Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden has spoken about her first year in Sweden. Her Majesty was born in Germany to a Brazilian mother and German father in 1943.
The 1972 Summer Olympic Games were held in Munich, Germany, where a young German-Brazilian Silvia Sommerlath was working as an interpreter and host. At the time, she was employed at the Argentinian Consulate in Munich. From 1971 to 1973, she worked for the Organising Committee for the Munich Olympic Games. A polyglot, Silvia’s work at the Olympic Games as an interpreter was a natural fit. She spoke her native German and Portuguese, French, Spanish, and English.
She was given the task to host the more high profile guests of the games, which included then Crown Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden. They went on their first date not long after the initial meeting, and Carl Gustaf would later say that they “just clicked”. They were married on 19 June 1976 at Stockholm Cathedral in the Swedish capital, two days after Silvia became a Swedish citizen.
Her comments are in a new book, The Royal Year 2016, which is an annual book released in Sweden about the events the Swedish royals participate. It was released in Sweden on 7 November. She opened up to the author of the book, Maria Gunnarsson in May at Solliden Palace in Öland. The interview was conducted on the 40th anniversary of her becoming Sweden’s queen consort, reports Expressen.
Queen Silvia told Maria Gunnarsson about how she was familiar with the country before meeting Carl Gustaf. She said, “But Sweden was not foreign to me. My father had worked for the Swedish forestry and steel company Uddeholm in Brazil. Many Swedes, therefore, came to Brazil and to our home. They brought herring. And books and music.”
However, Her Majesty admitted that she felt intimidated and lonely, at first, when she moved into the male-dominated royal palace, but her husband was always there to encourage her and lend support. She explained, “But everybody had kind intentions. Everyone wanted to support me and was there. And the King was wonderful, he said: ‘Say what you think, explain what you want, say what you’re going to do’. He has really supported me.”
Sweden’s queen did admit that she felt lonely during the first year of her marriage and life in Sweden due to the lack of a female guide on life as a queen. She did explain that His Majesty’s sisters, especially Princess Christina were always there to lend an ear and give advice. She said, “But it could be lonely. The King’s mother Princess Sibylla was no longer alive. Nor was Queen Louise there to tell me about the tasks of a Queen. But Princess Christina was there. The King’s sister has given me a lot of support.”
Queen Silvia also spoke about her role as a representative of Sweden and a role model for women, “It is a mixture of joy and humility. There is a lot of responsibility too. It was a very special calling.”
The Royal Year, or Det kungliga året, follows the royal family each year and puts together a ‘yearbook’ of the various events the family members partake in throughout the year. It has been written in Swedish and English. The book can be purchased at this link.