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Royal titles in the Scandinavian monarchies

Following the birth of Princess Madeleine’s third child, Princess Adrienne, we take a look at how royal titles are used in the Scandinavian monarchies.

Sweden

The members of the Swedish Royal Family carry the style of Royal Highness with the title of Prince/Princess of Sweden. At birth, they are also assigned as Duke or Duchess of some Swedish region that they will support and visit in their official capacities. These duchies are honorary titles that will not pass down to descendants of the title holder but can be shared with a spouse.

Before the reign of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Princes and Princesses of Sweden who had unequal marriages were to be stripped of their royal titles.

Members of the Swedish Royal Family in 2015. H.R.H Princess Madeleine; Mr Christopher O’Neill; H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria; H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf; H.M. Queen Silvia; H.R.H. Prince Daniel; H.R.H. Princess Sofia; H.R.H. Prince Carl Philip. Photo: Jonas Ekstromer /Kungahuset.se

Nowadays, there’s no such thing as unequal marriages. The chances of a member of the Royal Family losing royal titles due to unions are lower but could happen in theory, if the Prince/Princess decided not to ask for permission for their marriage from the monarch and government.

Sweden is one of the few monarchies where titles can pass through the female line, which means that not only can children of a Princess inherit titles from their mother, but also the husband of a Princess can be made a Prince, with the exception of Christopher O’Neill (Princess Madeleine’s husband) who decided to remain a private citizen after marriage.

In Sweden, the only members of the Royal Family with rights of succession to the throne are the descendants of King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Denmark

While in the English language all members of the Danish Royal Family hold the title of Prince/Princess of Denmark, in the Danish language there’s a distinction for those who have succession rights to the throne. It translates to English literally as Prince/Princess to Denmark.

The children of the monarch and the heir to the throne hold the style of Royal Highness, while the children of the monarch’s younger sons are plain Highnesses. For example, whereas, Prince Christian (the son of the Crown Prince Couple) is styled His Royal Highness, his older cousin, Prince Felix (son of Prince Joachim and his first wife, Countess Alexandra) is only styled as His Highness.

In April 2008, Queen Margrethe created both her sons as Counts of Monpezat, thus making sure her descendants carry the family name of her late husband, Prince Henrik.

Members of the Danish Royal Family in 2015. Photo Courtesy of the Royal Danish House. Photographer: Steen Brogaard

Historically, Danish princes whose marriages did not receive a formal consent from the monarch were, after the loss of the princely title and rights of succession, created Counts of Rosenborg.

Not only the descendants of Queen Margrethe are eligible to succeed to the throne because the Danish Constitution grants dynastic rights to the descendants of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine.

Norway 

The Norwegian monarchy makes clear the difference between members of the Royal House and Royal Family.

The members of the Royal House are those of constitutional relevance and their spouses: King Harald V, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Princess Ingrid Alexandra. They are addressed as either Your Majesty or Your Royal Highness.

Members of the Norwegian Royal Family in 2016. Photo: Jørgen Gomnæs / The Royal Court

Members of the Royal Family include other descendants of King Olav V and King Harald V: Marius Borg Høiby (son of Crown Princess Mette-Marit and stepson of the Crown Prince), Prince Sverre Magnus (the younger son of the Crown Prince Couple), Princess Märtha Louise (King Harald and Queen Sonja’s daughter), Maud Angelica Behn, Leah Isadora Behn, Emma Tallulah Behn (all three the children of Märtha Louise and her ex-husband Ari Behn) and Princess Astrid (King Harald’s sister). While they are considered of princely status and abroad may be addressed as Highness, inside Norway, they have no style of address, and their titles are symbols of their relationship to the monarchs of Norway.

The Constitution of Norway limits the succession to the descendants of King Harald V, thus excluding his sisters and their families, but while for Crown Prince Haakon and Princess Märtha Louise the principle observed is male-preference cognatic primogeniture, the grandchildren of the King are listed according to absolute primogeniture.

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