Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (18 January 1908 – 28 November 1972) was the mother of the current King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf. A member of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Sibylla became a Swedish princess by marrying Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, who did not live to ascend the Swedish throne.
Princess Sibylla (standing center) with her parents and siblings in 1918.
Sibylla (then Sibylle) was born at Schloss Friedenstein on 18 January 1908 as the elder daughter and second child of Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and Princess Victoria Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein, a daughter of Princess Karoline Mathilde of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, and descended from an older Scandinavian royal house. Through her father, she was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Her paternal grandfather was Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany, the youngest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.
In November 1931, Sibylla was in London to attend the wedding of Lady May Abel Smith as a bridesmaid. One of the other bridesmaids was Ingrid of Sweden, who introduced Sibylla to her brother, Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Duke of Västerbotten. Their engagement was announced at Callenberg Castle in Coburg 16 June 1932.
Wedding of Princess Sibylla and Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden in Coburg in 1932.
On 19 October in Coburg, Sibylla married her second cousin Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Duke of Västerbotten, in a civil ceremony, followed by a church wedding the day after. Gustaf Adolf was the eldest son of Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden (later Gustaf VI Adolf) and Princess Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Both Sibylla and Gustaf Adolf were great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria. Sibylla never became Crown Princess herself since her husband died before his grandfather (King Gustav V). The wedding was celebrated in an official manner in Coburg, as President Hindenburg had ordered that no honours should be spared. However, as the city of Coburg was dominated by the Nazi party at the time, the celebrations there were Nazi influenced, which made a very bad impression in Sweden. The ceremony took place at St. Moriz. The couple spent their honeymoon in Italy before arriving in Stockholm on 25 November 1932.
Princess of Sweden
The couple settled at Haga Palace, and their four daughters were to be commonly known during their childhood as the "Hagaprinsessorna" (English: "The Haga Princesses"). Sibylla began her royal duties only two days after her arrival, when, assisted by Princess Ingrid, she presented a prize to the winner of a fencing tournament. Sibylla shared her husband's enthusiasm for sport and outdoor activities, and the couple owned a cottage in at Ingarö and another one in Storlien. Sibylla was also a keen supporter of the Swedish Girl Guides movement. She is shown in a photo wearing a Guide uniform with her husband at a reception (see his article).
Among her official assignments were the chairmanship of Sällskapet Barnavård (English: "The Childcare Society") in 1948 and the honorary chairmanship of the Hörselfrämjandet (English: "The Hearing Society") in 1935; the Sveriges flickscoutråd (English: "The Swedish Girls Scouts") in 1939; Kvinnliga bilkåren (English: "The Women's Automobile Force") in 1939; the Stiftelsen Solstickan (English: "The Solstickan Society") in 1941; and the Stiftelsen Drottning Victorias Vilohem på Öland (English: "The Queen Victoria Resting Home in Öland") in 1951. In 1938, she founded the Prinsessan Sibyllas S:t Martin-stiftelse (English: "The Princess Sibylla Foundation of St Martin").
Grave of Sibylla and Gustaf Adolf on Karlsborg Island in Solna, Sweden
Sibylla became a widow in 1947 when Gustaf Adolf died in an airplane crash at the Copenhagen Airport in Denmark. Their only son, Carl Gustaf, became second-in-line to the throne at the age of nine months and, later, Crown Prince at the age of four. In 1950, Sybilla moved from Haga to the Royal Palace of Stockholm. During the summers, she stayed at Solliden. During these years, she developed an interest in environmental issues.
After her stepmother-in-law Queen Louise died in 1965, Sibylla became the senior Royal Princess of Sweden, acting in a supporting role for her father-in-law, King Gustaf VI Adolf. During these years, she enjoyed somewhat more popularity, as she was more exposed, and as her humour and sense of self-irony became more known and appreciated. She continued with the so-called "Democratic ladies lunches" for career women instigated by Queen Louise in 1962 as a replacement for the court presentation.
Sibylla died in Stockholm of cancer less than a year before her son ascended to the throne.
Sibylla and Gustaf Adolf had five children:
Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler
31 October 1934
married John Kenneth Ambler
Princess Birgitta of Sweden
19 January 1937
married Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern
Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld
2 June 1938
married Baron Nils-August Otto Carl Niclas Silfverschiöld
Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson
3 August 1943
married Tord Gösta Magnuson
King Carl XVI Gustaf
30 April 1946
married Silvia Sommerlath
Titles, styles and honours
18 January 1908 – 28 March 1919: Her Royal Highness Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Princess of United Kingdom
28 March 1919 - 19 October 1932: Her Highness Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
19 October 1932 – 26 January 1947: Her Royal Highness Princess Sibylla of Sweden, Duchess of Vasterbotten
26 January 1947 - 28 November 1972: Her Royal Highness Princess Sibylla of Sweden, Dowager Duchess of Vasterbotten
House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha: Knight Grand Cross of the Saxe-Ernestine House Order
Sweden: Member Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Seraphim (LoK av KMO)
Sweden: Member of the Royal Family Order of King Gustaf V
Sweden: Member of the Royal Family Order of King Gustaf VI Adolf
West Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, Special Issue
Netherlands: Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
 wearing the medal of the order on her left chest