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Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Last Surviving Great Grandchild of Queen Victoria

Carl Johan Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg, died last May 5 at the age of 95 due to a lingering heart ailment. He was the last surviving great grandchild of Queen Victoria of England.

Carl Johan was the former Prince Carl Johan of Sweden but he was stripped of his royal title and inheritance when he married in 1946 to a commoner, Elin Wijkmark. In the past all European royals were not allowed to marry a commoner, they will either be stripped of their titles and rights to the throne or declared their marriage illegal.

Carl Johan went to New York City to marry Wijkmark as their marriage was dimmed impossible in Sweden, they lived in London afterwards. In 1987, Wijkmark died and Carl Johan remarried to an aristocrat, Countess Martha Louise Wachtmeister. He had no children in his two marriages but had two adopted children.

In 2007, following the death of Princess Katherine of Greece and Denmark (paternal aunt of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh), Carl Johan became the only surviving great grandchild of Queen Victoria. After he lost his princely title he began using the Swedish royal family surname, Bernadotte. He was also given a noble title in 1951, Count of Wisborg, by the Grandduchess of Luxembourg, Charlotte.

Carl Johan was the youngest son of King Gustav VI of Sweden and Crown Princess Margaretha, the former Princess Margarita of Connaught (granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England through her third son, Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught). The reigning King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustav, is his nephew while the reigning Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, is his niece (her mother, Queen Ingrid, was Carl Johan's elder sister). She lost her mother when she was only four years old, his father remarried three years later to Lady Louise Mountbatten, the maternal aunt of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who would eventually become the Queen of Sweden.

Carl Johan was also considered as the uncle of most current European crown heads, Elizabeth II of Britain and her husband, Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh, Albert II of Belgium, Juan Carlos of Spain and his wife, Queen Sophia, King Harald V of Norway and Grandduke Henri of Luxembourg.

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