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Princess Lilian of Sweden, whose romance with husband Prince Bertil became one of the country’s best-known love stories, has died at the age of 97.
Welsh-born commoner Lilian met Prince Bertil in London in 1943 but legal obstacles meant they did not finally get married until 1976. Prince Bertil died in 1997.
The royal court said in a statement that the princess, born Lillian Davies to a working class family in Swansea in August
1915, died peacefully in her sleep at her home in Stockholm.
Local media reported members of the royal family had managed to make their farewells to Lilian before she died.
Lilian, a divorcee, and Prince Bertil had to keep their love secret as Bertil’s elder brother and heir to the throne, Prince Gustaf Adolf, had died in a plane crash in 1947 while the next brother, Sigvard, waived his right to the throne by marrying a commoner.
That left Bertil next in line until his infant nephew, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf came of age. If Prince Bertil had married a commoner he would have had to renounce his right to the throne, probably sparking a constitutional crisis.
It was not until after the crown prince became king in 1973, and married a few years later, that Prince Bertil and Lilian could finally get married themselves and appear in public.