Count Lennart Bernadotte of Wisborg

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Prince Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg
Lennart Prince Bernadotte & grandson Friedrich Straehl.jpg
Prince Lennart (then Count Bernadotte) on his yacht at Gripsholm with grandson Friedrich Lennart Straehl, August, 1965. Photo: John Rusek.
Born (1909-05-08)8 May 1909
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Died 21 December 2004(2004-12-21) (aged 95)
Schloss Mainau, Mainau, Lake Constance, Germany
Spouse Karin Nissvandt
(m. 1932; div. 1972)
Sonja Haunz
(m. 1972; his death 2004)
Issue Count Jan Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Birgitta Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Marie-Louise Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Cecilia Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Bettina Bernadotte of Wisborg
Count Björn Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Catharina Bernadotte of Wisborg
Count Christian Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Diana Bernadotte of Wisborg
Full name
Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul
House Bernadotte
Father Prince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland
Mother Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia

Prince Lennart Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg, né Prince Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul of Sweden (8 May 1909 – 21 December 2004), a grandson of King Gustaf V of Sweden, was until 1932 a Prince of Sweden and the Duke of Småland.

He was born at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, to Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Gustaf V's second son) and Wilhelms's wife, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (he was her first husband). His father's first cousin was Count Folke Bernadotte, and his own first cousin was the father of King Carl XVI Gustaf.


Under the Swedish Act of Succession, a prince or princess marrying without the consent of the Sovereign and government forfeits the right of succession for themselves and their descendants. They give up their titles and assume the family name of Bernadotte. By his marriage on 11 March 1932 he was subsequently stripped of his title, renounced his rights and became Mr. Lennart Bernadotte.

Since 1868, Swedish princes who have lost their succession rights have received noble titles conferred by other reigning monarchs. On 2 July 1951, for himself, his wife and his marital descendants, Bernadotte was admitted by Grand Duchess Charlotte (head of state at the time) into the Nobility of Luxembourg and there as a nobleman called Gustaf Lennart Nicolas Paul Prince Bernadotte as well as Compte de Wisborg.[1] This has been interpreted as the same right to style himself as Prince Bernadotte that his granduncle Oscar had.[2] Counts of Wisborg are considered to be part of the Swedish unintroduced nobility.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who lost the right to confer Swedish noble titles in the new constitution of 1974, still retains the prerogative to restore royal titles, but has chosen not to do so.


In 1944 he portrayed the young Crown Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway in the historical film Prince Gustaf, Bernadotte's only screen acting role.

Lennart Bernadotte concentrated his energy on his estate on the island of Mainau in Lake Constance, Germany, where he died, and on his charitable fund, the Lennart Bernadotte Stiftung. He was considered a major gardening and landscaping talent and expert and turned his island into a popular tourist attraction.

He received the Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the German Eduard Rhein Foundation in 1996.[3][4]


Lennart's coat of arms as prince of Sweden

In London on 11 March 1932 Bernadotte married secondly Karin Nissvandt (7 July 1911 – 9 October 1991). They had four children before divorcing in 1972:

  • Birgitta (born 3 May 1933), married 11 June 1955 Friedrich Otto Straehl.
  • Maria-Lovisa (6 November 1935 – 24 May 1988), married 11 September 1956 Rudolf Adolf Kautz.
  • Carl Johan Gustaf Vilhelm (nicknamed Jan; born 9 January 1941), married seven times:
    • Firstly in Toro, Sweden on 3 May 1965 Gunilla Stampe (3 September 1941 – 22 May 2010); they divorced in 1967.
    • Secondly in Mainau on 26 June 1967 Anna Birgitta Skarne (born 1 April 1944); they divorced in 1970. One daughter: Sophia Magdalena Maria Birgitta (born 3 May 1968).
    • Thirdly in Konstanz 23 June 1972 Annegret Thomssen (born 15 November 1938); they divorced in 1974. One daughter: Cecilia Rosemarie (nicknamed Cia; born 30 September 1972).
    • Fourthly in Diepolz on 6 September 1974 Maritta-Else Berg (7 December 1953 – 30 September 2001); they divorced in 1987. Two sons: Alexander Wilhelm (born 25 March 1977) and Stephan Albert (born 4 November 1980).
    • Fifthly in London on March 1993 Gabrielle Kick née Hess (born 29 June 1949); they divorced in 2004.
    • Sixthly in Forbach on 6 September 2004 Christiane Rose Grandmontagne (born 17 March 1944; she had a daughter with Prince Christian-Sigismund of Prussia); they divorced in 2006.
    • Sevently in Almunecar, Spain on 8 January 2012 Gunilla Irene Stenfors (born 8 April 1957).
  • Karin-Cecilie (born 9 April 1944), married 31 March 1967 Hans Jörg Baenkler; they divorced in 1974.

In Mainau on 29 April 1972 Bernadotte married secondly Sonja Anita Maria Haunz (7 May 1944 – 21 October 2008). They had five children:

  • Bettina (born 12 March 1974), married 29 October 2004 Philipp Haug.
  • Bjorn (born 13 June 1975), married 7 May 2009 Sandra Angerer.
  • Catherine (born 11 April 1977), married 7 July 2007 Romuald Ruffing.
  • Christian Wolfgang (born 24 May 1979), married 22 May 2010 Christine Stoltmann. One son: Maximilian Benedikt (born 10 August 2010).
  • Diana (born 18 April 1982), married 27 September 2003 Bernd Grawe; they separated in 2007.

Bernadotte died in 2004. His remains and those of his second wife were interred in a crypt under the palace chapel on Mainau. His first wife's remains have been buried in his father's grave in Flen.



  1. Mémorial du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg No 48, Government of Luxembourg, 13 August 1951, entry dated 18 July 1951
  3. "The Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor Recipients". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "1996 - Ring of Honor - Prof. Dr.h.c.mult. Lennart Graf Bernadotte af Wisborg". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

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