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Royal christenings: Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland

Princess Leonore christened by Archbishop Wejryd, screen caption from SVT.Today, on their first wedding anniversary, Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Mr Christopher O’Neill hosted the christening of their first child and daughter, Princess Leonore, in Sweden. In the most splendid summer weather, the baroque estate of Drottningholm Palace by Lake Mälaren, a few kilometres west of Stockholm, bade welcome to family, friends and also the Swedish people via television.

Princess Madeleine, who was born at Drottningholm Palace in 1982, and Mr O’Neill had chosen to host the christening in the small palace chapel, decorated by Carl Hårleman in the eighteenth century, and thus marked a difference between this christening and that of Crown Princess Victoria’ and Prince Daniel’s first child which was a larger affair at the Royal Palace of Stockholm.

Guests started arriving after 11 AM and many ladies had chosen soft, creamy pastel colours and hats or coiffes. Apart from the Royal Family (King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle, Prince Carl Philip and the happy parents) the guest list included members of the O’Neill family, members of the Queen’s family (Sommerlaths), and members of the extended Royal Family. Only three of the King’s sister attended: Princess Margaretha Mrs Ambler, Princess Désirée Baroness Silfverschiöld (without her husband) and Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson. Countess Marianne Bernadotte af Wisborg, widow of the King’s late uncle Sigvard and who celebrates her 90th birthday this summer, and Countess Gunnila Bernadotte af Wisborg, widow of the King’s uncle Carl Johan, also attended. The only foreign royal on the guest list, which the Royal Court had earlier said would not include any such people, was Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, first cousin of King Carl XVI Gustaf on his mother Princess Sibylla’s side. The only one of Princess Madeleine’s godparents who did not attend was Princess Benedikte of Denmark.

Mr O'Neill, Princess Madeleine with Princess Leonore, King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Mrs Eva O'Neill. Back row from left: Princess Margaretha Mrs Ambler, Princess Désirée Baroness Silfverschiöld, Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson and Consul General Tord Magnuson. Screen caption from SVT.

Mr O’Neill, Princess Madeleine with Princess Leonore, King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Mrs Eva O’Neill. Back row from left: Princess Margaretha Mrs Ambler, Princess Désirée Baroness Silfverschiöld, Princess Christina Mrs Magnuson and Consul General Tord Magnuson. Screen caption from SVT.

The official parts of Sweden were represented by the Speaker of the Parliament, Per Westberg, Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt, members of the diplomatic corps and a short list of high ranking members of various authorities. Only two government ministers other than the Prime Minister attended and only one of the parliamentary party leaders, perhaps because the christening coincided with a birthday celebration of the Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt’s wife Anna Maria Corazza Bildt in Italy this weekend. The Royal Court was represented by both present and former staff; among them the present Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, former Marshal of the Realm Ingemar Eliasson, now chancellor of the royal orders, Mistress of the Robes Countess Alice Trolle Wachtmeister with her husband Count Hans Gabriel, Marshal of the Court Karolin A. Johansson, head of the Crown Prince Couple’s household, as well former nannies of the King and Queen’s children. Personal and private guests included Prince Carl Philip’s girlfriend Sofia Hellqvist and long-time close Swedish friends of Princess Madeleine and the Royal Family.

The christening service commenced at noon when a salute of 21 shots was fired from Skeppsholmen in Stockholm. Archbishop Anders Wejryd, perfming his last big duty as such before laying down his archbishop’s crosier one week from now, was joined by Chief Court Chaplain Lars-Göran Lönnermark and the Pastor of the Royal Court Parish Michael Bjerkhagen in officiating the service.

The altar and chapel was decorated with beautiful blooming roses and peonies in different rose-colours and the baptismal font was dressed in ivy, the landscape flower of Gotland. Instead of using the grand and very heavy silver christening font from the seventeenth century, last used for the christening of Princess Estelle in 2012, the regular christening font of the Drottningholm Palace Chapel was used. Princess Eugénie’s crown from 1860 marked the royal dignity of the service.

On two opposite rows of chairs near the altar sat Princess Madeleine’s parents, siblings and Prince Daniel, and on the other the chosen godparents: Crown Princess Victoria (with Princess Estelle next to her in a mini-chair), Ms Louise Gottlieb, Mr Patrick Sommerlath, Mrs Tatjana d’Abo, Count Ernst Abensperg und Traun and Ms Alice Bamford.

