Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden

Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland (Swedish: Victoria, Sveriges kronprinsessa, hertiginna av Västergötland, Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée; born 14 July 1977) is the heiress-apparent to the Swedish throne. If she ascends to the throne as expected, she will be Sweden's fourth queen regnant (after Margaret, Christina and Ulrika Eleonora).

Early life
Victoria was born on 14 July 1977 in Stockholm, Sweden, and is the eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and German-born Queen Silvia (née Sommerlath). She is predominantly of German ancestry with a smaller number of French ancestors, and has no recent Scandinavian ancestry. She is a member of the Royal House of Bernadotte. Born as a Princess of Sweden, she was designated Crown Princess in 1979 (SFS 1979:932) ahead of her younger brother. Her first place in succession formally went into effect on 1 January 1980 with the parliamentary change to the Act of Succession that introduced equal primogeniture. Victoria is currently the only female heir-apparent in the world (though there are several females who are heiresses-apparent of an heir-apparent) and is usually styled HRH The Crown Princess. Through her father, a third cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, Victoria is also in the line of succession to the British and other Commonwealth thrones, being currently 205th in the line. Her younger brother comes ahead of her in the British succession, though, because it is governed by male preference primogeniture, unlike Sweden's.

Her given names honour various relatives. Her first name comes primarily from her great-great-grandmother, Victoria of Baden, the queen-consort of Sweden as wife of King Gustaf V. The same name also glorifies her (twice-over paternally) great-great-great-grandmother, Victoria of the United Kingdom. Her other names honour her great-aunt Ingrid of Denmark; her maternal grandmother, the Brazilian Alice Sommerlath (née de Toledo); and her ancestor Désirée Clary, the queen-consort of Charles XIV John and a former fiancée of Napoleon I of France.

She was christened at The Royal Palace Church on 27 September 1977. Her godparents are King Harald V of Norway, her maternal uncle, Ralf Sommerlath, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, and her aunt Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld.

Victoria is also godmother to a number of royal children, most of them future heirs including Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, Princess Catharina-Amalia of the Netherlands and Prince Christian of Denmark, as well as Princess Eléonore of Belgium.

Victoria attended a state elementary school (Ålstensskolan) and Enskilda Gymnasiet in Stockholm, graduating in 1996. She next studied for a year (1996/97) at the Université Catholique de l'Ouest at Angers in France, and in the fall term of 1997 participated in a special program following the work of the Parliament of Sweden. During the years 1998 to 2000, Victoria resided in the United States, where she studied various subjects at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut.

In May 1999 she was an intern at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C. In 2000, she studied conflict resolution and international peacekeeping at the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan). Victoria followed the Swedish presidency of the European Union and completed a study program at the Government Offices (Rosenbad) in 2001.

During spring semester 2002, Victoria completed a study program with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and in June and September was an intern at the United Nations in New York; in the fall she was an intern at the Swedish Trade Council's offices in Berlin and Paris. In 2003, Victoria's education continued with visits to Swedish businesses, a study and intern program in agriculture and forestry, as well as completion of the basic soldier training at SWEDINT (the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre).

In 2004, Victoria continued with visits to Swedish businesses, and that fall she continued with courses in political science, international relations and conflict resolution at the Swedish National Defence College. In 2005, she continued with private tutored studies in society-related subjects as well as some courses at the University of Stockholm.

In 2006, Victoria enrolled in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' Diplomat Program, running from September 2006 to June 2007. The program is a training program for young future diplomats and gives an insight to the ministry's work, Swedish foreign and security policies and Sweden's relations with the rest of the world. The education entails lectures, seminars, group work and visits to authorities and institutions. In 2007, Victoria studied French privately and held an internship at the Permanent Representation of Sweden to the European Union. In June 2009, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Uppsala University.

