Published February 28, 2014
Last week, Princess Madeleine of Sweden and her husband, Christopher O’Neill, an American banker, welcomed a healthy baby girl. The royal daughter was born at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City.
I am very happy for Princess Madeleine and her husband – as is my wife, who was born in Sweden. I think many people around the world who are familiar with the Swedish royal family share our joy.
The child, Princess Leonore Lilian Maria, will now be fifth in line for the Swedish throne after her mother.
Now, I know the United States has fought long and hard to rid itself of kings and queens that have, in the past, limited the pursuit of liberties and self-governance among U.S. citizens. (But how ironic that now many elected officials seem to fancy themselves royalty by dedicating their time to circumventing the democratic process.)
Today, most royal families around the world are merely symbolic figureheads – living reminders of a country’s history and traditions. As individuals, royals represent romantic notions about culture and etiquette that, in many parts of the world, are just plain missing.
Hopefully, the birth of Princess Leonore Lilian Maria will reinvigorate discussions about royals in America, as many interesting questions are sure to emerge from this quiet story. Will she have dual citizenship? Will she see herself as an American? Will she be able to keep her royal identity?
Answers to these questions remain to be seen. Any child born in the U.S. is considered an American citizen – unless they are the child of a foreign diplomat. Princess Madeleine, who works for the World Childhood Foundation, a non-profit founded by her mother, is not considered to be residing in the U.S. for diplomacy purposes.
Though the Act of Succession in Sweden does not bring up dual-citizenship issues, it does declare that a non-Swedish citizen cannot ascend to the throne. However, because the Swedish Royal Court has declared that Princess Madeleine’s daughter will be referred to as ‘H.R.H. Princess Leonore Lilian Maria, Duchess of Gotland,’ it appears that the child will be eligible to someday inherit the throne.
Only the future will tell how this beautiful, blessed little girl will help shape the country that she was born in – and the country where she may someday ascend to the throne.