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Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden

Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland (Kronprinsessan Victoria, Sveriges kronprinsessa, hertiginna av Västergötland, Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée; born 14 July 1977) is the heiress apparent to the Swedish throne. If she ascends to the throne as expected she will be Sweden's third queen regnant (after Queen Christina and Queen Ulrika Eleonora).

Family background

She is the eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, and belongs to the Royal House of Bernadotte. She is the only female heir-apparent in the world currently (though there are several females who are heiresses-apparent of an heir-apparent) and is usually styled HRH The Crown Princess. She is currently 192nd in the Line of Succession to the British Throne through her father, who is a great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, thus making him (along with the Queen of Denmark and the King of Spain) a second cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.

Her given names honor various relatives. Her first name comes primarily from her great-great-grandmother Victoria of Baden, the queen-consort of Sweden as wife of King Gustaf V (but the same name also glorifies her twice-over great-great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom). Her other names honor her great-aunt Queen Ingrid of Denmark; her maternal grandmother, the Brazilian Alice Sommerlath (née de Toledo), her ancestor Désirée Clary, the queen-consort of Charles XIV John and a former fiancée of Napoleon Bonaparte.

She was christened at The Royal Palace Church on 27 September 1977. Her godparents are King Harald V of Norway, Ralf Sommerlath, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and her aunt, Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld.

The Crown Princess is also godmother to a number of royal children, most of them future heirs including Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands, Prince Christian of Denmark and Princess Eléonore of Belgium.

Education

Victoria attended a state elementary school and a private gymnasium (secondary school) in Stockholm, graduating in 1996. Afterward, she studied for a year (1996/97) at Université Catholique de l'Ouest at Angers in France and in the fall of 1997 Victoria followed a special program following the work of the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament). During the years 1998-2000 the Crown Princess resided in the USA where she studied various subjects at Yale University in Connecticut.

In June and September 2002 Victoria interned at the United Nations in New York and in May 1999 at the Swedish Embassy in Washington D.C. In the autumn of 2000 the she studied conflict resolution and international peacekeeping at the Swedish National Defence College and in 2001 Victoria followed the Swedish presidency of the EU and completed a study program at the Government Offices (Rosenbad).

During the spring of 2002 Victoria completed a study program with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and that fall she interned at the Swedish Trace Council's offices in Berlin and Paris. In 2003 the Crown Princess' education continued with visits to Swedish businesses, a study and intern program in agriculture and forestry, as well as completing the basic soldier training at SWEDINT (the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre).

In 2004 Victoria continued with visits to Swedish businesses, and that fall she continued with courses in political science, international relations and conflict resolution at the Swedish National Defence College. In 2005 she continued with private tutored studies in society related subjects as well as some courses at the Stockholm University.

In the fall of 2006 Victoria enrolled in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' Diplomat Program, running from September 2006 to June 2007. The program is a training program for young future diplomats and gives an insight to the ministry's work, Swedish foreign and security politics and Sweden's relations with the rest of the world. The education entails lectures, seminars, group work and visits to authorities and institutions.

During the autumn 2007 Victoria will study French privately as well as undergo an internship at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the European Union.

Change in status

She was created Crown Princess and heir apparent on 1 January 1980, by the change made in 1979 to the Act of Succession of 1810 (Successionsordningen). This constitutional reform meant that the throne would be inherited by the monarch's eldest child without regard to gender. Sweden was the first country to adopt absolute primogeniture. This not only made Victoria the first heiress apparent to the Swedish throne, but it also made her the first female in the line of succession. The retroactive constitutional change was apparently not supported by the King, who favored his son as heir-apparent because he was born as such, a view that has been commented in the media.

When she became heiress, she also was made titular duchess of Västergötland, which is one of the historical provinces of Sweden.

Prior to this constitutional change, the heir to the throne was her younger brother, the then-Crown Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland. He is now second in line to the throne. She also has a younger sister, Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland.

