Tag Archives: Crown Princess Victoria

Potential Dangers of Private Royals

For those not following royal photographers on Twitter, it seems like there was an incident on Saturday about which royal photographer, Niraj Tanna, cryptically Tweeted:

NirajTweet

While no specific royals were mentioned, royal watchers suspected it could be a dangerous escalation of the Cambridge’s ongoing privacy war against the media. The Usual Suspects, it turns out, were on an extended weekend ski getaway with newly released photos by John Stillwell Tweeted by @Kensington Royal providing the anticipated family photos to quiet the grumbling masses.

Photographer Jesal Parshotam offered another clue about what Tanna’s Tweet was eluding to:

JesalTweet

It was pretty messed up when in August, Jason Knauf, Communications Secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, released a public appeal for sympathy which also included the veiled threat, “it will not always be possible to quickly distinguish between someone taking photos and someone intending to do more immediate harm.”  But putting the general public at risk using taxpayer-funded RPOs driving recklessly to avoid being photographed ups the crazy factor.  Allegedly back in December, Kate Middleton’s car is said to have employed the same photographer evasion tactics.  As one royal watcher noted:

simonmensahtweet

If I were ever to be mowed down by a Royal Protection Officer driving recklessly to keep any member of the royal family from getting photographed, I would haunt the crap out of both the RPO and the royal in question.  And it wouldn’t be one of those polite hauntings either where a couple times a year you think you maybe saw something out of the corner of your eye and sometimes feel a cold draft that has no discernible source, I would throw a phantasmal freak-out.  There would be no Lola, only Zuul.

The Tweet of another royal photographer suggests the incident to which Niraj Tanna eluded transpired at the wedding of William’s ex-girlfriend, Olivia Hunt, which took place this weekend.

MarkStewartTweet

Interestingly, as Sebastian Shakespeare noted in his most recent Daily Mail piece, the only member of the British Royal Family to attend the wedding was Prince Harry.  Neither Prince William or Kate Middleton went, opting instead for a private family ski getaway.  While Prince Harry is not known to possess the same level of animosity towards the press as his older brother, he once got into an altercation with Niraj Tanna outside of Boujis, as detailed in a 2010 article by Camilla Tominay so it’s possible their history has something to do with Tanna’s Tweet.  Prince Harry has grown a lot in the past few years, though, and has found a way to juggle the pressures of his role, gladly posing for photos with royal fans, even tipping off the press as to his whereabouts while accommodating photographic requests.  Harry’s conducted himself with far more grace than his brother, the future king, which makes me even more curious about the missing pieces of this story which still remain untold.

This line from Sebastian Shakespeare’s Daily Mail article does not sit well at all with me, “Security was in place for royal guests. Tourists and photographers were turned away from entering, apparently at the request of the police.”

Exactly how much taxpayer money went towards security for this private wedding at Temple Church because of its royal guest list?  Security costs for the British Royal Family are never reported with the excuse that revealing the figure would somehow jeopardize their safety.  Were RPOs used to keep photographers from documenting this taxpayer expense, endangering the very taxpayers who fund them in the process?

Hopefully Niraj Tanna will follow up with details.  Considering this is the second accusation in three months of RPOs driving aggressively to avoid having pictures taken, hopefully some better way of handling the presence of photographers will be explored that won’t endanger the masses.

I really wish Crown Princess Victoria taught seminars on how to juggle a royal role and family life, both she and her husband, Prince Daniel, manage it far better than any other royals.  In my opinion, the reason they are able to have the privacy they want is because they are dedicated to duty and accommodate interest in their family, providing enough of a public presence that they are allowed to keep the rest for themselves.   After the birth last week of Prince Oscar Carl Olaf, Prince Daniel addressed reporters warmly and requested the same kind of space with their newborn son they were granted by the press when Princess Estelle was born for which they were so thankful.  No expectation of privacy letters handed out, no threats, just an acknowledgement of how wonderfully understanding the press had been after Estelle’s birth and an appreciative request that Oscar’s birth could be handled in the same manner.

These latest photos released of the Cambridges on Twitter are lovely, but ultimately, they are glossy photos of a family to which the public feels little connection enjoying some wintry frivolity.  I also question the reasoning behind taking photos of a couple criticized for their lack of worth ethic while on a get-away from the duties they rarely undertake.  While the photos are likely intended to represent a promising future for the monarchy, they also represent an increased burden on taxpayers.  RPOs are flown Business or First Class on the taxpayer’s dime, their accommodations, overtime and per diem are also covered by the taxpayer.  That’s a pretty pricy photo op during a time of austerity.

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The Future of Sweden’s Monarchy

In Sweden on October 6th, a  motion was filed with Parliament calling for the abolishment of the monarchy.   While these motions are certainly not new, the latest is significant in that for the first time in modern history, a joint motion across party lines was filed.

The justification for the motion stated in part that, “We in Sweden have long fought for equality and it has created a society in which success is based on the individual merits rather than on the privileges and kinship… The monarchy is incompatible with democracy, equality and civil rights. We believe that the right to represent Sweden not to be inherited. It can only be given through democratic processes…”

Monarchies in today’s society are like park statues, they are reminders of historical figures, serve no real practical purpose beyond the decorative, some people enjoy them, some people think they’re a waste of money, some don’t even notice them but they tend to get crapped on a lot.

It’s always struck me as odd that Sweden still has a monarchy, as a society Sweden is evolved in ways I greatly admire but still maintains its rich cultural charm.

As Sweden’s official website notes, “Staunchly opposed to privilege, Sweden has always sought to avoid ranking people which is why beauty contests and ‘homecoming queen’ events are rare.”  No homecoming queens, but taxpayers are still expected to fund the privileged existences of actual kings and queens?  The member of the Swedish Royal Family who best represents Sweden’s societal beliefs is British American Chris O’Neill who refused a title.