The main character of the day, Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland, slept through most of the service. The little princess was dressed in a christening gown from 1906, made in cotton batiste and valencienne lace with a slip of satin woven silk and whose lining carries the embroidered names of its previous wearers (Prince Gustaf Adolf, Prince Sigvard, Prince Bertil, Prince Carl Johan, Princess Margaretha, Princess Birgitta, Princess Désirée, Princess Christina, Prince Carl Gustaf, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, Princess Madeleine and Princess Estelle).

Mr Christopher O’Neill read the introductory thanksgiving prayer in English, Crown Princess Victoria read about Jesus and the children (Mark 10:13) in Swedish and then Mr O’Neill’s half-sister Mrs Tatjana d’Abo read from the Galatians in English. The music consisted of classic period music, coinciding well with the baroque surroundings, as well as the bridal march from Gotland, performed at the wedding of Princess Madeleine and Mr O’Neill, re-worked for organ. Court singer Elin Rombo sang Max Reger’s “Mariä Wiegenlied” (op. 76, nr. 52) in German and Swedish and the final psalm, before the recessional piece from Roman’s “Drottningholm music”, was a beloved classic, “En vänlig grönskas rika dräkt” that is sung in most schools when the start of the summer holiday is marked.

At the end of the ceremony King Carl XVI Gustaf attached a miniature of the Order of the Seraphim to Princess Leonore’s christening gown, signalling that she has been awarded the order but the princess will probably not receive the real insignia and start to wear them until she reaches the age of majority.

After the christening service guests exited the chapel and walked around it on the outside to reach the entrance to Drottningholm Palace. After a short posing moment on the stairs of the palace for the immediate family, Princess Leonore was laid down to rest in Karl XV:s cradle from 1826 in the Ehrenstrahl Drawing Room. In the same room, standing next to the cradle, Princess Madeleine and Mr O’Neill received the guests who also greeted King Carl Gustaf, Queen Silvia and Mrs Eva O’Neill who was standing at the other end of the room before the guests passed to the next room. The Ehrenstrahl Drawing Room is dominated by great seventeenth century paintings by court painter David Klöcker Ehrenstrahl, depicting glorifying images of Dowager Queen Hedvig Eleonora and the Pfalz dynasty on the Swedish throne.

During the reception the Royal Family also allowed cameras to film a little bit of the receiving of the guests and the presentation of gifts, something which was not done at Princess Estelle’s christening. The Speaker of the Parliament and Prime Minister, speaking in front of the gathered guests and next to the happy parents on a podium, presented the government’s and parliament’s gift which is a collection of children’s books by Swedish authors. The Marshal of the Realm presented the court staff’s gift, a set of a children’s sized table and chair made by a carpenter from Gotland of local sustainable wood and presented together with a tea set. The County Governor of Gotland presented the County Administrative Board and people of Gotland’s present in the form of a photo and soft-toy depicting a baby foal of the Swedish race Gotland pony (Gotlandsruss) that was born on 21 May 2014.

After the reception a christening luncheon was given in Karl XI:s Gallery, a room that serves as a reminder of King Karl X Gustaf’s wartime achievements with great seventeenth century battle depictions. The menu consisted of lobster-filled pickled apple cannelloni, langoustine-pannacotta, trout roe and smoked dill crème, lemon and thyme filled chicken breast, confit leg of chicken, potato and asparagus terrine, sorrel sauce and asparagus buds, and a summer trio of rhubarb and strawberries for desert.

Back row: (godparents) Ms Alice Bamford, Mrs Tatjana d'Abo, Count Ernst Abensperg und Traun, Crown Princess Victoria, Mr Patrick Sommerlath, Ms Louise Gottlieb. Front row: Mr Christopher O'Neill, Princess Leonore, Princess Madeleine. Photo: Anna-Lena Ahlström, royalcourt.se.

Back row: (godparents) Ms Alice Bamford, Mrs Tatjana d’Abo, Count Ernst Abensperg und Traun, Crown Princess Victoria, Mr Patrick Sommerlath, Ms Louise Gottlieb. Front row: Mr Christopher O’Neill, Princess Leonore, Princess Madeleine. Photo: Anna-Lena Ahlström, royalcourt.se.

Her Royal Highness Princess Leonore Lilian Maria of Sweden, Duchess of Gotland

Princess Leonore. Photo: Christopher O'Neill/The Royal Court.

Princess Leonore. Photo: Christopher O’Neill/The Royal Court.

Yesterday King Carl XVI Gustaf, having just about returned from a visit to New York and his grandchild together with Queen Silvia, chaired a special cabinet meeting at the Royal Palace of Stockholm upon the birth of his second grandchild.

