Lennart Bernadotte

Count of Wisborg

Bernadotte on his new yacht Stella Polaris at Gripsholm with grandson Friedrich Lennart Straehl, August, 1965
Born (1909-05-08)8 May 1909
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Died 21 December 2004(2004-12-21) (aged 95)
Schloss Mainau, Mainau, Lake Constance, Germany
Spouse Karin Nissvandt
(m. 1932; div. 1971)

Sonja Haunz
(m. 1972)
Issue Count Jan Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Birgitta Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Marie-Louise Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Cecilia Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Bettina Bernadotte of Wisborg
Count Björn Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Catharina Bernadotte of Wisborg
Count Christian Bernadotte of Wisborg
Countess Diana Bernadotte of Wisborg
Full name
Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul
House Bernadotte
Father Prince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland
Mother Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia

Prince Lennart Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg, né Prince Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul of Sweden (8 May 1909 – 21 December 2004), a Swedish German landscaper, filmmaker and photographer, was a grandson of King Gustaf V of Sweden and originally Prince of Sweden and Duke of Småland. As of 1932 he became the first Swede in history to have his royal titles removed due to his own actions and be called Mr. (Bernadotte), but 19 years later was given titles of nobility in Luxembourg.

He was born at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, to Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Gustaf V's second son) and Wilhelms's wife, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (he was her first husband). His father's first cousin was Count Folke Bernadotte, and his own first cousin was the father of King Carl XVI Gustaf. He was the longest-lived of King Christian IX of Denmark's male descendants.


Under the Swedish Act of Succession, a prince or princess marrying without the consent of the monarch and government forfeits the right of succession for themselves and their descendants. In a new policy adopted in the case of Lennart Bernadotte, they were also forbidden to use their titles[1] and told to use the surname of Bernadotte. By his marriage on 11 March 1932 Prince Lennart consequently, as far as Swedish records were concerned, was to be called Mr. Lennart Bernadotte.

He considered himself for several decades subjected to very cruel treatment from the Royal Court of Sweden due to his first marriage, and his wife developed a worsening psychosis from it which eventually led to their divorce in 1971.[2]

Beginning in 1892, Swedish princes who lost their succession rights received noble titles conferred by other reigning monarchs. On 2 July 1951, for himself, his wife and his marital descendants, Bernadotte was admitted by Grand Duchess Charlotte (head of state at the time) into the Nobility of Luxembourg as Count of Wisborg[3] and in that conferral was also called Gustaf Lennart Nicolas Paul Prince Bernadotte.[4] Counts of Wisborg are considered to be part of the Swedish unintroduced nobility.[3]

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who lost the right to confer Swedish noble titles in the new constitution of 1974, still retains the prerogative to restore royal titles, but has chosen not to do so.


In 1944 Bernadotte portrayed the young Crown Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway in the historical film Prince Gustaf, Bernadotte's only screen acting role. He served as head of the Sveriges Scoutförbund (Scouting Association of Sweden) from 1948 to 1951[5][6][7]

Lennart Bernadotte concentrated his energy on his estate on the island of Mainau in Lake Constance, Germany, where he died, and on his charitable fund, the Lennart Bernadotte Stiftung. He was considered a major gardening and landscaping talent and expert and turned his island into a popular tourist attraction.

He received the Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the German Eduard Rhein Foundation in 1996.[8][9]


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference OAF was invoked but never defined (see the help page).


In London on 11 March 1932 Bernadotte married firstly Karin Nissvandt (7 July 1911 – 9 October 1991). They had four children before divorcing in 1972:

In Mainau on 29 April 1972 Bernadotte married secondly Sonja Anita Maria Haunz (7 May 1944 – 21 October 2008). They had five children:

Bernadotte died in 2004. His remains and those of his second wife were interred in a crypt under the palace chapel on Mainau. His first wife's remains have been buried in his father's grave in Flen.



  1. Gunnar Bramstång in ''Tronrätt, bördstitel och hustillhörighet ISBN 91-544-2081-4 p. 54-55
  2. Lennart Bernadotte in Mainau min medelpunkt ISBN 91-0-056122-3 pp. 77 & 338
  3. 1 2 von Rothstein, Niclas, ed. (2009). Kalender över Ointroducerad adels förening (in Swedish) (22nd ed.). Ointroducerad Adels Förening. p. 22. ISBN 9789163350382.
  4. Mémorial du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg No 48, Government of Luxembourg, 13 August 1951, entry dated 18 July 1951
  5. http://scouthistoria.ssf.scout.se/scouthistoria/artal.htm
  6. http://scouthistoria.ssf.scout.se/amk/tidningsklippr/1951_bengt_junker.pdf
  7. Pojkscoutchefer - Scoutmuséets hemsida
  8. "The Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor Recipients". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  9. "1996 - Ring of Honor - Prof. Dr.h.c.mult. Lennart Graf Bernadotte af Wisborg". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Retrieved February 5, 2011.

External links

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