The king is a ceremonial figure but he does still have influence and the power of course to get millions from Swedish citizens for the weddings of two of his children who aren’t in the direct line of succession, cost he could easily cover from his own personal fortune, estimated to be around the $50 million mark.  As a representative of Sweden, King Carl Gustaf’s views on women are unsettling.  He objected to changing the rules of succession to absolute primogeniture in 1980, stating, “I would prefer that my son Carl Philip be my successor, and I’m sure the majority of the Swedish people would prefer to have a king on the throne.”  And in 2003 when asked if he still thought the succession change was wrong, he responded, “Of course.”    But the reason offered in 2003 had to do with the succession change being retroactive, his son was seven months old when the throne went back to his first born, Victoria.  The statement still raised enough eyebrows that the following day the court had to release a statement that the king thinks Crown Princess Victoria is doing a fine job.  Commenting on the king’s sex scandal, Katrine Kielos noted in an Aftonbladet article, “Women were simply desserts, used as sweets to be served with the coffee.”  When all three of his children married, the bride was given away by her father, a sexist tradition not observed in Sweden because it represents a property exchange.  One of the latest additions to the Swedish Royal Family is the anti-feminism figure Miss Slitz 2004 whose work history promotes a view of women as sex objects elevated to the status Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia.  Members of the Royal Family are official representatives of Sweden and yet nothing about the Swedish monarchy reflects the egalitarian beliefs and progressive views of Sweden.

As noted on the website for  The Swedish Republican Association, the monarch’s powers extend being duties as head of state outlined in the 1974 Instrument of Government. “By making statements in political questions he or she influences the debate through his or her unique position without having to take political responsibility. Due to the massive medial attention they receive, the royal family has a decisive influence on the public opinion.”  Some of Sweden’s citizens are afraid to openly criticize the Royal Family, believing harm will come to them or their families.  In a 2010 Svenskdam article on Carl Philip’s relationship with Sofia Hellqvist, one commenter responded to another’s urging that Svenskdam readers complain to the Court about Sofia’s unsuitability with the comment:

SvenskdamComment

Similar fears have been expressed to me by Swedish citizens, who are also frustrated by the influence the Swedish Royal Family seems to have over the media.

I’m beginning to understand why some people feel paranoid about criticizing members of the Swedish Royal Family.  While working on this post, my apartment was buzzed by a man in a baseball cap standing with his back to the door so I couldn’t see his face and shortly after when I got thrown off my Wi-Fi, this came up under diagnostics where I expected to see my own network:

NetworkDiagnostics

Likely an eery coincidence, but my mind began to wonder if Sofia is aware of my blog and has figured out the identity of the anonymous source to which I’ve eluded in some posts.  Although, really, due to Sofia’s lack of discretion, there’s little I could add about her character that wasn’t summed up in this Svenskdam comment five years ago:

FakeSnakeComment

For clarification, the above point was about understanding paranoia which by definition is an irrational belief caused by anxiety or fear.   When a king causes anxiety or fear by virtue of the shady characters he has consorted with as revealed by his sex scandal, his effectiveness as a country’s representative is compromised.  A formal investigation was never made into the strip club visits and blackmail photos because the monarch is immune from criminal charges.  As Sven Erik Osterberg, a member of Parliament and the constitutional oversight committee noted, “The only person who can look into this is the monarch himself, [he] who wishes it to blow over.”  While considered a ceremonial figure, the monarch has absolute immunity from criminal charges and cannot be prosecuted or held accountable for his or her actions in judicial proceedings.  It’s not difficult to understand why some  Swedish citizens have expressed fear of someone who has had dealings with criminals and cannot be charged with a crime.

Supposedly King Carl Gustaf believes the monarchy is nearing its end.  Were it not for the popularity of Crown Princess Victoria, likely the end would come sooner than later.  I believe Victoria will likely be Queen, but only if she ascends the throne in the next decade and only if reforms are made.

As the motion filed with Parliament indicated, “The current form of government are over 40 years old and was in his time a political steps that deepened democracy by limiting the monarch’s power. The Democratic reforms must continue, and in this direction is the abolition of the pre-democratic system that monarchy is an expression. It is high time to look again the monarchy’s role in modern Swedish society.”

The monarchies of Europe are looking for ways to evolve for the sake of self-preservation.  Prince Charles envisions a streamlined monarchy when he becomes king while newly kinged Felipe promised financial transparency and the opening up of the palace’s accounts following  his father’s  abdication.  While reports in the last few years have listed the Dutch Royal Family as the most expensive to taxpayers, no one really knows how much each monarchy costs to run because of costs that are hidden from the public.  With an estimated additional undisclosed $300 million in security, the British Royal Family likely is the most costly while Spain’s monarchy is probably the least expensive.  But no one really knows which is pretty astounding in modern times that the taxpayers have provided these hereditary institutions with blank checks.  Recently an extra $1 million was granted to King Carl Gustaf for “security”.  Likely the increase was for protection officers for its latest princess, Sofia, although it could be for new security cameras or it could be for a different kind of security for a king whose past scandals have required the purchasing of incriminating photos.

If Sweden’s monarchy is continue, it should follow the streamlining trend of limiting the Royal Family to current king/queen, heir and heir’s children and Spain’s lead with its operating costs.   According to the Swedish Monarchy’s royal finances page which lists 2013’s numbers, included in the budget for the Court Administration was Princess Lilian’s Household.  While Princess Lilian who passed away in March 2013 was obviously a beloved member of the Swedish Royal Family (she was the wife of the king’s uncle), I don’t understand why she continued to have a household staff covered under the appanage since it was announced in 2010 that sadly due to Alzheimer’s, she would no longer be able to make public appearances.  She was no longer undertaking royal duties so shouldn’t any expenses related to her care been covered out of her family’s personal finances?  Additionally, on the Royal Finances page, it lists budget and staff in terms of “approximately”.  When it comes to taxpayer money, shouldn’t there be complete transparency?

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Mysteries of an Expecting Princess

On Thursday, the Swedish Court announced that Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip are expecting their first child to be born in April.  With Crown Princess Victoria expecting her second child in March, Sofia’s child will be fifth in line to the throne.

The announcement comes just days after the christening of Princess Madeleine’s second child, Prince Nicolas.   Notably absent from the christening was one of Madeleine’s best friends, Emma Pernald, the once long-time girlfriend of Prince Carl Philip with whom Madeleine has remained close.  Sofia was rumored to have objected to the attendance of the woman from whom she allegedly stole Prince Carl Philip which is why the guest list remained Emma-less.