Because of the current winter holiday and many current travels in the country and abroad for ministers, it was quite a thin government that gathered around the table to hear what the King and his advisors had decided for the first royal heir to be born abroad since King Oscar I in 1799 (though he was not born royal).

Just like when Crown Princess Victoria gave birth to her (so far only) child Princess Estelle in 2012, speculations were circling around traditional Swedish and royal names like Alice and Désirée – but again Sweden was delivered with a name surprise. Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill’s first child and daughter is styled Royal Highness, received the ducal title of Gotland and will be named Leonore Lilian Maria.

Leonore is not a traditional Swedish name, only 128 Swedish women bare it with only 35 of them using it as a calling name, but this choice is fully in line with the current royal trend of giving royal offspring all kinds of modern and non-traditional names. Lilian was chosen to honour Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland, the dear “auntie” of the royal children who passed away last year. Maria is the second name of Mr O’Neill’s mother Eva.
– There were very many other names that we had thought about. I can only say that it was a joint decision which we made together. It’s a nice name that we both like very much, Christopher O’Neill told Expressen.

Versions of the name Leonore seems to be a bit of a trend in the royal world at this time. In Spain there is Infanta Leonor, oldest daughter of the Prince and Princess of Asturias and one day destined to become the country’s ruling queen unless her parents have a son. In Belgium there is Princess Eléonore, fourth and youngest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde and with Crown Princess Victoria as one of the godparents. In the Netherlands there is Countess Leonore of Orange-Nassau, third and youngest child of Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands.

One version of the name Leonore – Eleonora – is a very traditional Swedish royal name and still today quite popular with more than eleven thousand women bearing the name. No less than four queens in Swedish history have carried the name: Maria Eleonora (née Brandenburg, 1599-1655), consort of King Gustav II Adolf, Hedvig Eleonora (née Holstein-Gottorp, 1636-1715), consort of King Karl X Gustav, Ulrika Eleonora the older (née of Denmark, 1656-1693), consort of King Karl XI, and Ulrika Eleonora the younger (1688-1741), ruling queen of Sweden who abdicated in favour of her husband King Fredrik I, landgrave of Hesse-Kassel.

Gotland is a a county, province and diocese is made up of one large main island surrounded by many smaller island of varying sizes in the Baltic Sea off the coast of south-west Sweden and has just under 60.000 inhabitants. It has been a royal dukedom once before: Prince Oscar (1859-1953), second of four sons and children of King Oscar II and Queen Sofia (née Nassau), received the dukedom at his birth and then lost his style, titles and succession rights at his unequal marriage to Ebba Munck af Fulkila in 1888. Prince Ocar was later conferred with the non-hereditary title Prince Bernadotte and became the father of the world-famous Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg.

Princess Leonore with grandparents Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf. Photo: Princess Madeleine/The Royal Court.

Princess Leonore with grandparents Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf. Photo: Princess Madeleine/The Royal Court.

After King Carl XVI Gustaf announced the name, style and title of his new grandchild at the cabinet meeting, a short press conference followed. The Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, said that the King and court has made an interpretation of the Act of Succession that means that Princess Leonore will have to move to Sweden from the age of six to remain in the line of succession.
– She will be brought up from about the age of six and have her whole schooling in Sweden. She is to be Swedish, speak Swedish fluently and take a Swedish student certificate.

With these decisions King Carl XVI Gustaf has implemented completely gender-neural succession, style and title practices – although there are many questions remaining out in the open about the future of the Swedish Royal House and family. What does it mean to be a Royal Highness – will there be a correlation between receiving styles, titles and being in the line of succession and actually becoming a working royal? What happens if Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill won’t want to move to Sweden by 2020, can a royal keep their style and titles but not be in the line of succession? What citizenships will Princess Leonore have?

There are many reasons for joy these days, but also cause for great debate and pondering on the future.

Princess Madeleine has given birth to a daughter

Princess Madeleine's wedding

While most Swedes were sleeping away in the darkness of another winter night, Princess Madeleine gave birth to a baby daughter in New York, USA, while it was still late evening on the other side of the Atlantic. The baby girl was born at 10:41 PM EST on 20 February 2014 at the Weill Cornell Medical Center at the New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Sweden woke up to the news of the royal birth this morning, 21 February 2014, when the media were full of the news and the Royal Court published the official announcement by the Marshal of the Realm on the royal website. The first salutes for the baby girl were fired at noon (CET) today from Skeppsholmen in Stockholm and tomorrow four other Swedish cities will follow suit.

