Princess Désirée of Sweden – A Haga Princess

princess desiree sweden
By Frankie Fouganthin - CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Princess Désirée of Sweden was born on 2 June 1938 as the third child and daughter of Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The New York Times wrote upon Désirée’s birth, “Princess Sibylla, wife of Prince Gustaf Adolf, eldest son of the Crown Prince, tonight gave birth at Haga Castle to a daughter. Both are doing well. The Crown Prince tonight motored to Haga to greet the new member of the family. King Gustaf will do the same tomorrow and afterward will call a State Council to decide on a name for the Princess. As Princess Sibylla had already had two girls, a boy had been eagerly hoped for.”1 She was christened at Solna Church in Stockholm on 30 June 1938 and received the names Désirée Elisabeth Sibylla.

She had two elder sisters, Princess Margaretha and Princess Birgitta. In 1943, a younger sister named Princess Christina was born. At the time, Sweden still barred women from the throne. A younger brother, the future King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, was born in 1946.

Désirée’s father tragically died in a plane crash in January 1947 while all the children were still very young. Her great-grandfather, King Gustaf V, reigned as King from 1907 until his death in 1950. He was succeeded by his son, King Gustaf VI Adolf. This meant that Désirée’s four-year-old brother became the Crown Prince. The three Princesses grew up at Haga Palace just outside Stockholm and thus became known as the Haga Princesses.

Désirée trained as a preschool teacher and also worked as a preschool teacher before her marriage. She also obtained a degree in textiles from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design. Birgitta and Désirée made a ten-day visit to the United States in 1960, where they turned quite a few heads. Desirée charmed everyone when a little girl ran up to kiss her. The New York Times reported, “Too young to be awed, Meryl Schaffer rushed up to the tall brunette, arms outstretched for a kiss. Blushing prettily, Princess Désirée obliged. Meryl’s mother, who watched with some surprise, explained, ‘Ever since she got up this morning, she’s been saying, ‘I’m going to kiss a princess because it’s my birthday and I am 4 years old.'”2

In December 1963, the engagement between Princess Désirée and Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld was announced. The New York Times reported, “Princess Désirée, granddaughter of King Gustaf VI Adolf, became engaged today to Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. The wedding will take place in Stockholm at the end of May. No date has been fixed. Princess Désirée is 25 years old; her fiance is 29. Princess Désirée is the daughter of Princess Sibylla and the late Prince Gustaf Adolf, who in an air crash in 1946(sic). She is the elder sister of the Swedish Crown Prince, Carl Gustaf. She now studies textile design here. Her fiance has a medieval castle and a farm in Southern Sweden called Koberg, which he operates.”[/note]New York Times[/note]

The couple was married on 5 June 1964 in Storkyrkan in Stockholm. As her groom was not royal, Princess Désirée lost her style of Her Royal Highness and was instead styled as Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld. As she did not have any successions rights, she did not have any to lose. When absolute primogeniture was eventually introduced in 1980, the succession was limited to her brother’s descendants. Their first child, Carl, was born the following year. Christina-Louise was born in 1966, followed by Hélène in 1968. They made their home at Koberg Castle.

Her brother married Silvia Sommerlath in 1976, and Princess Désirée was the godmother of their eldest child, Victoria, who became Crown Princess with the introduction of absolute primogeniture. Désirée is also one of Victoria’s names.

Princess Désirée sometimes attends the Nobel Prize ceremony and other family-related events. She was widowed in 2017. As she celebrates her 85th birthday, she has remained largely out of the public eye.

  1. New York Times
  2. New York Times

About Moniek Bloks 2765 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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