Estelle Manville in 1928
|Born||Estelle Romaine Manville
September 26, 1904
Pleasantville, New York, United States
|Died||May 28, 1984
|Resting place||Northern Cemetery, Solna|
|Title||Countess of Wisborg|
|Spouse(s)||Count Folke Bernadotte
(1928–1948) (his death)
Carl Erik Sixten Ekstrand
(1973–1984) (her death)
|Children||Gustaf Eduard Bernadotte of Wisborg
Count Folke Bernadotte of Wisborg
Fredrik Oscar Bernadotte of Wisborg
Count Bertil Oscar Bernadotte of Wisborg
|Parents||Hiram Edward Manville
Henrietta Estelle Romaine
Estelle Romaine Bernadotte, née Manville (September 26, 1904 – May 28, 1984), also known as Estelle Bernadotte, Countess of Wisborg (1928–1973), and Estelle Ekstrand (1973–1984), was an American-Swedish countess who was a leading figure in the International Red Cross and Girl Scout movement. She married Count Folke Bernadotte, a Swedish member of a United Nations mediating team. He was assassinated on duty in Israel in September 1948.
Bernadotte was born in 1904 in Pleasantville, New York. She was the only daughter of American industrialist Hiram Edward Manville and wife Henrietta Estelle Romaine, members of a family that had founded parts of the Johns Manville corporation.
In 1928, she was married to the Swedish diplomat Count Folke Bernadotte. According to members of the Bernadotte family, King Gustaf V of Sweden personally introduced Estelle Manville to his nephew, Count Folke Bernadotte, during a visit to Nice, France, in the summer of 1928. On August 3, 1928, it was widely reported that Mr. and Mrs. Manville officially announced the engagement of their only daughter to Count Folke Bernadotte.
The wedding took place on December 1, 1928, in the rather small St. John's Episcopal Church in Pleasantville, New York. At the wedding the bride wore a Swedish bridal crown in platinum and rock crystal and Queen Sophia's bridal veil in openwork lace. The veil was hold by a coronet in silver and crystals, which was specially made by the Swedish court jeweler. Prince Gustaf Adolf was the Best man and Prince Sigvard the Marshal. More than 1500 guests were invited to the festivities on the Manville estates, Hi-Esmaro. This was the first time in history a member of a European royal family married on U.S. soil. Wedding expenses totaled $ 1.5 million.
In May 1948, Estelle's husband Folke Bernadotte was appointed the United Nations' mediator in Palestine, the first official mediator in UN history. This appointment followed the immediate violence that followed the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine and the subsequent unilateral Israeli Declaration of Independence. In this capacity, he succeeded in achieving an initial truce during the subsequent 1948 Arab–Israeli War and laid the groundwork for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The specific proposals showed the influence of the previously responsible British government, and to a lesser extent the U.S. government. On Friday 17 September of that same year, Folke Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem by Zionists.
As her husband's widow, Estelle Bernadotte was active in philanthropic endeavours that he had supported, including the International Red Cross. She was president of the Swedish Girls' Guide and Scout Association from 1949 to 1957. She supported the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and international conservation efforts.
On September 17, 1958, on the 10th anniversary of the assassination of her husband Folke Bernadotte, she became the first leader of the Folke Bernadotte Foundation, a charity that supports children with cerebral palsy. The foundation was created and supported by the Swedish Guide and Scout Association, the Swedish Red Cross, the Gothenburg Deaconess Society, and twenty other non-profit organizations, as well as by prominent medical and educational expertise. Under Bernadotte's leadership, the Folke Bernadotte Foundation widened its mission to help children and young people with other disabilities. Bernadotte was also the leader of the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Fund, a foundation whose mission is to increase understanding among young people at the international level.
Later life and death
Bernadotte lived her later years in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. She was survived by two sons and her second husband Carl Erik Sixten Ekstrand (married on March 3, 1973 at the Oscarskyrkan church in Stockholm). She died in 1984 in Uppsala after long illness (sepsis) following hip surgery. Her ashes were buried on June 20, 1984, in an unmarked section of the memorial field at the Norra begravningsplatsen cemetery in Solna, north of Stockholm. Her name Estelle Bernadotte of Wisborg appears as her written signature on the memorial plaque of her first husband, Count Folke Bernadotte, at the same cemetery.
Estelle and Folke Bernadotte had four sons, two of whom died in childhood.
- Gustaf Eduard Bernadotte of Wisborg, January 20, 1930, Stockholm – February 2, 1936, Stockholm; died of complications following surgery.
- Count Folke Bernadotte of Wisborg, born in Pleasantville, New York, on February 8, 1931, in 1955 married Christine Glahns (born January 9, 1932).
- Fredrik Oscar Bernadotte of Wisborg, January 10, 1934, Stockholm – August 30, 1944, Stockholm.
- Count Bertil Oscar Bernadotte of Wisborg, born in Stockholm October 6, 1935, in 1966 married Rose-Marie Heering (1942–1967), and in 1981 married Jill Georgina Rhodes-Maddox.
There has been speculation that Princess Estelle of Sweden (b. 2012), second in the line of succession to the Swedish throne, was given her name in honor of Bernadotte. On February 3, 2012, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden told a special cabinet meeting to announce the name of the princess that the name is very close to the heart of her mother and the family. Bernadotte's son Folke Bernadotte Jr. (b. 1931) said in an interview that he is very honored that princess Estelle (as he assumed) was named after his mother, and that the royal family has a special relationship to her and her voluntary work aiding people in need.
- United Nations Palestine Mediator to Report to Security Council on Palestine (photo of July 12, 1948)
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- Haberman, Clyde (February 22, 1995). "Terrorism Can Be Just Another Point of View". Books of the Times (New York Times). Retrieved 2012-04-24. "Mr. Shamir, nearly 80, still speaks elliptically about the Bernadotte assassination. Years later, when Ben-Gurion moved to a kibbutz in the Negev desert, Sdeh Bokker, one of his closest friends there was Yehoshua Cohen, who had been one of the assassins." Review of A Death in Jerusalem, by Kati Morgan.
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