess Lilian in the Riddarholmen Church, photo by Pia Lagergren.

As an honorary guard lined up along the cortège route and military bands positioned themselves, the Royal Family received guests who arrived at the palace by car or foot. In the palace church officers from the Life Guards and Karl XII:s Life Guards stood by Princess Lilian’s coffin which was draped in the royal standard, a triple-tailed flag with the lesser national coat of arms in its centre. On the coffin stood Princess Eugénie’s crown, made in 1860 in Stockholm, and a decoration with lilies of the valley, the Duchess of Halland’s favourite flowers.

At the front left of the coffin stood a small table with Princess Lilian’s badge and grand star of the Order of the Seraphim, resting on a cushion, and in front of the coffin and on the sides of the platform laid the big beautiful memorial wreaths from family, friends and other connections. The altar was also decorated with lilies of the valley. To the left of the altar stood the seraphim standard and to the right a British flag lent from the British embassy in Stockholm; the same flag used for Queen Louise’s funeral in 1965.

The Palace Church was barely half-full. On the right of the coffin sat the extended Royal Family, which for some reason also included Prince Carl Philip’s girlfriend Sofia Hellqvist, and the only two foreign royal guests Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Princess Astrid of Norway. To the left of the coffin sat some official representatives of various kinds, among them Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and the Speaker of the Parliament Per Westerberg with wife.

On the extended guest list (the Royal Court’s guest list document can be downloaded here), apart from private friends, former staff and other special connections, were also the ambassadors of the Scandinavian countries, Archbishop Anders Wejryd, the County Governor of Halland, Lars-Erik-Löwdén, and representatives of organisations which the deceased was involved in. Princess Lilian’s only present relative was Mrs Barbara Davis, her cousin Jean Beaumond who has travelled to Sweden for birthday parties through the years could not make it as she is elderly.

The order of service (download it on the Royal Court’s website) was a mix of Swedish and British. After the introductory organ piece, court singer Karl-Magnus Fredriksson sang Beethoven’s ‘The Glory of God in Nature’ which was also a part of Prince Bertil and the then Lilian Craig’s wedding ceremony. In his eulogy, Chief Court Chaplain Lars-Göran Lönnermark said:
– Lilian Craig went under the rules for the sake of love, for the sake of her husband and, for the sake of the Royal Family and for the sake of our country. In that respect she did not seek hers. In an admirable loyalty towards her husband and solidarity with his life task. It was in itself a declaration of love. To be there but not be seen. In this, her life choice, there was surely also a lot of pain. Princess Lilian was however granted a long life, after 33 years came the day when Prince Bertil and Lilian May Davies became man and wife and Lilian became Princess Lilian and member of the Royal House.

At the end of the ceremony, as the bagpipe tunes of ‘Auld lang syne’ toned out, the bells of the Cathedral of Stockholm next door to the Royal Palace started tolling as members of the Life Guards carried the funeral wreaths and Princess Lilian’s coffin out to the hearse waiting at the Inner Courtyard. As a military band played King Karl XV’s Funeral March, the police escort followed by the hearse and a row of chauffeured cars slowly drove out through the palace gates, starting the cortège route lined with honorary guards that took them to the Royal Burial Ground at Haga as parts of Stockholm stood still.

Princess Lilian left the Royal Palace of Stockholm for the last time just after 2 PM as the hearse slowly drove through the gates to a palace at which she was for so many years a secret guest of Prince Bertil and which she first visited officially in 1972 at the birthday of King Gustaf VI Adolf. Surrounded by the extended Royal Family she was laid to rest at the Royal Burial Ground at Haga yesterday afternoon, joining her great love Prince Bertil for the eternal rest under stone from the duchy of Halland.

While the funeral ceremony took place at Haga, other guests remained in the palace where King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia after returning from the burial ceremony hosted a lunch for a select group of guests. The last guests and royals, the King and Queen not spotted, were seen leaving the palace only around 7 PM in the evening.

