by Susan Flantzer
Sofia Kristina Hellqvist is the wife of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, the second child and only son of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden. She was born on December 6, 1984, in Täby, Sweden and is the second of the three daughters of Eric and Marie Hellqvist. Sofia has an older sister Lina and a younger sister Sarah. She grew up in Älvdalen, Dalarna, Sweden. Sofia attended high school in nearby Vansbro and was involved in dance, theater, and music.
When she was 18, Sofia moved to Stockholm where she worked as a waitress and a glamour model. Two years later, she did a risqué photo shoot for the men’s magazine Slitz and was later voted Miss Slitz 2004 by the readers. In 2005, Sofia appeared on the Swedish reality show Paradise Hotel. Sofia’s modeling and her appearance on Paradise Hotel were controversial after she became associated with Prince Carl Philip. She addressed this in the documentary The Year with the Royal Family: “Much has been written [about it] over the years, not only following our engagement. For me it’s pretty boring, it happened ten years ago and I moved on with my life. But no regrets. All experiences build a person, although I wouldn’t do it now if you asked me.”
After appearing in Paradise Hotel, Sofia moved to New York where she trained to become a certified yoga teacher at Yoga To The People and then started a yoga center. She also studied at the New York Institute of English and Business, where she trained in accounting with a focus on business development. Sofia has also studied global ethics and child and youth studies at Stockholm University.
In September and October of 2009, Sofia did volunteer work in Ghana where she visited orphanages and helped build a women’s center. In 2010, Sofia and Frida Vesterberg founded Project Playground, an organization that helps disadvantaged children and adolescents in South Africa. The organization does much good work and Sofia’s sister Lina Hellqvist is the organization’s project coordinator.
In August of 2010, the Swedish Royal Court released a statement confirming that Sofia and Prince Carl Philip had a relationship. In the documentary The Year with the Royal Family, Prince Carl Philip explains how the couple met: “I was eating with friends in Baastad. Sofia was there with a friend and our friends knew each other. We started with a shy greeting and everything followed.”
In April of 2011, the couple moved in together at a private estate in Djurgården, Sweden and the Swedish Royal Court confirmed this two months later. Sofia and Prince Carl Philip became engaged on June 27, 2014, and were married on June 13, 2015, at the Royal Chapel in the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Read more about the wedding here!
On October 15, 2015, the Swedish Royal Court announced that Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia were expecting their first child. In early April 2016, Carl Philip and Sofia moved from their apartment on Djurgården to Sjoflygeln (Lake Wing) on the grounds of Drottningholm Palace.
Princess Sofia gave birth to a son on April 19, 2016. Two days later at a special Cabinet meeting, King Carl Gustaf announced the baby’s names and title – HRH Prince Alexander Erik Hubertus Bertil, Duke of Södermanland.
On March 23, 2017, the Swedish Royal Court announced that Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia were expecting their second child in September 2017. Their second son His Royal Highness Prince Gabriel Carl Walther, Duke of Dalarna was born on August 31, 2017.