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Princesses Who Married Commoners: Crown Princess Victoria

Following the recent wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, we take a look at other princesses who have married commoners. Here is the story of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden who married personal trainer and gym owner Daniel Westling in 2010.

The future prince was born Olof Daniel Westling on 15 September 1973 in Örebro, Sweden. He experienced a very middle-class upbringing: his mother, Ewa, was a post office clerk and his father, Olle, was a manager at a municipal social services centre.

After serving in the Swedish Army, Daniel worked at a school and recreation centre for children with special needs. A lover of sport, he then moved to Stockholm in 1994 and studied the youth recreation leader programme at the Lillsved Sports Folk High School. While a student there, he worked for a fitness company and taught classes for personal trainers and bodybuilding coaches.

He put his love of sport and exercise to use by creating his own fitness company in 1997 and later opened his own gym, Master Training.

Daniel met Crown Princess Victoria in 2001 when he became her personal trainer. Victoria, who was overcoming an eating disorder at the time, is said to have been encouraged by her sister Princess Madeleine to work with a trainer to help get past her anorexia. The couple fell in love, despite their vast differences in background.

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In 2006, he started a gym company called Balance. Although he was a successful business owner, many found Daniel, with his rural accent and casual dress, an odd choice of partner for a future queen.

Victoria’s mother, Queen Silvia (herself a commoner) went on television to praise Daniel and his entrepreneurial spirit. “Daniel has been very active in these years and has set up his own business. I hope he can share his experiences and help bring modernity to the court,” she said.

Daniel moved into an apartment on the grounds of Drottningholm Palace in July 2008. The couple’s engagement was announced in February 2009.

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However, their happy news was interrupted by a serious health issue. Daniel had to undergo a kidney transplant just three months after proposing. He suffers from a congenital problem that impairs renal function, but luckily, his father was able to serve as a donor. With the surgery a success, wedding plans moved full steam ahead.

Many called it the biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales. And since there hadn’t been a Swedish royal wedding since 1976, the country was in the mood to celebrate. The period between 6 June (Sweden’s National Day) and the wedding later that month was deemed “Love Stockholm 2010” and featured a range of festive activities throughout the city.

The Crown Princess Couple shares their wedding anniversary with King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, as they married at Stockholm Cathedral on 19 June 2010, the King and Queen’s 34th wedding anniversary.

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The couple welcomed 1,100 guests to their wedding, and afterwards, an estimated 500,000 gathered to watch the carriage procession. It was the biggest TV event ever covered in Stockholm.

Crown Princess Victoria gave birth to their first child, Princess Estelle, on 23 February 2012. Their second child, Prince Oscar, was born on 2 March 2016.

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Daniel is now styled as His Royal Highness Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. He champions causes relating to sport, health, and entrepreneurship.

He spearheads events such as Prince Daniel’s Race and Sports Day to promote physical fitness in Sweden’s young people. He serves as Honorary Chairman of the Board of the Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation, and as someone who has received a successful organ donation, he is also a patron of MOD – More Organ Donation.

Photo: Erika Gerdemark, The Royal Court, Sweden

Prince Daniel also launched The Prince Daniel’s Fellowship project and entrepreneurial programme in 2013. He visits schools and universities around the country to inspire younger generations of Swedes to get excited about entrepreneurship.

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