Estelle is Sweden's first royal baby in 30 years

Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:23am EST
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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's new royal baby is called Estelle, the king announced on Friday, a name which local media linked to the wife of a Swedish aristocrat credited with saving tens of thousands of Jews in World War Two, who was later assassinated by a Jewish group.

Crown Princess Victoria gave birth early on Thursday morning. The child is second in line to the throne after Victoria and is the first royal birth in 30 years.

"It is a name which is very close to the heart of the princess and also the family," King Carl XVI Gustaf told a meeting of senior officials to announce the name, which in full was Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary.

Estelle was the name of the American wife of Count Folke Bernadotte. Her maiden name was Manville and she died in Sweden in 1984.

Folke Bernadotte, a nephew of a former king and deputy head of the Swedish Red Cross, became famous for arranging white buses to save tens of thousands of Jews from extermination in Nazi Germany in the dying days of World War Two.

But as the first official mediator of the United Nations, he was assassinated by a Jewish group in 1948 after negotiating a truce in the first Israeli-Arab war.

Estelle's birth could give a boost to the monarchy after two years of embarrassing reports linked to the king's alleged playboy lifestyle.

Reaction to the name, rare in Sweden, was mixed.

"Completely unsuitable," blared tabloid Aftonbladet in a headline, quoting author and historian Herman Lindqvist.   Continued...