The Princess Sibylla Centenary

Princess Sibylla. Portrait by David Tägtström, 1951

Princess Sibylla. Portrait by David Tägtström, 1951

H.R.H. Princess Sibylla, The Duchess of Västerbotten, was born on January 18th 1908. She was married to Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf (1906-1947) and was mother to King Carl XVI Gustaf. On January 18th, 2008 The Princess would have turned 100.

Sibylla Calma Marie Alice Bathildis Feodora was the daughter of Duke Karl Edvard of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha and Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. She grew up in Coburg and had four siblings.

Princess Sibylla and Prince Gustaf Adolf on their way to Stockholm after their wedding in Germany. Photo: Scanpix

Princess Sibylla and Prince Gustaf Adolf on their way to Stockholm after their wedding in Germany. Photo: Scanpix

The Royal Couple


Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla met at a Royal wedding in London in 1931. The couple were engaged in Coburg on January 16th 1932. After the civil ceremony on October 19th 1932 a church ceremony took place at the St. Moritz Church in Coburg on October 20th.

The Royal couple settled at Haga on Northern Djurgården, just outside Stockholm. Princess Sibylla gave birth to five children: The Princesses Margaretha (1934), Birgitta (1937), Désirée (1938), Christina (1943) and Prince Carl Gustaf  (1946).

Life for the family changed instantly when Prince Gustaf Adolf died in an airplane accident at Kastrup airport (Denmark) on January 26th,1947. In a rare interview Princess Sibylla told journalist Margit Vinberg from the weekly Veckojournalen that it felt as if “the floor fell out from under my feet.

The Royal Couple with their five children. Photo: Tre Fotografer/IBL

The Royal Couple with their five children. Photo: Tre Fotografer/IBL

Single Mother


Princess Sibylla´s main duty became helping her children into maturity and independence. The children´s nanny Ingrid "Nenne" Björnberg was of great help to The Princess.

The family moved to an apartment at The Royal Palace in 1950. Princess Sibylla fulfilled her official duties with joy and dignity. Many remember her natural royal style at events like the Nobel Festivities and the formal opening of the Riksdag (Sweden´s parliament).

In private she lived for, and through, her children. Some of the highlights of her life included her son´s graduation and the weddings of her four daughters. She became a loving grandmother to many grandchildren.

Despite strong media interest in Sibylla´s daughters (know as the Haga Princess´) and the cute little Prince, there were very few people outside the family that really knew the real Princess.

Princess Sibylla with the Girl Scouts. Photo: Pressens Bild/Scanpix

Princess Sibylla with the Girl Scouts. Photo: Pressens Bild/Scanpix

Official Duties


Princess Sibylla was very active in numerous organizations and charaties, including Sophiahemmet (Queen Sophia Hospital) and, like Prince Gustaf Adolf, she was also active in the Scout Movement.

After the death of Queen Louise in 1965 Princess Sibylla became the first lady of the nation and took over many of The Queen's official duties.

Princess Sibylla at the formal opening of The Riksdag. Photo: Scanpix

Princess Sibylla at the formal opening of The Riksdag. Photo: Scanpix

In Private


Princess Sibylla was a person who enjoyed nature. She loved taking walks and outings in nature and passed that interest onto her children, especially King Carl Gustaf.

Other hobbies included flowers, painting, embroidering and driving. If The Princess had been able to have a career she most likely would have worked with interior architecture. She found much pleasure in decorating her own home at Hagaberg, close to Solliden (the Royal Family´s summer home on Öland). She spent many summers there and loved it as much as her children.

On the passing of Princess Sibylla, journalist Barbro Alving wrote:

- There was warmth in Princess Sibylla´s being, a kind zealousness in her interest for people, which was greater than most people in the country believed.

Princess Sibylla died at The Royal Palace in Stockholm on November 27th, 1972. The funeral took place on December 7th at The Royal Chapel. She rests beside her husband at The Royal Cemetery at Haga Park.

Upon her death, Gustaf VI Adolf´s secretary Carl-Fredrik Palmstierna wrote:

- I always admired the tact at which Princess Sibylla handled the difficult position she had during the Second World War.