Kongehuset, Sara Friberg / Kungl. Hovstaterna and Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, the royal court
Members of the Scandinavian royal family are not only great friends, but they are also relatively closely related to each other. During the Viking Age, the royals of these three kingdoms were bitter enemies; however, in the Middle Ages all nations were united under one kingdom under the Union of Kalmar and had a common royal family under, among others, Queen Margrethe I. Today, all Scandinavian nations have independence and their own royals united by centuries of a common lineage.
The King of Sweden and the Queen of Denmark are in fact first cousins. Queen Margrethe’s mother, Queen Ingrid of Denmark, was born Swedish Princess and she was the sister of King Carl XVI Gustaf’s father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, who tragically died in a plane crash at Kastrup Airfield in 1947 shortly after the birth of his son. Carl Gustaf therefore succeeded his grandfather on the throne in 1973.
Queen Margrethe and King Harald are second cousins. Queen Margrethe’s father, King Frederick IX, was the son of King Christian X, who was the older brother of Prince Carl of Denmark, who in 1905 was elected King of Norway and took the name of King Haakon VII. King Harald’s maternal grandmother, Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, was born Danish princess and sister of Christian X and Haakon VII. All of these family relationships can be a little confusing, but if we retire a few generations, it becomes a little more manageable. In other words, King Haakon VII of Norway, who reigned between 1905 and 1957, was the brother of King Christian X of Denmark who ruled between 1912 and 1944.
King Harald and King Carl Gustaf are a little more distant. Harald’s grandfather was Prince Carl of Sweden, a younger brother of Gustav V, the great-grandfather of Carl Gustaf. The closest common ancestor of the Norwegian, Swedish and Danish monarchs is in the Swedish royal family. All monarchs are descendants of King Oscar I, the only son of the famous Carl XVI Johan, King of Sweden, from 1818 to 1814. King Carl Johan was the son of the lawyer of Pau, France, who became King of Norway and Sweden and founded the modern dynasty of Bernadotte. He became Marshal of the French Empire under Emperor Napoleon and King of Sweden and Norway in 1818.
Until recently, all Scandinavians had married people in close family relationships. In Norway, King Olav V and King Haakon VII married their cousins. In Denmark, King Frederick IX married a more distant relative while his father, King Christian X, chose a wife quite distant from the family. In Sweden, Gustaf Adolf, the Duke of Västerbotten, followed the same line by choosing a rather distant German relative. At the same time, the two wives of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden were born in Germany and Great Britain and had almost no connection with the young dynasty.
The three current Scandinavian monarchs are also the godfathers and godmothers of the children of the other. Queen Margrethe is the godmother of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. King Harald is the godfather of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Joachim of Denmark, while King Carl XVI Gustaf is the godfather of Crown Prince Haakon of Norway. In addition, the three monarchs and their spouses have, over the years, become very close friends, who also visit and socialize privately away from the media spotlight.