I guess it is awkward to run into someone you plotted to replace at your nephew-in-law’s christening, but Carl Philip was apparently totally cool with Niclas Rahm being invited to his and Sofia’s wedding.

NiclasRahmRoyalWedding

For those who haven’t heard of Niclas Rahm, Sofia and Niclas go way back.  Like this far back:

Sofia&Niclas

They were very much alike and Sofia fell hard for Niclas who was said to be less serious about her because of the seemingly endless string of beautiful women who were charmed by him.

Victoria&Niclas

Interestingly, Niclas Rahm isn’t the only man to whom Victoria Silvstedt and Sofia have both been romantically linked.  The former Playboy model has been involved with a man identified on a few different forums as one of Sofia’s NYC sugar daddies.

Despite Sofia having her sights set on fame and fortune, it’s rumored she still never got over Niclas and allegedly they would continue to secretly rendez-vous even while she was with Prince Carl Philip.  Some also believe that Niclas is the only man Sofia has ever truly loved.

So it’s strange that while Sofia vetoed the presence of Carl Philip’s ex at her sister-in-law’s son’s christening, Niclas was invited to all of the royal wedding festivities including the pre-wedding dinner.  Could it be that unlike Sofia, Carl Philip just isn’t the jealous type?  Or is he perhaps in the dark about some of the mysteries of his wife’s past?  Like why she used to wear a gold band on her wedding finger.

SofiaGoldBand

The gold band also appears in this photo of Sofia  looking very happy with a man who appears to be Niclas Rahm.

happysofiawithgoldband

Another mystery worth mentioning is how a woman working for a charity afforded a luxury apartment in South Africa, purchased months before her wedding.  And why exactly does a Swedish princess need a residence in her own name in a different country?  Does she plan on spending that much time there?  Wouldn’t that cut into the alleged job she has working with the Court Administrative Offices?  It was announced in the spring that Sofia would be working for the King’s Offices, then more recently it was noted she would be employed by the Queen’s Offices instead.  Is this a real job or just  a way of funneling money to Sofia from the appanage so the high end designer clothes Sofia has been criticized for wearing recently are paid for by the taxpayer?

According to a recent article, these criticisms have angered Sofia “who does not compromise on her expensive habits”.  According to the article’s source, “She simply had enough of this crap.”  Four months in and she’s already fed up with some people finding it hypocritical that someone who supposedly is working to help the disadvantaged is now flashing a new diamond Rolex and spending thousands on outfits?  Instead of calling the taxpayers who funded a good chunk of her lavish wedding “petty”, shouldn’t she be saying thank you?  Sofia is in for a long road ahead, especially now that she is forever tied to the Swedish Royal Family with the child she’s expecting.

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Princess Sofia

Several years ago, on a warm summer evening in New York City, three women sat at a sidewalk table in front of a pub drinking cocktails and discussing men as cocktail-drinking women often do.

Two of the women had only just met.  The youngest of the three, a Swedish woman named Sofia hadn’t made the best of impressions on the woman to whom she had just been introduced.  Before Sofia had even sat down, her strikingly beautiful blue eyes suddenly become cold as she looked the woman up and down, as if trying to determine if this new contact would be of use to her.  With a gap-filled smile incongruous to an otherwise pretty face, Sofia sat, casting a disapproving glance around at the selected establishment.  Sofia immediately suggested a change of venue, perhaps they could go to a club like Marquee.  The two other women politely declined Sofia’s counter-offer, citing work fatigue.  Sofia announced she wouldn’t be able to stay long.

The woman who had made the introduction steered the conversation to the man Sofia was after, a prince Sofia had spent some time with.  Sofia suddenly became more interested in girl chat.  “His name is Carl Philip, he’s a prince.  He’s very good looking…”  The woman who had made the introduction interrupted Sofia, urging her to show her friend “the picture”.  Sofia started to dig through her bag for her phone, sharing, “He’s nice.  Even though he’s a prince, he’s not what you would expect.  He’s more…”  Sofia wasn’t sure what the word in English would be and conferred with the woman who had made the introduction, deciding on, “down-to-earth”.  Sofia passed her phone down so the other women could look at the prince’s picture.

Sofia began listing other things she liked about the prince, which was more of a list of cool stuff he and his family owned than it was a run-down of his personality traits.  Sofia mentioned race cars,  a ski chalet, a house in the south of France and started to go into something else the prince’s money had access to, but the woman Sofia had just met tuned her out, staring at the picture.  The photo of the prince was taken with a camera phone, indoors, but from the angle it definitely didn’t look like he had posed for it.  The woman wondered if the prince even knew Sofia had taken the picture, it looked like a sneaked shot.  The woman handed the phone back thinking the whole thing seemed a little stalkerish as Sofia gushed about the benefit package a prince comes with.  There was just one little problem.  Even though Sofia was positive the prince really wanted her, there was the matter of a serious girlfriend the prince had been with for years.  A mere complication, Sofia was confident the prince would be hers.  She was going to marry him, live in a palace, wear tiaras, become Princess Sofia.  The woman wished Sofia luck, thinking to herself princes don’t marry women like Sofia, his family would see Sofia for what she was from a mile away and never allow it.

On Saturday, June 13th, the woman who met Sofia on a summer evening several years ago was proven wrong.  Sofia Hellqvist, a former Miss Slitz and racy reality show finalist walked into the Chapel  of the Royal Palace in Stockholm to Enya and emerged Her Royal Highness, Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland.

Flower phalli had been erected around the palace to celebrate Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist being joined as one and an orange carpet which didn’t quite match the color scheme or the drapes for that matter was laid out.

FlowerPhalli

Sofia broke with Swedish tradition and had her father walk her partway down the aisle and the groom walk the rest of the way with her as Crown Princess Victoria had done on her wedding day.

SofiaWithHerFather

The bride’s dress was three different shades of white and had been made by Swedish designer Ida Sjöstedt from silk crepe overlaid with Italian silk organza and lace applique.  The dress was beautiful and in line with predictions of what Sofia would wear.

