|Duchess of Halland|
|Born||Lillian May Davies|
30 August 1915
Swansea, United Kingdom
|Died||10 March 2013 (aged 97)|
|Burial||16 March 2013|
(m. 1940; div. 1945)
(m. 1976; died 1997)
|Father||William John Davies|
|Mother||Gladys Mary Curran|
Princess Lilian of Sweden, Duchess of Halland (born Lillian May Davies, later Craig; 30 August 1915 - 10 March 2013), was a Welsh fashion model who became a member of the Swedish royal family through her 1976 marriage to Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland (1912-1997). As such, she was a paternal aunt of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and a maternal aunt of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
Lillian May Davies was born on 30 August 1915, in Swansea, South Wales, the daughter of William John Davies and his wife Gladys Mary (née Curran). She dropped one 'l' from her first name when she became a fashion model. She was photographed for fashion magazines such as Vogue. Her parents separated in the 1920s, but they were not divorced until 1939.
In 1940 Lilian married the Scottish actor Ivan Craig (1912–1995) in Horsham, West Sussex. Shortly after their wedding, Craig joined the British Army and left for Africa, where he saw active service during the Second World War. In his absence, Lilian worked in a factory that made radios for the Royal Navy and at a hospital for wounded soldiers.
In 1943, she met the Swedish Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland, in London, reportedly at a cocktail party for her 28th birthday. Soon after their meeting, they became lovers although she was still married to Craig. When she and her husband were reunited after the war, Craig expressed his wish to marry another woman, and they were amicably divorced on 7 November 1947.
Bertil's older brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, was second-in-line to the Swedish throne; but he died in 1947. As Gustaf Adolf's son, Carl Gustaf, was less than one year old, it seemed likely that, when the king died, Bertil would have to serve as regent (other heirs having given up their places in the line of succession because of marriages not acceptable to the king). For this reason, Bertil chose not to marry Lilian, so the couple simply lived together discreetly for more than thirty years. In 1946, Prince Bertil acquired a house in Sainte-Maxime, France, that became their private retreat.
Bertil never had to become regent, since his father, the king (who ascended the throne in 1950), lived long enough to see his grandson, Carl Gustaf, come of age. Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden ascended the throne in 1973, and, having married a commoner himself, he approved Bertil's and Lilian's marriage, meaning that Bertil would be able to keep his titles and place in the line of succession, and that Lillian would become a princess. They were married on 7 December 1976 at the church of Drottningholm Palace in the presence of the king and the queen.
Prince Bertil died on 5 January 1997 in their home. From 1997 until 2010 Lilian continued to represent the royal family at various engagements and other occasions. She was the patron of many organizations. In 2000, Lilian released a biography of her life with Bertil.
In August 2008, Lilian fell and broke her femur in her apartment; and, in February 2009, she again suffered a fall in her home. It was announced on 3 June 2010, that Lilian was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and was no longer able to appear in public. She lived out her final years at Villa Solbacken, her longtime home in the Djurgården area of Stockholm, attended by three nurses.
Lilian died in Stockholm on 10 March 2013 at age 97, sixteen years after her husband. The Royal Palace did not give a cause of death, but Lilian had been in poor health for several years. Her death came as the royal family was preparing for Princess Madeleine's wedding, and the family interrupted what they were doing to spend her last moments with her.
Her 16 March funeral was broadcast live on SVT. It was attended by her nephew and niece-in-law the King and the Queen of Sweden; her nieces the Queen of Denmark, Princess Margaretha, Princess Birgitta, Princess Désirée, and Princess Christina; her grandnieces Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Madeleine; and her grandnephew and grandnephew-in-law Prince Carl Philip and Prince Daniel.Princess Astrid of Norway was also in attendance, as were her friends Roger Moore and his Swedish wife Kiki Tholstrup.
Media related to Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland at Wikimedia Commons