Friday, 7 July 2017

Crown Princess Victoria at 40: the first year

Crown Princess Victoria is 40 on July 14th 2017. It's a landmark birthday for a landmark princess. This is the woman who changed history as a baby and who has built a reputation as one of the hardest working and most loved royals on the continent. Just about everything Victoria does right now is headline news so making the big 4-0 is bound to be big. In the run up to the celebrations (which stretch across several days), I'll be taking a look back to some other big moments in her life so far. It all starts back in 1977, when a princess was born in Sweden....

On July 14th 1977, Queen Silvia of Sweden gave birth to her first child, a daughter, at the Karolinska Hospital at Solna. A much loved and much wanted baby her parents, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia, showed her off proudly to the media on August 1st 1977 at Solliden. 

The newest princess in Sweden was named Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree. All her names had links to her family - her great grandmother had been Queen Victoria of Sweden while the new baby was also a great, great, great granddaughter of Britain's Queen Victoria. Queen Ingrid of Denmark was her great aunt, Alice was the name of her maternal grandmother while Desiree had been consort to the first Bernadotte to rule Sweden and is the name of the paternal aunt who would go on to be her godmother.

But while she took her place in their family, the little princess couldn't take any part in the succession as girls had no rights to the throne at that time. When she was christened, on September 27th 1977 at the Royal Palace Church, there was no path to the throne for Victoria. Her godparents were the then Crown Prince of Norway, Harald, and Beatrix of the Netherlands, then still heir to her country's throne. Victoria's maternal uncle, Ralf Sommerlath, also stood sponsor alongside her paternal aunt, Princess Desiree. 
Everyone loves a royal baby and Victoria was soon starring in  happy family photos. Her first Christmas was caught on camera as she and her parents posed for snaps at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. And soon plans were under way to give this popular little princess the right to succeed to the throne. But Victoria's first year was very much about a content, family life. History was waiting round the corner. Now it was time for fun.

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