The first Estelle Bernadotte
There's been some dissension about the royal baby's name - Dissension about Princess's name [It] “sounds like the name of a night club queen,” author and historian Herman Lindqvist commented.

Before Victoria and Daniel’s baby, there was another up until now fairly unknown Estelle Bernadotte. It is likely the Crown Princess named her baby after her, which begs us to ask: Who was she?


Estelle Manville was the daughter of the well-to-do American Manville family. Her grandfather, Charles Brayton Manville, was one of the pioneers in how to use asbestos as building material and he founded the company Johns Manville, which still exists today. Estelle Manville was, according to accounts, a beautiful, independent, and intelligent American girl. She met with Count Folke Bernadotte at the French Riviera when she was 23 and he was 33 and it was love at first sight. Folke Bernadotte was the son of Prince Oscar and Ebba Bernadotte. Folke Bernadotte was also the godfather of the present King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Estelle’s first impression of the Swedish diplomat, was that he was a bit common and perhaps even a bit absent-minded. “[Then he] exploded in laughter and I noticed his blue eyes,” she later said. He proposed a few months later. The wedding took place on November 30 in 1928, in what New York Times then described as the first ever royal wedding on U.S. soil. It was a classy wedding, with 250 guests in the little church in Pleasantville, NY where the Manville family lived. Many Swedes were present, such as Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf. Estelle wore Princess Sophia’s bridal veil.

The couple eventually moved to Sweden, but Estelle Bernadotte of Wisborg, which was her new name, though she liked Sweden, never got used to the long winters. The house they lived in is still standing, it’s called Dragongården and is today the home of the Chinese Embassy in Stockholm. The story of Folke Bernadotte is a rather sad one. He was a diplomat noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt released on April 14 1945. In 1945, he received a German surrender offer from Heinrich Himmler, though the offer was ultimately rejected. After the war, Bernadotte was unanimously chosen to be the United Nations Security Council mediator in the Arab–Israeli conflict of 1947–1948.

He was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948 by the militant Zionist group Lehi (a.k.a. the Stern Group) while pursuing his official duties. Estelle didn’t remarry until 1974, when she wedded an old friend of Folke Bernadotte’s, Erik Ekstrand. She lived the rest of her life in France, where she passed away in 1984. But now her memory will live on through the new princess. Says her and Folke Bernadotte’s son Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg about the choice of name: “I think it would have made her very happy. She was never one to promote herself, but this is sort of indirect. It’s the perfect honor.”