Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria & Prince Daniel's Relationship: From Meet-Cute To Divorce Rumors

For years, tradition has held that royals are to marry others of high status, but there have always been royals who choose to marry so-called commoners, like Prince Harry marrying Meghan Markle, Japan's Princess Mako marrying Kei Komuro — and Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria marrying Daniel Westling. 

The Swedish princess, born Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée, has bucked tradition in more ways than one. For starters, she's going to be Sweden's first queen regnant since 1720: Her younger brother was initially set to become the heir apparent when he was born in 1979, but a law change a year after his birth made it so that Victoria, as the oldest child of King Carl XVI Gustaf, would become queen.

Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel have continued to cast off tradition throughout their love story, from the unlikely place where they first met to the engagement ring Daniel eventually proposed with. When it comes down to it, love trumps tradition, and it's fair to say Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel have paved the way for other royals to break the mold in the name of love. With an extravagant wedding, two children, and a palace to call home, it's easy to regard the royal couple as the epitome of fairytale love. However, rumors circulating in 2022 called into question the couple's relationship for the first time since they began dating. We're here to fill you in on their marriage, starting from the very beginning.

They met at the gym

Though Princess Victoria had planned to go to Uppsala University in Sweden to study political science, she instead went to Yale, according to Hello! Magazine. This was back in 1998, not long after Victoria had publicly battled an eating disorder. Her decision to go to Yale was partially due to Victoria's desire to be out of the public eye. She had a long-term boyfriend at the time, Daniel Collert, but the relationship ended in 2001.

As many do after a breakup, Princess Victoria joined a gym once she returned to Stockholm (per Now to Love), and it ended up being quite a fateful choice: Her personal trainer (and the owner of the gym) was Daniel Westling, and the two got along very well — so well, in fact, that they would eventually get married.

Although the story of how Daniel and Victoria met is cute enough to be the plot of a rom-com, their relationship was actually a slow burn. Victoria said at a press conference (via Now to Love) that she and Daniel were initially just friends, not romantic partners. "Daniel and I had a great and well-founded friendship," she said. "It was a friendship that grew and turned into love."

The Swedish media loved the couple from the jump

Rumors that Daniel and Victoria were dating began to circulate in 2002, and despite the couple's attempts to keep their relationship private, the media couldn't get enough, according to The Local SE. Photographers followed Victoria to a birthday party in Stockholm, where they waited until they could capture a shot of the two of them kissing. The outlet refers to that first photo of Victoria and Daniel as the first occurrence of paparazzi in Sweden, a country known for its more respectful media as compared to other countries.

It's easy to see why Victoria and Daniel's romance was so exciting to the media: Not only did it involve the princess, but her beau was also an unexpected choice. Daniel was from a small town in northern Sweden and did not come from a wealthy family, according to The Sunday Times. But it wasn't long after the two started dating that Daniel began to fit the part of a future prince. As the outlet noted, "his clothes got better, his haircuts sharper, and his little Alfa Romeo was replaced by a more imposing Lexus."

Princess Victoria's parents weren't so sure about Daniel

In the 2009 biography "Victoria — Queen of the Time," Victoria shares that her parents were concerned about her dating Daniel: "They wanted to make it clear that I would get the best possible support and backing for my job now and [in] the future," she said (per Hello! Magazine). Due to the fact that Daniel lived a completely different lifestyle than Victoria prior to the two of them being together, it's understandable that her parents had some doubts about whether he could handle the royal duties that would come with marrying Victoria.

However, her father eventually had a change of heart. By the time the two announced their engagement in 2009, King Carl Gustaf said, "It is of course a special day for us, but it is also a special day for Sweden. Over the past few years, we have got to know Daniel well and have understood that he is a young man who works hard and takes life seriously" (per Hello! Magazine).

The couple dated for eight years before marrying in 2010

Princess Victoria and Daniel dated for some eight years, and by 2008, Daniel was living in the Drottningholm Palace — though in a separate wing from Victoria, according to Hello! Magazine. In February 2009, the couple officially announced their engagement. Daniel said he proposed on a sunny day at the palace, explaining, "I was hoping for a 'yes,' but I wasn't entirely sure." He did break tradition in a small way with his proposal; according to Hello! Magazine, prior generations of Swedish royals used simple gold engagement bands, while Daniel proposed with a solitaire diamond on a white gold band.

Breaking tradition seemed to be no problem for the princess, as she appeared to be nothing but happy to be engaged to Daniel. Princess Victoria said in an official statement (per HuffPost): "With Daniel by my side, I feel secure. 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."

The two were married on June 19, 2010, in a highly anticipated wedding that the media dubbed Europe's biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles and Lady Diana wed in 1981. The ceremony included 1,200 guests (including plenty of royals) and an estimated 500,000 people lining the streets to celebrate the newlyweds.

They've had a fairytale romance

Though the royal couple kept much of their dating life relatively private, what we do know seems straight out of a fairytale. Prince Daniel shared a sweet memory at his and Victoria's wedding reception, per The Local SE. According to Daniel, before Victoria left for a long trip to China, she stayed up all night writing him love letters so that he could still feel close to her even while she was away. "When I got up, I found 30 beautiful letters, addressed to me, one for each day she would be away," Daniel said.

The love the couple has for each other is evident, but it's even more heartwarming when thinking about their unlikely pairing — from their vastly different backgrounds to the ambivalence from Princess Victoria's family. Despite the trials, things eventually came full circle for them, and Daniel later said in a speech at the wedding reception, "Once upon a time, the young man was perhaps not a frog in the beginning of the fairytale first told by the Grimm brothers, but he was certainly not a prince. The first kiss did not change that. His transformation was not possible without the support of the wise king and queen, who had ruled the kingdom for many years, and who were full of wisdom [and] experience and had good hearts. They knew what was best, and guided the couple with a gentle hand, generously sharing all their valuable experience."

The king and queen showed support of their marriage

Though Queen Silvia and King Carl may have been hesitant at the start of Princess Victoria and Daniel's relationship, they definitely came around. In fact, King Carl and Princess Victoria broke Swedish tradition at Victoria's wedding when he walked her down the aisle — although it's a normal tradition in many countries, it is not at all customary in Sweden, where couples are expected to walk down the aisle together as a symbol of equality. Instead, King Carl walked Victoria halfway down before she joined her husband to finish walking down the aisle, per The Local SE.

Though some thought it was controversial, it was a personal and poignant choice: According to The Local SE, this was Victoria's father's way of showing his approval of the marriage. King Carl said at the wedding, "I am your father; you are my beloved daughter. Nobody should believe anything other than that my greatest wish is to see you happy."

King Carl wasn't the only one who had a change of heart. Victoria's mother, Queen Silvia, said in a TV interview (via Hello! Magazine), "I think he's going to do well. He's going to be successful in his task of helping the princess. I hope he can share his experiences and help bring modernity to the court."

Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel became loving parents

On February 23, 2012, Princess Victoria gave birth to a daughter, Estelle, and four years later, a son, Oscar, on March 2, 2016. When asked if her daughter, Estelle, was excited to have a sibling, Victoria told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet (via Hello! Magazine), "What she really wants is a hamster!" Despite Estelle's apparent lack of excitement to have a sibling, it appears the little prince and princess get along well; many photos and Instagram posts show the children happy and smiling on different outings. 

As for Victoria and Daniel's parenting experience, the two share duties and attempt to give their children as "normal" a childhood as possible, according to People. Prince Daniel told The Local SE, "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." He further explained that he wanted his children to feel comfortable being out in the world, saying, "We want our children to have the same opportunities we've had to feel safe in that environment."

Princess Victoria has described her daughter as "curious, social, and brave" — all positive attributes that will serve her when she eventually becomes the Queen of Sweden.

