Duchies in Sweden

Dukes Eugen of Närke, Wilhelm of Södermanland and Carl of West Gothland in their coronets attend the 1905 opening of parliament in the Throne Room of Stockholm Palace.
Duchess Margareta of Scania (Margaret of Connaught) poses in 1905 at Stockholm Palace, wearing her British coronet, for a subsequently colored photograph.

Duchies in Sweden have been allotted since the 13th century to powerful Swedes, almost always to princes of Sweden (only in some of the dynasties) and wives of the latter. From the beginning these duchies were often centers of regional power, where their dukes and duchesses had considerable executive authority of their own, under the central power of their kings or queens regnant. Since the reign of King Gustav III the titles have practically been nominal, with which their bearers only rarely have enjoyed any ducal authority, though often maintaining specially selected leisure residences in their provinces and some limited measure of cultural attachment to them.


In Sweden today, Duke (hertig) is considered a royal title, and is only given to members of the Royal House (currently Bernadotte). Unlike British duchies, for example, these Swedish titles are not hereditary. Modern Swedish duchies have always been named for the historical provinces of Sweden, which are no longer governmental entities. Currently, there are eight such duchies one of which includes two of the provinces:

The titles today are given to, and kept by, legitimate members of the Swedish royal family for life, except for Swedish monarchs, who do not continue to hold ducal titles after ascending the throne.[1] Only in connection with his ascension in 1973 has the current king occasionally been referred to as King of Sweden and Duke of Jämtland.[2] However, his wife, current Queen Silvia, whom he married in 1976, is not a duchess, and no other queen consorts have ever continued to have any such title either, after their husbands became King. Otherwise, royal spouses of ducal title holders are also created dukes and duchesses upon marriage (this would not include spouses who do not become Swedish royalty, such as those who married former dukes who had given up their titles for unapproved marriages). The first example of a man acquiring the Swedish ducal title of a woman was at the 2010 marriage of Crown Princess Victoria to Prince Daniel. Currently the prerequisite for a ducal title has been assumed by the public to be the position of Prince or Princess of Sweden, and for that being a Swedish citizen, however no definite policy has been published.


Prince Magnus as Duke of Sweden in a 13th-century bust

The first use in Swedish of the title of hertig was in 1266 by Prince Magnus, son of Princess Ingeborg and Birger Jarl. That title (derived from German "herzog") then replaced the older Nordic "jarl", both translated into the Latin title dux,[3] (see introduction to list below).

From the 13th century and until 1618, in some Swedish royal houses, when a king had more than one son, he gave each or some of them duchies to rule as fiefs. The geography of these duchies could be unclear, as they were not always within the boundaries of one province and could also be reallotted with territorial changes. Feuds between a king and ducal brothers were common, and ended at times in assassination and fratricide. There was only one non-royal Swedish duke, Benedict, Duke of Halland and Finland.

After the Kalmar Union period, just before his death in 1560, King Gustav I continued the tradition by making his sons John, Magnus and Carl powerful dukes, together ruling much more of the kingdom than their older half-brother Eric, who had held a duchy in the southeast. When Eric became King Eric XIV, the imbalance of power his father had created became destructive. John, with the aid of Carl, eventually revolted, dethroned Eric and became king; Magnus proved unimportant due to mental health issues, but Carl's duchy of Södermanland prospered as a separate territory for several decades and also made his eventual rise to the throne possible. His duchy was inherited by his younger son, Carl Philip, who died in 1622 having been the last holder of one of the semi-autonomous Swedish duchies, which his brother, King Gustav II Adolph, officially abolished in 1618.

During the subsequent rule of Queen Christina of Sweden, however, her cousin and heir Carl Gustav of the Palatinate-Zweibrücken was titled Duke of Öland by the Swedish sovereign herself, but her government refused to acknowledge that title officially.[4] His father was created Duke of Stegeborg in 1651, a title that a younger brother of Carl Gustav's eventually inherited.

In 1772, King Gustav III reinstated the appointment of dukes, now non-hereditary, for his brothers as courtesy titles, which added to their international prestige and domestic influence. Since then, all Swedish princes have been created dukes of a province at birth, as well as one Great Prince or Grand Duke of Finland (who died in infancy). During the 20th century, because of constitutional restraints, several princes gave up their royal titles for marriages that were not approved by the King (see Bernadotte af Wisborg). Whether or not they then actually lost their ducal titles too has never been formally or legally determined.

