Site of Princess Lilian’s childhood home, Swansea

button_lang_welshSite of Princess Lilian’s childhood home, Swansea

Lillian May Davies, who became Princess Lilian of Sweden, grew up near this spot in a mid-terrace house in Garden Street. The houses were considered part of Swansea’s slums and have long since vanished. Today the southern entrance of the Quadrant Shopping Centre is in the vicinity.

Lillian was born in 1915. Her mother Gladys Mary (née Curran) was a shop assistant. Her father William worked in a colliery and later kept a stall at Swansea Market. Lillian helped him there before moving to London, aged 16, to become a fashion model. She appeared in magazines such as Vogue and later became a singer and dancer, dropping an ‘l’ from her name.

During the Second World War she worked in a factory and in a hospital for wounded soldiers. In 1943 she met and fell in love with Prince Bertil of Sweden while he was in London. Bertil was too close to the throne to marry Lilian, but they lived together for many years and were often seen and photographed together.

When they eventually married, in 1976, she received the title Her Royal Highness Princess Lilian, Duchess of Halland. She took part in ceremonies to award Nobel prizes.

She died on 10 March 2013. Her funeral was broadcast on Swedish television. A portrait of her hangs in Swansea Guildhall.

With thanks to Paulette Pelosi, of Women’s Archives Wales

Postcode: SA1 3AD     View Location Map

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