Traditions abound at Prince Gabriel of Sweden’s christening

Today was the christening of Prince Gabriel of Sweden, Duke of Dalarna. Gabriel is the second son of Sweden’s Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, who are also parents to Prince Alexander, aged one.

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Today’s service was held in the chapel of Drottingholm Palace and was attended by members of the Swedish Royal Family, as well as various friends and relatives; the chapel is located just outside Stockholm.

Carl Philip and Sofia enter the Drottingholm Palace Chapel with their sons, Alexander and Gabriel

Gabriel is King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia’s sixth grandchild, and he is sixth in line to the throne after his aunt, Crown Princess Victoria, her two children Estelle and Oscar, and then his own father and brother.

Gabriel, who was born on 31st August, wore the christening gown previously used for the christenings of his father and aunts – the gown has been used for Swedish Royals since it was first worn by Prince Gustaf Adolf in 1906.

His mother, Princess Sofia, was unusually wearing the traditional dress of Dalarna, the place where Sofia grew up and Prince Gabriel’s duchy. Carl Philip wore the traditional ceremonial military dress used by male members of the monarchy for such occasions.

Carl Philip and Sofia with their two children; Princess Madeleine and Sara Hellqvist, Sofia’s sister, sit alongisde the proud parents

Their eldest son, Alexander, wore a naval-themed suit previously worn by Carl Philip as a child.

Gabriel’s godparents were announced yesterday. The young prince has six godparents, including his aunts, Princess Madeleine, and Sara Hellqvist. The pair also chose two of their friends, Carolina Pihl and Oscar Kylberg, as well as Carl Philip’s cousin, Thomas de Toledo Sommerlath. The couple were seated alongside the godparents, while the rest of the royal family sat opposite.

The 4-month-old was also awarded his coat of arms and royal monogram ahead of the ceremony.

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King Carl Gustaf and Queen Sofia looked on as their three children and four of their grandchildren joined them at the service. Crown Princess Victoria was the first royal guest to enter the chapel, with her husband Prince Daniel, five-year-old daughter Estelle and one-year-old Oscar.

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Princess Madeleine, who is expecting her third child, was joined by her husband, Chris O’Neill. Their children, Leonore and Nicolas, were not present at the christening service.

King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia watched proudly as their sixth grandchild Gabriel was christened

Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Daniel, Estelle and Oscar at the christening of Prince Gabriel, with Princess Madeleine’s husband Chris O’Neill seated first from the right

Estelle, who at times appeared to be losing interest in the ceremony, was delighted to be asked to participate in the service. Under the close supervision of Madeleine and the Archbishop, the five-year-old (who is second-in-line to the throne) poured water into the font, before joining in the blessing of the water. The water itself came from a spring on the island of Öland, a tradition which was introduced by Carl Gustaf and Silvia.

Princess Estelle of Sweden helps to pour and bless the water used to christen her cousin, Prince Gabriel, while her aunt Princess Madeleine watches

When the time came for Gabriel to be handed over to the Archbishop, the young prince cried so hard that he gave himself the hiccoughs, fussing until he was back in his mother’s arms.  Not to be outdone by his little brother, Prince Alexander toddled around the chapel, showing off his picture book to guests – including the Swedish Prime Minister!

Alexander then had a bit of a temper tantrum, although by the end of the ceremony he was happily smiling and waving at the congregation.

An unhappy Prince Gabriel cried as he was being held by the Archbishop during the christening

After the ceremony, King Carl Gustaf awarded his youngest grandson with the Order of Seraphim, like his children and grandchildren.

The King and Queen then hosted a reception for the guests at Drottingholm Palace, where there was also a 21-gun salute to commemorate the occasion. The Palace also released an official picture after the christening, with more images expected in the next few days.
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