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Queen Silvia of Sweden

From Academic Kids

Queen Silvia of Sweden

Her Majesty Queen Silvia of Sweden (Silvia Renate Bernadotte, née Sommerlath, born 23 December 1943) is the wife 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.

Contents

Childhood

Born Silvia Renate Sommerlath, the queen is the only daughter of (Carl August) Walther Sommerlath, a German businessman who became the president of the Brazilian subsidiary of the Swedish steel-parts manufacturer Uddeholm. Her mother was Alice Soares de Toledo, a Brazilian. She was raised in São Paulo, Brazil, between 1947 and 1957, at which time her family returned to Germany.

Career

Before her marriage to the king of Sweden, Silvia Sommerlath worked at the Argentinian 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, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. She also is largely fluent in sign language for the deaf.

Marriage

Missing image
Silvialogo.PNG
Queen Silvia's monogram

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" [sic] when they met.

After the death of Gustav VI Adolf on September 14, 1973, Carl Gustav was crowned on September 19 that year. He and Silvia announced their engagement on March 12, 1976 and were married three months later, on June 19, in Storkyrkan Cathedral in Stockholm. It was the first marriage of a reigning Swedish monarch since 1797. This was necessary, because if the King had married Silvia, who did not have the proper heredity, before being crowned, it would have rendered him ineligible for the crown. In celebration of the wedding, the internationally famous popgroup ABBA performed the song Dancing Queen on Swedish television the night before the ceremony.

The King and Queen of Sweden have three children:

  1. Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Vastgosterland (born 1977)
  2. Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Wermelandia (born 1979)
  3. Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Helsingia and Gestricia (born 1982)

Relationship with 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 Stockholm 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 1937, 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 (July 20, 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."

Charity Involvement

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 "Deutsche Kulturpreis" for her work for the handicapped. The Queen is also an honorary board member of the international Mentor Foundation, that works against drug use in adolescents and young adults.

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."

Related topics

External links

sv:Drottning Silvia

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