One of the largest Spanish multimedia groups, Vocento, incorrectly reported on several of its news sites last weekend that King Carl XVI Gustaf’s sister, Princess Birgitta, had committed suicide. Her Royal Highness currently lives in Mallorca, Spain.
One of the reports said, “Surprised at not having seen the sister of King Carl Gustav in a week, and noting that her car was in the garage, a neighbour raised the alarm. The police found her lifeless in her home next to a bottle of pills. Princess Birgitta lost her husband two years ago, Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen.”
Princess Birgitta’s husband passed away on 2 March of this year and not two years ago as they claimed.
El Diario Vasco and El Comercio had the news on the front page of both sites and have since come under heavy criticism for the false claim.
Sweden’s Expressen newspaper decided to call Her Royal Highness after reading the reports. Princess Birgitta was, understandably, very angry to hear of the false report.
She shared her opinion with the paper saying, “I think they should do a bit more research before they write those kinds of things. That’s my honest opinion.”
She then added, “God, how stupid they are. Shame, that’s all I can say.”
Vocento acknowledged their mistake, and the story was promptly removed from their websites. It is believed the story was published after some confusion due to reports by German media that the similarly named Prussian princess, Princess Brigitta of Prussia committing suicide at the age of 77.
Princess Birgitta was the only one of King Carl XVI Gustaf’s sisters to retain her style of ‘Her Royal Highness’ due to her marriage to Prince Johann Georg in 1961. The Swedish law at the time stated that a Swedish princess would lose her style if she wed someone of unequal rank. Birgitta and Johann Georg separated in 1990 but never divorced.