SofiaDressSketch

Sofia’s diamond and emerald tiara was a wedding gift from the King and Queen.  While the palm leaf is a common Art Deco motif, I believe the tiara is brand new.    It’s quite stunning and a perfect starter tiara.

SofiaWeddingTiara

The bride’s hair was style by Marwan Hitti who won Paradise Hotel the same season Sofia made it to the finals.  I can only assume the harsh center part and tiara placed a little too far back was Marwan’s way of getting back at Sofia for any unresolved conflicts that came up during the competition.

Sofia’s make-up was done by William Värnild and despite speculation to the contrary, Sofia did not bend to convention by attempting to cover up the tattoo on her back.

SofiaVisibleTattoo

The myrtle sprig Sofia wore in her hair is a Swedish royal bride tradition, it was clipped from the myrtle bush Princess Margareta brought to Sweden when she wed Gustaf VI Adolf.  Sofia’s rose bridal bouquet also incorporated myrtle.

SofiaWeddingBouquet

While most were in agreement that Sofia’s dress was very pretty, but somewhat underwhelming, the guest fashion was an Ice Capades showcase with tulle, sequins and rhinestones as far as the eye could see.  Some of the guests appeared to be the victims of vajazzling explosions.

VajazzlingDress1 VajazzlingDress2I have no idea who this woman is, but with her expression, unkempt hair, gardening dress and shiny pink pumps, she is the fashion embodiment of how many royal watchers felt on the inside about this wedding.

WeddingGuest

Someone had to bring some sass, especially since Crown Princess Mary of Denmark wound up being a let-down.  Of course Mary looked beautiful, but part of me wanted Mary to show up at this wedding stroking a hairless Sphynx cat, proclaiming, “When Mr. Bigglesworth gets upset, people die.”  The Ice Queen Disappointeth.

CPMary

One of Carl Philip’s aunts showed up in pants while the groom’s sister, Crown Princess Victoria, wore a gown by H&M and the tiara I thought Sofia would probably borrow if the Swedish Royal Family went that route, the Connaught.  Prince Carl Philip’s wedding was the first time his sister has ever worn the Connaught.

CPVictoria

Prince Carl Philip’s other sister, Princess Madeleine, who is nine months pregnant, wore the Modern Fringe tiara and this expression:

Madeleine1

Of course, that’s when she wasn’t wearing this one:

Madeleine2

Throughout her wedding day, Sofia debuted a new princess hand gesture, the thumb’s up which she flashed several times throughout her wedding day, from the chapel to the reception.

SofiaThumbsUp1

SofiaThumbsUp2

At least it’s an upgrade from this one (and some people said she learned nothing in Princess School):

SofiaatCPrace

During the ceremony, some unusual musical selections were played, such as the Salem al Fakir cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You”, a Swedish version of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” and Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately”.  Sofia and Prince Carl Philip aren’t the first Swedish couple to play pop music during their wedding ceremony, apparently it’s becoming a thing in Sweden.  Sweden, stop it.  Stop it right now.  Don’t make me come over there.

The wedding was reported to cost 9 million Swedish Krona (about $1.1 million is USD) with an additional 1 million Swedish Krona in security.  Sweden’s citizens will picking up a third of the tab, but the King has established a pattern of asking for more money after the wedding is over so Sweden’s citizens could wind up paying more of the bill.

During the vow exchange, Prince Carl Philip had difficulty getting the ring on Sofia’s finger which some suggested might be a bad omen.  I think Carl Philip was just overwhelmed by the moment, the bad omen was in the carriage when Prince Carl Philip attempted to hold Sofia’s hand but she pulled it away so she could do a princess wave.

Sofiaincarriage

My sincerest hope is that at some point along the way Sofia fell in love with more than the idea of becoming a princess and developed genuine feelings for the man she agreed to spend the rest of her life with on Saturday.

CarlPhilipEmotional

It was obvious on Saturday that Prince Carl Philip truly loves Sofia.  While Sofia didn’t have the same kind of emotional moments her groom did, she seemed very happy on her wedding day, hopefully it was because she married a man she truly loves and not because she acquired a title she long desired to have.

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Swedish Tiara Possibilities

Royal weddings, like the upcoming one in Sweden, are like the Super Bowl of shiny things.  Even if you aren’t a fan of either team, you still watch for a love of the game.

Royal tiaras, occupying their perch above a glittering and gilded visual feast, are usually masterpieces of jeweled artistry.  As soon as royal engagements are announced, speculation begins about which tiara the bride will wear down the aisle.

Historically, most brides marrying into royal families wore tiaras from their own families on their wedding day, the tiara represented the bride’s past and the family from which she came.  Now that restrictions have lifted and royals are no longer required to select a spouse who comes from the sort of family that has their own tiaras, royal families are left in a bit of a tiara quandary.  Most tiaras owned by royal families are steeped in history and quite valuable so now that the mere mention of royal divorce doesn’t require smelling salts, royal families are understandably more reluctant to give one of the family’s tiaras to the bride as a wedding gift, opting instead to simply loan the bride a tiara, purchase her a new one or acquire an older one at auction. Mary wore a brand new tiara when she said her I Dos to Crown Prince Frederick, as did Sarah Ferguson when she became the Duchess of York, while Sarah’s one-time sister-in-law Sophie received a new rather disjointed-looking tiara made from old pieces.  When Mette-Marit married Crown Prince Haakon, a tiara from 1910 was purchased at auction, perhaps unknown to the family at the time, it’s the same one worn by Cate Blanchett in An Ideal Husband.  Both Maxima and Letizia got loaners while Charlene went a tiara-less route, opting for a jeweled piece in her hair when she wed Prince Albert.

It’s been speculated the Prince Carl Philip was designing a tiara for his soon-to-be bride Sofia Hellqvist and that would probably be the best scenario given the pre-wedding debate over Sofia becoming a princess, supporters would see it as a nice personalized element while more traditional royal watchers would find it more appropriate than Sofia wearing a historically significant piece.  Additionally, while the Swedish Royal Family has some truly spectacular and some truly unfortunate tiaras, not all of them are for general use and most wouldn’t really work as a bridal tiara.

