Princess Margaret of Connaught

Princess Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah of Connaught (15 January 1882 1 May 1920) was Crown Princess of Sweden as the first wife of the future King Gustaf VI Adolf. She was the elder daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, and his wife Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia. Known in Sweden as Margareta,[1] her marriage produced five children, and she is the grandmother of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Anne-Marie, former Queen of Greece. She died 30 years before her husband's accession to the throne of Sweden.

Princess Margaret
Crown Princess of Sweden
Duchess of Scania
The Crown Princess c.1900–1905
Born(1882-01-15)15 January 1882
Bagshot Park, Surrey, England
Died1 May 1920(1920-05-01) (aged 38)
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Margaret Victoria Charlotte Augusta Norah
HouseSaxe-Coburg and Gotha
FatherPrince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
MotherPrincess Louise Margaret of Prussia

Early life

The newborn Princess Margaret with her grandmother Queen Victoria in May 1882

Princess Margaret was born at Bagshot Park and baptised in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle on 11 March 1882 by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Her godparents were Queen Victoria (her paternal grandmother); William I, German Emperor (her maternal great-granduncle, who was represented by the German Ambassador, Count Münster); Victoria, Princess Royal (her paternal aunt, who was represented by her sister, Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein); Prince and Princess Friedrich Karl of Prussia (her maternal grandparents, for whom her paternal uncle the Duke of Edinburgh and aunt Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom stood proxy); Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge (who was represented by Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll); the Prince of Wales (her paternal uncle); Prince Charles of Prussia (represented by Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany) and Prince Frederick Charles of Prussia (represented by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh).[2] She was known as "Daisy" to her family.

She was also confirmed in the Private Chapel of Windsor Castle in March 1898.

Princess Margaret's coronet, used at Edward VII's coronation in 1902. Kept at Livrustkammaren in Stockholm.

Princess Margaret grew up as a member of the British royal family, taking part in family holidays and weddings. She was a bridesmaid along with her sister at the wedding of their paternal cousins the Duke and Duchess of York on 6 July 1893.[3]


Wedding of Princess Margaret and Prince Gustaf Adolf in 1905.

When Princess Margaret of Connaught was 23 and her younger sister Princess Patricia of Connaught was 18, both girls were among the most beautiful and eligible princesses in Europe. Their uncle, Edward VII, wanted his nieces to marry a European king or crown prince. In January 1905, the Duke and Duchess of Connaught visited Portugal, where they were received by King Carlos and his wife, Amélie of Orléans, whose sons Luís Filipe, Duke of Braganza and Prince Manuel entertained the young British princesses. The Portuguese expected one of the Connaught princesses would become the future Queen of Portugal.

The Connaughts continued their trip to Egypt and Sudan. In Cairo, they met Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, the future Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, grandson of the Swedish King Oscar II. Originally, Margaret's sister Patricia had been considered a suitable match for Gustaf Adolf; without his knowledge, a meeting was arranged with the two sisters.[4] Gustaf Adolf and Margaret fell in love at first sight; he proposed at a dinner held by Lord Cromer at the British Consulate in Egypt and was accepted. Margaret's parents were very happy with the match.

Gustaf Adolf and Margaret married on 15 June 1905 in St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. [5] The bridal party included the bride's cousin Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg, the young Princess Mary, and the bride's sister, Princess Patricia. The couple spent their honeymoon at Adare Manor in County Limerick, Ireland, and arrived in Sweden on 8 July 1905.[6]

One of Margaret's wedding presents was the Connaught tiara, which remains in the Swedish royal jewellery collection today.[7]

The couple had five children:

Margaret was a dedicated mother to her children, and was determined to spend time with them. She was not keen on letting them be raised by nursery staff, as was the convention of the day.[8]

When Gustaf Adolf's father, Crown Prince Gustaf, acceded to the throne as King Gustaf V in 1907, the couple became Crown Prince and Princess of Sweden.

Crown Princess

Crown Princess Margaret and Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf with their four eldest children in 1912.

The marriage between Margaret and Gustaf Adolf is described as a happy love match.[4] Gustaf Adolf felt great pressure from the "Prussian" military discipline with which he had been raised by his mother, and he was greatly affected by and attracted to Margaret's differing English customs.[4] The visiting Infanta Eulalia of Spain wrote that the Crown Princess gave the Swedish court "just a touch of the elegance of the Court of St James's" and of how much Margaret loved her life in Sweden.[9]

After her arrival in Sweden, Margaret, who in Sweden was called "Margareta", received lessons in the Swedish language, and asked to be educated in Swedish history and social welfare. After two years, she spoke good Swedish. She was also eager to find out more about Sweden, and on many occasions went on incognito trips.[10] During her first years in Sweden, Margaret behaved with great seriousness and was therefore regarded as stiff, but the view of her changed because of her great interest in sports, where she showed a more relaxed and natural manner. Margaret took a great interest in many forms of sports; she used the winters for skiing, ice skating and playing hockey (what is nowadays called bandy), and played tennis and golf during the summers. She also corresponded with various relatives.

Crown Princess Margaret as an amateur photographer in the 1910s with Prince Bertil and Princess Ingrid

Margaret was also interested in art, and was an admirer of the works of Claude Monet.[11] She photographed, painted, and took a great interest in gardening. She and her spouse received Sofiero Palace as a wedding gift, and they spent their summers there and made a great effort creating gardens in an English style on the estate; her children participated in their improvement. In 1915, Margaret as Kronprinsessan Margareta published the book Vår trädgård på Sofiero ("Our Garden at Sofiero") and two years later also Från blomstergården ("From the Flower Garden") illustrated with her own drawings and photographs, which were sold for the benefit of household schools with childcare.

