Yesterday in Stockholm, the Swedish royal court announced news that had been anticipated for years: Prince Carl Philip, the son of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, was engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Sofia Hellqvist. The princess-to-be sported a large diamond engagement ring during the couple’s meeting with the press.
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?
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 (one in Sweden and one in Germany), but their happiness did not last. Although the two have never divorced, they have lived separately since 1990.
Three years later, Birgitta’s younger sister, Princess Désirée, announced that she would marry a Swedish aristocrat, Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld. (Unfortunately, information about Désirée’s ring has been difficult to come by — I’ve not even been able to unearth a photograph! — but I’d wager that she followed tradition as her sisters have.) The couple married on June 5, 1964, and they recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
The king’s eldest sister, Princess Margaretha, announced her engagement to British businessman John Ambler on February 28, 1964. 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.
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. In the years since, Christina has been seen with a bit more glitter on the third finger of her left hand (see here).
It was King Carl XVI Gustaf’s turn to announce his engagement two years later. On March 12, 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. Queen Silvia still wears her engagement ring, but she stacks it with two other rings: her wedding band and a diamond and ruby ring.
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 and retain 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 died last year.
Carl Gustaf and Silvia’s daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, announced her engagement to Swedish Daniel Westling on February 24, 2009. 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 a daughter, Princess Estelle.
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 had an affair, the wedding was called off.
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. The couple married on June 8, 2013, and exactly a year later, their daughter, Princess Leonore, was christened.
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. The two are planning a wedding for the summer of 2015.