A new tiara is extremely costly and with a few possible exceptions, they pale in comparison to those made prior to the beginning of the 20th century.  Given how relatively modest Sofia’s engagement ring is, it’s very possible Sofia will wind up being loaned a tiara from the Bernadotte Family Foundation.  Having a foundation like the one employed by the Swedish Royal Family for their jewels is quite brilliant, the shared set-up allows for a larger selection of jewels available to family members while having them belong to a collective whole instead of individuals ensures they won’t ever leave the family or be sold.

Several smaller tiaras have been sold at auction this past year and it’s possible one of them was purchased for Sofia as a wedding and starter tiara.  Out of what I’ve seen, though, none have struck me as a great first all-around tiara for Sofia.  Despite the critical opinions I hold of the bride, I begrudge no one a great tiara.  I’m not sure the king and queen share my beliefs about the inalienable right of quality sparkle, though.

Both Princess Madeleine and Crown Princess Victoria received a tiara on their 18th birthdays, as is Swedish Royal Family tradition.  Starter tiaras are usually smaller because tiara wearing can take some adjustment.  Tiaras are often difficult to anchor in hair, many can wobble depending how they are attached, a quick turn of the head can cause one to fall with often disastrous results, some can cause headaches… tiara wearing isn’t for sissies.  Consequently brides who aren’t used to tiaras can have some difficulty so their bridal tiaras tend to be small as well.  When Kate Middleton married Prince William, the Halo Scroll Tiara was sewn into her hair to ensure it wouldn’t fall off.

It’s highly unlikely Sofia would wear Princess Madeleine’s and Crown Princess Victoria’s starter tiaras because they belong to the princesses and aren’t shared as part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation.

Princess Madeleine, Aquamarine Bandeau

Princess Madeleine, Aquamarine Bandeau

Princess Madeleine’s tiara, the Aquamarine Bandeau, is most commonly referred to as the Cyclops Tiara.

This style tends to look better worn further down as was the style in the 1920s, but in this case, not so much.

Princess Madeleine, Cyclops Tiara

Princess Madeleine, Cyclops Tiara

When someone as beautiful as Princess Madeleine makes a bandeau look like a band-no, it’s time to repurpose the stone.

Aquamarine Bandeau, a.k.a. The Cyclops Princess Madeleine's 18th Birthday Tiara Verdict: A giant no

Aquamarine Bandeau, a.k.a. The Cyclops
Princess Madeleine’s 18th Birthday Tiara
Verdict: A giant no

Crown Princess Victoria’s 18th Birthday Tiara looks like a teeny tiny menorah made out of whatever was at the bottom of the king’s desk drawer… some paperclips, a few tiny sapphires, some picture hanging wire and some loose melee… basic king desk drawer stuff.

Crown Princess Victoria, 18th Birthday Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria, 18th Birthday Tiara

While the Cyclops Tiara isn’t as tragic as the one Madeleine’s older sister got, every time I see these tiaras, I wonder if the king and queen secretly hate their children or if perhaps they were trying to impart some kind of tiara humility.

Crown Princess Victoria's 18th Birthday Tiara Verdict: Nuh-uh

Crown Princess Victoria’s 18th Birthday Tiara
Verdict: Nuh-uh

Another privately owned tiara is the Laurel Wreath Tiara which Princess Lilian left to Crown Princess Victoria.

Crown Princess Victoria, Laurel Leaf Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria, Laurel Leaf Tiara

This piece holds tremendous sentimental value to Victoria because of the strong bond she and Lilian shared.  The only person I can see Victoria loaning this to is her daughter, Estelle, when she’s older of course.  Even then, she might require her to leave a valid driver’s license and credit credit card.  Sofia would have a better chance of getting hit by lighting while holding a winning Lottery ticket in Smurf Village than wearing this piece on her wedding day.

Lilian's Laurel Leaf Tiara Privately owned by Crown Princess Victoria Verdict: No smurfing chance

Lilian’s Laurel Leaf Tiara
Privately owned by Crown Princess Victoria
Verdict: No smurfing way

Also among the tiaras with no chance at all of showing up on Sofia is the Braganza Tiara.

Queen Silvia, Braganza

Queen Silvia, the Braganza Tiara

The Braganza Tiara is reserved for queens.  And I’m not talking the awesome kind of queens who steer you away from bright pink lipstick and make you margaritas when you’re sad, a Crown Princess wore this once and when she got home, the tiara ripped off her arms and beat her unconscious with them.  Okay, that last part probably only happened in my head, but this is one big badass tiara you don’t mess with, it’s about five inches tall and no one even knows how much it weighs probably because they’re afraid to ask it.

The Braganza Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, Reserved for the Queen Verdict: No chance

The Braganza Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, Reserved for the Queen
Verdict: Not bloody likely

Sofia probably won’t wear the Cameo Tiara either.  Some people assume this tiara is reserved for the top slot-bound brides because both Queen Silvia and Crown Princess Victoria wore it on their wedding day, but it was also the bridal tiara of two of the king’s sisters and was even borrowed by Queen Ingrid of Denmark when she went to a costume party dressed as Queen Josephine of Sweden.

Queen Ingrid of Denmark in the borrowed Cameo Tiara

Queen Ingrid of Denmark in the borrowed Cameo Tiara

It’s a very difficult tiara to pull off but Crown Princess Victoria did it to perfection on her wedding day.

Crown Princess Victoria, The Cameo Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria, The Cameo Tiara

Because the tiara is so closely associated with Crown Princess Victoria in the minds and hearts of the Swedish people, it’s unlikely Sofia would wear it as a wedding tiara.

The Cameo Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Possible but highly improbable

The Cameo Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Unlikely but possible

Despite being part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, the Baden Fringe Tiara is another piece that’s closely associated with Crown Princess Victoria.

VictoriaBadenFringe

Crown Princess Victoria, the Baden Fringe Tiara

Queen Victoria had specified that she really wanted this to be a tiara mainly for the Crown Princess.  The tiara has made a few appearances in the past on the heads of non-Crown Princesses, but in recent years, it’s only been seen on Crown Princess Victoria.  Maybe Queen Victoria’s ghost finally came back and said something.

