Photo Credit – “Carl Johan Bernadotte 2010″ by Atlantic Chef – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Carl_Johan_Bernadotte_2010.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Carl_Johan_Bernadotte_2010.jpg
The last surviving great grandchild of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Prince Carl Johan Arthur of Sweden, Duke of Dalarna was born on October 31, 1916 at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. At the time of his birth his parents, the future King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden and Princess Margaret of Connaught, were the Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden. Carl Johan’s mother was the daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and therefore a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Carl Johan was the youngest of his parents’ five children. He had had three brothers and one sister:
- Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten (April 22, 1906 – January 26, 1947), married Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha; had issue including King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
- Prince Sigvard, Duke of Uppland (June 7, 1907 – February 4, 2002) later Count Sigvard Bernadotte af Wisborg, married three times, had one son
- Princess Ingrid (March 28, 1910 – November 7, 2000), married King Frederick IX of Denmark, had issue including Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
- Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland (February 28, 1912 – January 5, 1997), married Lillian Davies, no issue
In 1920, when Carl Johan’s mother was eight months pregnant with her sixth child, she underwent mastoid surgery. An infection developed which killed Crown Princess Margaret, at the age of 38, and her unborn child on May 1, 1920. Three year old Carl Johan and his elder siblings were left motherless. In 1923, Carl Johan’s father married Lady Louise Mountbatten, daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg (1917 Louis Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Milford Haven) and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. The couple remained childless and became King and Queen of Sweden in 1950.
In 1935, Carl Johan graduated from the Lundsberg School and then did training in the military. He became a second lieutenant in the Mounted Life Guards Regiment, K 1. In 1942, he was stationed with an armored regiment and was nicknamed “The Armor Prince.” Carl Johan served in the army reserves from 1945 – 1948. During the same time period, he studied and worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and served as an attaché in Paris.
Carl Johan in army maneuvers in 1938; Photo Credit – Wikipedia
In 1939, Prince Carl Johan met the recently divorced Swedish journalist Kerstin Wijkmark (link translated by Google Translator). When the couple became engaged, Carl Johan asked his grandfather King Gustaf V for permission to marry and the king strongly refused to give his consent. The couple found it impossible to marry in Sweden. Because of World War II, travel was difficult and the wedding was delayed. The marriage finally took place on February 19, 1946 at the Riverside Church in New York City. Because of the marriage, Carl Johan lost his style and title His Royal Highness Prince of Sweden and subsequently was styled His Excellency Carl Johan Bernadotte. In 1951, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg created him a Count of Wisborg in the Luxembourg nobility.
The couple resided for many years in New York and London. They had no children, but adopted a boy and a girl, who bear the surname Bernadotte, but have no styles or titles:
- Monica Kristina Margaretha Bernadotte (born 5 March 5, 1948, adopted in 1951) married 1976 and divorced in 1997 Count Johan Peder Bonde af Björnö, had issue
- Christian Carl Henning Bernadotte (born December 3, 1949, adopted in 1950) married 1980 Marianne Jenny, had issue
After his marriage, Carl Johan had a career as a businessman. He had executive positions with Anglo-Nordic Tractor, Sundstrand International , Sundstrand Deutschland GmbH, Sundstrand International SA, and OSEC Petroleum AG. Eventually, the relationship between Carl Johan’s wife Kerstin and his father King Gusat VI Adolf improved and Kerstin even wrote a book about her father-in-law in 1967. In 1973, Carl Johan bought a summer home Villa Kungsberga in Bastad, Sweden He also had an apartment in Stockholm and a winter home Villa Varghem at Lund Farm, near Tistad Castle outside Nyköping, Sweden. After a long illness, Kerstin died on September 11, 1987 at the couple’s home in Bastad. She was buried in Bastad and not in the Royal Burial Grounds in Haga.
On September 29, 1988, Carl Johan married Gunnila Bussler, born Countess Gunnila Wachtmeister af Johannishus (link translated by Google Translator), the daughter of Count Nils Wachtmeister af Johannishus and wife Baroness Märta de Geer af Leufsta.
Count Carl Johan of Wisborg died on May 5, 2012 at Ängelholm Hospital in Bastad, Sweden at the age of 95. After the funeral service in Bastad, his coffin was taken to the Royal Palace of Stockholm. A service of thanksgiving was held in the palace’s Royal Chapel the next day, and later that afternoon Carl Johan’s remains were interred at the Royal Burial Grounds in Haga in Solna, Sweden. The services were attended by members of the Swedish and Danish royal families. Carl Johan was the uncle of both King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.
Photo Credit – Wikipedia
Wikipedia: Count Carl Johan of Wisborg
Learn more about royalty, past and present here and share your thoughts on our forums.