Royal duties

As heir apparent to the throne, the Crown Princess is a working member of the Swedish Royal Family with her own agenda of official engagements and she holds a significant supportive role to her father. Victoria attends the regular Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs and the information councils with Government ministers headed by the King and steps in as a temporary regent (Riksföreståndare) when it is needed. Victoria also takes part in the regular official dinners hosted by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, state visits to Sweden, high level and official visits from foreign dignitaries, the opening of the Riksdag (Parliament), celebrations of the Swedish National Day and the annual Nobel festivities.

The declaration of the Crown Princess's majority (coming of age) took place at a ceremony in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm on 14 July 1995, when she delivered her first speech to the Riksdag (Parliament).

The Crown Princess has made many official trips abroad as a representative of Sweden. Her first major, official visit on her own was to Japan in the autumn of 2001, where she promoted Swedish tourism, design, music, environmental sustainability and gastronomy during the "Swedish Style" event. That same year, Victoria also travelled to the west coast of the United States were she participated in the celebrations of the Nobel centenary.

In 2002 she paid official visits to Kosovo where she visited Camp Victoria, the United States, Spain, Uganda and Ethiopia. In 2003 she made official visits to Egypt and the United States. In the beginning of 2004, she paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia, as a part of a large official business delegation from Sweden, and in October 2004 she travelled to Hungary.

In January 2005 Victoria made a long official visit to Australia, promoting Swedish Style and businesses, and in April she visited Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to follow aid work and get informed about the work in the aftermath of the tsunami. In April 2005 the Crown Princess made an official visit to Japan where she visited the Expo 2005 in Aichi, laid the foundation for a new IKEA store in [Yokohama] together with Princess Takamado and met with Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito and Sayako Kuroda. In June 2005 Victoria travelled to Turkey on an official visit where she participated in the Swedish Business Seminar and Sweden Day celebrations in Ankara during a historic visit which was organised by the Swedish Embassy in Ankara and Swedish Trade Council in Istanbul. Victoria also visited the historic sights such as the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and Hagia Sophia. This was the first official Royal visit from Sweden to Turkey since 1934. In September 2005 the Crown Princess made an official visit to China.

In March 2006 Victoria made an official visit to Brazil where she followed the Volvo Ocean Race and visited projects supported by the World Childhood Foundation, such as the Abrigo Rainha Sílvia. In December that same the Crown Princess paid a four-day official visit to Paris where she attended a French-Swedish Soirée arranged by the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, The Swedish Trade Council and the Embassy of Sweden, during which she also awarded the Prix d’Excellence 2006. The visit to Paris also included events with the Swedish Club in Paris, attendance at a church service in the Sofia Church (the Swedich church in Paris), a study visit to the OECD headquarters and meetings with the Secretary-General José Ángel Gurría, the Swedish Ambassador to the OECD, Gun-Britt Andersson, and other senior officials. She also attended a gala dinner hosted by La Fondation Pour L’Enfance at Versailles.

Victoria has traveled extensively as representative for Sweden during her life. Some of the countries she has visited include Egypt, China, Brazil, Australia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Japan, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy.

The Crown Princess Victoria Fund

The Crown Princess Victoria Fund was set up in 1997 and is run as a part of Radiohjälpen, the fundraising branch of Sveriges Television and Sveriges Radio. The fund’s aim is to provide support for leisure- and recreational activities for children and young people with functional disabilities or chronic illnesses. Applications can be addressed to the fund year round and the use of grants can cover everything from compensations to assistants at recreational trips to leisure activities such as horseback riding, skiing, wheelchair floorball, camps and outings.

Every summer Sveriges Television carries out fundraising drives for the fund via messages on television, these are especially concentrated around the Swedish national day on 6 June and the Crown Princess’ birthday, Victoriadagen, on 14 July. On the Crown Princess birthday, when a long televised entertainment program is aired from Borgholm where the people and the Royal Family celebrate Victoria, the public is also able to call in and donate money at the same time as they compete for prizes.

