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Lennart Bernadotte

Count of Wisborg
Lennart Bernadotte 1939.jpg
Prince Lennart Bernadotte in 1939
Born(1909-05-08)8 May 1909
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Died21 December 2004(2004-12-21) (aged 95)
Schloss Mainau, Mainau, Lake Constance, Germany
Karin Nissvandt
(m. 1932; div. 1971)

Sonja Haunz
(m. 1972)
IssueCountess Birgitta
Countess Marie-Louise
Count Jan
Countess Cecilia
Countess Bettina
Count Björn
Countess Catharina
Count Christian
Countess Diana
Full name
Gustaf Lennart Nicolaus Paul
FatherPrince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland
MotherGrand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia

Lennart Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg (born Prince Lennart, Duke of Småland; 8 May 1909 – 21 December 2004) was a Swedish-German landscaper, filmmaker and photographer. He was a grandson of King Gustaf V of Sweden.

Bernadotte was born at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, to Prince Wilhelm of Sweden (Gustaf V's second son) and Wilhelms's wife, Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (he was her first husband). At birth Bernadotte was a Swedish prince and was titled Duke of Småland. In 1932, he married Karin Nissvandt, a morganatic marriage, and thereafter ceased to be referred to by his royal titles. Thus, he became the first Swede in history to have his royal titles removed due to his own actions and was called Mr. Bernadotte as a result. Nineteen years after he lost his Swedish royal titles, he was given titles of nobility in Luxembourg.

He published two memoirs: Käre prins, godnatt (1977) and Mainau min medelpunkt (1995).


Bernadotte on his new yacht Stella Polaris at Gripsholm with grandson Friedrich Lennart Straehl, August, 1965

Under the Swedish Act of Succession, a prince or princess marrying without the consent of the monarch and government forfeits the right of succession for themselves and their descendants. In a new policy adopted in the case of Lennart Bernadotte, they were also forbidden to use their titles[1] and told to use the surname of Bernadotte. By his marriage on 11 March 1932 Prince Lennart consequently, as far as Swedish records were concerned, was to be called Mr. Lennart Bernadotte.

He considered himself for several decades subjected to very cruel treatment from the Royal Court of Sweden due to his first marriage, and his wife developed a worsening psychosis from it which eventually led to their divorce in 1971.[2]

Beginning in 1892, Swedish princes who lost their succession rights received noble titles conferred by other reigning monarchs. On 2 July 1951, for himself, his wife and his marital descendants, Bernadotte was admitted by Grand Duchess Charlotte (head of state at the time) into the nobility of Luxembourg as Count of Wisborg[3] and in that conferral was also called Gustaf Lennart Nicolas Paul Prince Bernadotte.[4] Counts of Wisborg are considered to be part of the Swedish unintroduced nobility.[3]

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who lost the right to confer Swedish noble titles in the new constitution of 1974, still retains the prerogative to restore royal titles, but has chosen not to do so.


In 1944 Bernadotte portrayed the young Crown Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway in the historical film Prince Gustaf, Bernadotte's only screen acting role. He served as head of the Sveriges Scoutförbund (Scouting Association of Sweden) from 1948 to 1951[5][6][7]

Lennart Bernadotte concentrated his energy on his estate on the island of Mainau in Lake Constance, Germany, where he died, and on his charitable fund, the Lennart Bernadotte Stiftung. He was considered a major gardening and landscaping talent and expert and turned his island into a popular tourist attraction.

He received the Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor from the German Eduard Rhein Foundation in 1996.[8][9]


In London on 11 March 1932 Bernadotte married firstly Karin Nissvandt (7 July 1911 – 9 October 1991). They had four children before divorcing in December 1971: Birgitta, Marie-Louise, Jan, and Cecilia.

In Mainau on 29 April 1972 Bernadotte married Sonja Haunz (7 May 1944 – 21 October 2008). They had five children: Bettina, Björn, Catherine, Christian, and Diana.

Bernadotte died in 2004. His remains, and four years later those of his second wife, were interred in a crypt under the palace chapel on Mainau. His first wife's remains have been buried in his father's grave in Flen.




  1. ^ Gunnar Bramstång in ''Tronrätt, bördstitel och hustillhörighet ISBN 91-544-2081-4 p. 54-55
  2. ^ Lennart Bernadotte in Mainau min medelpunkt ISBN 91-0-056122-3 pp. 77 & 338
  3. ^ a b c von Rothstein, Niclas, ed. (2009). Kalender över Ointroducerad adels förening (in Swedish) (22nd ed.). Ointroducerad Adels Förening. p. 22. ISBN 9789163350382.
  4. ^ Mémorial du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg No 48, Government of Luxembourg, 13 August 1951, entry dated 18 July 1951
  5. ^ "Scoutings historia i årtal". 2018. Retrieved 2018-01-12.
  6. ^ "Bengt Junker bleg scoutchef" (PDF).
  7. ^ "Pojkscoutchefer" (PDF). Scoutmuséets hemsida. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-03-02. Retrieved 2016-11-08.
  8. ^ "The Eduard Rhein Ring of Honor Recipients". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  9. ^ "1996 - Ring of Honor - Prof. Dr.h.c.mult. Lennart Graf Bernadotte af Wisborg". Eduard Rhein Foundation. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2011.

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