For the first time since the 14th century a Princess of Sweden was created duchess in her own right in 1980, when the Act of Succession was changed so that Princess Victoria became Crown Princess and also Duchess of Västergötland. Her younger sister Madeleine was the first princess to be created duchess at birth, and also the first to get a double duchy (see above), roughly corresponding with the modern governmental limits of Gävleborg County. Such modern ducal titles are handled by the King of Sweden personally, are unregulated by law and not registered as names in the Swedish Tax Agency's population census.

Now the title holders are mainly known domestically as Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Princess Estelle, Prince Oscar, Prince Carl Philip, Prince Alexander, Princess Madeleine, Princess Leonore and Prince Nicolas though the ducal titles often are included in formal communication and royal court usage. In writing to them, it is considered correct to address all of them but the Crown Princess by ducal title. As of 1772, the dukes and duchesses do not normally reside permanently within their duchies, though they are associated with them to some extent by making occasional visits, seen as beneficial to public relations for the County Administrative Boards and local business.

Birger Jarl wears a ducal coronet of European style in a contemporary bust.

List of dukes and duchesses by duchy in Sweden

Professor of art history Jan Svanberg is of the opinion that since Birger Jarl (died 1266) wore a ducal coronet of English and continental European design, he actually was a duke, and that his Latin title of Dux Sueorum should be given as Duke and Regent of Sweden in English.[5] In Sweden and in Swedish then, the meaning of the Latin dux was still interpreted as jarl until Birger's son officially was given the new hertig title, which the Swedes saw, from then on, as the equivalent of duke.[6] Svanberg's opinion would then make duchesses of both of Birger's wives Ingeborg (died 1254) and Matilda (died 1288), in English usage. In addition to his own genealogy, Birger's powerful position has mainly been attributed to his royal marriage to his first consort[7] and to the outcome of the Battle of Sparrsätra.[8] Since his son, however, was the first to bear the Swedish title of hertig, this list begins, in the chronological aspect, with him.

This list of dukes and duchesses in Sweden excludes minor duchies (individual towns, manors, mines, estates) as well as former lands and provinces such as Finland and Estonia which are no longer in the kingdom. For ease of reference, most provinces are listed by their modern Swedish names with Latin or English exonyms,[9] by which many past dukes have been known, given as alternatives. Years given are those during which ducal titles incontestably were held, regardless of subsequent status as monarchs or former royalty. Since the accession of Charles XIII in 1809, the Royal Court of Sweden has neither recognized that ducal titles are continued to be born by kings, nor that those were still valid that had been given to princes who subsequently lost their royal status (also see Sigvard Bernadotte). There is also no evidence that domestic provincial ducal titles continued to be born by kings in earlier eras.

Sweden and Swealand (Dux Sueorum as hertig)

Title held (years) Name Notes
1252–1275Prince Magnus appointed, became King 1275, died 1290
1275 Prince Eric appointed (also Småland), died with title
1284–1310 Prince Eric[10] appointed, gave up title (also Södermanland) 1310, then Duke of Dalsland, North Halland, Värmland & Västergötland
1318–1321Ingeborg widow of previous Eric, appointed & held this title in her own right as regent, continued as Duchess of North Halland
Title discontinued 1321

Finland and Estonia

Relevant, and at times important, to periods of Sweden's history, when those areas belonged the kingdom, were also the titles Duke of Finland and Duke of Estonia.

Ångermanland also known as Angermannia

Title held (years) Name Notes
2015–presentPrince Nicolas from birth

Dalarna also known as Dalecarlia

Title held (years) Name Notes
1831–1873Prince August from birth, died with title
1864–1914 Princess Teresia as wife & widow of Prince August, died with title
1916–1946 Prince Carl Johan from birth, title no longer recognized due to unapproved marriage, died 2012

Dalsland also known as Dalia

Title held (years) Name Notes
1310–1318 Prince Eric appointed, also Duke of North Halland, Värmland & Västergötland (also see Swealand 1284–1310), died with titles
1312–1326 Princess Ingeborg as wife & widow of Prince Eric, also Duchess of Värmland & Västergötland, deposed, continued as Duchess of North Halland
1560–1595Prince Magnus see Östergötland (same years)

Gotland also known as Gothland

Title held (years) Name Notes
1859–1888 Prince Oscar from birth, title no longer recognized due to non-royal marriage, died 1953
2014–present Princess Leonore from birth

Queen Desideria (1777-1860) was also known outside of Sweden as Countess of Gotland.

