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Sweden’s Princess Lilian has died at age 97. Her death has reminded the world of one of the most romantic real-life stories that not even a screenwriter could have cooked up.
According to The BBC, Lilian was born Lilian Davies in Swansea, Wales in 1915. At age 16, she moved to London to be a model and was married to Ivan Craig when she first met Sweden’s Prince Bertil in 1945.
The Telegraph notes that Bertil was known as a playboy and they instantly fell in love, hoping to marry. His father, King Gustaf VI Adolf, refused to allow them to marry, though. Still, they insisted on being together, despite a rule against Royalty marrying a divorcee and a commoner.
They frequently appeared in public together and waited until Gustaf’s death to marry in 1976, over 30 years after they met.
Bertil died in 1997 and they did not have any children. After his death, she continued to appear at the Nobel Prize ceremony, wearing the royal jewels, until 2005, when she turned 91. In 2000, she decided to write a book about her life with Bertil.
“I think that the work – and laughter – keeps me somewhat young in mind. I don’t do gymnastics or exercise. But I do feel the same wish to help as my husband did,” she once said about her long life.
In 2010, it was revealed that Lilian had Alzheimer’s disease.