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Why Princess Madeleine of Sweden’s children could lose their titles in the coming years

As the Royal Court of Sweden announced on Thursday that Princess Madeleine and her family are now moving back to the United States, we take a look now at how this news might affect her children.

It came as a surprise for many when it was announced back in 2013 that Princess Madeleine’s children would carry both the style of Royal Highness and the title of Prince or Princess of Sweden. Following the Swedish Act of Succession of 1980 that established absolute primogeniture, there was no reason to differentiate the children of a Prince from the children of a Princess; hence Madeleine became the first Swedish Princess to pass on titles to her children while not being the heir to the throne.

HRH Princess Madeleine / Mr Christopher O’Neill/ HRH Princess Leonore / HRH Prince Nicolas / HRH Princess Adrienne. Photo: Lena Ahlström/

However, Princess Madeleine has been living abroad for most of the last decade and so have her children. According to the Act of Succession, these children must be brought up within the kingdom to maintain their succession rights to the Throne of Sweden. In a press conference held after the special cabinet meeting that announced the name of Princess Leonore, Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill’s eldest child, the Marshall of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, stated that any Prince or Princess of Sweden would have to necessarily live in Sweden from the age of six, thus assuring that any royal would attend to compulsory schooling in Sweden.

Being a member of the Church of Sweden is another condition for preserving succession rights in the country, and so far, all the children of Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill have been christened into it.

Back in 2013, in an interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, political scientist David Ekstrand explained, “The order of succession contains two requirements. One is that successors must be raised as Protestants, the other is that they have to be raised in Sweden.”

Additionally, Sweden’s Supreme Court explained in 1977 while discussing the rewrite to the succession law that would come into effect in 1980, “It is out of the question that an heir raised abroad and his offspring should not lose their right to succession.”

As a result, if the family doesn’t move to Sweden by 2020 so their eldest child can enrol in a Swedish school, Princess Leonore will lose her place in the line of succession. She would then be followed by her younger brother, Prince Nicolas, in 2021 and sister, Princess Adrienne, in 2024.

As history has shown in Sweden, all Princes who lost their rights of succession, also lost their titles. In a few years, we might end up seeing the children of Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill demoted to plain Miss or Mister Bernadotte if the family chooses to remain living abroad.

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