Princesses who married commoners: Princess Madeleine of Sweden


Continuing our series on princesses who married commoners, we are taking a look at Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her American-British husband, Christopher O’Neill.

After fleeing to New York City after a broken heart and engagement, Madeleine met her soulmate in the Big Apple. Healing from a broken heart, Madeleine soon became friends with a man named Christopher O’Neill. He anonymously donated a significant sum to the World Childhood Foundation (which her mother, Queen Silvia created and Madeleine was working for in New York) after falling for the Princess. They eventually began dating and were soon found out by the Swedish press.

Headlines across Sweden splashed pictures of Madeleine and her new boyfriend across their pages with a video showing the couple meeting at New York’s Boathouse in Central Park in January 2011. The couple’s relationship continued to grow, and as both speak German, they would switch to the language in New York when they thought people were eavesdropping on their conversation.

Photo: Ewa-Marie Rundquist, The Royal Court

Both are very private, and a bystander noticed, in August 2011, that Madeleine and Chris would hold hands in Djurgården whenever no one else was around. Chris would fly to Sweden to attend Princess Estelle’s christening in May 2012 – although not beside Madeleine. He attended with Sofia Hellqvist (now Princess Sofia), the then-girlfriend of Madeleine’s brother, Prince Carl Philip. 

Chris proposed to Madeleine in New York in October of that same year, and the pair announced their engagement on 25 October 2012 in a Swedish and English video released by the Royal Court.

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

Princess Madeleine married Chris, who chose to retain his UK/US citizenship and remain a private citizen after marriage, on 8 June 2013 in the Royal Chapel of Stockholm Palace. They now have three children: Princess Leonore (b. 20 February 2014 in New York), Prince Nicolas (b. 15 June 2015 in Stockholm) and Princess Adrienne (b. 9 March 2018 in Stockholm).

The family now resides in the Miami area of Florida.

About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. Her love of royals began in middle school, and she's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites.