Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland

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Prince Carl
Duke of Västergötland
Born (1861-02-27)27 February 1861
Palace of the Hereditary Prince, Stockholm, Sweden
Died 24 October 1951(1951-10-24) (aged 90)
Hovslagaregatan, Stockholm, Sweden
Spouse Princess Ingeborg of Denmark
Issue Margaretha, Princess Axel of Denmark
Märtha, Crown Princess of Norway
Astrid, Queen of the Belgians
Prince Carl Bernadotte
Full name
Oscar Carl Wilhelm
House Bernadotte
Father Oscar II of Sweden
Mother Sophia of Nassau

Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Västergötland (27 February 1861 in Stockholm – 24 October 1951 in Stockholm), was a Swedish prince. Through his daughters, for whom he arranged excellent dynastic marriages, he is an ancestor of several European royals today, including the monarchs of Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg.

Early life

Carl was the third son 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 children

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 were blessed with four children:

  1. Margaretha (1899–1977), who married Prince Axel of Denmark
  2. Martha (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 thus Queen of the Belgians
  4. Prince Carl Bernadotte (1911-2003), known as Carl Jr. He renounced his position to marry a divorced woman, and was later given the title of Prince Bernadotte in the peerage of Belgium by his brother-in-law.

Growing up in a conventional and harmonious family, and inculcated with traditional family values in their childhood, Carl's children grew up to be happy and constructive adults, healthy in mind and body. All three daughters, being acquiescent to their parents' wishes, made dynastic marriages as desired and promoted by them, and became the matriarchs of their own successful families. Consequently, as many as four of the couple's grandchildren were to sit upon the thrones of Europe.

Candidate to the Norwegian throne

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.

In 1904, Prince Carl was appointed a Knight of the Norwegian Lion by Oscar II.


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

Titles, styles and arms

  • 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
Arms as Prince of Sweden and Norway,
Duke of Västergötland 1861 to 1905
Arms as Prince of Sweden
and Duke of Västergötland after 1907



  • Bomann-Larsen, Tor: Folket - Haakon & Maud II (2004; in Norwegian)
Styles of
Prince Carl of Sweden
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland
Born: 27 February 1861 Died: 24 October 1951
Swedish royalty
New title Duke of Västergötland
1861 - 1951
Title next held by
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Swedish Royalty
House of Bernadotte
Bernadotte coa.svg
Charles XIV John
Oscar I
Oscar I
Charles XV
Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland
Oscar II
Princess Eugenie
Prince August, Duke of Dalarna
Charles XV
Lovisa, Queen of Denmark
Prince Carl Oscar, Duke of Södermanland
Oscar II
Gustaf V
Prince Oscar, Duke of Gotland
Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland
Prince Eugen, Duke of Närke
Margaretha, Princess Axel of Denmark
Märtha, Crown Princess of Norway
Astrid, Queen of Belgium
Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland
Gustaf V
Gustaf VI Adolf
Prince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland
Prince Erik, Duke of Västmanland
Prince Lennart, Duke of Småland
Gustaf VI Adolf
Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten
Prince Sigvard, Duke of Uppland
Ingrid, Queen of Denmark
Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland
Prince Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna
Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler
Birgitta, Princess Johann Georg of Hohenzollern
Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld
Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson
Carl XVI Gustaf
Carl XVI Gustaf
Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland
Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland
Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland
Princess Estelle, Duchess of Östergötland
Princess Leonore, Duchess of Gotland
Prince Nicolas, Duke of Ångermanland