Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden
Who is Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree Bernadotte? She is first in line to the Swedish crown and the first female in this position since 1720. She is also the great-great-great granddaughter of Queen Victoria, but who isn’t? We really should thank the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton, for introducing her to us. Many royal watchers who took an interest in Will and Kate’s royal wedding started finding lots of interesting websites and blogs not only keeping up with the British royals, but European royalty too. Yes, the British monarchy is not the only royal game in town – it’s not even the oldest. That’s a record held by the Danes, but let’s not digress. The Swedish royal family is worth getting to know, in particular because of the leadership shown by Crown Princess Victoria.
Pictures of Victoria speak volumes about a woman who has been raised to be very comfortable with her unusual position, even though she was not actually the future queen at birth. Originally, her younger brother, Prince Carl Philip was on track to become the future King of Sweden, until the rule of succession granted the role to the eldest of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia’s children, Princess Victoria, in 1979.
While Princess Victroria’s upbringing and education revolved around preparation for her life as a head of state and future monarch, it was not always smooth sailing. Like her father and brother, Princess Victoria was discovered to be dyslexic after being bullied for having difficulty reading and writing at school. This makes her master of four languages and her comfort giving speeches from the age of 18 all the more impressive. In recent years we’ve also found that Crown Princess Victoria suffers from face blindness, where she has great difficulty recognizing facial features belonging to anyone – even herself or family members. Unfortunately, during her college years the public scrutiny of her appearance and pressures of her position led to anorexia. She recovered in the United States, with the daily privacy afforded to her while attending Yale University.
In the 2002 book Victoria! Victoria! The princess said: “I felt like an accelerating train, going right down… during the whole period. I had eating disorders and was aware of it, my anguish was enormous. I really hated how I looked like, how I was… I, Victoria, didn’t exist. It felt like everything in my life and around me was controlled by others. The one thing I could control was the food I put in me”. She further said that “What happened cost and I was the one who stood for the payments. Now I’m feeling well and with the insights I’ve acquired through this I can hopefully help someone else.”
The interesting twist in her recovery was that upon her doctor’s advice, Crown Princess Victoria started working out in a gym, where she met her future husband, personal trainer Daniel Westling in 2002. Since then, he has been by her side, every step of the way. More about that later!
Public Service with a Smile
From an early age Princess Victoria was introduced to managing public events and has passed this lifestyle down to her own daughter, Princess Estelle.
“I think my parents made it very good and educational,” Victoria, 39, said. “They started very often from their travels and their visits in order to speak about Sweden and also in order to speak about the weight to lead forward with Sweden, Swedish valuations, Swedish research and technology. In this way, it becomes, of course, a natural attitude to what the role of such means but also what you are able to assist with.” – Svenksdam
During a recent trip to Japan, where she was serving in her role as ambassador to the UN Global Sustainability Goal, she was quoted as saying,
“Estelle knows that I’m here and we are talking about fishing, and then we talk about Japan, fisheries, nature and ecology and how things fit together. She is five-years-old, but she’s not too young,” Victoria said. “On the contrary, she was very interested and receptive. I think we have an obligation as parents and adults to stimulate curiosity.”
Today, Princess Estelle and her younger brother, Prince Oscar are commonly in attendance at public events in addition to being featured in family photos and videos. Princess Estelle’s confident enjoyment of public events is clear. In the photos below, Estelle is receiving the Swedish National Men’s Hockey Team with her mother, father, Uncle Prince Carl Philip, and brother Oscar.
“She is very curious about people, she is very social and very brave,” Victoria said. “It’s an asset in life, particularly in her role.” – Crown Princess Victoria, on her daughter’s personality
In addition to integrating her own children into royal life, she is a sought after role model. Known as “The Godmother to Europe”, she has a total of fifteen godchildren to date, three of which will be future monarchs themselves.
Crown Princess Victoria is known for her natural speech delivery. Here she gives the opening remarks at World Water Week 2016:
The “Frog” Prince and the World’s Most Romantic Royal Wedding
In a trend we’ve seen continue in recent years, sometimes the best fit for that of royal consort is the right commoner. Personal trainer and gym owner Daniel Wrestling went on the marry Crownprincess Victoria in 2010 after a long courtship that was not without controversy, due to his “humble station”. A factor that he famously brought into his wedding toast, a crowd-pleasing moment in what some minds will always reign as the most romantic royal wedding.
Crown Princess Victoria’s consort, Prince Daniel, Duke of Vostergotland is his wife’s staunchest supporter as he has proven to be a “natural” in his royal role. In some ways he is a modern Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in his particular comfort with his wife’s destiny as future monarch. Similarly, one of his platforms is physical fitness.
There is just something about the King and Queen of Sweden. They have always seemed very natural in their roles, and brought up Victoria to embrace her future, and her public. The family is known for its intensive cooperation with the press. Not only do they liberally share photos and videos, but they rapidly reply to press inquiries. Many royal watchers feel that the King Carl Gustav, his children, and their spouses should be studied and emulated by any royal family interested in optimizing their public relations. They understand the role of imagery and of the press in communicating their work and dedication.
Annually, the entire family is featured in a television special, outlining the work each of them has participated in. It includes lengthy interviews in which family members have every opportunity to clearly articulate detailed descriptions of their initiatives and surrounding events. They indeed represent that communications are clear in their “family business” and prefer to move forward as a cohesive unit, rather than disparate households.
Each Christmas season, many of us look forward to Crown Princess Victoria’s annual Christmas greeting video. While brief and simple, they convey a family dynamic that is always heart warming.
What Crown Princess Victoria Can Teach Us
We hope you’ve enjoyed this brief introduction to the ever-vibrant Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Admired by many a royal-watcher, she is a refreshing dose of leadership with humility and a strong sense of duty. One of the things that we feel she imparts is the importance of embracing one’s responsibilities with a positive and healthy attitude. Crown Princess Victoria reminds us of the importance of learning to manage the daily pressures to be “perfect”, and find the way to “self-care”.
Victoria also reminds us to communicate with our family effectively and often, especially if you need to be united in common goals, and isn’t that the case for all families? She also sets a great example for involving children in important interests from a young age in order for certain skills to become second nature.
Every glimpse that the public gets into her family life seems to show a cohesive group that actually seems to enjoy one another’s company, and is clear on what they can offer as public figures. Crown Princess Victoria has carried out literally thousands of public events and supported numerous causes thus far, and many thousands more lie ahead. But the Swedish people can be assured that she will bring energy, eloquence, style and grace to every one of her endeavors, and represent them whole-heartedly on the world stage.
In case you’re wondering where Victoria gets her joie de vivre, here is some insight. The King of Sweden leads his family out of the Polar Music Prize awards show – dancing every step of the way: