Friday, August 31, 2012

Royal Profile: HRH Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland

Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland, who was born Lillian May Davies on 30 August 1915, was the wife of Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland (1912-1997). She is the aunt to the present King of Sweden, Carl XVI. 

From 1940 to 1945 she was married to British actor Ivan Craig. In World War II, Lilian Craig worked at a factory that made radios for the Royal Navyand at a hospital for wounded soldiers. In 1943 she met the Swedish Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland, in London, reportedly at a cocktail party held in honor of her 28th birthday. Soon after their meeting they became lovers, although she was at that time married to her first husband.

Bertil's older brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Vasterbotten, was the heir apparent 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 of Sweden died Bertil would have to serve as regent (other heirs having given up their places in the succession because of unacceptable marriages). For this reason Bertil chose not to marry Lilian, so the couple simply lived together discreetly for more than 30 years. In 1946 Prince Bertil acquired a house in Sainte Maxime, France, that became their private retreat. However, Bertil never had to become regent since his father, the king, 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. Her prince died in the early part of 1997, and from 1997 until 2010 she continued to represent the royal family at official engagements and other occasions. She was the protector of many organisations, and also an honorary member of several clubs and societies which belonged to Prince Bertil's areas of interest. In 2000,  Princess Lilian released a biography of her life with Prince Bertil.

In recent years, she has had a host of medical issues that come with advancing age. In 2008, she broke her hip. In 2010, it was revealed that she is suffering from Alzheimer's Disease {Source}.

She and Prince Bertil never had children of their own. 

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