The Crown Princess Victoria Fund’s means mainly derive from donations by the public, but large companies such as Arla Foods, Swedbank and AB Svenska Returpack are constant sponsor partners. Additional support comes from The Association of Swedish Bakers & Confectioners who every year arrange a national “princess cake week” during which the participating cafés and bakeries give 2,50 SEK per sold princess pastry and 10 SEK per sold princess cake to the fund. The result of this fundraising drive is usually presented to Victoria herself on her name day on 12 March every year; in 2007 the total amount was 200,000 SEK. Congratulatory and memorial cards are also issued by Radiohjälpen benefitting the fund, a simple way to pay respects and do a good deed in one act. In 2006 The Crown Princess Victoria Fund raised a total of 5,5 million SEK.

Every year Victoria visits one or several clubs or projects that have been granted money. These visits are not announced via the official royal diary but kept private, instead Sveriges Television often accompanies her and airs short programs from these visits at some time during the year.

Love life

Though the Crown Princess has long refused to discuss her private life, she has frequently been the object of press speculation regarding purported romances. Only two persons have been confirmed and obvious boyfriends to Victoria, both for a considerable amount of time.

Victoria’s first serious boyfriend was Daniel Collert, they socialized in the same circles, went to the same school and were good friends when their romance developed in the mid-1990’s. When the Crown Princess moved to the United States in 1998 to study and recover from her eating disorders, Daniel Collert moved with her across the Atlantic and settled in New York. In September 2000, Victoria’s and Daniel Collert’s relationship was confirmed by her during an interview at the Expo 2000 and later by Court Marshal Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg (then Director of the Press and Information Department at the Royal Court). They broke up in 2001.

In May 2002 Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that Victoria had a new boyfriend, her personal trainer from Master Training, Daniel Westling. Immediately after the news broke and the media turned their attention at him, it was obvious that he did not like the attention. At one time Westling was even photographed crossing a street at a red light in order to avoid the camera. In July 2002 Victoria and Daniel Westling were pictured kissing for the first time; it was at the birthday party of Caroline Kreuger, a close friend of Victoria.

In a popular personal report called Tre dagar med Victoria (Three days with Victoria), following her work during three days, which aired on TV4 in December 2004, the Crown Princess commented that much of the criticism directed at Westling is unfair. “Many unfair things are written. I understand that there are speculations, but one day justice will be done there too”, she said. Victoria also underlined that happiness is important, these days it is not so much about background and pedigree but rather two people who have to live with each other. She said that if one isn’t happy and comfortable with each other, it is impossible to do a good job.

During her April 2005 visit to the Expo 2005 in Nagakute, the Crown Princess was interviewed by Mikio Yikuma, a reporter with the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun. Yikuma brought up the subject of royals marrying commoners, to which the princess responded, "I think the general idea of Swedes is that it's the modern way to marry someone that you love, not necessarily where she or he comes from". Though she did not mention Westling by name, the Crown Princess did admit, "There is someone in my life" but that marriage was not on her mind. The interview was conducted at the Swedish embassy in Tokyo and published in Yomiuri Shimbun on April 18, 2005.

Swedish media have constantly speculated about upcoming engagements and marriages for all of the years her relationships have been known.

Anorexia

In 1996 it was established that the Crown Princess suffered from anorexia, it was however not confirmed until the next year. Already at that time she was getting professional help but given her public position in Sweden it was getting increasingly harder to handle the situation. Victoria had planned to study at Uppsala University but intense media speculations and much public discussion after pictures of evidently too slim Victoria in sleeveless dresses at the Order of the Innocence’s ball and the gala dinner for the incoming state visit from Austria in April 1997, the Royal Court decided to confirm what was feared.

After a press release from the Royal Court announced that the Crown Princess had eating disorders in November 1997, plans changed for her and Victoria moved to the United States where she received professional help and studied at Yale University. By making this drastic decision Victoria could live an anonymous life while getting professional help and recovering, not having to worry about media speculations or if people were recognizing her on the streets.

In an interview with Björn Carlgren for SVT2 in June 1999 the Crown Princess said: “It was a really hard time. This kind of illness is hard, not only for the individual but for the surroundings. Today I’m fine”.

In November 2002 the book “Victoria, Victoria!” came out, speaking further about her eating disorder. Victoria said: “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”.

Ancestry

References

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