Inside Princess Victoria's Marriage To Daniel Westling

The British royal family might be the one you are most familiar with, but in Sweden, there is another kingdom, ruled by King Carl Gustaf. With his wife Queen Siliva, Gustaf shares three children: Prince Carl Phillip, Princess Madeleine, and the heir apparent Princess Victoria. Born Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée in 1977, the crown princess has been first in line since 1980, which is when Sweden changed its rules on succession from male ascension only to order of birth. Over time, Victoria has become the face of the Swedish monarchy, with a 2017 poll for Swedish magazine Svensk Damtidning (via The Local) naming her the most popular member of the Swedish royal family.

Victoria is not only admired because she symbolizes the future of the Swedish monarchy, but her unlikely love story with former fitness trainer Daniel Westling has also made her even more popular. When in 2010, she finally married Westling, the crown princess couldn't be happier. "Dear friends, I would like to thank you, the Swedish People for having given me my prince," she said on her wedding day, according to Hello! magazine. Per Sveriges Radio, Westling in turn could not stop gushing about his new bride, saying in his speech, "I love you, Victoria, and I am proud that we are here together, and I am so happy to be your husband."

 From their first meeting to an unforgettable lavish wedding to rumors of infidelity, here's an inside look into Princess Victoria's marriage to Daniel Westling.

A princess and a commoner's memorable meet-cute

Long before meeting her future husband, Princess Victoria went through a difficult time in the '90s. In 1997, during a one-year study in France, the princess developed an eating disorder — something the palace noted stemmed from the immense amount of public attention Victoria struggled to navigate. "The crown princess is suffering from an eating disorder," a spokesman said at the time, per Hello! magazine. "She is receiving therapeutic help." Per the AP, she grew tired of the amount of scrutiny she was under, and she was ready for a change of scenery. So, the royal headed across the pond and spent five semesters studying at Yale University. Princess Victoria eventually headed back to Sweden, and in 2009 she earned her degree in peace and conflict studies. 

Upon her return to Sweden, Victoria's long-term relationship with her then-boyfriend Daniel Collert ended, unknowingly opening up the next chapter of her life. According to Now To Love, the princess met her now husband Daniel Westling after registering at a gym he owned. "Daniel and I had a great and well-founded friendship. It was a friendship that grew and turned into love," she said at a press conference. Westling echoed this sentiment, adding, "It is the perfect personal chemistry."

The royal family wasn't immediately into the relationship

In the past, royals only married royals. While that certainly has changed through the years, a number of royal families around the world are still hesitant about getting involved with non-royals. Case in point: King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia's initial skepticism about their daughter Princess Victoria's relationship with Daniel Westling. "They wanted to make it clear that I would get the best possible support and backing for my job now and the future," Victoria said in the 2009 biography "Victoria — Queen of the Time" (via Hello!). "How could they know Daniel could give me that? How would he do it?"

The monarch and his wife however soon came around, eventually embracing Westling with open arms. "It is of course a special day for us, but it is also a special day for Sweden," King Carl Gustaf said following the pair's engagement, per Hello! magazine. "In the past years we have got to know Daniel and have discovered he is a young man who works hard and takes life seriously."

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, to hasten his integration into the family, the palace courtiers more or less pulled a "The Princess Diaries" and basically gave Westling a crash course on how to be a royal. The princess and her husband have continued to enjoy the monarch's support to this day.  

The media's response to Victoria and Daniel's love story

Not even the Swedish media can resist a good love story, but apparently, Princess Victoria's choice of partner stirred up their appetite even more. "Their relationship came as a big surprise," journalist Johan T. Lindwall told The Sunday Morning Herald. "Daniel came from a totally different background to Victoria. Everyone said it would never work." But of course, the relationship did work and, despite the couple's attempt to be private, the Swedish media has followed them relentlessly for years. 

According to a 2010 report by The Local, the Swedish media had previously entered into an agreement with the royal family, allowing a young Princess Victoria and her siblings to have as much of a normal childhood as possible without the intrusion of the cameras. Even as Victoria, Princess Madeleine, and Prince Carl Philip transitioned into their adult years, the media continued to maintain a degree of respect. Alas, when the royal siblings' love lives started to spark the interest of the public, the paparazzi  got to work. Photographers tailed the crown princess and Daniel Westling often, hoping to get a picture of them cozying up. In the end, they managed to capture a shot of Victoria and Westling sharing a kiss — and thus began the start of a new media era.

Daniel broke Swedish tradition in his proposal to Victoria

In 2009, having dated for nearly a year, Daniel Westling got on one knee and asked Princess Victoria to marry him. Westling proposed at Drottningholm Palace — the private residence of the Swedish royal family where he had also been living for a while. Expectedly, Victoria said yes, detailing in her announcement video how excited she was. "With Daniel by my side I feel secure," she said, per Hello! magazine. "You have probably noticed that in recent years I have seemed stronger and happier. And now the time has come for us to begin building something together and starting a family."

