LIVE

Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip are expecting their third child — and it comes after a major change to the Swedish royal family

By Stephanie Petit
December 11, 2020 12:36 PM
Advertisement

Princess Sofia and Prince Carl Philip are expecting their third child — and it comes after a major change to the Swedish royal family.

When the royal couple welcomed their two sons — Prince Alexander, 4, and Prince Gabriel, 3 — both boys received official HRH (His/Her Royal Highness) titles. However, their little sibling on the way — whether a boy or girl — won't be born an HRH.

Prince Carl Philip's father, King Carl XVI Gustaf, announced in October 2019 that he decided to strip the HRH titles from children of Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia as well as his daughter Princess Madeleine and Chris O'Neill.

"His Majesty The King has decided on changes to The Royal House. The purpose of these changes is to establish which members of The Royal Family may be expected to perform official duties incumbent on the Head of State or related to the function of the Head of State," a statement from the palace read. "His Majesty The King has decided that the children of Their Royal Highnesses Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia, and the children of Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine and Mr Christopher O’Neill will no longer be members of The Royal House."

Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia's third child will be the family's first new addition since the rule went into effect. The baby won't have a HRH title like Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel did when they were born. The baby will have the title of Prince and Princess, but the title is personal and any future spouses or children will not have a right to them.

After the announcement, Prince Carl Philip shared on Instagram that he saw the decision as "positive" for his sons.

"Today, the King announced the decision that our children no longer hold the Royal Highness position. We see this as positive as Alexander and Gabriel will have freer choices in life," he wrote. "They will retain their prince titles and their duchies, Södermanland and Dalarna, which we value and are proud of. Our family has strong connections to both landscapes and we maintain our commitment there."

Princess Sofia of Sweden
Princess Sofia, Prince Alexander, Prince Gabriel and Prince Carl Philip
| Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

He added, "We will continue to focus on our heart issues and commitment. We will also continue to support the King and Crown Princess – our future head of state – and participate in the King’s House activities as we wish."

Princess Madeleine said that the decision will give her three children — Princess Leonore, 6, Prince Nicolas, 5, Princess Adrienne, 2 — "greater opportunity to shape their own lives as private individuals in the future."

Swedish Royal family
Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar
| Credit: Linda Broström/Swedish Royal Court

The decision did not pertain to Princess Estelle, 8, and Prince Oscar, 4 – the children of Crown Princess Victoria, who is heir to the throne, and her husband Prince Daniel. Unlike their cousins, both Estelle and Oscar will both continue to be part of the royal house.

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

The Swedish royals announced the exciting baby news early Friday with a stunning black and white photo posted on the royal family's official Instagram page. "We are happy and excited and look forward to welcoming our third child," they said. "A new little member of our family."

Princess Sofia, 36, is said in the official announcement to be "doing well."

Their happy news comes just weeks after the royal couple announced that they tested positive for COVID-19 after they began to experience flu-like symptoms in late November.