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How the King of Sweden changed royal rules to allow marriage for love

Historically the Swedish Royal Family has had strict laws on who they could marry. However, in the second half of the twentieth century, major changes were set in place to allow Swedish royals more freedom in their choice of partners.

The Swedish Act of Succession previously restricted members of the Swedish Royal Family from marrying commoners or else they and all of their descendants would face losing their HRH title and their dynastic rights (including their place in the line of succession). The Act specifically limited them from marrying a “private man’s daughter”, which meant they could not marry anyone not of royal blood.

Over a period of nearly sixty years, five different Swedish princes lost their titles and dynastic rights after marrying commoners. (Aristocrats were considered commoners under this law.) 

However, when King Carl XVI Gustaf married Silvia Sommerlath, a commoner, in 1976, he used his royal prerogative to make her Queen of Sweden. In the same year, he also allowed his uncle, Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland, to marry his partner of nearly thirty years and keep his royal title. His wife, the Welsh commoner, Lilian Davies, was given the title of Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Halland. 

With the new Act of Succession in 1980, the requirement for a spouse to be royal was removed. Members of the Swedish Royal Family can now marry commoners, with the only requirement being that the potential spouse is a member of the Church of Sweden and that the monarch has granted permission. 

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