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A Royal Christening in Sweden this Sunday

Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O´Neill after their wedding June 2013

Princess Madeleine of Sweden and Christopher O’Neill after their wedding in June 2013

This Sunday will see the christening of Sweden’s youngest Prince, the son of Princess Madeleine and her husband Christopher O’Neill, Prince Nicolas. They already have a daughter, Princess Leonore, born in February 2014.

The little prince is expected to be christened in the family’s antique christening gown, which was first worn by his great grand-father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, when he was christened in 1906. Prince Gustaf Adolf never became King as he tragically died in a plane crash at the age of 47. His son is the current King Carl XVI Gustaf. The cape of the christening gown is lined with embroidery of all the names of the royal babies who have worn it. This cape was added in 1935 at the christening of Princess Margaretha, a sister of the current King.

Contrary to other monarchies, a christening is seen as a state affair in Sweden and by tradition it is always conducted by an Archbishop. The baptism font is thought to have been created in the late 1600s. The baptismal water will come from a spring in Öland, which is a tradition began by the current King and Queen. Previously the water came from the Jordan river. After the baptism pictures will be probably be taken of Prince Nicolas inside the golden Charles XV’s cradle created in 1826. A 21 round gun salute will also celebrate the baptism.

Princess Estelle of Sweden with her mother Crown Princess Victoria and her father Prince Daniel immediately after her christening in May 2012

Princess Estelle of Sweden with her mother Crown Princess Victoria and her father Prince Daniel immediately after her christening in May 2012

Upon his baptism Prince Nicolas will most likely also be presented with the Royal Order of the Seraphim, like his cousin Princess Estelle and sister Princess Leonor. This is an order of chivalry created by King Frederick I on 23 February 1748. You can see the blue sash and badge on Princess Estelle above.

Prince Carl Philip is expected to become a godfather to Prince Nicolas, but expect a few more names to follow. Princess Leonor had a total of six godparents, while Princess Estelle had five.

The Honor Guard at the christening comes from the Life Guard. They will wear the Life Guards dress uniform with plumes and rifles. They will stand along the road towards Drottningholm Palace when the guests arrive and outside the entrance to the Chapel Royal. When the guests are departing they will form a guard of honor along the path the guests will take. The Life Guards were founded in 1521.

A christening in the Lutheran faith is a requirement by the Swedish constitution to be included in the line of succession. Another requirement is that one must be brought up in Sweden to remain eligible. As Princess Madeleine and her husband currently reside in London it remains to be seen if their children will remain in the line of succession. Sweden has  practised absolute primogeniture since 1979, which formally came into effect on 1 January 1980. This placed Prince Carl Philip, born in May 1979, behind his elder sister Crown Princess Victoria, born in July 1977. Prince Nicolas is currently sixth in line to the succession, but next year will see a change in this as his aunt Crown Princess Victoria has recently announced a second pregnancy.

Prince Nicolas and his sister Princess Leonore were accorded royal titles by their grandfather though their father Christopher O’Neill has refused a royal title and is officially known by the court as Herr Christopher O’Neill. He has refused Swedish citizenship and remains a private citizen.

Prince Nicolas has been granted the Duchy of Ångermanland. Unlike in other countries, this title is not hereditary.

As the christening is considering a state affair it is to be broadcast live by SVT, which is Sweden’s national public TV broadcaster. The program is expected to start at 11 am, with the service beginning at 12pm. The baptism will be followed by a reception at Dottningholm Palace.

Photo Credits: Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill & Princess Estelle by Bengt Nyman via Flickr.com

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