Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten

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Prince Gustaf Adolf
Duke of Västerbotten

Spouse Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler
Princess Birgitta of Sweden
Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld
Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson
Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Full name
Gustaf Adolf Oscar Fredrik Arthur Edmund
House House of Bernadotte
Father Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden
Mother Princess Margaret of Connaught
Born 22 April 1906(1906-04-22)
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Died 26 January 1947(1947-01-26) (aged 40)
Kastrup Airfield, Copenhagen, Denmark

Prince Gustaf Adolf Oscar Fredrik Arthur Edmund, Duke of Västerbotten (Stockholm, 22 April 1906 – Kastrup Airfield, Copenhagen, 26 January 1947) was the eldest son of Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (the future King Gustaf VI Adolf) and his first wife Princess Margaret of Connaught. His mother was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria as the daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. Gustaf Adolf was the father of the current king, Carl XVI Gustaf.

The prince was killed on 26 January 1947 in an airplane crash at the Kastrup Airport, Kastrup, Denmark.


Politics and World War II

Prince Gustaf Adolf, Hermann Göring and King Gustaf V of Sweden in Berlin 1939

Some recent journalists and historians portray Gustaf Adolf as sympathetic towards the Nazi movement in Germany in the 1930s, an opinion which has been highly debated and criticized. As an official representative of Sweden, Gustaf Adolf met with many Nazi leaders, including Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring (the latter had lived in Sweden and had many friends among the Swedish upper class). As the prince very rarely spoke of political matters and left no written evidence of any political sympathies of any kind, the subject is very much a matter of speculation.

Styles of
Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden
File:Coat of Arms of Sweden.svg
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

These rumours however made him unpopular among many Swedes during his lifetime. The public called him tyskprinsen (the German prince).[who?] However, according to journalist and author Staffan Skott in his book Alla dessa Bernadottar (All these Bernadottes[1]), these rumors are disproved by letters and diary entries by influential Swedes of decidedly anti-Nazi persuasion, including the diplomat Sven Grafström and the wife of a government minister Gustav Möller, as well as the stepson of Hermann Göring who said that a visit by the prince to Göring's home was a complete failure and that Göring and Gustaf Adolf did not get along well. Also, the anti-Nazi newspaper Expressen said that the rumors had been denied by "plausible witnesses who were also strongly pro-democracy". The Swedish Royal Court also has made a statement denying any knowledge of Nazi sympathies.


Gustaf Adolf was a Boy Scout and as an adult became a Scoutmaster. He earned his Wood Badge beads at Gilwell Park in England. When the Svenska Scoutrådet was formed he served as its first president or Chief Scout. He was leader of the Swedish contingent at the 5th World Scout Jamboree in 1937 and to the World Scout Moot in 1939. He served on the World Scout Committee from May 1937 until his death.[2][3]

Military career

Gustaf Adolf reached the substantive rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the 1940s.

Marriage and family

On 19/20 October 1932, he married in Coburg his second cousin, Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, daughter of Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Sibylla was a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, a granddaughter of HRH Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany. They had five children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler (1934-10-31) 31 October 1934 (age 89) married John Kenneth Ambler.
HRH Princess Birgitta of Sweden (1937-01-31) 31 January 1937 (age 87) married Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern.
Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld (1938-06-02) 2 June 1938 (age 85) married Baron Nils-August Otto Carl Niclas Silfverschiöld.
Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson (1943-08-03) 3 August 1943 (age 80) married Tord Gösta Magnuson.
HM King Carl XVI Gustaf (1946-04-30) 30 April 1946 (age 78) married Silvia Sommerlath.


See also Copenhagen Airport—Incidents and accidents.
Gustaf Adolf's and Sibylla's grave on Karlsborg Island in Solna, Sweden.

Prince Gustaf Adolf was killed in an airplane crash on the afternoon of 26 January 1947, at the Kastrup Airport, Kastrup, Denmark. The prince, along with two companions, was returning to Stockholm from a hunting trip and visit to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The delayed KLM flight from Amsterdam had landed at Copenhagen for a routine stop before continuing to Stockholm. Soon after the Douglas DC-3 aircraft took off, it climbed to an altitude of about 50 meters (150 ft), stalled, and plummeted nose-first to the ground, where it exploded on impact. All 22 people aboard the plane (16 passengers and six crew members) were killed. Also aboard the ill-fated flight was American singer and actress Grace Moore. The investigation showed that the crash had been caused by a forgotten gust lock to the elevator. Short of time, the captain had failed to perform the checklist properly and took off not realizing the lock was still in place.

At the time of his death, Prince Gustaf Adolf had been second in line (Hereditary Prince) to the Swedish throne behind his father, who in 1950 became King Gustaf VI Adolf. The younger Gustaf Adolf was succeeded as second in line by his only son, Carl Gustaf (at the time only 9 months old), who would later succeed his grandfather as King Carl XVI Gustaf.


The arms of Prince Carl Gustaf were those of the Kingdom of Sweden, with a quarter with the arms of Västerbotten in base.




  1. Albert Bonniers press
  2. Kroonenberg, Piet J. (1998). The Undaunted- The Survival and Revival of Scouting in Central and Eastern Europe. Geneva: Oriole International Publications. p. 31. ISBN 2-88052-003-7. 
  3. Kroonenberg, Piet J. (2003). The Undaunted II–The Survival and Revival of Scouting in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Las Vegas: Las Vegas International Scouting Museum. p. 77. ISBN 0-9746479-0-X. 

External links

ca:Gustau Adolf de Suècia is:Gústaf Adólf erfðaprins no:Gustav Adolf av Sverige, hertug av Västerbotten pl:Gustaw Adolf (książę Västerbotten) ro:Prințul Gustav Adolf, Duce de Västerbotten ru:Густав Адольф, герцог Вестерботтенский zh:古斯塔夫·阿道夫亲王