Shortly after noon local New York time (EST), just after 6 PM in Sweden, the proud father Christopher O’Neill held a short press conference. It was an unshaved, casual and clearly very tired father who told the media that the little girl weighed 3,150 grams and was 50 centimetres tall at birth. It was a normal birth and Mr O’Neill attended the whole process which took just about “the whole day” according to a doctor present. The proud father further told the gathered media that the little girl has dark hair and dark eyes and resembles his mother; something he had apparently been hoping for. Mr O’Neill was the one who cut the umbilical cord and he has already taken many photos with his mobile phone. A name has already been decided but he was (of course not) allowed to share it. After a rather improvised press conference of a few minutes and not the best sound, Mr O’Neill showed the cameras a footprint of his daughter on one of his arms. He also said that he had prepared a little gift for the new mother, probably a piece of jewellery as is the custom (a box was mentioned).

In Sweden the Royal Court has confirmed that King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia got on a plane during the day to fly to New York and meet their second grandchild. The traditional cabinet meeting which the King calls after a royal birth to announce the name and titles will probably be held sometime next week. Instead of the traditional witness confirmation, an ancient ceremony where the Speaker of the Parliament, Prime Minister, Marshal of the Realm and Mistress of the Robes confirms the royal birth and that its genuineness in a document signed with seals, two doctors who attended the birth in New York will write a document of confirmation to the King. A Te Deum, the traditional thanksgiving service held in the Royal Palace Church after a royal birth, will be held on Sunday 2 March at 2 PM and invitations went out already before the birth.

Ever since Princess Madeleine’s pregnancy was announced in September 2013 there have been ongoing discussions and speculations on her and Prince Carl Philip’s (possible future) descendants and the future composition of the Royal House. The issues at stake here are possibly enormous and not just about this particular child.

The Swedish Act of Succession only specifies that those in the order of succession need to be of the evangelical Lutheran faith and be brought up within the realm; leaving many questions behind and perhaps also room for interpretation? Since members of parliament did not do a very good and thorough job at examining the articles and considering the future when the legislation was changed in 1979/1980, and now the special circumstances of a royal birth abroad – the room for discussion feels like a great void.

A statement by the King’s lawyer, Axel Calissendorff, made to Svensk Damtidning only shortly after the announcement of the pregnancy is the only hint we have so far as to what the King and his advisers have been considering for the future. But on the other hand one wonders how well thought out the answers in that interview were as Mr Calissendorff seemed to suggest that children of a Royal Highness would somehow also naturally be a Royal Highness. It doesn’t take much thought to realize that following that line of reasoning would very quickly lead to a very large Royal House and no correlation between styles and titles and actually working for Sweden and representing the monarch.

To be brought up in the Lutheran church will pose no great obstacle but what has hopefully been investigated behind closed doors in recent time is what it means to be “brought up” in Sweden, as the Act of Succession puts the requirement for succession rights. Would it for example be enough for children in line of succession to live in Sweden from their school age and forward? What is also of interest is what citizenship(s), surname(s), style and title(s) this baby and future grandchildren of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will have. Looking at our neighbouring monarchies, Denmark and Noway, we can see that there are different roads to take. Perhaps the King’s inability to create new noble titles is of hindrance in the discussion of the future of the monarchy, the Royal House and extended Royal Family?

Princess Madeleine’s baby girl is now born – questions and confusion still remain. Hopefully the King and perhaps also the government will be able to clear the clouds when the special cabinet meeting is called – whenever that will be….

Princess Madeleine’s wedding: my day in Stockholm

Princess Madeleine's wedding
Every time there’s a royal event possible to reach in real life, the same question pops up: should I stay or should I go? That is: should one stay at home and enjoy the festivities via television via which one gets the best view, can see everything and at the same time follow photos being published online OR should one go to the event in person and actually see some of those royals in real life but on the other hand get a limited experience of the full event, having to come home and catch up on everything?

Yesterday, on Princess Madeleine’s wedding day, I decided to go. After all, the number of royal weddings is very limited, especially per generation and in a small country like mine. So off I went into Stockholm in the forenoon, arriving around 10 AM to a capital with beautiful clear blue skies and a scorching sun.

Princess Madeleine's weddingAfter suffering from decision anxiety about where to stand during the day I had decided to first watch the guests leave the hotel to go to the wedding and then make my way to Riddarholmen, the ending point of the cortège, to see all the guests leave on boat for Drottningholm.

