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Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland

Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Västergötland (27 February 1861 – 24 October 1951) was a Swedish prince. Through his daughters, for whom he arranged excellent dynastic marriages, he is an ancestor of several members of European royal houses today, including the reigning monarchs King Harald V of Norway, King Philippe of Belgium, and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

Prince Carl
Duke of Västergötland
Carl of Sweden (1861) 1929.jpg
Born(1861-02-27)27 February 1861
Arvfurstens palats, Stockholm, Sweden
Died24 October 1951(1951-10-24) (aged 90)
Stockholm, Sweden
Full name
Oscar Carl Wilhelm
FatherOscar II of Sweden
MotherSophia of Nassau

Early lifeEdit

Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway as a child, 1869

Carl was the third son and child of King Oscar II of Sweden-Norway by his wife, Sophia of Nassau. He was known as "the Blue Prince" (Blå Prinsen) because he often wore the blue-coloured uniform of the Life Regiment, to which he belonged in a ceremonial manner.[1]

Marriage and childrenEdit

King Oscar II of Sweden and his son Carl, Duke of Västergötland, 1879.
Portrait of the Duke of Västergötland, 1882.

In May 1897, Prince Carl was engaged to Princess Ingeborg of Denmark, the second daughter of King Frederick VIII of Denmark. Ingeborg's mother, Louise of Sweden, was a first cousin of Prince Carl. Nevertheless, in 1947, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, Carl admitted that their marriage had been completely arranged by their respective fathers, and Ingeborg herself added : "I married a complete stranger!".

The couple were married on 27 August 1897 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen and spent their wedding trip (honeymoon) in Germany. The marriage, arranged by their fathers and completely conventional in every way, was entirely harmonious. The couple had four children:

  1. Margaretha (1899–1977), who married Prince Axel of Denmark
  2. Märtha (1901–1954), wife of Crown Prince Olav of Norway and mother of Harald V of Norway
  3. Astrid (1905–1935), wife of Leopold III of Belgium and mother of kings Baudouin and Albert II of Belgium, as also of Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg.
  4. Carl, Duke of Östergötland, known as Carl Jr., later Prince Bernadotte (1911–2003).

Growing up in a conventional and harmonious family, and inculcated with traditional family values in their childhood, all of Carl's children grew up to be happy and constructive adults, healthy in mind and body. While all three daughters made dynastic marriages that were encouraged by their parents, and became the matriarchs of their own successful families, the couple's only son gave up his (highly improbable) chance of succeeding to the throne to marry a noblewoman, with whom he did have a successful marriage.

Styles of
Prince Carl of Sweden
Reference styleHis Royal Highness
Spoken styleYour Royal Highness
Alternative styleSir

Candidate for the Norwegian throneEdit

In 1905, during the political struggle in which Norway obtained its independence from Sweden, Prince Carl was seriously considered as a candidate for the Norwegian crown. It was thought that electing a Swedish prince as king was a less radical way for Norway to secede from the union, and hence a more peaceful approach. Carl was chosen because his eldest brother would inherit the Swedish throne, and his second brother had renounced his royal status to make an unsuitable marriage. However, Carl's father King Oscar II of Sweden did not approve of the proposal, as he saw the whole "riot" which precipitated the Norwegian crisis as a conspiracy and a betrayal against his rights as King of Norway, and he did not want any of his sons to be involved with people who he considered his enemies. Therefore, Prince Carl never became King of Norway. Instead, a Danish prince, Haakon VII, was elected after some diplomatic turbulence. As history turned out however, Prince Carl's daughter, Princess Märtha, married Haakon VII's son, the later King Olav V. The present King Harald V of Norway is hence a grandchild of Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland.


Prince Carl has the distinction of being a grandfather of three reigning European monarchs: King Harald V of Norway (son of his daughter, Princess Märtha), the late King Baudouin of Belgium and his brother, King Albert II of Belgium (sons of his daughter, Princess Astrid). He is also a great-grandfather of King Philippe of Belgium and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

Titles, styles, honours and armsEdit

Titles and stylesEdit

  • 1861–1905: HRH Prince Carl, The Duke of Västergötland, Prince of Sweden and Norway
  • 1905–1951: HRH Prince Carl, The Duke of Västergötland, Prince of Sweden


National honours[2]
Foreign honours[4]




  1. ^ång/blå-prinsen
  2. ^ a b "Sveriges statskalender (1876), p. 472" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06 – via
  3. ^ "Sveriges statskalender (1925), p. 935" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06 – via
  4. ^ a b "Sveriges statskalender (1950), II, p. 6" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06 – via
  5. ^ "The Order of the Norwegian Lion", The Royal House of Norway. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  6. ^ Jørgen Pedersen (2009). Riddere af Elefantordenen, 1559–2009 (in Danish). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. p. 297. ISBN 978-87-7674-434-2.
  7. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ The London Gazette, issue 27669, p. 2581
  • Bomann-Larsen, Tor: Folket – Haakon & Maud II (2004; in Norwegian)

External linksEdit

Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland
Born: 27 February 1861 Died: 24 October 1951
Swedish royalty
New title Duke of Västergötland
Title next held by
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden