In the new documentary The Year With the Royal Family, cameras follow Sweden's Royal Family as they perform royal duties and celebrate personal milestones such as Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia's beautiful wedding and the christening of Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill's son, Prince Nicolas. The program, which aired on the country's SVT network on Jan. 6, also features candid family moments, childhood stories and updates on the next generation of royals, including the heir to the throne Princess Estelle.
The documentary shows clips from Carl Philip and Sofia's June nuptials, including the moment the prince received his beautiful bride at the altar, as well as their grand exit from the church to the hymn “Joyful, Joyful.” Viewers were also treated to a glimpse of the couple’s first dance as the 36-year-old royal twirled his new princess around the dance floor. Calling his first year with his wife “fantastic,” Carl said, “We have been treated with so much love and warmth. Absolutely wonderful and a fantastic wedding.”
Sofia, who is expecting the couple’s first child, took the documentary as an opportunity to shine a light on her work in South Africa with the organization Project Playground. The charity, which helps strengthen children’s personal and social development through activities, was co-founded by the 31-year-old royal in 2010. “We were frustrated with the situation and wanted to do something on our own. We think that it’s very important for these children to have a dignified life.”
Wanting to help others is something Sofia has been passionate about long before she became a princess. She said, “I think I’ve been that way all my life. I thought that I could make a difference. [I] went to Africa when I was 17 to save the world, but I realized that it was more complex than that. But I felt I could do anything and have committed myself since.”
Princess Madeleine is also devoted to making a difference, especially when it comes to end human trafficking. To highlight the issue, the mother of two, along with her own mother, Queen Silvia, paid a visit to Pope Francis in Rome. Joining the two women was Madeleine’s one-year-old daughter, Princess Leonore, who had her own special audience with the Pope.
“I think [Leonore] felt it was special to meet the Pope,” Madeleine said. “She behaved very well, which was nice. First and foremost, she wanted to sit with grandmother then she ended up next to the Pope.”
While the little princess appears to be comfortable in the spotlight, her mother revealed on Skavlan, a Norwegian-Swedish talk show, that after several years, she herself is not. “One would think and maybe expect that I would be used to it by now,” Madeleine said of being in the public arena. “I’m really not [comfortable]. I think at the end of the day I’m quite shy. I don’t like being in the centre of attention. I know this is something I have to deal with. I’m struggling with it. I’m working on it.”
Recalling her childhood, she admitted, “My poor parents, they always got a headache when we were having family photos or something like that because I always ran off, and I was always hiding and they always had to drag me there and I was screaming and I never really wanted to be a part of it.”
Photo: ©Facebook/Princess Madeleine of Sweden
As the 33-year-old continues to embrace her role as a public figure, her husband, Chris O'Neill, meanwhile, continues to perfect his Swedish. The London native said, “When Leonore and Madeleine speak especially about animals, then I get it.” The doting father, who admitted he’s wrapped around his daughter’s finger, revealed one of the first words he learned in Swedish was kanin, meaning rabbit, “because that’s Leonore’s little thing.”
Madeleine chimed in, “We can't live without the kanin. [Leonore] has a special rabbit and she can’t sleep without it. If we don’t find kanin were not going to go to bed that night.”
The couple admits that their “wild” toddler is “more outgoing” than their baby boy, Prince Nicolas. The royal pair welcomed their son, who they call a "gentle soul," in June.
The film shows that 2015 was a great year for the royals. With both Princess Sofia and Crown Princess Victoria's pregnancies, it's safe to say 2016 is shaping up to be another glorious year for the growing Swedish family.