Princess Lilian of Sweden, whose romance with husband Prince Bertil became one of Sweden’s best-known love stories, has died at the age of 97.
However, they faced objections to their relationship because of the prince’s obligations to the throne and Lilian’s status as a divorced commoner. They had to wait until 1976 to get married.
In 2010, it was announced she had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Princess Lilian was born Lilian Davies in Swansea in August 1915 and moved to London aged 16 to follow a modelling career. She was married to actor Ivan Craig when she met Prince Bertil in London in 1943.
The couple fell in love in what Swedish media described as a real-life Cinderella story. She divorced her British husband two years later.
However, Prince Bertil’s father, King Gustaf VI Adolf, refused to give his blessing for the couple to get married.
The prince’s elder brother died in a plane crash in 1947 and another brother had also married a commoner, giving up his right to the throne. Bertil was next in line to the throne until his nephew came of age. Carl Gustaf eventually became king in 1973.
The king feared that had Prince Bertil married a commoner, the royal dynasty’s survival would be jeopardised.
It took more than 30 years before they could marry, when they both had reached their sixties.
The couple were popular with the Swedish public.
Prince Bertil died in 1997 and Lilian later wrote about the difficulties of their life together.
They did not have any children, which Princess Lilian’s late husband described as “rather sad”.
Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said that a “much loved and appreciated member of the royal family has now passed away”.