Queen Silvia of Sweden
- Category : Royalty
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX The Vessel of Love 4
Silvia, Queen of Sweden (born Silvia Renate Sommerlath on 23 December 1943) is the Queen Consort of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Sweden's monarch, and the mother of the heir apparent to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria. She is styled Her Majesty The Queen and is in Sweden most often referred to as Queen Silvia.
Born Silvia Renate Sommerlath, the Queen is the only daughter of the late German Walther Sommerlath, who as a businessman became the president of the Brazilian subsidiary of the Swedish steel-parts manufacturer Uddeholm. Her mother was Alice Soares de Toledo, a Brazilian of Spanish and Portuguese blood who was born in São Paulo. Silvia was born in Heidelberg, Germany during World War II, where her father was a member of the Nazi Party. After the war the family moved to Brazil and Silvia was raised in São Paulo between 1947 and 1957, after which her family returned to Germany.
Before her marriage to the king of Sweden, Silvia Sommerlath worked at the Argentine Consulate in Munich, was an educational host during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, and served as the Deputy Head of Protocol for the Winter Games in Innsbruck in Austria. She also was briefly a flight attendant.
She is an educated interpreter and speaks six languages: Swedish, her native German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. She also is largely fluent in sign language for the deaf.
During the 1972 Summer Olympics, Silvia Sommerlath met Crown Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden. In a later interview, the King explained how it just "clicked" when they met.
After the death of King Gustav VI Adolf on 14 September 1973, Carl Gustav was enthroned on 19 September that year.
He and Silvia announced their engagement on 12 March 1976 and were married three months later, on 19 June in Storkyrkan Cathedral in Stockholm. It was the first marriage of a reigning Swedish monarch since 1797. If he had married Silvia during the reign of his grandfather, King Gustav VI Adolf, he would have lost his position as heir to the Swedish throne. This was due to the inflexibility of his grandfather, who believed royalty must marry royalty. This was also the reason why Carl XVI Gustav's Uncle, Prince Bertil, did not marry until after Gustav VI Adolf's death. (Bertil was second in line to the throne until his nephew produced an heir, and was therefore unable to marry the Welsh commoner, now his widow, Princess Lilian, with whom he had been in love for decades, until 1976.) In celebration of the fortcoming wedding of the king and the soon to be queen, Silvia, the internationally famous popgroup ABBA performed the song Dancing Queen on Swedish television the night before the ceremony, although the song was not actually written for Queen Silvia.
The King and Queen of Sweden have three children:
Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland (born 1977)
Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland (born 1979) (for a brief period, Carl Philip was Crown Prince instead of his elder sister. Victoria gained the title in 1980 after the Swedish constitution was altered)
Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland (born 1982)
Relationship with the press
Though initially cool to the idea of a commoner queen, the Swedish press quickly warmed to Queen Silvia and soon began publishing admiring articles about how easily she fit into the country's expectations of queenly deportment. As the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet noted in 1994, on the occasion of the Queen's 50th birthday, she had revived the popularity of the monarchy. "With Silvia, the republic died. You could put it that way. Even if Silvia's arrival was like kicking someone lying down. Or hitting a guy with glasses. The guy with glasses was mostly to be found with the Social Democrats. A few lines in the party manifesto, ever more vague over the years. It has always been there, but nobody has ever done anything to implement it."
In 2003, Queen Silvia told a Swedish reporter that she and the royal family would like to be more open to contact with magazines and newspapers but that false articles about the family's lives -- including photograph montages purported to show the Crown Princess and Princess Madeleine with their "secret" babies, published in the German magazine "Frau mit Herz" -- had made them wary. As she told the Swedish news agency TT, "If a person is hurt too much, the natural reaction is to withdraw. That is a pity, because I really think our children are very natural and open toward other people and toward journalists."
The previous year, the Queen had become the unwelcome subject of international curiosity when an article published in the syndicalist newspaper Arbetaren in 2002 reported that German state archives record that the queen's father, Walther Sommerlath, joined the Nazi party's foreign wing, the NSDAP/AO, in 1934, when he was living in Brazil and working for a German steel company. Rumors had long circulated about Sommerlath's life and career during World War II, especially so when his daughter's relationship with the future king of Sweden became known, but until his death in 1990, the businessman denied any connection to the Nazi Party. However, study of state records further revealed that Sommerlath, in 1938, became the owner of a steel fabrication plant that "produced components for the German war effort, including parts for Panzers, as well as gas masks," according to the Scotsman (20 July 2002). When the revelations about Walther Sommerlath broke in the Swedish press, a palace spokesman said, "The queen’s father has never been a part of the royal family and therefore I have no comment."
Queen Silvia is involved in numerous charity organizations, especially in the area of disadvantaged children, and has made several public statements about human rights and the sexual exploitation of children. She was a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation in 1999. She also works actively for handicapped, among other things as the Chairman of the Royal Wedding Fund and Queen Silvia's Jubilee Fund. In 1990, she was awarded the prestigious German prize "Deutscher Kulturpreis" for her work for the handicapped. The Queen is also an honorary board member of The Mentor Foundation International, that works against drug use in adolescents and young adults. She is also the Patroness of the "Queen Silvia Fund" operated by the World Scout Foundation which raises funds for Scouts with disabilities.
Her commitment for the work with dementia and the care of elderly people at the end of life is also well known and respected. On her initiative, Silviahemmet was established in Stockholm. It works to educate hospital personnel in how to work with people suffering from dementia, and also initiates research in the area.
The Queen also has brought the subject of dyslexia into the public arena in Sweden. For many years, it was widely rumored that the King has dyslexia. Journalists noted that he misspelled his name when signing his accession document, and in 1973, when visiting a copper mine, he misspelled his name when signing it on a rock wall. In an interview on Swedish television in 1997, the condition was admitted publicly when the Queen addressed the issue. "When he was little, people did not pay attention to the problem," she said. "He didn't get the help he needed."
In recent years the Queen has become a friend of former ABBA-member Anni-Frid Lyngstad, now titled HSH Princess Anni-Frid Reuss von Plauen, due to the Queen's connection to Lyngstad's late husband, Prince Ruzzo Reuss von Plauen, whom Lyngstad married in 1992. In 1976, on the eve of the royal wedding, ABBA performed their hit "Dancing Queen" in a concert for the King and the Queen, dressed in 18th century costume. In 1993, Lyngstad again performed "Dancing Queen" at a celebration of the Queen's fiftieth birthday; this time, Lyngstad performed the song a cappella with the backup support from the Swedish a cappella group The Real Group.