Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland
Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland (born Lillian May Davies, later Craig; 30 August 1915 – 10 March 2013), was a Welsh fashion model who became a member of the Swedish royal family through her 1976 marriage to Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland (1912–1997). As such, she was a paternal aunt of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (although not until after his grandfather's death, which enabled her to marry Prince Bertil) and a maternal aunt of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
Early life in Britain
Lillian May Davies was born on 30 August 1915, in Swansea, South Wales, the daughter of William John Davies and his wife Gladys Mary (née Curran). She dropped one 'l' from her first name when she became a fashion model. She was photographed for fashion magazines such as Vogue. Her parents separated in the 1920s, but they were not divorced until 1939.
In 1940 Lilian married the Scottish actor Ivan Craig (1912–1994) in Horsham, West Sussex. Shortly after their wedding, Craig joined the British Army and left for Africa, where he saw active service during the Second World War. In his absence, Lilian worked in a factory that made radios for the Royal Navy and at a hospital for wounded soldiers.
Marriage to Prince Bertil of Sweden
In 1943 she met the Swedish Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland, in London, reportedly at a cocktail party for her 28th birthday. Soon after their meeting they became lovers, although she was at that time married to her first husband. By the time she and Bertil began their affair, Lilian and Ivan Craig were separated by the war. When the couple were reunited after the war, Craig expressed his wish to marry another woman, and an amicable divorce followed.
Bertil's older brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, was second-in-line to the Swedish throne, but in 1947 he died. As Gustaf Adolf's son, Carl Gustaf, was less than one year old, it seemed likely that when the king died Bertil would have to serve as regent (other heirs having given up their places in the line of succession because of marriages not acceptable to the king). For this reason Bertil chose not to marry Lilian, so the couple simply lived together discreetly for more than thirty years. In 1946 Prince Bertil acquired a house in Sainte-Maxime, France, that became their private retreat.
Bertil never had to become regent, since his father, the king (who ascended the throne in 1950), lived long enough to see his grandson, Carl Gustaf, come of age. Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden ascended the throne in 1973, and, having married a commoner himself, he approved Bertil's and Lilian's marriage. They were married on 7 December 1976 at the church of Drottningholm Palace in the presence of the king and the queen.
Prince Bertil died on 5 January 1997 in their home. From 1997 until 2010 she continued to represent the royal family at official engagements and other occasions. She was the patron of many organizations.
In 2000 Lilian released a biography of her life with Bertil.
In August 2008 the Princess fell and broke her femur in her apartment, and in February 2009 she again suffered a fall in her home. It was announced on 3 June 2010, that the princess was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and was no longer able to appear in public. She lived out her final years at Villa Solbacken, her longtime home in the Djurgården area of Stockholm, attended by three nurses.
Lilian died in Stockholm on 10 March 2013 at age 97, sixteen years after her husband. The Royal Palace didn't give a cause of death, but Lilian had been in poor health for several years. Her death came as the royal family was preparing for Princess Madeleine's wedding and the family dropped what they were doing to spend their last moments with her.
Her 16 March funeral was broadcast live on SVT. It was attended by her nephew and niece-in-law: the King and Queen of Sweden; her nieces: the Queen of Denmark, Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler, Princess Birgitta of Hohenzollern, Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld, and Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson; her grandnieces: Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden and Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland; and her grandnephew and grandnephew-in-law: Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland and Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. Princess Astrid of Norway, Mrs. Ferner, was also in attendance.
Notable published works
Titles, styles and honours
- 1915-1940: Miss Lillian May Davies
- 1940-1945: Mrs Lillian May Craig
- 1945-1976: Ms Lillian May Davies
- 1976-1997: Her Royal Highness Princess Lilian of Sweden, The Duchess of Halland
- 1997-2013: Her Royal Highness Princess Lilian of Sweden, The Dowager Duchess of Halland
- Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Seraphim(LoK av KMO)
- Sweden: Commander Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star(KmstkNO)
- Sweden: Patron Honorary Lady Grand Cross of the Social Order of Innocence
- Sweden: Member of the Royal Family Order of King Carl XVI Gustaf
- Sweden: Recipient of the 50th Birthday Badge Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf
- Estonia: Grand Cross of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana
- Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Iceland: Grand Cross of the Order of the Falcon
- Italy: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic
- Japan: Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the Precious Crown
- Jordan: Dame Grand Cordon of the Order of the Star of Jordan
- Latvia: Grand Officer of the Order of the Three Stars
- Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas
- Portugal: Grand Cross of the Order of Christ
- Spain: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of Isabella the Catholic
- "Obituary:Princess Lilian". Daily Telegraph. 10 March 2013. Retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Princess Lilian breaks hip in fall". The Local. 13 August 2008.
- "Hovmarskalk: Lilian har alzheimer" (in Swedish). Svenska Dagbladet. 3 June 2010.
- H.R.H. Princess Lilian has passed away, official website of the Royal Court of Sweden.
- Sweden Princess Lilian dies aged 97 BBC News, retrieved 10 March 2013.
- "Madeleine of Sweden cut short hen party to be with late Princess Lilian". Retrieved 31 July 2014.
- Official website of the President of Estonia (Estonian), Estonian State Decorations - Printsess Lilian
- Gallery on www.theroyalforums.com, State visit of President Johannes Rau in Sweden in 2003: Lilian's photo
- Icelandese Presidency Website , Lilian ; hertogafrú af Hallandi ; Svíþjóð ; 1981-10-26 ; Stórkross (= Lilian, Duchesse de Halland, Sweden, 26 October 1981, Grand Cross).
- State visit of Jordan in Sweden (2003), Photo of Princess Liliane with Carl Philip, Madeleine & Victoria.
- Boletín Oficial del Estado
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Princess Lilian of Sweden.|
- The Royal Court of Sweden: Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland
- BBC Radio 4 Interview with Biographer