Change in status
She was made Crown Princess and heir apparent on 1 January 1980 by the change made in 1979 to the Act of Succession of 1810 (Successionsordningen). This constitutional reform meant that the throne would be inherited by the monarch's eldest child without regard to sex. This not only made Victoria the first heiress apparent to the Swedish throne, but also made her the first female in the line of succession. The retroactive constitutional change was apparently not supported by her father, who favoured his son as heir-apparent because he was born as such, a view that has been commented on in the media.

When she became heiress, she also was made titular Duchess of Västergötland, which is one of the historical provinces of Sweden.

Prior to this constitutional change, the heir-apparent to the throne was her younger brother, the then-Crown Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland. He is now second in line to the throne. She also has a younger sister, Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland.

Personal life
Though Victoria had long refused to discuss her private life, she had frequently been the object of press speculation regarding purported romances. Only two men were confirmed as her boyfriends. Both of those relationships lasted for a considerable length of time.

Victoria’s first such boyfriend was Daniel Collert. They socialized in the same circles, went to the same school and were already friends when their romance developed in the mid-1990s. When Victoria moved to the United States in 1998 to study and recover from her eating disorders, Collert moved with her across the Atlantic and settled in New York. In September 2000, Victoria's relationship with Collert was confirmed in an interview with her at Expo 2000, and later by then-Director of the Press and Information Department at the Royal Court Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg. They broke up in 2001.

In May 2002, Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that Victoria had a new boyfriend, her personal trainer at Master Training, Daniel Westling. When the news broke and the media turned its attention on him, it was obvious that he did not like being in the public eye. Once Westling was photographed crossing a street against a red light in order to avoid a camera. In July 2002, Victoria and he were pictured kissing for the first time at a birthday party for Caroline Kreuger, a close friend of Victoria's.

In a popular personal report called Tre dagar med Victoria, which profiled her work during a three-day period that aired on TV4 in December 2004, Victoria commented on criticism directed at Westling, “Many unfair things are written. I understand that there is speculation, but some day justice will be done there, too.” Victoria also gave her opinion that happiness is important, and that these days it is not so much about background and pedigree but about two people who have to live with each other. She said that if they are not happy and comfortable with each other, it is impossible to do a good job.

During her April 2005 visit to Expo 2005 in Nagakute, Victoria was interviewed by Mikio Yikuma of the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun. Yikuma brought up the subject of royals marrying commoners, to which the princess responded, "I think the general idea with the Swedes is that the modern way is to marry someone you love, not necessarily based on where she or he comes from." Though she did not mention Westling by name, Victoria did admit, "There is someone in my life", but that marriage was not on her mind then. The interview was conducted at the Swedish embassy in Tokyo and published in the paper on 18 April 2005.

Swedish media have often speculated about upcoming engagements and marriages for Victoria. On 24 February 2009, rumours that wedding plans were imminent became particularly intense preceding an information council between the King and Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Under the terms of the Swedish Act of Succession, the government, if requested by the King, must approve a marriage of a Prince or Princess of Sweden. Otherwise, the prince or princess loses his or her right to the throne. Later that day, it was confirmed that permission had been granted and that Victoria would marry Daniel Westling in the summer of 2010. The wedding date was set in Stockholm Cathedral for 19 June 2010, the 34th anniversary of her parents' marriage.

The wedding took place on 19 June 2010. More than 1200 guests including royalty and statesmen from various countries were invited to the wedding ceremony which took place at Stockholm Cathedral. After the wedding the newlyweds were driven through Stockholm in a coach and then rowed in the antique royal barge Vasaorden to the royal castle where the wedding banquet was held. On the evening before the wedding, there was a gala concert dedicated to the couple in the Stockholm Concert Hall (where the Nobel Prizes are handed out).

More than half a million Swedes waved with Swedish flags and cheered the couple from in their cortege, from the church to the castle. The popularity of the monarchy exploded after the wedding, and a SIFO showed that more than 70% of the Swedes supported the monarchy and only 16% wanted to abandon it. Following their wedding the Duchess and Duke of Västergötland moved to Haga Palace.

From : www.wikipedia.org