True Love Waits! How Two Princes Waited A Lifetime To Marry Their One Great Love

"True love waits. And it is always worth the wait". Have you ever wondered if this cheesy old adage still holds water? Check these extraordinary love stories of two royal princes, which passed through the test of time to take a grip on the promise of forever.

Prince Gustav, the 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

He was born in 1969 as the eldest and only son of Princess Benedikte, a sister of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, a princely state in Germany that is now defunct following the end of WWI where German royalty was abolished.

Prince Gustav, 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg

However, unlike other fallen monarchies, German princely states and the royal possessions and properties remained privately owned by the former royals.

His Highness Prince Gustav became the 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, following his father's death in 2017. But it came with a high price. 

He inherited the title without any conditions - 7th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. But the estates and other princely properties were tied to a complicated condition that he should only marry a protestant aristocrat.

For several decades, his right to inherit his grandfather's properties was challenged by his great-uncle, Prince Ferdinand, in the German Court. 

All because of the clause in the Last Will of Testament executed by Prince Gustav's grandfather, also named Prince Gustav, the 5th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, that he can only inherit the estates and properties, including the magnificent Berleburg Castle, if he would marry a protestant noblewoman.

Prince Gustav and his lover, Carina Axelsson

Alas! The prince fell in love with a woman who is neither a protestant nor a noblewoman. And this is where the trouble comes in. 

As the fate of his inheritance hangs on his choice of a wife, Prince Gustav decided to wait for the Court's decision to declare that he is the rightful and unconditional heir of his grandfather's estates. 

In 2002, Prince Gustav, who was born in 1969, met Carina Lyn Axelsson, an American book author and illustrator, born in 1968 in California, USA. Carina is a non-aristocratic commoner. In the traditional royal custom, she is everything a prince should not suppose to marry.

Before the year 2002 ended, they became lovers. Three years later, Carina moved to Berleburg Castle to live with Prince Gustav. However, due to the clause on his grandfather's will, he could not marry Carina.

For nearly two decades, they were fighting for their love, winded off criticism and challenges. He also introduced Carina to his royal relatives.

Eventually, the sacrifices and effort paid off. Carina was thoroughly accepted in the royal circle as his partner, inviting her to important royal events and gatherings like royal weddings, anniversaries and family get-together.

Prince Gustav's mother, Princess Benedikte, often loaned her a tiara, which is unprecedented because only a legal wife of a prince could wear a tiara to royal functions.

Prince Gustav and Carina held on to their romance for decades, refusing to break ties despite uncertainties, foregoing to have children as they could not get married due to the circumstances of Prince Gustav's birthright. 

In royalty, it is scandalous to have children without the benefit of marriage, so they gave up to have children, which made Prince Gustav's uncle, Prince Robin, his heir-presumptive. The German royal titles can only be inherited by males, thus, Gustav's two sisters and their descendants are ineligible to inherit the title and properties.

For decades, the case of Prince Gustav's inheritance was being heard in a German Court. Until 2020, when it was finally decided. The Court declared he is the rightful heir of his grandfather's inheritance, a decision accepted by other relatives. 

This paved the way for Prince Gustav to finally plan to marry Carina, after 19 years of living together. 

However, his decision to marry is still vague. It still did not change the fact that Carina is a non-aristocratic commoner, which is the number one point emphasized on his grandfather's will. 

If they will proceed in marriage, his heir-presumptive, Prince Robin, will most likely seek the Court's decision to invalidate the claim of his inheritance for failing to follow the condition stipulated in the will. 

In Germany, Inheritance Will executed by ancestors cannot be changed and remained legally binding. So it remains to be seen if Prince Robin or other male relatives will not go to court. Their wedding will be on June 2, 2022 as announced by the Danish royal court. 

Oh God! Why there's this kind of complication in the real world? 😄

Two people from unequal status fighting for their love, fighting to be together. And in the end, it is always love that conquers it all.

But Prince Gustav is not the first European prince who waited for the right time to marry his one great love. His maternal great uncle, Prince Bertil of Sweden, came in first.

The unforgettable love story of a Swedish prince

Prince Bertil of Sweden, Duke of Halland, was the youngest child of Crown Princess Margarita (granddaughter of Queen Victoria of Britain) and King Adolf VI Gustaf. 

Prince Bertil of Sweden, Duke of Halland

Prince Bertil and Lilian Daves

During the lifetime of King Adolf, he declared that no Swedish prince will ever marry a non-aristocratic commoner, otherwise they will be stripped of their princely title and inheritance.

Prince Bertil watched his older brothers - Princes Sigvard and Carl Johan -  and cousin - Prince Lennard, suffered the consequences when they defied this royal decree. They were stripped of their princely titles and inheritance and were removed from the line of succession. 

They were created Count of Wizborg and went by the surname - Bernadotte. Prince Bertil realized he was not prepared to suffer the same humiliation, adding to the complication was the sudden death of his older brother, Prince Gustav, Duke of Vasterbotten, from a plane crash in 1947.

As his two older brothers became ineligible to inherit the throne, and his brother's only son (the current Swedish king) was still an infant, he was anticipated to become a Regent should his father predeceased the infant prince. This event further barred him from marrying a commoner.

But in a strange twist of fate, he fell in love with a non-aristocratic commoner, who was still married at the time of their meeting in 1943. 

When fate makes a joke on people's lives, it is really big-time 😂

Prince Bertil met Lilian Daves in 1943 when she was still married to an actor. She was a British fashion model and an actress. They began a relationship two years before she officially separated from her husband. Her divorce was only finalized in 1947. 

But of course Prince Bertil could not marry her because of her non-aristocratic blood. So he bought a house near the French Riviera as their love nest. Years later, she moved to Sweden and Prince Bertil had set up another home, Villa Solbacken, in Stockholm, as their hideaway.

The fate of his romance with Lilian depended on the existence of his father. Because he did not want to lose both - his princely title, his inheritance, and his beloved Lilian - he asked her to wait for the right time to marry. 

And she waited 💖

Having children without the benefit of marriage is considered scandalous in nature in the royal court, and so they gave up the possibility to have kids. 

For 33 years they were living together discreetly, shuffling between France and Sweden. 

But in 1973 King Adolf VI Gustav died, and the new king, King Carl XVI Gustav, has fallen in love with a German commoner - Silvia Sommerlath.

Prince Bertil and Princess Lilian waited for 33 years to marry each other

In 1976, the king married Silvia, which paved the way for Prince Bertil and Lilian to get married also. And finally, after living together for more than 30 years, the moment had come for them to receive a marital blessing. 

Prince Bertil, who was already 64 , married Lilian, 61, in December 1976, and she was granted the title of Princess of Sweden and Duchess of Halland. They had a happy marriage until death separated them. 

Prince Bertil died in 1997 and Princess Lilian passed away in 2013. 

Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland

Their home, Villa Solbacken, went to the king's only son and Prince Bertil's godson, Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Varmland.

So if you are still wondering if this cheesy adage is real: "true love waits. and if it is worth the wait", always remember these great love stories of European princes.

Such were the cases of eternal love challenged by the test of time, but endured and eventually triumphed in the end.

According to an article in Healthline, love is complicated. 

Part of love's complication stems from the fact that it can be challenging - either the person you love does not love you back, the relationship failed to take off, or your romance has too many barriers, just like the cases of Prince Gustav and Prince Bertil.

"Long-term love involves commitment. If you devote effort to maintaining a strong bond at the very least, you will probably have a strong relationship that passes the test of time" - Healthline

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