Royal Christening Countdown: The Dukes of Dalarna

Prince Gabriel of Sweden is christened on Friday. One of the highlights of the event will be granddad, King Carl XVI Gustaf, handing over the Order of the Seraphim to the little prince. But it won't be the first really regal present between proud monarch and grandson. Just days after his birth, the King of Sweden announced he had made his newest grandchild the Duke of Dalarna. It sure beats bootees and it's something of a tradition with all of Carl Gustaf's descedants enjoying a ducal title. Gabriel isn't the first Duke of Dalarna. This part of Royal Christening Countdown is all about the men who have held the title Gabriel now calls his own.

August, Duke of Dalarna

Poor old August. He might have been the first to hold the title but he's gone down in history for a very different reason. He loved trains and was also thought to be a bit thick leading to a Swedish expression more stupid than the train. It's a legacy of sorts.

Nikolaus August of Sweden was born on August 24th 1831 at Drottningholm Palace, the fifth and final child of King Oscar I and Queen Josephine of Sweden who were then still Crown Prince and Princess. August had three big brothers so was never close to succeeding and instead he became rather interested in those new fangled trains. He married Therese Amalie of Saxe-Altenberg in 1864 but they had no children. August, first Duke of Dalarna, died on March 4th 1873 in Stockholm of pneumonia.

Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna

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Carl Johan became an unwilling duke. King Carl XVI Gustaf's uncle gave up his succession rights and his royal titles to marry a commoner at a time when Sweden's royal rules forbade that action. 

Carl Johan Arthur, Prince of Sweden and Duke of Dalarna, was born on October 31st 1916 at Stockholm Palace. His parents were Gustaf Adolf and Margaret, Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden. Carl Johan would lose his mother at an early age when she died in 1920 - she was eight months pregnant with a child that would be stillborn. 

Carl Johan's father eventually became King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden but by then the youngest son had caused huge controversy. Carl Johan married journalist Kerstin Wijkmark in New York in 1946 and said goodbye to his royal titles as a consequence. Known as Carl Johan Bernadotte, he was later given a Luxembourg title, Count of Wisborg, in 1951. Around the same time, Carl Johan and his wife adopted two children.

Carl Johan was widowed in 1987 and married again the following year. He died in Sweden on May 5th 2012 and is buried in the Royal Cemetery outside Stockholm.

Gabriel, Duke of Dalarna

And so we come to the star of this week's show. The third Duke of Dalarna is Gabriel Carl Walther, born on August 31st 2017, at Danderyd Hospital, the second son of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia. Gabriel has a big brother, Alexander, who is now 20 months old. Prince Gabriel is sixth in line to the throne of Sweden.

And if you're wondering, Dalarna is in central Sweden and it's name means 'dales'. It's famous for its pretty spectacular scenery and is the home of the world longest cross country skiing race, the Vasaloppet. It's also popular for summer holidays, too, meaning this little duke will never have far to go if he fancies a break.

More Royal Christening Countdown tomrrow.