Yesterday was June 6th, which each year marks the National Day in Sweden. This year was especially special, since it marks the 200th year of the rule of the House of Bernadotte.

And also, Daniel Westling was allowed to participate for the first time in official capacity as the man at Victoria’s side. As Princess Madeleine is still in the US, they were one woman short to accompany Prince Carl Philip, who so far has been tasked with escorting his sisters during official outings.

Mind, CP and Daniel are actually wearing the same tie. Which is one of the few times that CP is wearing an acceptable tie at all.

Now, Sweden conducts its National Day in quite a nice way usually, as they are opening the doors of the Royal Palace of Stockholm to celebrate with the people. With strawberry shortcake *g* There’s usually a show in the evening that the royal family attends as well. I watched the coverage of it for about an hour last night and…well, was amused.

Victoria and Daniel during the show, which involved speeches by King Carl XVI Gustaf (he does the hurra much better than his son btw), the national anthem of course, but also celebration by other artists. Vikkan with her manic grin was delightful.

Now as for her brother *sigh* he’s obviously fallen back into his Antonio Banderas phase and I really, really had hoped he’d grown out of that one a couple of years ago. But no, we’re right back there.

CP with his paternal aunt Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson. I’m not sure who the blonde on his other side is though, maybe another relation, maybe some politician, I really have no idea. Anyone else any more knowledgeable? Anyway, what you can see pretty well here is that he still hasn’t learned to lay off the gel. Actually, it’s even worse than it has been the last few times we saw him in official capacity. *sigh*

I get that he has unruly hair, I do too, but that’s just too much. Really. It’s like he doesn’t only plaster it back, but he starts defining every single strand even. It’s….gah. He lays off the gel (and the razor) during racing weekends, probably since he figured out that gel beneath the helmet and fireproof mask is not doing a lot of good one way or other, but he really needs to do this differently. It wasn’t as bad when he had it shorter, maybe he needs to go back there. I’m loathe to think of what we’ll see in two weeks, elsewise.

History lesson for those of you who have no idea of the Bernadottes:

Sweden was in political turmoil during the late 18th and early 19th century, not only also but also due to the Russo-Swedish War, which finally led to Karl XIII being appointed regent of Sweden and finally being elected as king. Karl XIII was the last reigning King of the House of Holstein-Gottorp, whose Swedish line ended with him. He had married his first cousin Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotte (of Holstein-Gottorp) but their two children died in infancy and his illegitimate son could not inherit his throne. As Karl XIII was elderly and in bad health already, people started to look around for an heir, who was to be adopted into the family before the death of the current king to prevent the political turmoil escalating once more.

Eventually the choice fell on Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, a general of Napoleon, who had worked himself from being a commoner to enjoying the trust of the French Emperor. This did not come without a price though, as that was a shaky trust, mostly still intact due to the fact that Desirée Clary, Jean Baptiste’s wife, was the former fiancée of Napoleon, whom she had an ongoing affair with (as is rumoured at least). To illustrate though: General Bernadotte can be seen on the painting depicting Napoleon’s crowning.

After the death of the former Swedish crown prince, Bernadotte was made the offer in 1810 (200 years ago this day) to the Swedish throne. Napoleon, at first, wasn’t in favour but let his general go nonetheless. Jean Baptiste took the name Karl XIV Johan and pretty much reigned from the day of his arrival, as Karl XIII was ailing badly already. Karl XVI Johan became popular rather quickly, as he also had his only son Oscar (who would later become Oscar I) educated in Sweden and in Swedish manner from the beginning. This won him favours with the people and the Barons.

Since then, Swedish Kings and princes have only married foreign princes, never within Sweden’s own nobility (part of the house law), the tradition only broken by Carl XVI Gustaf when he married Silvia Sommerlath from Germany, who he had met during the Olympic Games in 1972. She also was the first commoner to marry a Swedish King.

Which takes us to the present: 200 years of Bernadotte rule in Sweden, when in 1976 people thought the monarchy was dead as the royal family only consisted of two people anymore. Let’s hope for another 200 years.