Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
|Duchess of Västerbotten|
|Princess Sibylla in the 1930s|
|Spouse||Prince Gustav Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten|
|Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler
Princess Birgitta of Sweden
Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld
Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson
Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
|Sibylla Calma Maria Alice Bathildis Feodora|
|House||House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
House of Bernadotte (by marriage)
|Father||Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Mother||Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein|
18 January 1908|
Gotha, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
|Died||28 November 1972
Princess Sibylla of Sweden, Duchess of Västerbotten (born Princess Sibylle Calma Maria Alice Bathildis Feodora of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; (18 January 1908 – 28 November 1972), was the wife of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and mother of the current King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf. She was a Princess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and a member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a branch of the House of Wettin) by birth, and a Princess of Sweden and member of the House of Bernadotte by marriage.
Sibylla (then Sibylle) was born at Schloss Friedenstein on 18 January 1908 as the daughter of Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Princess Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein, a daughter of Princess Karoline Mathilde of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, and descended from an older Scandinavian royal house. Through her father, she was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Her grandfather was Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
In November 1931, Sibylla was in London to attend the wedding of Lady May Abel Smith as a bridesmaid. One of the other bridesmaids was Ingrid of Sweden, who introduced Sibylla to her brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Duke of Västerbotten. Their engagement was announced at Callenberg Palace in Coburg 16 June 1932.
On 19 October in Coburg, Sibylla married her second cousin Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Duke of Västerbotten, in a civil ceremony, followed by a church wedding the day after. Gustaf Adolf was the eldest son of Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden (later Gustaf VI Adolf) and Princess Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Both Sibylla and Gustaf Adolf were great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria. Sibylla never became Crown Princess herself since her husband died before his grandfather (King Gustav V).
The wedding was celebrated in an official manner in Coburg, as President Hindenburg had ordered that no honours should be spared. However, as the city of Coburg was dominated by the Nazi party at the time, the celebrations there were Nazi influenced, which made a very bad impression in Sweden. The couple spent their honeymoon in Italy before arriving in Stockholm on 25 November 1932.
Princess of Sweden
The couple settled at Haga Palace, and their four daughters were to be commonly known during their childhood as the "Hagaprinsessorna" (English: "The Haga Princesses"). Sibylla began her royal duties only two days after her arrival, when, assisted by Princess Ingrid, she presented a prize to the winner of a fencing tournament. Sibylla shared her husband's enthusiasm for sport and outdoor activities, and the couple owned a cottage in at Ingarö and another one in Storlien. Sibylla was also a keen supporter of the Swedish Girl Guides movement. She is shown in a photo wearing a Guide uniform with her husband at a reception (see his article).
Sibylla was, however, not very popular in Sweden. She and her husband were frequent guests at various German associations and clubs in Stockholm, which rendered them suspicious in the eyes of a public and press that, during the 1930s, easily associated everything German with the Nazi Party. The fact that members of her own family and relatives in Germany were active within Nazism also affected her reputation in Sweden. Additionally, she had difficulty learning the Swedish language, which contributed to the distance between her and the Swedish public. Over time, Sibylla became more reserved, while her (and her husband's) relationship with the press was never very good, though she made efforts to bridge the distance.
Among her official assignments were the chairmanship of Sällskapet Barnavård (English: "The Childcare Society") in 1948 and the honorary chairmanship of the Hörselfrämjandet (English: "The Hearing Society") in 1935; the Sveriges flickscoutråd (English: "The Swedish Girls Scouts") in 1939; Kvinnliga bilkåren (English: "The Women's Automobile Force") in 1939; the Stiftelsen Solstickan (English: "The Solstickan Society") in 1941; and the Stiftelsen Drottning Victorias Vilohem på Öland (English: "The Queen Victoria Resting Home in Öland") in 1951. In 1938, she founded the Prinsessan Sibyllas S:t Martin-stiftelse (English: "The Princess Sibylla Foundation of St Martin").
Sibylla became a widow in 1947 when Gustaf Adolf died in an airplane crash at the Copenhagen Airport in Denmark. Their only son, Carl Gustaf, became second-in-line to the throne at the age of nine months and, later, Crown Prince at the age of four. In 1950, Sybilla moved from Haga to the Royal Palace of Stockholm. During the summers, she stayed at Solliden. During these years, she developed an interest in environmental issues.
After her stepmother-in-law Queen Louise died in 1965, Sibylla became the senior Royal Princess of Sweden, acting in a supporting role for her father-in-law, King Gustaf VI Adolf. During these years, she enjoyed somewhat more popularity, as she was more exposed, and as her humour and sense of self-irony became more known and appreciated. She continued with the so-called "Democratic ladies lunches" for career women instigated by Queen Louise in 1962 as a replacement for the court presentation.
Sibylla died in Stockholm of cancer less than a year before her son ascended to the throne.
Sibylla had a difficult time in Sweden. She never adjusted to Swedish culture and was under pressure to produce a male heir after the births of four daughters. She was disliked by some Swedes for her German background and her father's support of the Nazis. The journalist Barbro Alving said about her, that Sibylla had "a warmth in her personality, a friendly eagerness in her interest for people which was perhaps greater than most in this country may have thought".
Titles, styles and arms
- 18 January 1908 – 28 March 1919: Her Royal Highness Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duchess in Saxony, Princess of Great Britain and Ireland
- 28 March 1919 – 19 October 1932: Her Highness Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Duchess in Saxony
- 19 October 1932 – 28 November 1972: Her Royal Highness Princess Sibylla of Sweden, Duchess of Västerbotten
Sibylla and Gustaf Adolf had five children:
|Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler||31 October 1934||married John Kenneth Ambler, has issue|
|HRH Princess Birgitta of Sweden||31 January 1937||married Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern, has issue|
|Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld||2 June 1938||married Baron Nils-August Otto Carl Niclas Silfverschiöld, has issue|
|Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson||3 August 1943||married Tord Gösta Magnuson, has issue|
|HM King Carl XVI Gustaf||30 April 1946||married Silvia Sommerlath, has issue|