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Prince Gustav Marries American Author Carina Axelsson

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After 19 years of dating, Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg finally married his American girlfriend, Carina Axelsson. Prince Gustav, the nephew of two Queens—Denmark's Queen Margrethe and Greece's Queen Anne-Marie—was stuck in a legal battle over his inheritance.

In 1939, Gustav's grandfather, Prince Gustav Albrecht of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg—a German nobleman who served in the Nazi army—wrote a will in which he stipulated conditions to inheriting the family estate, Berleburg Palace. Gustav Albrecht's conditions: if they were married, his heirs must marry an "Aryan, noble, and Protestant" woman.

Photo credit: Andreas Rentz - Getty Images
Photo credit: Andreas Rentz - Getty Images

In 1968, his son, Prince Richard married Princess Benedikte of Denmark—the second daughter of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid, and younger sister to current Queen Margrethe II. Benedikte met Gustav Albercht's conditions, and Prince Richard was able to inherit Berleburg Palace.

However, Prince Gustav—the eldest son of Princess Benedikte and Prince Richard—did not date a "Aryan, noble, and Protestant" woman. Instead, he has been dating Carina Axelsson, an American-born author with Swedish and Mexican heritage, for nearly two decades now.

As The Court Jeweller explains, in the mid 2000s, "Carina moved in to Schloss Berleburg with Gustav, and she often acted as chatelaine of the castle. She even often appeared with a sparkling ruby and diamond cluster ring on the ring finger of her left hand. But marriage, it seemed, remained out of the question. If Gustav married Carina before his father’s death, he would open himself up to legal challenges from various cousins hoping to stake a claim on the estate, which is one of the largest noble estates in Germany today."

Photo credit: picture alliance
Photo credit: picture alliance

After the death of Prince Richard in 2017, this legal challenge exploded. Gustav's great uncle, Prince Ludwig-Ferdinand, claimed he was the rightful heir to Berleburg because of Gustav and Carina's relationship, and filed a suit. Carina soon stopped appearing in public with Gustav. Yet, In summer 2020, the German courts found that Gustav met the conditions of the will, paving the way for Gustav to inherit Berleburg and overturn the Nazi will of his grandfather.

In April 2022, the Danish royal family confirmed Prince Gustav and Carina Axelsson would finally be married, and the two tied the knot this weekend at Berleburg Castle Chapel. Numerous royals were in attendance, including Gustav's mother, Princess Benedikte, and Denmark's Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik, who served as the witnesses.

Carina wore the Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg Diamond Spike Tiara, a tiara she previously wore to Queen Margrethe II's 70th birthday celebrations. Swipe through for photos from the wedding:

Cleo von Adelsheim, the hereditary princess of Oettingen-Oettingen and Oettingen-Spielberg, was also in attendance, and shared some photos on her Instagram of her sheer gown:

In an interview with Billed Bladet published before the wedding, Gustav said, "We are both happy to have only our closest friends and family to celebrate our wedding. We always said we did not want a big party, after everything we have experienced."

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