Gästrikland also known as Gestricland

Title held (years) Name Notes
1982–presentPrincess Madeleine see Hälsingland (same period)

Halland also known as Hallandia

Title held (years) Name Notes
North Halland:

Prince Eric

see Dalsland (same years)
1312–1341Princess Ingeborgas wife & widow of Eric above (see further Halland below)
South Halland:

Lord Canute Porse

second husband of Ingeborg above, appointed, died with title

Duchess Ingeborg (above)

as wife & widow of Lord Canute above & from 1341 in her own right (also see Swealand 1318–1321), deposed
1330–1350Lord Canute Canuteson Porse son of Ingeborg & Canute above, inherited & held title with brother Hacon below & mother, died with title
1330–1350Lord Hacon Canuteson Porse son of Ingeborg & Canute above, inherited & held title with brother Canute above & mother, died with title
1353–1356Lord Benedict Algotsonappointed (not royal) & deposed (also Duke of Finland till 1357)
1356–1361Duchess Ingeborg again appointed in her own right (see 1327-1353 above), died with title
1912–1997Prince Bertilfrom birth, died with title
1976–2013 Princess Lilian as wife & widow of Prince Bertil above, died with title

Hälsingland also known as Helsingia

Title held (years) Name Notes
1982–presentPrincess Madeleine from birth, also Duchess of Gästrikland

Jämtland also known as Iemptia

Title held (years) Name Notes
1946–1973Prince Carl Gustaffrom birth, current King as of 1973

Närke also known as Nericia

Title held (years) Name Notes
1560–1604 Prince Carl see Södermanland (same years)
1579–1589Princess Mariasee Södermanland (same years)
1592–1604 Princess Christinasee Södermanland (same years)
1607–1618Prince Carl Philipsee Södermanland (same years)
1865–1947Prince Eugenfrom birth, died with title

Saint Bridget (1303-1373) was also known outside of Sweden as Princess of Nericia.[11]

Öland also known as Eyland[12]

Title held (years) Name Notes
1310–1318 Prince Waldemar appointed, also Duke of Uppland (and Finland from 1302), died with titles
1312–c.1357Princess Ingeborg as wife & widow of Waldemar above, also Duchess of Uppland (& Finland), died with this title
1318–c.1328 Prince Ericson of Waldemar and Ingeborg above, inherited (at age 2) & held title with mother, died with title
1557–1560Crown Prince Eric see Småland (same years)
1650–1654Crown Prince Carl Gustav appointed, became King 1654, died 1660

Östergötland also known as East Gothland

Title held (years) Name Notes
1560–1595 Prince Magnus appointed, also Duke of Dalsland, died with titles
1606–1618Prince John appointed, died with title (also Duke of Finland 1589-1607)
1612–1618 Princess Maria Elizabeth as wife & widow of Prince John above, died with title
1829–1872Prince Oscarfrom birth, became King 1872, died 1907
1857–1872Princess Sophiaas wife of Prince Oscar above, became his queen 1872, died 1913
1911–1937Prince Carlfrom birth, title no longer recognized due to unapproved marriage, died 2003
2012–present Princess Estellefrom birth

Scania also known as Skåne

Title held (years) Name Notes
1826–1859 Prince Carl from birth, became King 1859, died 1872
1850–1859Crown Princess Louiseas wife of Carl above, became his queen 1859, died 1871
1882–1950 Prince Gustaf Adolffrom birth, became King 1950, died 1973
1904–1920Crown Princess Margaretaas first wife of Prince Gustaf Adolf above, died with title
1923–1950Crown Princess Louiseas second wife of Gustaf Adolf above, became his queen 1950, died 1965
2016–present Prince Oscar from birth

Småland also known as Small Lands and the Smallands[13]

Title held (years) Name Notes
1275Eric see Swealand (same year)
1557–1560Crown Prince Ericappointed, also Duke of Öland, became King 1560, deposed as such 1569, died 1577
1782–1783Prince Carl Gustavfrom birth, died with title
1909–1932Prince Lennart from birth, title no longer recognized due to unapproved marriage, died 2004

Södermanland also known as Southmanland[14] and Sudermania

Title held (years) Name Notes
1302–1310Prince Eric see Swealand 1284-1310
1318–1321Duchess Ingeborg see Swealand (same years)
1560–1604Prince Carl appointed, also Duke of Närke and Värmland, became King 1604, died 1611
1579–1589Princess Maria as first wife of Prince Carl above, also Duchess of Närke and Värmland, died with titles
1592–1604Princess Christina as second wife of Prince Carl above, also Duchess of Närke and Värmland, became his queen 1604, died 1625
1604–1607Crown Prince Gustav Adolphappointed, deposed here, later Duke of Västmanland, became King 1611
1607–1618Prince Carl Philipappointed, deposed
1772–1809 Prince Carlappointed, became King 1809, died 1818
1774–1809Princess Charlotte as wife of Prince Carl above, became his queen 1809, died 1818
1811–1844Prince Oscar appointed, became King 1844, died 1859
1823–1844Crown Princess Josephineas wife of Crown Prince Oscar above, became his queen 1844, died 1876
1852–1854Prince Carl Oscar from birth, died with title
1884–1965Prince Wilhelm from birth, died with title
1909–1914Princess Maria as wife of Prince Wilhelm above, until divorce
2016–present Prince Alexander from birth


