Tag Archives: royal births

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….

Twin boys for Prince Georg Friedrich & Princess Sophie of Prussia

Today the happy news that Princess Sophie of Prussia, wife of Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia who is the head of the house of Hohenzollern, gave birth to twin boys on Sunday 20 January 2013 was released.

A short statement on the family’s website said the prince announced the news of sons Carl Friedrich and Louis Ferdinand’s arrival to the world with “great joy and gratitude” and stated that both mother and children are doing well.

The birth took place in Bremen, Germany, on the second engagement anniversary of the happy new parents after it was initially said to be planned for February. But of course such things can never be completely planned.

It recently became known that the couple has moved to Bremen after previously living in an apartment in Berlin. Prince Georg Friedrich and Princess Sophie are said to want to give their children the kind of upbringing they had themselves, in the quiet and calm countryside.

Prince Georg Friedrich and Princess Sophie married in a wonderful religious wedding celebration at Potsdam on 27 August 2011, an event I am happy to have attended and enjoyed immensely and reported about in my blog at the time.