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Princess Lilian’s death: court mourning and funeral details

Prince Bertil's grave at the Royal Burial Ground at Haga

Prince Bertil’s grave at the Royal Burial Ground at Haga

After Princess Lilian’s death this past Sunday, 10 March, The Royal Court has been more than busy. At the moment King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia are hosting a state visit from the President of Turkey which has a busy schedule and requires lots of staff and attention to detail. At the same time the court is observing mourning and preparing the Duchess of Halland’s funeral behind the scenes.

The first consequence of Princess Lilian’s death was the traditional ‘toll of mourning’ from the church bells of inner city Stockholm; this took place between 8 and 8:10 AM yesterday morning. Usually the royal mourning bells toll for thirty minutes, this last happened at the death of Prince Bertil in 1997, but for some reason the King had decided it would only last ten minutes this time. King Carl Gustaf also decided that while the flags on the royal residences were to be flown at half mast until after the funeral, an exception is in place at the Royal Palace of Stockholm during the state visit from Turkey, ending on the evening of Wednesday 13 March.

Lists were the public can write their condolences will be put out in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm on Wednesday 13 March and Thursday 14 March between 11 AM and 2 PM. Then on Friday 15 March members of the public will have a chance to pay their last respects to Princess Lilian as her coffin will lie in state in the Royal Palace Church between 12 PM and 3 PM, a shorter period than her late husband Prince Bertil but probably with the same beautiful solemn setting.

The funeral ceremony for Princess Lilian will be held on Saturday 16 March at 1 PM. The service will be led by Chief Court Chaplain Lars-Göran Lönnermark, the Pastor of the Royal Court Parish Michael Bjerkhagen and probably also the Chaplain of the Anglican Episcopal Church in Stockholm, The Church of St Peter and St Sigfrid, the Reverend Nicholas Howe.

A royal sized badge of The Order of the Seraphim

A royal sized badge of The Order of the Seraphim

As a member of The Order of the Seraphim, Sweden’s highest state order, the bells of the Riddarholmen Church not far from the palace will toll between 12 PM and 1 PM – as is the tradition on the funeral day of a deceased Knight or Member. This is called ‘seraphim ringing’ and afterwards the deceased Knight or Member’s seraphim shield is hung on the church’s walls.

Princess Lilian received the Order of the Seraphim for her 80th birthday in 1995, just after the Swedish parliament enabled members of the Royal House to receive orders again after a law change for Crown Princess Victoria’s age of majority.

Obit: Princess Lilian of Sweden, Duchess of Halland (1915-2013)

Princess Lilian at 90On the afternoon of Sunday 10 March 2013 the Welsh-born Lilian, Princess Charming or Mrs Sweden – if she is to take her husband’s common calling names also for herself as is otherwise done with royal titles – died peacefully in her sleep at her home on Royal Djurgården. She was surrounded by the Royal Family.

Lilian May Davies was born on 30 August 1915 in Swansea, Wales, the United Kingdom. The family was poor working class, parents Gladys Mary and William Davies were young and only married a few months before Lilian, who was to be their only child, came into the world. Her mother worked as a shop assistant and her father was a registered soldier and worker in a factory that produced charcoal briquettes. Lilian was christened in the Church of England and went to a local school where education was given in the English language; Welsh was not taught and she therefore never learned the language. As did many other girls at the time, Lilian left school early to help and support the family.

This is about as much as we know about her childhood and youth. She never wanted to talk about it and anyone who has inquired about it has been met with very sparse information, silence from people in the family’s surrounding and many rumours circulating over the years. The Royal Court’s official biography was always very short and focused on her later life, and who doesn’t understand that?
– We lived in a very poor area, a mining district. I stayed there until I turned 18. My life there was really miserable. We were very poor and had to work hard. There was no joy, no life. Nothing, Lilian once told her husband’s biographer Fabian af Petersens.

In 1933, aged 18, Lilian left Wales for London in search of a better life. Dreams were big and competition fierce. As a young girl who was new in a big city and not knowing anyone – the only option was to elbow her way forward. Good looks gave her a chance to appear in magazines and advertising, tiny roles in films and commercials. It has been said that Lilian dreamed of becoming a singer, a wish that did not come true. She is also supposed to have worked in a nightclub – but because there have never been any confirmations about anything, a lot of rumours and many different people stating different “facts”, her role and what club it was has never been straightened out.

