Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
July 14, 1977
Currently Known For:
Heir apparent to the Swedish throne
Member of the Swedish Royal Family
“It was like a fairytale—she kissed her gym trainer and got a prince.” The eldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, Victoria Ingrid Alice Desiree was born on July 14, 1977 at the Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm County, Sweden. Although she was already designated the Princess of Sweden at birth, a constitutional reform in 1979 to the Act of Succession of 1810 established that the throne would be inherited by the monarch’s eldest child regardless of gender. The new reform made Victoria the heir apparent to the throne as she was made Crown Princess on January 1, 1980 at only two years old.
On her 18th birthday on July 14, 1995, Victoria’s declaration of majority took place in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm where she was officially eligible to act as Head of State when her father, the King, was out of the country. She gave her first public speech for the occasion and then resumed life as normal by enrolling at the Université Catholique de l’Quest at Angers in France from 1996 to 1997. Taking on a special project for the fall of 1997, Victoria suffered extreme body issues and anorexia, which is why her parents encouraged her to take some time off before pursuing her undergraduate degree. “I needed time to sort things out and get my balance back again,” she told Hello magazine. “I needed to get to know myself, discover where my limits were, not constantly push myself too much.”
In 1998, Victoria was accepted into Yale University in Connecticut and set off for the United States with her then-boyfriend, Daniel Collert. During her time in the United States, she interned at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., and later completed a program at the Government Offices. She then returned to Sweden and, after breaking things off with Collert, studied agriculture and forestry, and completed basic soldier training with the Swedish Armed Forces International Centre.
After finishing her studies, Victoria took on more roles within the Swedish Royal Family and filled her agenda with official engagements including Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs meetings and councils with government ministers. She also started traveling abroad on official visits to promote Swedish tourism and innovation, which is exactly why the princess was prescribed regular training sessions at the gym to ensure she stayed healthy after years of battling anorexia. Luckily, that’s exactly what set the stage for the Princess’s royal love affair.
In May 2002, a Swedish newspaper reported that Victoria had a new boyfriend, her personal trainer and Master Training gym owner, Daniel Westling. While many were thrilled to see Victoria final happy, the match wasn’t exactly easy since Westling wasn’t from the same royal circle as the princess. “Their relationship came as a big surprise,” journalist Johan T. Lindwall said in his breaking story. “Daniel came from a totally different background to Victoria. Everyone said it would never work.”
Despite his lack of royal blood, the relationship did work as Westling was quickly educated and transformed from the man startled by the paparazzi’s attention in 2002 to the handsome young Prince at the end of the aisle waiting on his future bride in 2010. So, how did it happen? Over the couple’s eight-year relationship, Westling learned the ins and outs of the Royal Family and ultimately proved his worth to the King who, at the time, was “determined not to admit a tongue-tied commoner from the forests into the royal fold.” Thankfully, a committee of courtiers helped transform Westling in what many called the “Prince’s School.”
Learning English, French, and German while also studying Swedish history and political science, Westling worked with a public relations company to refine his image. The transformation was undeniable as The Telegraph reported, “He is barely recognizable from the young man we saw in 2002. The courtiers taught him how to eat, what to say, how to stand. The people like Daniel and they like Victoria, too, especially the young who are impressed with her concern for the environment. As a couple, they are almost too perfect, but he really is squeaky clean…”
On February 24, 2009, Crown Princess Victoria received the required consent from King Carl XVI Gustaf and the Government of Sweden for marriage, an act that is required according to the Swedish Act of Succession. Moments after, the couple announced their engagement and began planning “Europe’s biggest royal wedding since the Prince of Wales married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.” The venue was set for Stockholm Cathedral for June 29, 2010, which was the 34th wedding anniversary of the Princess’s parents with 2010 also marking the 200th year since Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte became heir presumptive to the Swedish throne. This made the occasion even more spectacular as royal family expert and author Stan Hedman reported, “It really was like a fairytale—Princess Victoria kissed her gym trainer and got a prince!”
Prior to the royal wedding, the church parish announced its plans to renovate the cathedral from January to April 2010 and spent over 12.4 million Swedish kronor ($1.4 million USD) to do exactly that. The Palace also announced its plans to hold a Love Stockholm 2010 festival from June 6 to June 19, 2010 to celebrate the Crown Princess of Sweden and the future Duke of Vastergotland. The festival had a variety of events, music acts, art, and food for residents and visitors leading up to the Princess’s big day. The Parliament of Sweden also jumped in on the celebration and held a gala performance at the Stockholm Concert Hall where the couple was honored with performances by famous Swedish bands and artists.
The wedding itself lived up to royal expectations as Victoria emerged wearing a duchess satin white dress with a 16-foot train topped with the same Swedish cameo tiara that her mother, Queen Silvia, and her paternal aunts wore during their own weddings. With over 1,100 guests in attendance and millions more watching on television, Princess Victoria made her way down the aisle with her father, who handed her over to Daniel in front of the archbishop. After the ceremony, Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel walked under crossed swords as they stepped out of the cathedral. From there, they entered the carriage in a procession that transported them throughout the streets of Stockholm in front of 19 musical bands and over 500,000 people. They proceeded in the royal barge over Stockholm’s waters as 18 fighter jets flew across the sky before the barge landed at the royal palace where the couple partied the evening away with their royal guests, family, and friends.
While not many of Daniel’s family and friends from Ockelbo could attend the ceremony, they managed to celebrate with the biggest party in the town’s history as over 15,000 guests traveled to the sleepy village to eat wild boar barbecue and watch the ceremony on the outdoor big screen. “The Swedish people like this, a commoner becoming a prince,” one attendee said. “It will make them feel closer to the monarchy.”
The monarchy’s popularity soared after the wedding as Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel moved into Haga Palace and resumed their responsibilities with the royal family. In 2011, the Swedish Royal Court confirmed the couple was expecting their first child in March 2012. Princess Victoria, however, refused to step away from her duties and worked continuously throughout her pregnancy only taking one day of maternity leave the day before she gave birth to Princess Estelle, Duchess of Ostergötland, on February 23, 2012. Three years later, Princess Victoria announced her second pregnancy and, on March 2, 2016, welcomed her son, Prince Oscar, Duke of Skane, into the world.
Apart from her role as a wife and mother, Crown Princess Victoria takes her royal responsibilities incredibly serious and uses her own experience with eating disorders and body issues to encourage other women to practice self-face. “I had eating disorders and was aware of it, my anguish was enormous,” she often says during speaking engagements for young women. “I, Victoria, didn’t exist. It felt like everything in my life and around me was controlled by others. The one thing I could control was the food I put in me. Now I’m feeling well and with the insights I’ve acquired through this, I can hopefully help someone else.” We have no doubt she’ll help many women around the world by sharing her story!