The Baden Fringe Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, Intended Primarily for Crown Princess Use Verdict: Over Queen Victoria's dead ghost

The Baden Fringe Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation, Intended Primarily for Crown Princess Use
Verdict: Over Queen Victoria’s dead ghost

The tiara most closely associated with Princess Madeleine is the Modern Fringe Tiara.

Princess Madeleine, Modern Fringe Tiara

Princess Madeleine, Modern Fringe Tiara

It is privately owned, not part of the family’s foundation, and is believed to have been given to Princess Madeleine as a wedding gift by Queen Silvia who received it from King Carl Gustaf for their 10th wedding anniversary.  Princess Madeleine wore it on her wedding day and has been the only one to wear it since.

ModernFringe

The Modern Fringe Tiara
Privately owned
Verdict: Inconceivable

One of the tiaras technically up for grabs is the Napoleonic Cut Steel Tiara.

Crown Princess Victoria, Napoleonic Steel Cut Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria, Napoleonic Steel Cut Tiara

Queen Silvia found it in one of the cabinets when she was rooting around the palace one day and she should have left it there.  Usually when a tiara gets shoved out of sight and no one even thinks to look for it for a century, there’s a reason.  This thing has no stones in it at all.  I am a Sparkle Purist who believes that a tiara without stones is like a swimming pool without water, Lucky Charms without the marshmallows, an optimist without hope.  One of the issues of a cut steel tiara as a wedding tiara is how it would photograph.  At a royal wedding, the tiara has to hold up under a variety of lighting conditions, these tiaras lose their impact and look like dull metal without a strong enough light source. The metal work on this one is pretty spectacular, but for a votive candle holder, not a tiara.  This tiara always makes me think of the American Thanksgiving celebration with a feather motif that looks a bit like a fanned out turkey tail, acorns scattered about and the general feeling I’m left with of unrealized expectation and relief it it doesn’t come around more frequently.

Napoleonic Cut Steel Tiara Part of Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Not bridal

Napoleonic Cut Steel Tiara
Part of Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Not bridal

The Swedish Royal Family also has a second cut steel tiara that’s so unfortunate, no one has even bothered to give it a name other than the descriptive Smaller Steel Tiara.  I call it The Bear Trap Tiara because the crisscrossed metal work looks like metal teeth.

Crown Princess Victoria, Small Steel Cut Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria, Small Steel Cut Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria is the only one who even goes near this thing, according to tiara lore, she’s the one who found it being used as a door stop and decided it should be restored.  I think Victoria feels bad for tiaras no one else wants and wears them so they can fulfill their tiara destiny.  Once while swimming in Turks and Caicos, I came face to face with a six foot barracuda, it’s mouth open revealing enormous razor-sharp teeth.  Apparently, barracuda can mistake the shine from jewelry with a small fish appetizer.  Pretty sure this tiara would send a barracuda in the opposite direction.

Small Steel Cut Tiara Part of Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Dive down deep to save your head... Oooo Barracuda

Small Steel Cut Tiara
Part of Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Dive down deep to save your head… Oooo Barracuda

Despite a complicated past that involves another graphic designing prince who wound up losing his title for marrying a commoner and a deal dispute, the Edward VII Ruby Tiara is once again able to be worn as part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation.

Queen Silvia, King Edward VII Ruby Tiara

Queen Silvia, King Edward VII Ruby Tiara

It is a beautiful romantic tiara, but because of its height, it’s intended to be worn with a lot of hair piled on top of the head, otherwise it sticks up like an ornate metal fence.  Sofia’s hair has the length, in the hands of a stylist with some tiara updo experience, it could work.  Tiaras with this kind of height can be difficult to wear, though, which might be why none of the other ladies in the Swedish Royal Family have given it a go.  Queen Silvia makes wearing these pieces look effortless, but she’s a tiara warrior.

King Edward VII Ruby Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Possible

King Edward VII Ruby Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Possible

Also in the Bernadotte Family Foundation is an amethyst tiara known as Queen Josephine’s Amethyst Tiara that was a necklace until Queen Silvia had it made into a tiara.

Princess Désirée, Queen Josephine's Amethyst Tiara

Princess Désirée, Queen Josephine’s Amethyst Tiara

There aren’t a lot of amethyst tiaras out there which makes this one somewhat unique.  Amethyst was considered to be one of the most precious gemstones up until the 18th century when an abundance of amethyst mines were discovered, devaluing the gem considerably.  No longer a cardinal stone, royal families weren’t interested in gems that were suddenly affordable to the masses.  The amethysts in this piece are spectacular, however the tiara is not terribly bridal.

Princess Madeleine, Queen Josephine's Amethyst Tiara

Princess Madeleine, Queen Josephine’s Amethyst Tiara

Perhaps it would be a more understandable choice if Sofia had been born in February, but her birthstone as a December baby is turquoise or blue topaz.

Queen Josephine's Amethyst Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Better on a wedding guest

Queen Josephine’s Amethyst Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Better on a wedding guest

The Nine Prong Tiara is also shared by the ladies of the Swedish Royal Family and it’s a dazzler but its size and construction make it not an advisable choice for those still in tiara training-wheels.

Queen Silvia, Nine Prong Tiara

Queen Silvia, Nine Prong Tiara

This tiara is not attached to a head, a head is attached to it, the frame is so rigid, it can be quite the skull crusher.  Queen Silvia, the tiara’s primary wearer, appears to have no problems with the Nine Prong Tiara, but the younger generation hasn’t even attempted it.  Its sunburst design might appeal to Sofia who has a sun tattooed on her back, but it might not fit her.  Sofia’s model card has her 165cm (5’4”) while Queen Silvia is 170cm (5’7”).

Engagement Announcement

Engagement Announcement

Queen Silvia’s head appears to have a significantly larger circumference which means on Sofia the tiara would fall lower which is where the tiara’s vice grip effect takes hold.

The Nine Prong Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Possible & potentially painful

The Nine Prong Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Possible & potentially painful

While the Nine Prong Tiara is surprisingly rigid, the Leuchtenberg Tiara can accommodate a wide arrange of craniums due to its construction of eleven separate pieces.

