Surely it will not be necessary for me to write an account of the wedding of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O’Neill tonight, but one aspect which might be worth commenting on is that the groom was made a Commander of the Order of the Polar Star (second class) by King Carl Gustaf on 6 June.
The Vasa Order and the Sword Order are now dormant, meaning that the Order of the Polar Star is now the second highest ranking Swedish order. Since the introduction of the new Constitution in 1975 the King has been forbidden to give orders to Swedish citizens, while orders may still be given to foreigners.
That meant that King Carl Gustaf in 1976 gave the Order of the Seraphim to his fiancée Silvia Sommerlath before the wedding, when she was still a German citizen, and likewise gave the Grand Cross of the Order of the Polar Star to Lilian Craig before she married Prince Bertil and thereby relinquished her British citizenship.
It was only in 1995 that an exception was made for members of the royal house, making it possible for the King to invest his three children with the Order of the Seraphim on their eighteenth birthdays in 1995, 1997 and 2000 and to give it to Princess Lilian on her eightieth birthday in 1995.
This exception also meant that it was only on his way out of the Cathedral after having married Crown Princess Victoria and thus become a prince and a member of the royal house that Prince Daniel was given the Order of the Seraphim.
As Christopher O’Neill did not become a member of the royal house and is a foreign citizen no such restrictions applied in his case. But the fact that he did not become a member of the royal house obviously also made it more natural to give him the Order of the Polar Star rather than the highest-ranking order.
This also has a precedence, as three of King Carl Gustaf’s brothers-in-law - John Ambler, Baron Niclas Silfverschiöld and Tord Magnuson - were made Commanders of the Vasa Order when they married princesses Margaretha, Désirée and Christina in, respectively, 1964, 1964 and 1974.
On the other hand, Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern was, apparently much to his own surprise, given the Order of the Seraphim by King Gustaf VI Adolf when he married Princess Birgitta in 1961. At the same time the Order of the Seraphim was also awarded to his elder brother, Friedrich Wilhelm, while their father, who had been given the Seraphim as early as 1936, received the collar of the order. The reason for this was obviously that Princess Birgitta, unlike her sisters, married a prince and thus herself remained a Royal Highness and a member of the royal house.
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