11 February 2021

Diamonds and Gold: Swedish Royal Engagement Rings

Patrik Osterberg-Pool/Getty Images

Many Swedes actually don't exchange elaborate engagement rings; they often swap simpler gold bands for the engagement, saving the more glittering ring for the bride on the wedding day. Some of the Bernadottes have followed this tradition, while others have exchanged sparkling engagement gifts. Let's have a look at some of the rings that engaged Swedish royals have worn over the years, shall we?

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The first of the Haga princesses to marry was Princess Birgitta, who announced her engagement to Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern on December 19, 1960. The photograph above is of their engagement announcement; you can see that they've apparently followed the traditional Swedish custom of exchanging gold rings for their engagement. Birgitta and Hansi had two wedding ceremonies in 1961 (a civil ceremony in Sweden and a religious ceremony in Germany), but their happiness ultimately did not last. Although the two never divorced, they lived separately after 1990. He passed away in 2016.

Princess Désirée and Niclas Silfverschiöld announce their engagement (PA Images/Alamy)

Three years later, Birgitta's younger sister, Princess Désirée, announced that she would marry a Swedish aristocrat, Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. This picture is from their official engagement announcement, on December 19, 1963, but someone decided to place a (lovely) enormous floral arrangement right in front of them! However, you can see Niclas's left hand, with a slim gold band on the ring finger, suggesting that they did indeed follow Swedish tradition. The couple married on June 5, 1964, and they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2014.

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The king's eldest sister, Princess Margaretha, announced her engagement to British businessman John Ambler on February 28, 1964. He followed British tradition rather than the Swedish one regarding engagement rings, acquiring a ring with a trio of diamonds for his bride-to-be. 

Close-up of Princess Margaretha's engagement ring (Wikimedia Commons)

Ambler purchased Margaretha's engagement ring from Collingwood, a British jewelry firm. The couple married on June 30, 1964; they separated in 1996, but never divorced. Ambler died in 2008.

Heritage Image Partnership Ltd/Alamy

Princess Christina, the youngest of the Haga princesses, wore a small ring during the 1974 announcement of her engagement to Swedish businessman Tord Magnuson; a thin band is also visible on the left hand of her husband-to-be. The two married on June 15, 1974.

Keystone Press/Alamy

It was King Carl XVI Gustaf's turn to announce his engagement two years later. In March 1976, he introduced his fiancée, German interpreter Silvia Sommerlath, to the press. Following tradition, the pair exchanged engagement rings—you can see that each of them is wearing a ring on the usual finger above. The king's engagement ring is a plain gold band; he gave his wife-to-be a diamond ring. They married on June 19, 1976

Close-up of Queen Silvia's rings, 2012 (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Queen Silvia still wears her engagement ring, but she stacks it with two other rings: her wedding band and a diamond and ruby ring.

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A few months after Carl Gustaf and Silvia married, the family celebrated another engagement. Prince Bertil announced that he would marry his longtime companion, Lilian Craig, on October 8, 1976. (Their marriage could not take place during the previous king's reign, because he would not allow Bertil to marry a commoner without losing his title.) Bertil is not wearing an engagement ring during the announcement; information on what ring Lilian may have received specifically on their engagement is elusive, although she wore several jeweled rings on her ring finger through the years. The couple married on December 7, 1976. Bertil died in 1997, and Lilian passed away in 2013.

LEIF R JANSSON/AFP via Getty Images

Several decades went by before the next round of royal engagements in Sweden. Carl Gustaf and Silvia's daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, announced her engagement to Swedish personal trainer and gym owner Daniel Westling on February 24, 2009. 

Close-up of Victoria's ring (Patrik Osterberg-Pool/Getty Images)

Daniel gave Victoria a white gold engagement ring with a brilliant-cut diamond solitaire. The couple married on June 19, 2010, and are now the parents of two children, Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar.

Patrik Osterberg/All Over Press Sweden/Getty Images

A few months after Victoria's announcement, her younger sister, Princess Madeleine, officially announced her engagement to Swedish lawyer Jonas Bergström. Jonas presented Madeleine with a diamond engagement ring, but this marriage was not to be: after it was revealed that he had been unfaithful, the wedding was called off.

Ewa-Marie Rundquist/The Royal Court, Stockholm

The second time was a charm for Princess Madeleine, who announced on October 25, 2012, that she would marry Christopher O'Neill, a British-American financier. The engagement ring that she received from O'Neill was also a diamond ring. 

Close-up of Madeleine's ring (Ewa-Marie Rundquist/The Royal Court, Stockholm)

The couple married on June 8, 2013, and exactly a year later, their daughter, Princess Leonore, was christened. They have since welcomed two more children, Prince Nicolas and Princess Adrienne.

The Royal Court, Sweden

Victoria and Madeleine's brother, Prince Carl Philip, announced on June 27, 2014, that he would marry Sofia Hellqvist, a model and reality television star. Sofia received a diamond ring from the prince as an engagement gift. 

Close-up of Sofia's ring (Erika Gerdemark/The Royal Court, Sweden)

Their royal wedding was held on June 13, 2015. The couple has two children, Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel, and they are expecting a third in the spring of 2021.