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Princess Estelle of Sweden

February 24, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
In another half century, queens will sit on the remaining thrones in Europe, judging from all the little girls who are heirs to thrones. That's assuming, of course, that there is still royalty in Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway and Sweden when the year 2062 rolls around.

The most recent queen-to-be was born Thursday in Sweden to Crown Princess Victoria and her husband, Prince Daniel, who was formerly Daniel Westling, the princess's personal trainer. The little girl's name is Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary. A spokeswoman for the couple said in a rather pointed statement that the royal couple has chosen four names that they think are beautiful. Not everyone agrees. The name Estelle in particular irritates royal buffs, who expected a more Swedish name like Christina or Astrid. Estelle apparently has a lower class image in certain European circles. Historian Herman Lindqvist told Swedish reporters that the name is just awful. "It sounds like a night club queen," he sniffed. "It is completely against all Swedish tradition." He can't imagine a Swedish Queen Estelle.

It's probably very American of me to enjoy all the hand wringing of the Swedish establishment. I kind of like the name. In the United States, Estelle just sounds a little bit elderly, though maybe coming back into fashion. Commentators are pointing out that Estelle has some meaning for the Swedish royal family, since Estelle was the name of the American-born wife of the king's godfather, Count Folke Bernadotte, a U.N. mediator in the Israeli-Arab conflict who was assassinated in Jerusalem in 1948.

Since I like both names and royal history, I was probably one of the few Americans who bothered to look any of this up this morning. I think chances are pretty good Sweden will keep its monarchy since they, like other European countries, seem to like the royals, despite their occasional grumbling. The Swedes are also distant cousins of the British Prince William, the only royalty that most Americans are familiar with, since they're all descended from the famous Queen Victoria.

Minot residents might have some passing interest in Scandinavian, royalty, though, since Norwegian royals have occasionally visited the Norsk Hostfest in Minot. Maybe young Princess Estelle will be a guest of honor at some future Norsk Hostfest.


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