Title held (years) Name Notes
1651–1652Prince John Casimirappointed, as prince consort widower of Princess Catherine (who was styled Countess of Stegeborg), died with title
1652–1654Crown Prince Carl Gustavinherited title as son of Prince John Casimir and Princess Catherine above, see Öland 1650-1654
1654-1689Prince Adolph Johninherited title as brother of Carl Gustav above, died with title
1662–1689Elsa Elizabethas wife of Prince Adolph John above, died with title
Title defunct 1689

Uppland also known as Upland

Title held (years) Name Notes
1310–1318Prince Waldemar see Öland (same years)
1312–1318Princess Ingeborg see Öland 1312-1357, deposed here
1827–1852Prince Gustavfrom birth, died witrh title
1907–1934Prince Sigvardfrom birth, title no longer recognized due to unapproved marriage, died 2002

Värmland also known as Vermelandia and Wermelandia

Title held (years) Name Notes
1310–1318Prince Ericsee Dalsland (same years)
1312–1326Princess Ingeborgsee Dalsland (same years)
1560–1604Prince Carl see Södermanland (same years)
1579–1589Princess Maria see Södermanland (same years)
1592–1604Princess Christina see Södermanland (same years)
1607–1618Prince Carl Philip see Södermanland (same years)
1798 Prince Carl Adolphfrom birth, died with title
1858–1907Prince Gustaf from birth, became king 1907, died 1950
1881–1907Crown Princess Victoriaas wife of Gustaf above, became his queen 1907, died 1930
1979–present Prince Carl Philipfrom birth
2015–present Princess Sofiaas wife of Prince Carl Philip above

Västmanland also known as Westmania

Title held (years) Name Notes
1610–1611Crown Prince Gustav Adolphappointed, earlier Duke of Södermanland, became King 1611, died 1632 (also Grand Duke of Finland 1607-1611)
1889–1918 Prince Erikfrom birth, died with title

Västerbotten also known as West Bothnia

Title held (years) Name Notes
1906–1947Prince Gustaf Adolffrom birth, died with title
1932–1972Princess Sibylla as wife & widow of Prince Gustaf Adolf above, died with title

Västergötland also known as West Gothland

Title held (years) Name Notes
1310–1318Prince Ericsee Dalsland (same years)
1312–1326Princess Ingeborgsee Dalsland (same years)
1861–1951 Prince Carl from birth, died with title
1897–1958Princess Ingeborgas wife & widow of Prince Carl above, died with title
1980–presentCrown Princess Victoriaappointed
2010–presentPrince Danielas husband of Crown Princess Victoria above

Note: For duchies that begin with Å and Ö see A and O above

Non-ducal provinces

Six of Sweden's 25 modern provinces are not listed above because as yet (2015) they have never had any dukes or duchesses:

See also


  1. Burke's Royal families of the World I ISBN 0-85011-023-8 p 594
  2. "H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf". Retrieved 21 January 2015.
  3. Nationalencyklopedin: Hertig
  4. Paul Meijer Granqvist in Carl X Gustaf “den förste pfalzaren”, Askerbergs, Stockholm, 1910 p. 56
  5. Prof. Jan Svanberg in Furstebilder från folkungatid ISBN 91-85884-52-9 pp. 97 & 104-106
  6. Prof. Jan Svanberg in Furstebilder från folkungatid ISBN 91-85884-52-9 p. 97
  7. Schück in Sveriges konungar och drottningar genom tiderna, Svensk Litteratur, Stockholm, 1952, p. 147
  8. Lagerqvist in Sverige och dess regenter under 1000 år ISBN 91-0-075007-7 p. 71
  9. Eric Linklater in The Life of Charles XII pp. 53-54 & throughout
  10. Ducal seal at Commons
  11. Furstinnan från/av Närke Eivor Martinus in Barndrottningen Filippa, ISBN 978-91-7331-663-7 pp 115, 164 & 167
  12. The Stories of the Kings of Norway Called the Round World at Google Books
  13. The Stories of the Kings of Norway Called the Round World at Google Books
  14. The Stories of the Kings of Norway Called the Round World (Heimskringla) at Google Books
  15. Söderhjelm & Carl-Fredrik Palmstierna in Oscar I, Bonniers, Stockholm 1944, p. 279


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