Queen Silvia, Leuchtenberg Tiara

Queen Silvia, Leuchtenberg Tiara

It’s believed the tiara came with a set of pearls that could be switched out for the sapphires, but the pearls at some point left the set, their existence and what exactly happened to them is a contested matter.

Queen Josephine, Leuchtenberg Tiara with pearls

Queen Josephine, Leuchtenberg Tiara with pearls

The sapphires are detachable and could always be swapped out with new pearls or different gems in the future.  The Leuchtenberg Tiara is a very grand piece and is one of Queen Silvia’s favorites.  It hasn’t been seen on anyone else in nearly four decades and while theoretically it could be borrowed, it would be highly unlikely.  Queens don’t loan out their favorite bling, especially to non-royal brides who are still commoners when they walk into the church.  It would have been like Kate Middleton getting married in the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, it just wasn’t going to happen.

Leuchtenberg Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Trust Verdict: Theoretically possible but highly unlikely

Leuchtenberg Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Trust
Verdict: Theoretically possible but highly unlikely

While steeped in history, the Four Button Tiara and the Six Button Tiaras are widely considered to be the collection’s most disappointing pieces.  Because of the simple metal frame, the Four Button Tiara is often compared to Jeep lights.

Crown Princess Victoria, Four Button Tiara

Crown Princess Victoria, Four Button Tiara

The buttons are believed to be from King Carl XIV Johan’s gala uniform, with the buttons of the Six Button Tiara incorporated into his coronation crown.  The Six Button Tiara has two rows of diamonds added at the base but is only slightly less ridiculous.

Crown Princess VIctoria, Six Button Tiara

Crown Princess VIctoria, Six Button Tiara

It’s very possible one of these two tiaras could show up on Sofia.  A bridal veil might help with the tiaras looking like floating cookies suspended in space by tiara poltergeists.

Button Tiaras Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Possible

Button Tiaras
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Possible

The most bridal of all of the Swedish Royal Family’s tiaras is the Connaught Tiara and there are no restrictions on who wears it.  It’s already been worn by two brides: Princess Sibylla  and Princess Christina.

Princess Sibylla, The Connaught Tiara

Princess Sibylla, The Connaught Tiara

The construction of five detachable diamond drops hanging from forget-me-knot loops ups the degree of difficulty wearing it somewhat because of its higher center of gravity.

If Sofia borrows a tiara, I think it will be the Connaught Tiara.

The Connaught Tiara Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation Verdict: Most likely

The Connaught Tiara
Part of the Bernadotte Family Foundation
Verdict: Most likely

Swedish princesses don’t limit themselves to just traditional tiaras, though.

Crown Princess Victoria, Diamond Necklace Bandeau

Crown Princess Victoria, Diamond Necklace Bandeau

There is the not-quite-a-tiara Swedish Diamond Bandeau believed to be two separate diamond necklaces as well as an assortment of brooches, diamond rivieres, and hair pins incorporated into their updos.

Crown Princess Victoria, Diamond Arrow Brooch

Crown Princess Victoria, Diamond Arrow Brooch

While I am a huge fan of tiaras, my absolute favorite piece from the royal collection is the Bernadotte Rose Brooch.

Princess Madeleine, Bernadotte Rose Brooch

Princess Madeleine, Bernadotte Rose Brooch

This piece has the potential to be breathtaking with a veil.  When Princess Charlene opted to go tiara-less on her wedding day, the result was spectacular and memorable.

Princess Charlene of Monaco

Princess Charlene of Monaco

The Bernadotte Rose Brooch is smaller than the piece Charlene borrowed from Princess Caroline, but given the 6″ height difference between brides, the Bernadotte Rose Brooch would probably be the perfect scale for Sofia, impactful but not overwhelming.

Surprisingly, in a collection wrought with history, not a lot is known about this stunner, making it the perfect piece for Sofia to make her own.

Bernadotte Rose Brooch Verdict: Perfection

Bernadotte Rose Brooch
Verdict: Perfection

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The Objectionable Sofia Hellqvist

On Sunday in accordance with tradition, the Swedish Royal Family gathered for the reading of the marriage banns for the upcoming wedding of Prince Carl Philip to former softcore porn model and racy reality show contestant, Sofia Hellqvist. The reading of the banns affords the opportunity for any objections to be made to an upcoming wedding but all who were present on Sunday held their tongues.  Perhaps they were still speechless that Miss Slitz 2004, Sofia Hellqvist, will be styled Her Royal Highness Princess Sofia, Duchess of Värmland upon marriage.

Despite the lack of formal objections at the event held in the Stockholm Royal Chapel, there are many who find Sofia unsuitable as a future member of the Swedish Royal Family and representative of Sweden.  A recent Expressen poll reveals that only 45% of those who participated in the survey indicated that they are looking forward to the Royal Wedding with the majority answering that they are not.  When the engagement was announced in June of last year, Prince Carl Philip’s younger sister, Princess Madeleine, offered congratulations on her Facebook page while Crown Princess Victoria declined to publicly acknowledge the engagement or even answer any questions about the upcoming wedding in a recent interview.  Judging by the negative comments Princess Madeleine’s congratulatory Facebook post got, the general public is far less accepting of Sofia than the press claims.

MadeleineFBCongratsPrincess Madeleine left the negative comments about Sofia on her Facebook page until she deleted the entire post somewhere between January and April.  Anticipating that the criticism of Sofia would eventually disappear as part of the larger pre-wedding whitewashing campaign, I took screen grabs of Princess Madeleine’s Facebook page on which many commenters voiced their disapproval of the engagement, with several providing links to nude photos of Sofia and my What the Hell-qvist article.  Here is just a small sampling of the negative responses to the news that Sofia Hellqvist would be marrying into the Swedish Royal Family.

FB1 FB2FB3 FB4 FB5FB6FB7FB8FB10FB11FB12FB13FB14FB15FB16No matter how hard the media tries to spin Sofia’s story into a modern fairytale, it’s far from a Cinderella story.  The closest Disney comparison would be the film “Pretty Woman”, a tale of a rough-around-the-edges sex industry worker who proclaims she “wants the fairytale” and improbably lands a wealthy and powerful man.  In the original far darker version of “Pretty Woman” entitled “3000”, Vivian Ward is a drug addict who winds up back on the streets, however Disney, like the mainstream media, is far more interested in stories that sell.  As a society raised on “once upon a time” in an era of tabloid sensationalism, the only thing more entertaining to the masses than happily ever after is unhappily ever after.

