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22 May 2013

Wedding Wednesday: The Haga Princesses, Part 1

In their youth, they were known as the Haga Princesses: Princesses Margaretha (born 1934), Birgitta (1937), Désirée (1938), and Christina (1943) of Sweden, the four older sisters of King Carl XVI Gustaf. Born to Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla, they lost their father young - he died in a plane crash in 1947, returning from a hunting trip in the Netherlands - and grew up at Haga Palace, hence the nickname. (Haga Palace is now home to Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, who are raising a Haga princess of their own.) The princesses take a backseat to the King and his family these days, but this was not always the case. Their four royal weddings will span two of our Wednesday features.

HRH Princess Birgitta of Sweden and HSH Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern
May 25 & 30, 1961
Stockholm, Sweden & Sigmaringen, Germany
Birgitta was the first to marry. The pretty princess was said to have rejected a proposal from the Shah of Iran, who was on the hunt for a third wife, before accepting one from Prince Johann Georg. Birgitta and Hansi, as he is known, met while she was in Germany to polish her language skills and married in two ceremonies: one royal wedding for Sweden, and one for Germany.
The civil wedding
First came the civil ceremony, held at the Royal Palace in Stockholm with all the trappings of a regular one day royal wedding. Birgitta wore her wedding gown, a creation in thick pale ivory silk duchesse with a wide neckline, three-quarter sleeves, and a slim waist above a full skirt and a train of around 4 meters. The simple dress was made by Märtaskolan, a dressmaking school that also produced couture creations. In Sweden, Birgitta wore the Cameo Tiara, becoming the first in the line of modern Swedish brides that have used the interesting diadem as a bridal tiara. She paired this with a simple but voluminous tulle veil.
The civil wedding (left) and religious (right)
For the religious ceremony, held in accordance with the strict Catholic beliefs of the groom's family, the festivities shifted to Germany. Birgitta brought her wedding gown and veil with her - though transferring a bridal ensemble proved to be a stressful affair, as her petticoat was forgotten in Sweden and had to be rushed to her in time for the wedding. She switched to a Hohenzollern tradition for her diadem, wearing the family's bridal crown.
The religious wedding
The couple are still married, though they are open about the fact that they live separate lives - him in Germany, her in Mallorca where she focuses on her passion for golf. They have three children together and can be spotted in Sweden for big royal family events.

HRH Princess Désirée of Sweden and Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld
June 5, 1964
Stockholm, Sweden
Next to marry was Princess Désirée, whose beau was a member of the Swedish nobility. They wed in Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan - recently, the location of Crown Princess Victoria's wedding). Interestingly, Désirée's wedding dress was in fact a repeat: she wore her sister Birgitta's gown.
She too wore the Cameo Tiara, but added a second family tradition in the form of Queen Sofia's lace veil, which has been worn by multiple Swedish royal brides. She wore the precious lace veil under another layer of veil, in simple tulle.
Désirée lost the styling of royal highness following her non-royal marriage, thanks to the rules of the royal house at that time (Princess Birgitta was the only one of the Haga Princesses to keep that styling following her marriage). She is known as Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld, and still lives in Sweden, though like Birgitta we see her primarily at larger royal family events. The couple has three children.

Which sister's take on this gown is your favorite?

Next week: the remaining two princesses.

Photos: Scanpix/TimeLife/Getty Images