Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten

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Prince Gustaf Adolf
Duke of Västerbotten
A-portrait-of-Prince-Gustavus-Adolphus-352025366322.jpg
Gustaf Adolf in 1932
BornPrince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden
(1906-04-22)22 April 1906
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Died26 January 1947(1947-01-26) (aged 40)
Kastrup Airfield, Copenhagen, Denmark
Burial4 February 1947
Spouse
(m. 1932)
IssuePrincess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler
Princess Birgitta
Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld
Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson
Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Names
Gustaf Adolf Oscar Fredrik Arthur Edmund
HouseBernadotte
FatherGustaf VI Adolf, King of Sweden
MotherPrincess Margaret of Connaught

Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten (Gustaf Adolf Oscar Fredrik Arthur Edmund; 22 April 1906 – 26 January 1947) was a Swedish prince, who for most of his life was second in the line of succession to the Swedish throne. He was the eldest son of Gustaf VI Adolf, who was crown prince for most of his son's life and ascended the Swedish throne three years after his son's death. The current king, Carl XVI Gustaf, is Prince Gustaf Adolf's son. The prince was killed on 26 January 1947 in an airplane crash at Kastrup Airport, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Early life[edit]

Gustaf Adolf wears the Swedish royal christening gown at his christening in 1906. He is held by his great-grandfather with his grandfather and father standing behind.

Gustaf Adolf was born in Stockholm on 22 April 1906 as the eldest son of the then Prince Gustaf Adolf and his first wife Princess Margaret. He was known by his last given name, Edmund, in the family.

Gustaf Adolf passed studentexamen at Stockholm Palace in 1925 and attended the Cavalry Officer Candidate School (Kavalleriets officersaspirantskola, KavOAS) in Eksjö the following year and in 1926–1927 the Royal Military Academy. He was then commissioned as fänrik in the Svea Life Guards (I 1) and the Life Regiment Dragoons (K 2) and in 1928 in the Life Regiment of Horse (K 1).[1] Gustaf Adolf continued his military training and became major in the General Staff Corps, Svea Life Guards, and the Life Regiment of Horse in 1941[2] In 1943, he became lieutenant colonel in the General Staff Corps, in Svea Life Guards, in Västerbotten Regiment and in the Swedish Cavalry.[3] He was lieutenant colonel at his death.[1]

Interests and royal duties[edit]

September 7–8 in 1940, Finland, Sweden and Germany played a triathlon match at the Helsinki Olympic Stadium, built for the 1940 Summer Olympics that were cancelled due to World War II. From the left, the chairman of the Finnish Athletics Federation Urho Kekkonen, Marshal Gustav Mannerheim, president of the Swedish Olympic Committee Prince Gustaf Adolf, Prime Minister Risto Ryti and Reich Sports Leader Hans von Tschammer und Osten.

Gustaf Adolf, who served as president of the Swedish Olympic Committee from 1933 until his death in 1947,[4][5] had competed in show jumping at the 1936 Summer Olympics.[6]

Gustaf Adolf joined the Boy Scouts, and as an adult became a Scoutmaster. He earned his Wood Badge beads at Gilwell Park in England. When the Svenska Scoutrådet formed he served as its first president or Chief Scout.[7] He led the Swedish contingents at the 5th World Scout Jamboree in 1937 and at the World Scout Moot in 1939. He served on the World Scout Committee from May 1937 until his death.[8][9]

From 1932, Prince Gustaf Adolf was chairman of the Swedish Scout Council and from 1937 honorary chairman of the International Scout Committee. Since 1933, the prince was also chairman of the Central Board of the Swedish Sports Confederation, the Swedish Central Association for Sports Promotion (Centralföreningen för idrottens främjande) and the Swedish Olympic Committee. Prince Gustaf Adolf was chairman of the Royal Swedish Aero Club from 1937 and the Royal Automobile Club from 1939.[1] He was first honorary member of the Swedish Central Federation for Voluntary Military Training (Centralförbundet för Befälsutbildning),[10] of the Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala,[11] of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences,[12] of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music,[13] of the Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences[14] and honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.[15] He was also honorary chairman of the Central Organization of the Swedish Women’s Auxiliary Veterinary Corps (Centralstyrelsen för Svenska blå stjärnan).[16]

World War II[edit]

Prince Gustaf Adolf, Hermann Göring and the prince's grandfather King Gustaf V of Sweden in Berlin, February 1939

As an official representative of Sweden, Gustaf Adolf met with many Nazi leaders, including Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring, which has led to speculations about possible Nazi sympathies. Though his father-in-law, Charles Edward, the deposed Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, was a Nazi, the subject remains a matter of speculation.[17] In his book Alla dessa Bernadottar (All these Bernadottes), Staffan Skott asserts that letters and diary entries by influential anti-Nazi Swedes disprove the rumors. The Swedish Royal Court made a statement denying any knowledge of Nazi sympathies.[18][better source needed]

