Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland

For other Swedish Princes with the name Carl, see Prince Carl of Sweden (disambiguation).
Prince Carl
Duke of Västergötland
Born (1861-02-27)27 February 1861
Palace of the Hereditary Prince, Stockholm, Sweden
Died 24 October 1951(1951-10-24) (aged 90)
Hovslagaregatan, Stockholm, Sweden
Spouse Princess Ingeborg of Denmark
Issue Margaretha, Princess Axel of Denmark
Märtha, Crown Princess of Norway
Astrid, Queen of the Belgians
Prince Carl Bernadotte
Full name
Oscar Carl Wilhelm
House Bernadotte
Father Oscar II of Sweden
Mother Sophia of Nassau

Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Västergötland (27 February 1861 24 October 1951) was a Swedish prince. Through his daughters, for whom he arranged excellent dynastic marriages, he is an ancestor of several members of European royal houses today, including the monarchs of Norway and Belgium.

Early life

Carl was the third son of King Oscar II of Sweden-Norway by his wife, Sophia of Nassau. He was known as "the Blue Prince" (Blå Prinsen) because he often wore the blue-coloured uniform of the Life Regiment, to which he belonged in a ceremonial manner.[1]

Marriage and children

In May 1897, Prince Carl was engaged to Princess Ingeborg of Denmark, the second daughter of King Frederick VIII of Denmark. Ingeborg's mother, Louise of Sweden, was a first cousin of Prince Carl. Nevertheless, in 1947, on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, Carl admitted that their marriage had been completely arranged by their respective fathers, and Ingeborg herself added : "I married a complete stranger!".

The couple were married on 27 August 1897 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen and spent their wedding trip (honeymoon) in Germany. The marriage, arranged by their fathers and completely conventional in every way, was entirely harmonious. The couple had four children:

  1. Margaretha (1899–1977), who married Prince Axel of Denmark
  2. Martha (1901–1954), wife of Crown Prince Olav of Norway and mother of Harald V of Norway
  3. Astrid (1905–1935), wife of Leopold III of Belgium and mother of kings Baudouin and Albert II of Belgium, as also of Grand Duchess Joséphine Charlotte of Luxembourg.
  4. Prince Carl Bernadotte, known as Carl Jr., later Prince Bernadotte, a Belgian title (1911–2003).

Growing up in a conventional and harmonious family, and inculcated with traditional family values in their childhood, all of Carl's children grew up to be happy and constructive adults, healthy in mind and body. While all three daughters made dynastic marriages that were encouraged by their parents, and became the matriarchs of their own successful families, the couple's only son gave up his (highly improbable) chance of succeeding to the throne to marry a noblewoman, with whom he did have a successful marriage.

Candidate to the Norwegian throne

In 1905, during the political struggle in which Norway obtained its independence from Sweden, Prince Carl was seriously considered as a candidate for the Norwegian crown. It was thought that electing a Swedish prince as king was a less radical way for Norway to secede from the union, and hence a more peaceful approach. Carl was chosen because his eldest brother would inherit the Swedish throne, and his second brother had renounced his royal status to make an unsuitable marriage. However, Carl's father King Oscar II of Sweden did not approve of the proposal, as he saw the whole "riot" which precipitated the Norwegian crisis as a conspiracy and a betrayal against his rights as King of Norway, and he did not want any of his sons to be involved with people who he considered his enemies. Therefore, Prince Carl never became King of Norway. Instead, a Danish prince, Haakon VII, was elected after some diplomatic turbulence. As history turned out however, Prince Carl's daughter, Princess Märtha, married Haakon VII's son, the later King Olav V. The present King Harald V of Norway is hence a grandchild of Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland.

In 1904, Prince Carl was appointed a Knight of the Norwegian Lion by Oscar II.


Prince Carl has the distinction of being the grandfather of three reigning European monarchs: King Harald V of Norway (son of his daughter, Princess Märtha), the late King Baudouin of the Belgians and his brother, King Albert II of the Belgians (sons of his daughter, Princess Astrid of Sweden). He is also the great-grandfather of King Philippe of the Belgians and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg.

Titles, styles and arms



Styles of
Prince Carl of Sweden
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir
Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland
Born: 27 February 1861 Died: 24 October 1951
Swedish royalty
New title Duke of Västergötland
1861 - 1951
Title next held by
Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
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