13 July 2017

Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden

Photo: Erika Gerdemark, The Royal Court, Sweden
Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree Bernadotte was first in line to the Swedish throne when she was born on July 14, 1977 and she is first in line now, but this was not always so. At the time of her birth, Sweden still adhered to male-preference succession laws. With the birth of a younger brother, Prince Carl Philip in 1979, he became the Crown Prince and big sister Victoria was relegated to number two. By the end of that year, however, he lost his status as heir with changes to the Act of Succession that allowed for gender-blind inheritance and was made retroactive to living individuals. Victoria officially became the Crown Princess on January 1, 1980 at the tender age of two and a half.

Sweden was the first country to adopt gender-blind succession. Other countries who have adopted it since, like Norway in 1990 and the United Kingdom in 2015, made sure it applied only to people born after a certain date so that no one was shuffled around in the existing line of succession.

Victoria, therefore, grew up knowing that she would be Queen one day. She has done all of the things that were expected of her. She completed a degree from Uppsala University, having studied abroad at the Universite Catholique de l'Ouest in France and Yale University in the United States. She undertook study programs or job placements with the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the areas of agriculture and forestry. She completed basic training as a soldier. She participates in the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs and the government's various other information councils. She has made official visits to over a dozen countries. At age 20, launched her own charitable fund to support recreational activities for young people who have chronic illnesses or functional disabilities. She married and produced an heir and a spare.

Today, Victoria makes it all look graceful and easy, but it has not always been that way for her. In her teenage years, the pressure and media attention overwhelmed the princess. She developed an eating disorder, anorexia. She left Sweden so that she could be a bit more anonymous as she worked through her recovery in her early 20s. It was her focus on her health that led her to her future husband. Her personal trainer, Daniel Westling, is now Prince Daniel.

 Photo Henrik Garlöv, The Royal Court, Sweden
Together they have battled her illness as well as his own. Daniel suffered from congenital kidney failure. During their official engagement, he underwent a transplant, receiving a kidney from his father. A month later, their wedding took place.

Their daughter (and future queen) Princess Estelle was born less than two years later. Little Prince Oscar arrived shortly after Estelle's fourth birthday.

With their family likely complete, the couple is dedicated to raising them together while serving the nation they love so much.

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