Gustaf Adolf expressed his support for Finland during the Continuation War of 1941–1944, and would even have liked to participate as a voluntary soldier in the Winter War of 1939–1940, but the King's disapproval prevented this from happening.[citation needed]

Some leading Swedish politicians were averse to the possibility of seeing Gustaf Adolf inherit the throne, and one prominent Social Democrat publicly uttered that the prince was "a person who must never be King".[19]

Marriage and family[edit]

Gustaf Adolf as painted by Bianca Wallin in 1939

On 20 October 1932 at St. Moritz Church in Coburg, Gustaf Adolf married his second cousin, Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, daughter of Charles Edward, former Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. They had five children: Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler (born 31 October 1934); Princess Birgitta of Sweden (born 19 January 1937); Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld (born 2 June 1938); Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson (born 3 August 1943); and King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden (born 30 April 1946).[18]

Death[edit]

Gustaf Adolf's and Sibylla's grave on Karlsborg Island in Solna, Sweden.

Gustaf Adolf was killed in an airplane crash in the afternoon of 26 January 1947 at Kastrup Airport, Copenhagen, Denmark.[20] The prince, along with two companions, was returning to Stockholm from a hunting trip and visit to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The delayed KLM flight from Amsterdam had landed at Copenhagen for a routine stop before continuing to Stockholm. Soon after the Douglas DC-3 aircraft took off, it climbed to an altitude of about 50 meters (150 ft), stalled, and plummeted nose-first to the ground, where it exploded on impact. All 22 people aboard the plane (16 passengers and six crew members) were killed. Also aboard the ill-fated flight was American singer and actress Grace Moore and Danish actress Gerda Neumann.[20] An investigation found that an inexperienced young employee had serviced the aircraft and, short of time, the plane's captain had failed to perform the final pre-flight check list properly. He took off not realizing that elevator locking pins were still in place.[21]

At the time of his death, Gustaf Adolf had been second in line to the Swedish throne behind his father, the crown prince, who in 1950 became King Gustaf VI Adolf. The younger Gustaf Adolf was succeeded as second in line by his only son, Carl Gustaf (at the time only 9 months old), who would later succeed his grandfather in 1973 as King Carl XVI Gustaf.

Honours and arms[edit]

Styles of
Prince Gustaf Adolf
Great coat of arms of Sweden.svg
Reference styleHis Royal Highness
Spoken styleYour Royal Highness

Military ranks[edit]

 Sweden

Honours[edit]

Orders
Foreign honours

Arms[edit]

The arms of Prince Gustaf Adolf were those of the Kingdom of Sweden, with a quarter with the arms of Västerbotten in base.

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Rudberg, Erik, ed. (1948). Svenska Dagbladets årsbok TJUGOFEMTE ÅRGÅNGEN (Händelserna 1947) [Svenska Dagbladet's Yearbook TWENTY-FIFTH VOLUME (Events of 1947)] (in Swedish). Vol. 52. Stockholm: Svenska Dagbladet. p. 8. SELIBR 283647.
  2. ^ a b Sveriges statskalender för året 1942 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1942. p. 323.
  3. ^ a b Sveriges statskalender för året 1947 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1947. p. 341.
  4. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Prince Gustaf Adolf". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020.
  5. ^ Gustaf Adolf Bernadotte. Swedish Olympic Committee
  6. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Prince Gustaf Adolf Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  7. ^ John S. Wilson (1959), Scouting Round the World. First edition, Blandford Press. p. 94, 95, 99, 102, 106, 110, 115, 124, 127, 136, 140, 141, 185
  8. ^ Kroonenberg, Piet J. (1998). The Undaunted- The Survival and Revival of Scouting in Central and Eastern Europe. Geneva: Oriole International Publications. p. 31. ISBN 2-88052-003-7.
  9. ^ Kroonenberg, Piet J. (2003). The Undaunted II–The Survival and Revival of Scouting in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Las Vegas: Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. p. 77. ISBN 0-9746479-0-X.
  10. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1945 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1945. p. 963.
  11. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1947 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1947. p. 996.
  12. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1947 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1947. p. 983.
  13. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1945 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1945. p. 918.
  14. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1942 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1942. p. 927.
  15. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1945 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1945. p. 903.
  16. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1942 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1942. p. 947.
  17. ^ "Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (1906-1947) - Find a Grave..." www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  18. ^ a b liamfoley63 (26 January 2022). "January 26, 1947: Death of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten". European Royal History. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  19. ^ Per Svensson in Han som aldrig fick bli kung ISBN 91-1-301498-6 Norstedts 2006 p. 281
  20. ^ a b "Prince and opera star killed in plane crash". Ottawa Citizen. Associated Press. 14 March 1954. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Douglas DC-3C (C-47A-30-DK) PH-TCR Kobenhavn-Kastrup Airport". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Sveriges statskalender för året 1947 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1947. p. 5.

External links[edit]