Before the war Lilian met her future husband, sound engineer and actor Ivan Craig who introduced her to new exciting circles in London; the world that circled around the big film studios. The couple married in September 1940 in Horsham, Surrey, before he was going out to war. Ivan Craig fought the war and returned as a major, they both found new loves and divorced amicably in 1947.

Lilian eventually became well established in London and could move to a better home in a mews building in Knightsbridge. As a war service she worked in a factory that put together radio parts for the marines and volunteered at a hospital outside London. Among her new neighbours was famous double agent Dusko Popov who, she later told her af Petersens, would bring her perfume and nylon stockings but yet did not manage to make her accept frequent invitations to his parties.

In August 1942 a new Deputy Marine Attaché arrived at the Swedish embassy in London – His Royal Highness Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland – grandson of the King of Sweden, Gustaf V. The placement was made for many reasons; one was to make the young prince forget his latest sweetheart. Little did anyone know that by sending him to London he would instead meet the love of his life. There are many versions of exactly when, where and how they met – friends, Lilian and Bertil all had their own stories of how it went. They all agree, though, that it was connected to her 28th birthday in 1943 and that the young prince greeted Lilian with the words “I am Prince Bertil of Sweden” upon which she replied “How wonderful, I am the Queen of Sheba”.

Prince Bertil and Lilian Craig did not become a couple there and then, but it was a start of something, a friendship, that was to grow. And the start of a partner relationship came with a sudden event… During a large bomb attack when the prince was dining at The Dorchester, he interrupted the conversation and went to the lobby to call Lilian and ask how she was doing. Her scared voice made him leave the event and, dressed in dinner jacket, Prince Bertil drove through Hyde Park as shatters from the attack fell down in the seat beside him. Lilian’s residential area was being closed down because of a non-activated bomb but he went in and fetched her to the car. All hotels were full and without any other solution in sight Prince Bertil asked his Hungarian cook to make up the guest bedroom at his apartment at Edwardes Square, as later told to af Petersens.

After the war Prince Bertil’s position in London ended and he started to travel around the world for Swedish trade and industry, a position that fitted the engaged and relaxed prince like a glove and earned him cordons of appreciation from all directions in Sweden. Although it did not make his relationship to Lilian easy at first, because he did no longer have a base in London, there was a foreseeable future together away from the immediate court control as long as the succession was secured.

In April 1946 the happy news of Carl Gustaf’s birth came and things looked bright. But only nine months later shock and sorrow turned things around with the plane crash and death of Prince Gustaf Adolf. Upon his brother’s death Prince Bertil was called home.
– Suddenly I had come close to the throne. My father demanded that I think of Sweden first and I understood that he was right. We were both in trouble and had no other choice. I felt devastated. It was one of the darkest days of my life. Everything was shattered, Prince Bertil told his biographer af Petersens.

Lilian Craig came to Sweden for the first time in 1946 and then returned for visits regularly. She stayed with Prince Bertil’s close friends and in a borrowed apartment. In 1957 she moved to Stockholm permanently, Prince Bertil had by then bought Villa Solbacken on Royal Djurgården and this became their private sanctuary together with the villa Mirage in Sainte Maxime, France, which he had bought after the war. The vacation home in the French Riviera, with Sainte Maxime not at the time being the busy place it is today, was the only place where Prince Bertil and Lilian could live completely free and open, going about their day as they wished without anyone recognising them.

In the beginning Lilian lived a very quiet life at Villa Solbacken together with a step-aunt but as time passed she dared to go out in Stockholm and live more freely although remaining a well kept royal secret. The couple socialised with a circle of trusted friends and Lilian became a hostess at private events. Prince Bertil once said that it took about ten years before his father realised what was going on. Most of the family remained reserved towards Lilian, especially Princess Sibylla and Queen Ingrid, but they all came around with time. Prince Wilhelm was their earliest supporter, they visited him at Stenhammar on occasion, and Bertil’s brothers Sigvard and Carl Johan were both included in their social lives.