During World War I, Margaret created a sewing society in Sweden to support the Red Cross. The society was called Kronprinsessans Centralförråd för landstormsmäns beklädnad och utrustning ("The Crown Princess's central storage for clothing and equipment of the home guard"), which was to equip the Swedish armed forces with suitable underwear. When paraffin supplies ran low she organized a candle collection, and in November 1917 she instituted a scheme to train girls to work on the land. She also acted as intermediary for relatives separated by the war. With her help, private letters and requests to trace men missing in action were passed on. She was also active in her work on behalf of prisoners. She aided prisoners of war in camps around Europe, especially British nationals. Margaret's efforts during the war were pro-British, in contrast to her mother-in-law's strictly pro-German attitude. In 1917, Margaret organized Margaretainsamlingen för de fattiga ("The Margaret fundraiser for the poor"). At the end of the war, when the final steps towards full democracy were taken in Sweden, Margaret's positive attitude to reform influenced her husband the Crown Prince. Unlike the attitude of her reform-hostile in-laws, King Gustaf and Queen Victoria, this is believed to have eased political tensions and preserved the Swedish monarchy.[12]


Graves of King Gustaf Adolf and his two wives, Margaret and Louise, in the Royal Cemetery on Karlsborg Island in Solna, Sweden

At 2 o'clock in the morning on Saturday, 1 May 1920, her father's 70th birthday, Crown Princess Margaret died suddenly in Stockholm of "blood poisoning" (sepsis). Some time before this she had suffered from measles, which aggravated her ear, and she underwent surgery to remove a mastoid. Since the previous Sunday, she had been suffering from pain in her face from something below her eye, and doctors decided to perform another procedure. On Thursday, symptoms of erysipelas appeared under her right ear. She fell gravely ill on Friday night when symptoms of sepsis became evident, and she died within hours.[13] At the time, she was eight months pregnant with her sixth child. In announcing her death during traditional International Workers' Day celebrations, Swedish Prime Minister Hjalmar Branting said: "the ray of sunshine at Stockholm Palace has gone out" (Solstrålen på Stockholms slott har slocknat).[14][15]

In Britain, there had been reports that Margaret was unhappy in Sweden and there were dubious rumours at her death that it actually had been a suicide.[16]

Princess Margaret was buried according to her specific and detailed wishes, written in 1914. She asked to be buried in her wedding dress and her veil, with a crucifix in her hands, in a simple coffin made from English oak and covered in British and Swedish flags. She requested that there should be no lying-in-state after her death.[17]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

In the United Kingdom:

  • 15 January 1882 – 15 June 1905: Her Royal Highness Princess Margaret of Connaught
  • 15 June 1905 – 8 December 1907: Her Royal Highness Princess Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden[18]

In Sweden:

  • 15 June 1905 – 8 December 1907: Her Royal Highness Princess Margareta, Duchess of Scania[citation needed]
  • 8 December 1907 – 1 May 1920: Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden, Duchess of Scania[citation needed]



Upon her marriage in 1905, Princess Margaret adopted the arms of a Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Scania, with an inescutcheon of her previous arms: the arms of the United Kingdom, with an inescutcheon of Saxony, the whole differenced by a label argent of five points, the first and fifth bearing fleurs-de-lys azure, the second and fourth shamrocks vert, and the central point a cross gules.[19]

Margaret's coat of arms as a British princess

Margaret's coat of arms as
Crown Princess of Sweden


Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten22 April 190626 January 1947Father of Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.
Prince Sigvard, Duke of Uppland7 June 19074 February 2002Later Sigvard Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg.
Princess Ingrid28 March 19107 November 2000Later Queen consort of Denmark; mother of the present Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and former Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland28 February 19125 January 1997Married Lilian Davies; no issue.
Prince Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna31 October 19165 May 2012Later Carl Johan Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg; married twice, had adopted issue. He was the last living great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and Albert, Prince Consort.



  1. Från blomstergården (From the Flower Garden) a book by Margareta kronprinsessa av Sverige published by Norstedts in 1917
  2. "Court Circular". The Times. 13 March 1882. p. 8.
  3. "The Duke and Duchess of York and Bridesmaids". National Portrait Gallery.
  4. Lars Elgklou (Swedish): Bernadotte. Historien - och historier - om en familj (English: "Bernadotte. The history - and stories - of a family") Askild & Kärnekull Förlag AB, Stockholm 1978. ISBN 91-7008-882-9.
  5. "Marriage". St George's Windsor. Retrieved 5 August 2020.
  6. "THE ROYAL HONEYMOON". Cheshire Observer. 24 June 1905. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  7. "Connaught Tiara". Crown Princess Victoria. 15 June 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  8. Van der Kiste, John (1996). Northern Crowns: The Kings of Modern Scandinavia. ISBN 9780750911382., p. 77
  9. Van der Kiste, p. 76-77
  10. Van der Kiste, p. 76
  11. Van der Kiste, p. 77
  12. (in Swedish) Lars Elgklou, Bernadotte. Historien - och historier - om en familj. Askild & Kärnekull Förlag AB, Stockholm. 1978. ISBN 91-7008-882-9.
  13. "Crown Princess of Sweden – Death After Short Illness". The Times. 3 May 1920. p. 15.
  14. John Van der Kiste in Northern Crowns; the Kings of Modern Scandinavia ISBN 0-7509-1138-7 p 78
  15. Bernadotte, Wieselgren & Ohlmarks in Sveriges hundra konungar, Biblioteksböcker, Stockholm 1956, p. 563
  16. David Williamson in Debrett's Kings and Queens of Europe ISBN 0-86350-194-X p. 136
  17. "Princess Margaret's Last Wishes – Wedding Dress as Shroud". The Times. 10 May 1920. p. 11.
  19. Heraldica – British Royalty Cadency

Further reading