So after arriving to Stockholm I first made a walk to look up the locations, joining my friend Johannes who was in the capital to help Aftonbladet with their web-TV during the day. The metal barricades were already up along the cortège route and everything was prepared at the ending point, with carpets laid out and flower decorations in place. Since it was told that the public would have a viewing point there we decided where a good place to stand could be.

Walking back from Riddarholmen, Johannes left to meet up with Aftonbladet and I stayed on the other side of the road to Grand Hôtel where they had also put up metal barricades and a special box for the media. Since I was there so early Stockholm was still quite calm and there was nothing to do but wait. After a while I noticed I was not alone however, and so I came to talk to a Finnish man who shares my interest in seeing and photographing royals. I even got a chance to practice my horribly rusty Finnish a little. He had found the best spot to stand at aside from the media box and so we came to share it for a few hours. Apart from a few guests occasionally stepping out on balconies to pose for gala portraits above us, there wasn’t much to see for a few hours.

Princess Madeleine's weddingMy first royal sighting was Hereditary Prince Hubertus of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, he walked back and forth to the hotel a few times, to and from somewhere. After a while Princess Benedikte of Denmark got into a car, dressed in a suit, and remained gone for quite a while.

Around noon Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, first cousin of King Carl XVI Gustaf on his mother Princess Sibylla’s side, came out through the main entrance and talked to his son for a bit. It’s not often one has the chance to see German royals in Sweden and because of the family connection with our Royal Family it always feels a little extra special to see that they come to attend events. As Prince Andreas was going for a walk I grabbed my courage and went up to him, he kindly accepted to pose for a photo and accepted my greetings.

By the time guests were starting to come out of the hotel to leave, after 2:30 PM, my friend Pia had joined me. The first to leave were the groom’s best man, Cedric Notz, and someone we couldn’t ID – but after that followed an amazing row of royals. Pia and I had a wonderful time and as really the only ones who could ID all the guests we called on their attention, to the amusement and joy of the by then large assembled crowds around us, and most of them waved and were happy to be recognized. The Earl and Countess of Wessex, Prince Nikolaos and Princess Tatiana of Greece, Prince Philippos of Greece, Princess Theodora of Greece, Princess Charlene of Monaco, Hereditary Prince Hubertus and Hereditary Princess Kelly of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Prince Andreas of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark, Prince Leopold and Princess Ursula of Bavaria, Prince Manuel and Princess Anna of Bavaria, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway, Princess Märtha Louise of Norway and Ari Behn.

Princess Madeleine's weddingThose were the guests we were really there to see but of course a large number of others also passed review. At times it was really crowded with guests on the sidewalk but I think we also spotted Prince Pierre and Princess Silvia d’Arenberg and Princess Khaliya Aga Khan. A few guests, like Princess Takamado of Japan and Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume and Hereditary Grand Duchess Stéphanie of Luxembourg were staying elsewhere and the closest family at the royal residences of course. The groom’s mother Mrs Eva O’Neill and her daughters and parts of their families left together and wedding dress designer Valentino was one of the last to leave for the ceremony. Most of the guests were transported on blue public transport buses with Swedish flags and marked “The Royal Wedding” for route name for the day. Some special VIP guests were driven in white chauffeured Volvo’s.

After watching the guests leave the hotel we immediately walked to Riddarholmen to find a spot for the ending point of the cortège. Since they had announced that the bride to the island would be closed off and all traffic would be halted for the cortège later on it was best to be there early, I figured. When we got there a small crowd had already gathered but we managed to get a decent spot, the press enclosement down in prime location by the boats at the quay remained empty for a long time while the public was waiting. It was a mixed crowd that grew in size as we waited, from elderly ladies sitting on camping chairs to parents with children to keep calm and young people sitting on the stone pavement. Thanks to our smartphones we watched parts of the wedding ceremony live on SVT, with the sun still shining intensely upon us but a few dark clouds occasionally appearing.

Princess Madeleine's wedding

A little after 5 PM the buses transporting guests began arriving. By that time the public had been warned ahead of time that the island would be closed off and everyone would have to remain in place until the boats had left. Unfortunately for the huge crowds gathered on Riddarholmen the last stop of the cortège was not planned as a good viewing spot for the public, despite expectations raised by talk of special viewing locations. The blue double-buses stopped right in front of us and we could only see the guests get off and walk down the stairs the quay on the other side – by the time the bus had moved, one after one, most guests were out of sight. This was of course much to the disappointment of the crowds, some boos and whistles were heard, mainly aimed at the “slow” bus drivers (of course everyone knew it wasn’t their fault, it was simply planned like this).

