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A Swedish royal mystery

Photo: Jonas Ekströmer,

The date of 7 October 2020 marked one year since the Royal Court of Sweden announced King Carl XVI Gustaf’s decision to remove the style of Royal Highness from five of his grandchildren.

This decision affected the children from his two youngest children, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine, and was publicly acknowledged as a smart move, making clear which members of the Royal Family should be expected to undertake official engagements in the future. Therefore, the children lost the style of Royal Highness and ceased to be considered members of the Swedish Royal House but continue to be titled as Princes and Princesses and hold the ducal titles awarded by the King during each of their birth announcements.

However, the line of succession didn’t change with the King’s decision, and it couldn’t possibly be affected by the King’s decision. The King has authority over royal titles, which fall under the royal prerogative, but the highest law governs the line of succession in the land, the Swedish Constitution.

Photo: Princess Madeleine/Instagram

However, it is not clear the position of the King’s second eldest granddaughter, Princess Leonore, in the line of succession.

The Princess, the eldest daughter of Princess Madeleine of Sweden and American-British Chris O’Neill, was born in New York in 2014 and was fifth in the line of succession at the time of her birth. After the birth of three cousins, she is now eighth.

The problem is that there are legal conditions attached to being in Sweden’s line of succession. At the birth of Princess Leonore, it was explained by the Marshall of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, that any Prince or Princess of Sweden would have to live in Sweden from the age of six, thus assuring that any royal would attend compulsory schooling in Sweden. There is also a requirement that such princes and princesses are raised in “the pure evangelical faith.”

The Constitution also says that the heirs should be raised within the realm. However, the document only specifically says that those not professing the faith should not be included in the line of succession: “Any member of the Royal Family not professing this faith shall be excluded from all rights of succession.”

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.”

Nonetheless, Princess Leonore turned six in February, and she lives in the United States. The family moved from London to Florida in August 2018. Her mother, Princess Madeleine, even celebrated the 4th of July holiday with a picture of her children. It is only fair to note that Madeleine’s husband is an American citizen, and Princess Leonore also holds American citizenship, so the marking of the 4th of July was a celebration of their heritage.

There has been no announcement from the Royal Court in Sweden regarding the succession rights of Princess Leonore, but it seems like she may no longer be eligible to succeed to the throne of Sweden.

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