With the introduction of absolute primogeniture in most European monarchies, there are now several Queens in waiting. With our series Female Heirs, we’ll be taking a look at those young women who will one day rule in their own right. Today we’ll be taking a look at Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden.
The future Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was born on 14 July 1977 as the eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Silvia (born Sommerlath). Victoria was baptised at The Royal Palace Church on 27 September 1977. Her godparents were the future King Harald V of Norway, her uncle Ralf Sommerlath, Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and her aunt Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld.
At the time of her birth, she had no succession rights whatsoever, but discussions about introducing absolute primogeniture (inheritance regardless of gender) were ongoing in the government. Due to the complicated nature of changing the law, it took until 7 November 1979 for the Swedish Parliament to vote through the amendment to the Constitution which made her heir to the throne. Her younger brother Carl Philip had been born in May 1979, and he was briefly designated as Crown Prince.
The amendment came into effect on 1 January 1980, and Victoria was officially designated as Crown Princess. On 9 January, she was also created Duchess of Västergötland.
Victoria attended the Västerled parish pre-school from 1982 until 1984. In the autumn of 1984, she started her junior level at the Smedslättsskolan in Bromma. She began the intermediate level at the Ålstenskolan in Bromma and graduated in 1996 from the upper secondary school Enskilda Gymnasiet after following a Science and Social Studies program. In 1992, she was confirmed at the Räpplinge church on the island of Öland.
In 1996, she continued her education by studying French at the Centre International D’Études Françaises at the Université Catholique de L’Ouest in Angers, France. The following year, she followed a program designed for her to learn more about the inner workings of the Swedish Parliament and Government. In 1998, she began studying Political Science and History at Yale University in the United States. She had chosen to study in the United States after it became clear that she suffered from anorexia and the intense media speculation made it more difficult for her to get help in Sweden. In the United States, she lived relatively anonymously while also getting professional help. In 1999, she gave an interview about that difficult time in her life, saying, “It was a really hard time. This kind of illness is hard, not only for the individual but also for the people to them. Today, I’m fine.” 1
She later said in the book “Victoria, Victoria!”: “I felt like an accelerating train, going right down… during the whole period. I had eating disorders and was aware of it, my anguish was enormous. I really hated how I looked like, how I was… I, Victoria, didn’t exist. It felt like everything in my life and around me was controlled by others. The one thing I could control was the food I put in me”. She further said that “What happened cost and I was the one who stood for the payments. Now I’m feeling well, and with the insights I’ve acquired through this, I can hopefully help someone else”.
Her education continued, and she interned at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, and she completed a study program at the Government Offices. In 2003, she also completed basic soldier training at the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre. Between 2006 and 2007, she was enrolled in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Diplomat Program. In 2009, Victoria graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Uppsala University.
Upon her 18th birthday, Victoria had an official declaration of her majority in the Hall of State in the Royal Palace of Stockholm, and she became eligible to act as Head of State. She attends the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs and also makes official trips abroad. She was given her own household in 2004.
In 2002, Victoria began dating Daniel Westling, who was her personal trainer. Their engagement was announced on 24 February 2009, and they were married on 19 June 2010 – which was also her parents’ 34th wedding anniversary. After the wedding, Daniel became a Prince of Sweden, and he shared Victoria’s ducal title – becoming Duke of Västergötland. He was also granted the style of His Royal Highness. Victoria wore a satin white wedding dress by the Swedish designer Pär Engsheden with a five-metre long train. She wore the Swedish cameo tiara.
Her first pregnancy was announced on 17 August 2011 and on 23 February 2012, she gave birth to Princess Estelle, Duchess of Östergötland who became second in the line of succession. A second child – a son named Prince Oscar, Duke of Skåne, was born on 2 March 2016.