Princess Désirée of Sweden is the elder sister of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
She was born on 2 June 1938 at Haga Palace, a royal residence on the outskirts of Stockholm as the third child of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. She is the middle of five children, having two older sisters, Princess Margaretha and Princess Birgitta, born in 1934 and 1937, respectively, and two younger siblings, Princess Christina, born in 1943, and the present King Carl XVI Gustaf, born in 1946.
Christened Désirée Elisabeth Sibylla, she takes her first name from Desideria, Queen consort of Sweden and Norway in the first half of the 19th century, who was born Désirée Clary.
Along with her siblings, Princess Désirée spent much of her youth at Haga Palace.
Their father, who at the time was second in line to the Swedish throne, was killed in a plane crash at Kastrup Airport in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 26 January 1947, when Princess Désirée was just eight years old.
In 1950, after the death of her great-grandfather King Gustaf V, her grandfather ascended the throne as King Gustaf VI Adolf and the family moved from Haga Palace to the Royal Palace in Stockholm, where Princess Désirée and her sisters continued to receive a private education. Later, the Princess attended a finishing school in France and studied languages in Switzerland.
In November 1960, Désirée and her sister Birgitta visited the United States on behalf of their grandfather the King to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American-Scandinavian Foundation.
On 18 December 1963, the engagement between Désirée and Baron Nils-August Otto Carl Niclas Silfverschiöld, and the couple subsequently married on 5 June 1964 at Stockholm Cathedral.
Princess Désirée was the second of her siblings to marry, after her sister Birgitta who had married Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern in 1961.
Interestingly, Désirée did not have a wedding dress made for her but repeated the one worn by her sister. The gown, made by Märtaskolan, a fashion house dressmaking school in Stockholm which worked closely with French couture labels Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, was made of thick, pale ivory silk duchesse with a wide neckline, three-quarter sleeves and a slim waist above a full skirt and a train.
Princess Désirée adhered to Swedish royal wedding tradition by wearing the Cameo Tiara and Queen Sofia’s lace veil, both of which have been worn by subsequent royal brides.
Following her wedding, the Princess lost her style of Royal Highness but was given the courtesy of Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld, by the King.
The couple had three children, Carl Otto, Christina-Louise and Hélène Ingeborg, born in 1965, 1966 and 1968, respectively, and several grandchildren.
Baron Silfverschiöld died on 11 April 2017 after a short illness at the age of 82.
Princess Désirée, who is a godmother to Crown Princess Victoria, continues to take part in the occasional state and official functions, along with private family events such as the weddings of her nieces and nephews.