Today, I bring you an obituary of sorts for one of the unlikeliest royals imaginable, Lilian Davies.
Seriously, that hair. I bet you are wondering, “how did Lilian Davies become Princess Lilian? Is Davies the official last name of Swedish Royals?” “It’s a long story” and “no” are the answers to those questions.
What you’re looking at above is a photo of Lil in her heyday as a model, which, to me, would be the spectacular peak in the arc of my life, but she had quite a bit more living to do. She was born in 1915 into a working-class home in Swansea, Wales (if you’ve ever been to Wales, you will know that this is not a glamorous origin narrative). Because she looked like that (see: Fig. A.), she moved to London and became a model/dancer/singer, as one does. She married another actor, Ian Craig. He looked like this:
Again, this would be the spectacular arc of my life, but no. Lilian had some more living to do. Ian went off to WWII in 1942, as so many men did, and shortly thereafter, she met Prince Bertil of Sweden in this Parisian nightclub, which is somehow STILL OPEN. They fell in love, she left poor Ian, and they got married. He looked like so, so girl had a type,
Except some stuff happened in between. Bertil was second in line for the throne (and the heir was an infant), so he had some stuff to do in Stockholm There was a rule in Sweden at the time that said a royal couldn’t marry a commoner, and unfortunately, being a complete babe did not make a lady uncommon, to which I say, DID YOU LOOK AT HER? Those are some uncommon looks. But thems the rules, so what did you do?
You could tell your boo’s intractable uncle that you don’t even WANT to be a princess, move to France and stay deliriously in love with your prince husband until you both die of extreme old age. Which is what they did.
They lived together for over 30 years until they were allowed to get married when she was 61. When they got married, she got her title and they were allowed back in Swedish court, but she was probably through her princess phase by then, as most girls are.
So, rest in peace, Princess Lilian. You helped to make it okay for people to live and love how they wanted. You were a knockout and your life was “a soap opera of the highest quality.” And your husband didn’t even care that y’all couldn’t have kids because “[you and he] are still so happy.”