12 March 2018

A Truly Royal In-Law: Ingeborg of Denmark

Carl Duke of Vastergotland and his wife
Ingeborg of Denmark
From the 1926 book Kronprinsessan Astrid
via Wikimedia Commons 
Despite her extensive royal family connections, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark (1878-1958) married a man she called "a complete stranger." Two of her brothers were kings of Denmark and Norway. Her first cousins included a King of England, a King of Greece, and a Czar of Russia. Yet, somehow, when it came time to pick a husband for his 20-year-old daughter, the future King Frederik VIII of Denmark managed to find a princely spouse she barely even knew.

Carl of Sweden, Duke of Vastergotland, was the third son of King Oscar II. Despite the 17-year age difference between them, the couple got on well. She fit in well with her new family--her mother, after all, had been a Swedish princess and was a cousin of Ingeborg's father-in-law, who called his new daughter-in-law the family's "little ray of sunshine." She was also popular among the public, not only because her maternal grandfather had been a Swedish king but because she cheerfully stepped in to take on the queen consort's role during the frequent absences of her mother-in-law Victoria of Baden. (See my post The Bernadotte Queens of Sweden.)

Although they never came near inheriting a throne, Carl and Ingeborg might have become the monarchs of Norway when that nation became independent of Sweden in 1905. Carl's father, King Oscar II, was not happy about how Norway's independence had been achieved and did not wish for his son to appear to be supporting it (and therefore opposing him). Carl declined the role and the throne was eventually offered instead to Ingeborg's brother, another Carl, who took the kingly Norwegian name Haakon.

Together, Carl and Ingeborg were greatly admired for raising a very happy family of a son and three daughters. Ingeborg had brought with her the Danish royal family's more relaxed and modern approach to child rearing was evident their home, where the children learned to cook and had chores to do. (Her aunts Queen Alexandra of the United Kingdom and Empress Marie of Russia had grown up making their own clothes!)

Ingeborg and her daughters Margaretha, Martha and Astrid,
before the birth of her son.
By H. Paetz in the Municipal Archives in Trondheim via Wikimedia Commons
Their son, Carl Jr. might have made a brilliant royal match by marrying the future reigning Queen Juliana of The Netherlands, but the two deeply despised each other. Instead, young Carl made three morganatic marriages, for which he surrendered his royal rank. Ingeborg and Carl's first daughter Margaretha married back into the Danish family, nowhere near the throne. Second daughter Martha married the future Norwegian king, while third daughter Astrid married the man destined for the Belgian throne. Sadly both Martha nor Astrid predeceased their parents. Queen Astrid died in a car accident at the age of 29 just a year after becoming queen, leaving three young children. (See my post End of the Fairytale.) Crown Princess Martha succumbed to cancer at age 53 long before her husband succeeded and when the youngest of her three children was still a teenager.

Three of Ingeborg's nine grandchildren became monarchs: Martha's only son Harald is the current King of Norway while Astrid's childless son King Baudouin of Belgium was succeeded by his brother King Albert, father of the current King Philippe. Another descendant also has a throne because Astrid's daughter Josephine Charlotte of Belgium (see my posts about her from 2015 and from 2017) married the reigning Grand Duke of Luxembourg and their son Henri is the current grand duke.

Prince Carl died at the age of 90 in 1951, and Ingeborg followed later that decade on March 12, 1958, at the age of 79. Her funeral was attended by four kings: her nephews Gustav VI Adolph of Sweden, Frederik IX of Denmark and Olav V of Norway, and her grandson King Baudouin of Belgium.

Embed from Getty Images

More about Ingeborg:
Four Kings at Ingeborg's Funeral on Royal Musings
Ingeborg of Denmark on Swedish Royal Court
Princess Ingeborg of Denmark, Princess of Sweden, on Unofficial Royalty
Princess Ingeborg's Wedding Jewelry on Royal Magazin
Princess Ingeborg's Pearl Fleur-de-Lis Brooch on The Court Jeweller
Royal Jewels: Princess Ingeborg's star tiara on Trond Noren Isaksen's blog

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