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Who is Princess Christina, Mrs Magnuson?

Photo Anna-Lena Ahlström

Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf is the youngest of five children born to Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla. All four of his siblings are sisters, and the youngest of these is Princess Christina.

Princess Christina Louise Helena was born on 3 August 1943, three years before Carl Gustaf. Like the King, she was born in Solna’s Haga Palace, which is now home to Christina’s niece, Crown Princess Victoria and her family. Her three older sisters are Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta and Désirée. The four princesses were dubbed the “Haga Princesses” as they grew up.

Upon completing her exams at the French School in 1963, Christina left Sweden to study at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Radcliffe College is now part of Harvard University and is known as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. Upon returning to her home country, she also completed a course in art history at Stockholm University; the Princess later worked at the information bureau of the Foreign Ministry for a short time.

By Lennart Nilsson – Lennart Nilsson, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

In 1961, Christina met Tord Magnuson, a Swedish businessman at a lunch. Following a long courtship, they were engaged in February 1974 and married on 15 June of the same year in the Royal Chapel of Stockholm Palace. Due to Magnuson’s lack of royal status, the marriage was not constitutionally approved, and Christina subsequently forfeited her Royal Highness style. However, King Carl Gustaf did bestow her the courtesy title of Princess Christina, Mrs Magnuson, and she generally used the “Christina Magnuson” name since. Christina and her husband went on to have three sons – Gustaf (b. 1975), Oscar (b. 1977), and Victor (b. 1980). She is also a godmother to her niece, Princess Madeleine.

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Princess Christina overcame a battle with breast cancer in 2010 after three surgeries. In 2016, the Royal House confirmed that Christina was again diagnosed with cancer – this time, chronic leukaemia. At the time, her nephew-in-law, Prince Daniel, described the news as “…incredibly sad.” In 2017, it was announced that the Princess had undergone successful stem cell treatment after other treatments proved unsuccessful. She has since been a passionate supporter of cancer-related causes.

Princess Christina and her husband at Princess Madeleine’s 2012 wedding. By Frankie Fouganthin – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

Princess Christina was the only one of the King’s sisters to serve as a working royal and was by his side as an unofficial ‘first lady type’ until he wed Queen Silvia. In addition to her duties on behalf of the Royal Family, she also served as chairwoman for the Swedish Red Cross. She has a keen interest in the arts and design and has devoted significant time to establishing an art museum in Stockholm.

In conjunction with her 75th birthday in 2018, Princess Christina announced that she would officially step back from royal duties after 45 years of public service. She noted that “…life is not infinite” and wished to enjoy retirement years with her family. Since then, she has made a few appearances alongside her family at events.

The Princess was most recently seen with King Carl XVI Gustaf in June 2021 at the opening of an exhibition about their grandmother, Crown Princess Margareta.