In 1950 Prince Bertil’s father ascended the throne as King Gustaf VI Adolf, leaving only young Carl Gustaf between him and the throne and making him even more important in his royal role. Seeing that Lilian Craig was there to stay and not a fortune-seeker, the family began to open up to her little by little. But there was no talk about marriage or accompanying her prince at official events
– I would only have been able to go to church and would have had to go home afterwards when the rest of the family went to lunch at the Royal Palace. So I watched everything on TV instead. And then I actually felt alone and sad, Lilian told af Petersens about Princess Désirée wanting to invite her to her 1964 wedding with Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld.

The Swedish media kept their gentlemen’s agreement with Prince Bertil about not gossiping about the couple quite well during the years and it was only in the late 1960’s that the relationship became more known and publicised. In 1966 they were pictured at the 50th birthday celebrations of Count Carl Johan Bernadotte af Wisborg and in 1971 the King visited their vacation home in France. In 1972, for his 90th birthday celebrations, King Gustaf VI Adolf issued Lilian’s first official invitation and she attended looking beautiful and regal wearing Crown Princess Margareta’s laurel wreath tiara.

In 1976 – with King Carl XVI Gustaf on the throne, Queen Silvia next to him and an heir to the throne on the way – things were again looking brighter for Prince Bertil and Lilian’s future together. The monarchy was secured and King Gustaf VI Adolf’s wish that Prince Bertil would wait for his nephew the King to get married first was fulfilled. In October, aged 64 and 61 respectively, the engagement between Prince Bertil and Lilian Craig was announced by the Royal Court.
– At times it has felt difficult to wait and not be able to get married. But now it feels wonderful to become a Swedish princess and feel recognised after all these years. We have known each other for 33 years and are happy to finally have made it, Lilian said as the couple met the press in Tylösand in the Duchy of Halland.

Prince Bertil confessed that the couple regretted that they could not have any children but both emphasized how happy they were with the engagement.
– It has never crossed my mind to act differently than I have. Had I left court and got married my father would have been alone with all the duties. It had been different if my eldest brother had not passed away. Maybe then I had married sooner, Prince Bertil said.

Lilian became a Swedish citizen in November and lysning (reading of the wedding banns) was held in the Palace Church at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. On Tuesday 7 December 1976 their wedding was held in the Palace Church of Drottningholm Palace where a gathering of the closest family, friends, official representatives and court officials watched Mrs Lilian Craig walk down the aisle dressed in a fantastic regal ice blue dress, perfect for the winter month of December, carrying a bouquet of Lilies of the Valley to the tunes of Bach. After a relatively short ceremony, officiated by Archbishop Olof Sundby, the bride curtsied to King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia as the bridal couple walked out of the church and greeted a crowd outside – Lilian then as Her Royal Highness Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland.

After the wedding ceremony a lunch for the closest family and friends was held at the Royal Palace of Stockholm and King Carl XVI Gustaf held the only speech – welcoming Lilian to the family by handing over a recipe for “cheese soufflé à la Lilian”:
– Charm and humour is sizzled, personality is added. Wisdom is added while stirring. Patience and judgement is spread over the finished dish. Glitter and smiles are spread over abundantly. Cooked with great patience, baking time thirty-three years. And now I quote the cookbook again: “the result is superb”.

Princess Lilian took Sweden with storm – her natural way, great charm, sense of humour, style and regal appearance combined into one made her a natural for the princess role. And what is often the greatest vice and strongest point of criticism for many royals – not mastering the language of their country – instead became a part of Princess Lilian’s charm. She did take Swedish lessons and could manage to read and watch TV but never developed a big vocabulary and ended up sticking to English – it was the language she spoke with Prince Bertil and the Royal Family, and the Swedish people she met as well. Wherever she went people loved to practice English with her and she could speak French when called for.

During all the years Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian kept a small apartment in Mayfair, London, to which they returned regularly. The Prince had a great relationship with parts of the British Royal Family that went back to his early childhood with holidays to visit his grandparents the Connaught’s and relations were kept warm through the years. London is also were Lilian had her dear friend and seamstress, designer of many of her wonderful gala gowns, Elizabeth Wondrak.

Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian shared their sense of humour, which can be called naughty or wicked, and practical jokes – tested and used as a successful ice breakers on many world leaders over the years. They also shared a love of food, cooking in their home and dining with gourmet friends like Swedish culinary legend and close friend Tore Wretman, and the prince was famous for loving the basic traditional Swedish cuisine called husmanskost. Through Prince Bertil she learned to enjoy sports and over the years they travelled to numerous Olympic Games together, Princess Lilian became a regular at tennis competitions (especially Stockholm Open) and their foundation was created to support the further development of sports leaders.

Prince Bertil remained incredibly active in his royal work into the early 1990’s and apart from their own activities, with patronages and personal royal duties, he and Princess Lilian attended most big royal occasions – from state visits to the National Day and the Nobel festivities. When Prince Bertil passed away in January 1997 Sweden lost a favourite royal and apart from great sorrow for the family there was also a great manifestation of love for the prince from the people and Princess Lilian always said that she was so happy and grateful every time someone came up to her to say how much they appreciated her husband.

After her husband’s death Princess Lilian could be seen dining at her favourite restaurants with close friends, shopping at markets in Stockholm and attending social events. In the summer of 1997 the Royal Family bought the yellow labrador Bingo for her, a dog that became her constant companion at home and a regular co-poser in photographs.

Queen Silvia was a great friend and confidante who the princess described more like a sister than anything else. In her memoir book from year 2000 Princess Lilian praised the Queen for the incredible support received after the death of Prince Bertil; with the Queen camping at her bedside in the beginning, always caring to see how she was doing and regular phone calls going back and forth. This was a friendship that lasted through the years, starting in the early 1970’s when Silvia Sommerlath was presented to Prince Bertil and her. And even though many close friends of Lilian have passed away before her, two close friends that have remained since she first moved to Sweden is Dagmar von Arbin and Countess Gunnila Bernadotte af Wisborg who both socialised with her and Bertil from the early years.

The King and Queen’s children became very dear to Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian who gladly admitted that they loved to spoil their “grandchildren” and the appreciation and love was mutual – Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine were all close to “auntie Lilian”. In her 2000 memoirs, Princess Lilian describes them respectively:

– When she has time she visits me. Often I find her lying in the floor where she cuddles and horses around with Bingo, my labrador. She’s open, happy and inquisitive and will surely be a great queen when the time comes. We have looked at my diademe and I have told her that she will have it. I got it from Bertil. It once belonged to his mother.

– I usually get real big bear hugs from him when we meet. It has also happened that he has asked “old auntie” to dance. Villa Solbacken is bequeathed to him after my death. Bertil was his godfather. Because Carl Philip, as Bertil was, is interested in engines I thought he should have Bertil’s pearl blue Porsche. The handing over took place on the Riviera. We both cried. I hope Carl Philip will walk in Prince Bertil’s footsteps. He has all the prerequisites.

– Princess Madeleine is very pretty and attractive but much more serious than her older siblings. She takes school very ambitiously – reads all the time, I think – and like many girls in that age lives for her horses.

Princess Lilian continued with royal engagements and did not scale down her schedule considerably until after turning 90 in 2005. The Nobel Prize awarding ceremony and banquet were her first official royal engagements as a princess and the last time she attended was in 2006, after which the lengthy arrangements were considered too demanding for her. She continued appearing with the family at some important events until 2008.

– The best thing about being older is that I didn’t die young, Princess Lilian said before her 80th birthday. Today we can certainly say that she did not – yesterday she passed away at the respectable age of 97. When she buried Prince Bertil in 1997 she had two wishes: a big bouquet of Lilies of the Valley for his coffin and Nat “King” Cole’s “Unforgettable” at the funeral service, it was sung by Lisa Nilsson in the Palace Church that time.

– I’m not afraid to die. When that moment comes I know that I will rest at my beloved husband’s side at Haga, she wrote in her memoirs.

Perhaps Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian’s song “Unforgettable” will be performed again for her funeral, we don’t know any details yet. But the funeral service will probably take place in the Palace Church followed by a private burial ceremony at Haga. Princess Lilian will be laid to rest next to Princess Bertil, at the gravestone carved in gneiss from Bårarp in Halland – their duchy.

PHOTO: Princess Lilian on her 90th birthday in 2005, photo by Claes-Göran Carlsson/The Royal Court.