Princess Madeleine's wedding

Three boats lay at the quay to received guests on board, the first one in the row was the family and royal boat and was the only one to remain until the bride and groom – Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill – arrived. A few minutes before 6:30 PM the cortège arrived but apart from a few waves from the bridal couple in the carriage, also they disappeared from view on the other side before the carriage and horses had moved on.

Princess Madeleine's wedding

Around 6:40 PM Stockholm blasted its horn and sailed off for Drottningholm, a large fleet of private small boats following it in a tail and crowds gathered on all sides of the water waving it off into the horizon.

Princess Madeleine's wedding

After standing for the entire day and not having had anything but a bottle of water to consume, feats were tired and shoulder sun-burned. We ended the day with a meet-up at a restaurant in nearby Old Town, finally having some food, drink and a chance to share each other’s experiences. When I came back home around 11 PM there wasn’t much to do but to have a small snack and then have lights out. It wasn’t difficult to sleep after a happy and eventful day in a perfect summery Stockholm.

To see a few more of my photos (and I might add more later) please look at my Flickr stream.

An update on Princess Madeleine’s wedding

Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier/The Royal Court.

Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill. Photo: Patrick Demarchelier/The Royal Court.

The Royal Court has today issued several updates on the coming royal wedding between Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill on 8 June. They have also published a special wedding section on their website and made a more thorough official biography of Christopher O’Neill available.

Christopher O’Neill’s title

The Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, today issued a press release announcing that Christopher O’Neill will not receive a title subsequent to his marriage with Princess Madeleine. The wording of the announcement, translated from Swedish by me, reads:

Mister Christopher O’Neill is and remains an American citizen, and he intends to continue his business activities as before after he has entered marriage with H.R.H. Princess Madeleine. According to the policy of the Royal House a member of the Royal House should be a Swedish citizen, and not hold a position of responsibility in the business world.

This means that Mister Christopher O’Neill – according to these principles – cannot bear the title H.R.H. Prince of Sweden or Duke of Gästrikland and Hälsingland.

With reference to these demands Mister Christopher O’Neill has respectfully requested to remain a private citizen and not be bestowed with royal dignity.

The title announcement is perhaps not very surprising in my opinion; I really hadn’t expected anything else. What remains to be decided and announced is how they will handle the couple’s future children. The Swedish Act of Succession states that princes and princesses should be brought up in Sweden, the question is what legals experts would argue that it entails in today’s world. Princess Madeleine will not give up her H.R.H. or lose her position in the Royal House after the marriage.

Princess Madeleine & Christopher O'Neill's monogram by Vladimir A Sagerlund.

Princess Madeleine & Christopher O’Neill’s monogram by Vladimir A Sagerlund.

Joint monogram

The heraldic artist at Riksarkivet (The National Archives) Vladimir A Sagerlund has composed the couple’s monogram. It consists of their intertwined and mirrored initials with a princely/ducal crown adorned with Vasa vases and sceptres resting above the M.


Lysning, the traditional announcement of an impending marriage in the church, will be held for Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill this coming Sunday 19 May in the Royal Palace Church at 11 AM. The lysning announcement will be made during the Royal Court Parish’s weekly Sunday service but afterwards a reception for invited guests will be held at the Royal Palace at 2 PM.

Wedding celebrations

On Friday 7 June a wedding dinner will be held at Grand Hôtel which lies opposite the Royal Palace, just across the water. This will be a private dinner for family and friends.

On Saturday 8 June the wedding will take place in the Royal Palace Church at the Royal Palace at 4 PM. The Chief Court Chaplain Lars-Göran Lönnermark and the Pastor of the Royal Court Parish Michael Bjerkhagen will be officiating.

The Prime Minister and parliamentary party leaders are invited to the wedding.

After the ceremony is over a salute of 21 rounds will be shot from Skeppsholmen near the palace. The bridal couple have not announced a balcony appearance but will travel from the palace to Skeppsholmen in a cortège with military lining the route. From Riddarholmen the couple and invited guests will travel to Drottningholm by boat.

At Drottningholm a wedding dinner will be held, responsible chef is the court’s usual choice Stefano Catenacci from Operakällaren in Stockholm.

Sveriges Television (SVT) will air the wedding ceremony but not the dinner. It has not (yet) been announced if they will be allowed to film anything from the inside at Drottningholm, such as the speeches, but they will cover the arrivals there.