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The stories of Queen Victoria’s granddaughters: Princess Margaret of Connaught

Princess Margaret Victoria Augusta Charlotte Norah of Connaught was born on 15 January 1882 at Bagshot Park in Surrey. She was baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 11 March 1882 by The Archbishop of Canterbury.

Princess Margaret of Connaught, Crown Princess of Sweden and  Duchess of Scania.

Princess Margaret of Connaught, Crown Princess of Sweden and
Duchess of Scania.

Princess Margaret was the eldest daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, Duke of Strathearn and Earl of Sussex and Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. Princess Louise was the daughter of Prince Friedrich and Princess Anna Maria of Prussia (formerly Princess of Anhalt).

Margarets godparents included both her paternal and maternal grandparents, Queen Victoria and Prince and Princess Friedrich Karl of Prussia. Margarets uncle the Duke of Edinburgh and aunt Princess Beatrice stood proxy for the Prussian king and queen. Also included were the German Emperor (represented by the German Ambassador, Count Münster), the German Crown Princess (represented by her sister, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein) and the Prince of Wales.

Very much a part of the Royal Family, Princess Margaret grew up enjoying family holidays and participating in royal weddings. She was one of ten bridesmaids at the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of York (later King George V and Queen Mary) on 6 July 1893.

In 1905, the twenty-three old Margaret was travelling in Egypt with her family when she saw the man she would marry. It was love at first sight when Princess Margaret laid eyes on Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden in El Cairo.

Equally smitten, Prince Gustaf proposed during a dinner one evening at the British Consulate in Egypt.

On 15 June 1905, Margaret and Gustaf were married at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. Princess Margaret of Connaught became Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Skåne.

Interestingly, the nuptials took place a few days after the end of the union with Norway.

The dissolution stemmed back to 1814. Norway started a personal union with Sweden at the Convention of Moss, which in turn ended the Swedish-Norwegian War. The cease-fire agreement endorsed on 18 August 1814. On 4 November 1814, the Norwegian Parliament elected Charles XIII of Sweden as king of Norway.

Although Norway maintained its parliament, judiciary, and executive powers, as years went on there was a great divided between Norway and Sweden. In 1905, Christian Michelsen, a member of the Norwegian Parliament established a coalition government. The government passed the law to organise a separate Norwegian Corps of Consuls. The king refused to accept it and on 7 June 1905, the parliament voted to terminate the union.

It was a happy union and both the prince and princess were loved by their country.

When she arrived in Sweden, Margareta, as she was called in her new country, began taking Swedish language lessons as well as lessons in history and social welfare.

The first few years, she was regarded as being a bit stiff as she behaved in the solemn manner in which she was brought up. She began to relax a bit and took up a keen interest in sports ranging from skiing and ice hockey in the cold Swedish winters to golf and tennis during the long summer days.

With a strong interest in art, Crown Princess Margaret painted and was quite the photographer. As part of their wedding gift, she and her husband received Sofiero Palace. They spent their summers gardening at Sofiero working on what would become gardens of grand English style.

Sadness struck two years after their marriage in 1907 when King Oscar II died. The prince’s father Crown Prince Gustaf became Gustaf V and Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Margareta became Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden.

In 1915, she published the book Vår trädgård på Sofiero (“Our Garden at Sofiero”) as Kronprinsessan Margareta. A second book, two years later, Från blomstergården (“From the Flower Garden”) illustrated with her drawings and photographs was published. The proceeds of the books went to help household schools with childcare.

Margaret created a sewing society to support the Red Cross during World War One. Known as Kronprinsessans Centralförråd för landstormsmäns beklädnad och utrustning (The Crown Princess’s central storage for clothing and equipment of the home guard) the group helped to supply Swedish soldiers with proper underwear.

During the war, when paraffin supplies diminished, she began a candle collection. Participating in the war effort did not stop there. In 1917, she began a programme for girls to train to work on the land.

Margaret assisted prisoners of war in camps throughout Europe, particularly British nationals. Her efforts during the war were pro-British, in opposition to that of her mother-in-law’s stringently pro-German stance.

In 1917, she created Margaretainsamlingen för de fattiga (The Margaret fundraiser for the poor).

In 1919, Crown Princess Margareta began to have trouble with her ears. The ear problems were the beginning of what would be quite a sad story of the young princess. Pregnant with her sixth child, she suffered from chicken pox and a terrible case of chills. The chicken pox was so bad that her jaws began festering. On 1 May 1920, the still pregnant 38-year-old Crown Princess of Sweden died.

The Crown Princess of Sweden and her husband had five children. Gustav Adolf, Sigvard, Ingrid, Bertil and Carl Johan.

Crown Princess Margareta is buried in the Royal Cemetery at Haga.

After the death of his wife, Gustaf went on to marry Lady Louise Mountbatten the former Princess Louise of Battenberg on 3 November 1923 at St. James’s Palace. Louise was the sister of Lord Mountbatten and aunt of The Duke of Edinburgh. Gustaf would become King of Sweden in October 1950 until his death on 15 September 1973.

Photo Credit: The Lost Gallery via Flickr

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