The couple is always side by side

Media outlets have consulted body language experts to try to get the secret scoop on hidden relational dynamics between royals. But if the experts were to analyze Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's body language, it seems they would simply find a happy, loving couple.

Photos over the years show Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel holding hands, laughing, cozying up, and being generally loving in public and at events. In a photo of the couple on a Berlin tour in 2011, the two lean in toward each other, laughing; at a concert for Victoria's 32nd birthday, they hold hands across their chairs, smiling. Even the happiest couples are sometimes photographed on an off day or at an inopportune moment, but when it comes to Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, it is truly difficult to find a single picture of the two together where they aren't both smiling.

Though it's true that photos can only say so much, it's hard to argue that the couple seems happy and in love. Additionally, the fact that Prince Daniel is present for many of Princess Victoria's events and royal duties speaks volumes about his character and his ability to support the future queen.

The lovebirds marked their 10th wedding anniversary in a special way

In June 2020, photographer Elizabeth Toll captured a special anniversary photo shoot for Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel, according to Hello! Magazine. In the shoot, the couple celebrates 10 years of marriage by posing together on the grounds of Gustav III's Pavilion, an area filled with beautiful greenery, near the couple's home at Haga Palace. Princess Victoria embraced the significance of the occasion by donning three different gowns, each different and stunning in its own way. In one photo, she wears a navy tulle gown with a tiara, posing next to Daniel, who wears a sharp tuxedo; in another, Victoria wears a blush-colored Elie Saab dress that she had worn to a concert the night before her wedding, according to Royal Central. She also wore an elegant white gown reminiscent of her wedding dress.

The couple's photos not only celebrate their 10-year anniversary, but also demonstrate their enduring love for one another. Based on the photos, it appears Prince Daniel has stayed true to his wedding speech, in which he told the future queen, "I'm so proud of what we have together. I'm so happy to have become your husband. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure you stay as happy as you are today." Before concluding his speech, Daniel added, "Victoria, love is the greatest thing of them all, I love you so much."

Swedish tabloids have reported betrayal in the marriage

A Swedish newspaper called Stoppa Pressarna published an article in early 2022 that suggested a "betrayal" had happened in Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's marriage. The article claims that an anonymous source came forward and said, "It is an incredible betrayal and the crown princess is completely destroyed. It was not on her map and she is shocked, to say the least." These allegations of betrayal are vague, and Stoppa Pressarna claimed this ambiguousness is intentional: "For reasons of press ethics, Stoppa Pressarna chooses not to reveal exactly what has happened, as it is a family drama where children are involved."

In September 2022, Stoppa Pressarna doubled down on its unfounded claims of marital trouble, writing in another article that at a gathering on December 20, 2022, where Victoria was present, Daniel was missing due to illness. The outlet wrote that Daniel's sickness was a lie and that, in actuality, "It was Victoria who ordered her husband to stay at home at Haga Castle — she couldn't bring herself to smile in front of the gathering of photographers at the Stock Exchange in Gamla Stan shortly after she found out what her husband was up to." The tabloid appears to be alluding to an affair on Daniel's part, concluding that despite the couple's happy appearances in public, there was a "marital crisis" brewing.

Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel shut down the rumors

Aside from the rumors circulated by the tabloids, there was no evidence of a betrayal or marital troubles between Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. In February 2022, the couple responded to the unfounded rumors by making a statement on Instagram, stating: "It has come to our attention that there is an extensive negative rumor being spread regarding our private relationship. Allegations are spreading 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."

Since then, the couple has seemed to be as happy as ever. They are frequently photographed at events and continue to show affection toward one another in photos, smiling at each other and holding hands. They celebrated Victoria's 45th birthday together in July 2022, sitting side by side in a royal carriage ride, with their children nestled in front of them (per People). Despite the rumors, there is no indication of marital issues and the pair seems to be doing well.