Swedish princess Lilian died on Sunday, putting an end to a secret love story that has endured for seventy years. Prince Bertil of Sweden and Welsh-born Lilian Davies met in 1943 and fell in love, reports the Denver Post on Sunday, March 10. It was a secret, wartime romance that had all the trimmings – divorce, common blood vs. royal, and clandestine love.
When the handsome prince picked her up in his car, after an air raid, it was love at – almost – first sight. World War II raged. Love bloomed.
Prince Bertil was the third son of King Gustaf VI Adolf, and he was doing war work in England. The young British girl had moved to London to try and become an actress. But she was married. Oops. Her husband had also met someone new, so no problem there. They agreed to split.
But for Prince Bertil, problems loomed. His oldest brother had died in a plane crash, leaving a year-old baby heir. Two other brothers had given up their rights to the throne. Prince Bertil had a duty to his royal family. He and the divorced, common-blooded Lilian could not marry. Sad. Romantic. True.
They moved in together, in a time when that was forbidden, and they waited for things to change. Eventually the baby grew up and became king. He decreed his uncle and could marry whomever he pleased. But Bertie and Lilian were then in their 60s. Love still bloomed, though, and Lilian became a princess.
Prince Bertil never became king. He died in 1997. Swedish Princess Lilian died today, possibly of Alzheimer’s disease, at age 97. The star-crossed love story lives on in Swedish history.