During World War II Prince Bertil was stationed at the Royal Swedish embassy as a naval attaché. He was the third son of the then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, later King Gustaf VI Adolf (1882 – 1973) and a great-grandson of Queen Victoria through his late mother, Princess Margaret of Connaught (1882 – 1920).
Prince Bertil's two other brothers had already renounced their succession rights. Their father ascended the throne as King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1950 and Prince Bertil became heir presumptive and no 2 in the line to the throne. As long as his nephew, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf, was a child, Prince Bertil would have to serve as Regent of the Kingdom until his nephew coming to age.
A big responsibility was put on Prince Bertil’s shoulders and for the future of the Monarchy he followed his father’s advice and did not marry Lilian Craig. Prince Bertil and Lilian Craig had moved to Sweden in 1957, living in Villa Solbacken on Djurgården in Stockholm. She stayed in the shadows, but the couple lived together openly, if discreetly at their homes in southern France and Stockholm. They remained together until Prince Bertil’s death in January 1997.
When Prince Bertil's father died in 1973, his nephew Carl XVI Gustaf ascended the throne. King Carl Gustaf allowed Bertil and Lilian to marry, which they did on 7th December 1976, 33 years after their first meeting.
Prince Bertil once said that one of his biggest regrets was that the couple had to sacrifice having children in order to protect the throne.
Hugely popular in Sweden for his romance with Lilian and known as "the prince of cars" for his love of fast vehicles, Bertil died in 1997 aged 84.
"In this life choice of hers, there must have been a lot of pain," he said, referring to how long Lilian had to wait until she was able to marry Bertil.
Princess Lilian was laid to rest next to her husband in the Haga Park royal cemetery on the outskirts of Stockholm.