Even though Westling was not sure he would get a yes from Victoria, he was not scared to break a few royal rules. According to Express, Westling eschewed the Swedish royal tradition of exchanging simple gold rings for their engagement. Instead, the former fitness instructor opted to propose to Victoria with a sparkling solitaire diamond on a white gold band. By defying this tradition, however, Victoria opened the door for her younger siblings Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine to go modern with their rings later on.

Princess Victoria's lavish royal wedding

In June 2010, 16 months after popping the big question, Daniel Westling and his bride Princess Victoria tied the knot in a lavish ceremony. According to the BBC, the royal wedding — Sweden's first since 1976 — cost an estimated $2 million while attracting over 1,000 guests from around the world. Famous attendees included Earl and Countess of Wessex Prince Andrew and his wife Sophie, Prince Albert of Monaco, and Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands royal family. Per Royal Central, Westling and Victoria were joined by Archbishop Anders Werjryd at the Stockholm Cathedral before leaving for the reception at the royal palace. For her royal wedding dress, Princess Victoria opted for a Pär Engsheden ivory duchesse silk gown, accessorized with the Cameo Tiara — the same tiara her mother Queen Silvia wore for her 1976 wedding to King Carl Gustaf.

Speaking of King Carl, the monarch went against Swedish tradition at his daughter's wedding by agreeing to walk her down the aisle. According to The Local, Swedish fathers are not permitted to walk their daughters down the aisle, on the premise of it being a sexist practice. Instead couples are expected to walk down the aisle together, a practice that connotes equality. In the Victoria's case, however, a compromise was reached with the king walking his daughter halfway down the aisle where she joined and walked together with Westling.

Victoria and Daniel have two children together

Two years after their lavish wedding, Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling welcomed their first child, Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary. "The crown princess feels radiant, she is so happy," Westling announced at the time, per Stockholm News. "Both the little daughter and the crown princess are doing great." 

By her birth, Princess Estelle became second in line to the Swedish throne, pushing down her uncle Prince Carl Phillip in the line of succession. Four years after Princess Estelle's birth, the royal couple welcomed their second child, Prince Oscar. "They are doing great and have been really well-cared for," Westling told reporters, per People. "I have not had time to feel just yet how it feels to be a father of two. But it feels good so far!" Upon Oscar's birth, he now became third in line for the throne, sliding his uncle Prince Carl Phillip further down once again.

In the years since becoming parents, Victoria and Westling have fully embraced their new roles, trying as best as they could to teach Estelle and Oscar the reality of life outside royalty. "I also think it's important to let the children visit all sorts of environments," the former fitness trainer said in Dagens Nyheter (via The Local). "You need to know how the metro works, and what it's like to travel by bus, and what it's like to stand in line."

Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling remain strong in love

In June 2020, Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling celebrated their 10th anniversary in grand fashion — as one would expect from the royal family. Ahead of their huge milestone, the royal court released pictures of Westling and Victoria captured by photographer Elisabeth Toll. In one of the snapshots, the royal couple was shown on the grounds of Gustav III's Pavilion, with Victoria donning a navy blue dress and a tiara. In another photo, the princess sported a pink embellished Ellie Saab dress — a dress she wore to a concert 10 years before, according to Hello! magazine. The last picture saw the crown princess in a more casual look, sporting a cowl neck white shift dress.

And if there were any questions as to what their marriage has been like, Victoria and Westling have continuously served us couple goals vibes through the years. From holding hands during royal duties to snuggling up in public, these two are clearly not afraid to let the world know how much they mean to each other. But we can't exactly say we're surprised, given Westling's promise to love and support his wife. "I will do my best to live up to the expectations placed on my shoulders. I will do my best to support my wife, Sweden's crown princess, in her important role," he said on their wedding day, per Sveriges Radio. "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you stay as happy as you are today."

Daniel and Victoria have faced cheating rumors

Celebrity marriages are often plagued with scandals, and the Swedish royals are no exception. In early 2022, Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling were confronted with rumors about their relationship. An article published by the Swedish tabloid Stoppa Pressarna hinted at infidelity between the couple, alleging that Westling betrayed his wife. According to the publication, Westling's absence at a gathering in December 2021 was no mistake; rumor had it Victoria had ordered him to sit at home after learning of indiscretions. Speculation also hinted at a possible divorce between the couple — a claim they later refuted.

Taking to Instagram in February 2022, Victoria and Westling shared a joint statement that denied any trouble in their marriage: "Allegations are spread about betrayal in the relationship and an impending divorce. Normally we do not comment on rumors and speculation. But in order to protect our family, we wish to make it clear, once and for all, that the rumors that are now spreading are completely baseless." The couple's words were seemingly backed up by Jenny Alexandersson, a journalist with the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet (via the Daily Mail). "Believe me, we have done a solid journalistic job. Had there been a divorce going on, we would have reported on it," Alexandersson said.