Ultimately what I find the most objectionable about Sofia is the sales pitch.  In her attempts to be famous, Sofia posed nude, publicly supported the porn industry, appeared in men’s magazines, starred in a racy reality show, eventually tired of her sugar daddies and went after larger game.  If Sofia really doesn’t regret any of it as she has publicly stated and the Swedish Royal Family is truly accepting of her, then these attempts to fictionalize her past in order to create a more palpable princess image is pointless manipulation of the public’s perception, ultimately benefitting only the press which will eventually gleefully reveal the past it helped to conceal with provocative headlines.

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From Porn Model To Princess

The wedding between softcore porn model and reality television star Sofia Hellqvist and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is scheduled to take place on June 13th at 4:30pm in the Chapel of the Royal Palace in Stockholm, followed by a reception at Drottningholm Palace.

While Sofia’s title won’t be announced until June, it’s anticipated that the bride-to-be will be styled as Her Royal Highness, Princess Sofia of Sweden, Duchess of Värmland.  There’s some speculation that Sofia will only receive the title of Duchess because of her scandalous past, however the decision will ultimately be made by Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, who has a weakness for “strip clubs, illegal clubs, rented ladies who are naked under their fur coats,” as Katrine Kielos described in Aftonbladet.  The King is presumed to be less likely to cast stones over his future daughter-in-law posing nude, starring in a racy reality show and bragging to the press about making out with pornstar Jenna Jameson because of his own scandalous past.

Whether Princess or Duchess, Sofia’s title will be an upgrade from the one she earned in 2004, “Miss Slitz”.  Slitz is a now-defunct men’s magazine, the term “Slitz” being a derogatory term for both female genitalia and Swedish slang for “whore”.

Slitz Definition

Sofia was voted Miss Slitz because of the sticky-page popularity of the spread for which she wore a boa constrictor, beating other 2004 Miss Slitz runner-ups who can be seen in this video, along with Sofia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2s7do3sNjY 

Sofia also became a stocking stuffer when Slitz released a Christmas CD with Sofia singing Bjällerklang (Jingle Bells).  Nothing says Happy Birthday, Baby Jesus like softcore porn models singing Christmas classics.  Sofia’s rendition can be heard here over some Paradise Hotel footage:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PU-snaXK-FM

In a documentary for Project Playground, a charity co-founded by Sofia, Prince Carl Philip’s future bride stated, “I find it hard to say that I regret anything in my life. I did not think I would have to sit here in the end and defend my choices in life.”  While she may not regret her past, the Swedish Royal Family has been actively trying white-wash it as much as possible.  Not surprisingly, Sofia Hellqvist’s Official CV does not mention nude modeling or her days as a reality show contestant.

While it’s believed Sofia never actually graduated high school, much of Sofia’s CV focuses on education, such as her studies at the Institute of English and Business in New York which offers certificates as opposed to degrees.  Sofia enjoyed the Institute of English and Business in New York immensely, blogging, “Bellyaches after every lesson from all our laughing fits. Our teacher had something as funny as “crazy foot” that is, cramps in his legs. We are talking violent spasms, we laughed so hard we almost got six-pack abs. Pleasure finds us even at the schoolbench”.  Other travel blog entries written by Sofia Hellqvist and fellow Paradise Hotel contestant Camilla Sundman, detail other experiences of living in New York, such as the “desperate” men who bought them jewelry and other gifts, their new mantra “Now I am perched on top 
Hehe, could bite off your penis”, their electricity being turned off due to non-payment, drinking until they became sick and accepting rides from strangers.

Sofia’s official CV already needs to be updated to reflect that she will be replaced by Daniel Madhani as General Secretary of Project Playground despite past statements to the press that she would continue her charity work and be a part-time princess.  Sofia will only be affiliated with the charity as an “honorary president” so her name can be used for fundraising purposes.  Recent reports indicate Sofia will be working for the King as of this spring, although it hasn’t been announced yet in what capacity.

Pre-wedding coverage has been comparing Sofia Hellqvist to another royal bride, Kate Middleton, both brunette now that Sofia has lightened her hair from black.  Similarities have been drawn between their fashion and it’s been reported that like Kate, Sofia has been undergoing “Princess Training”.  It’s possible there’s one more similarity between the two, discrepancies in the official timeline of when both met their prince.  While the relationship of Sofia and Prince Carl Philip reportedly started in July 2009 (with reports of a mystery brunette spotted with Prince Carl Philip suggesting it was even earlier than that), Sofia may have already met Prince Carl Philip by the time she was living in New York.  It’s rumored that before returning to Sweden, Sofia had a picture of Prince Carl Philip on her cell phone and that she bragged to friends in NYC that when she got back to Sweden, she was going to steal him away from his girlfriend at the time, Emma Pernald, marry him and become a princess.

Sofia has claimed that Prince Carl Philip’s family embraced her from the very beginning despite reports to the contrary.  However, in 2011, a photographer reported that at Patrick Sommerlath’s wedding, Prince Carl Philip’s sisters tried to put as much distance as possible between themselves and Sofia to avoid being photographed too closely to her.  Crown Princess Victoria has yet to release any official congratulations to the couple since their engagement last summer and in a recent interview would not answer any questions about the couple or the upcoming wedding.  When the interviewer persisted, she replied, “No, I will not answer that.”  When asked again to at least comment on Sofia joining the family, Crown Princess Victoria declined again, indicating, “We will talk again.”

As with other royal brides, details about the wedding dress are being closely guarded, with speculation that the bride will opt for lace and a more fitted silhouette.  While it’s unknown if Sofia will be lent a tiara from the Swedish Royal Family, the general consensus is that a new tiara will most likely be purchased for Sofia.  Even though this union has been approved by the King and the Swedish government, many feel it would be inappropriate for Sofia to wear any historically significant jewels on her wedding day.  So while a fame-seeking softcore porn star can become a princess, she’s not allowed to borrow a tiara… that seems like a reasonable line to draw in the sand.

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