Good-bye Princess Lilian
Swedish Princess Lilian has died. She was 97. Born Lillian May Davies in Swansea, South Wales, in 1915, Lilian (she later changed the spelling of her name) met Swedish Prince Bertil, the present King's uncle. in London in 1943. She was 28, he was 30. She had left South Wales to become a fashion model in London (she was featured in fashion magazines such as Vogue) and in 1940 married Scottish actor Ivan Craig. While Craig was in Africa during World War II, Lilian worked at a factory that made radios for the Royal Navy.
She reportedly met the Swedish prince at a cocktail party for her 28th birthday, and though she was still married at the time, she and Bertil soon became lovers. Lilian and Bertil’s love story in a way became the stuff legends are made of. Because of rigid royal rules, the couple had to hide their love for years (Lilian quickly got an amicable divorce from her husband), and could not marry without Prince Bertil possibly losing his right to the throne - Sweden's rules of agnatic succession at the time made Prince Bertil the only family member eligible to become King should something happen to the then King (H.R.H. King Gustaf VI Adolf, the Prince's father and present King's grandfather) prior to the present King's becoming of legal age. Also according to the Act of Succession, paragraph 5: “Prince or princess of the royal house may not marry unless the government and the king have given their consent. If a wedding is still to occur, he or she will forfeit the right to the throne for his or herself as well as any offspring. Law (1979:935).”
It wasn’t until Carl XVI Gustaf had become king and married Silvia, that Lilian and the prince were allowed to marry, which they did in December, 1976.
The press must have felt for the couple, as they helped keep their union secret for many years. Lilian and Bertil moved into Villa Solbacken in Djurgården, Stockholm already in 1947. After the death of Prince Bertil in 1997, Princess Lilian took over some of his duties, and continued to represent the royal family at official engagements and other occasions. In media following her passing, she is described as having been humorous, generous, and a beacon of light – someone the entire royal family seems to have cared for a whole lot. The Royal Palace didn't give a cause of death, but Lilian suffered from Alzheimer's disease and had been in poor health for several years.