The beautiful coalminer’s daughter had finally become a princess at 61. She married her Swedish prince in a simple ceremony, wearing a blue dress and carrying lilies of the valley. The King and Queen of Sweden attended the wedding. She was now Princess Lilian of Sweden.
The Welsh beauty born in Swansea was always destined for better things. She left school at 14 and found a modelling career in London, where she modelled for Vogue. However, she worked in a factory making radios and in a hospital during the Second World War. The then Lillian Davies married the Scottish actor, Ian Craig, but she quickly fell in love with her handsome prince, Prince Bertil, who she met at a cocktail party. They intended to marry soon after she obtained her divorce.
The prince’s father, King Gustav VI of Sweden, forbade the couple to marry, however, after the prince’s brother died in an aeroplane crash. This must have been extremely irritating because some of his brothers had renounced their rights to the throne and married commoners. Queen Sylvia and Princess Sybilla regarded the young woman as an interloper, according to some reports, and she couldn’t attend official functions. She also refused the Queen’s invitation to tea. *
The couple had a long and secret romance and lived together in Sweden and France. They never had children, because they were forbidden to marry. This was a big regret for both of them, but the princess became very close to the royal children.
The couple married in 1976, after King Carl XVI Gustaf gave permission. He had also married a commoner, and the princess became great friends with his wife, Queen Sylvia. She was also the godmother of Prince Carl Philip. Still beautiful, Princess Lilian now enjoyed attending the royal functions and wearing gorgeous jewels.
She recently died at 97, and she is buried next to her prince in the royal Haga cemetery on the outskirts of Stockholm.
* Queen Elizabeth II