Svenska Dagbladet reports that Prince Carl Philip of Sweden has agreed to let the Galliera inheritance, which consists of an exquisite art collection and a financial fund, pass to his sister Crown Princess Victoria, although the Prince would be the legal inheritor according to the terms laid down by Emperor Napoléon I of the French.
The art collection contains some sixty Italian works and are among the jewels of the Swedish royal collection. Piero di Cosimo’s “Madonna with Child” is widely considered the greatest masterpiece of the collection, while the financial fund was worth millions already at the time of the death of King Gustaf VI Adolf in 1973.
The reason why Prince Carl Philip rather than his elder sister has, until now, been heir to the Galliera inheritance, is that this is an entail governed by male primogeniture.
The Duchy of Galliera, which lies in the province of Bologna, was bestowed by Napoléon I, Emperor of the French and King of Italy, upon the eldest child of his adopted son, Prince Eugène, Viceroy of Italy, on 14 May 1913. The child, named Joséphine after her paternal grandmother the Empress, also held the title Princess of Bologna, which had been given her shortly after her birth in 1807. After the fall of Napoléon, his adoptive granddaughter retained possession of her duchy, but never visited it. In 1823 she married Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and of Norway, but as the income from the Duchy was considered too low and it lay unpractically far away from Sweden, she eventually decided to sell it. Finding a buyer took a decade, but in 1837 the Duchy was sold to Marquis Raffaele de Ferrari, who was created Duke of Galliera by Pope Gregory XVI the following year.
Works of art and furniture from the Ducal Palace in Galliera were transferred to Sweden, and in her will, drawn up on 6 June 1876, the day before her death, Dowager Queen Josephina confirmed that the collection and the money from the sale should be inherited undivided by the eldest son of each generation.
As her two eldest sons had already died, this meant that the inheritance passed to her third son, King Oscar II, from him to King Gustaf V and then to King Gustaf VI Adolf. As his eldest son had predeceased him, the Galliera inheritance passed to his grandson Carl XVI Gustaf in 1973. However, when the Act of Succession was amended in 1980, King Carl Gustaf’s eldest child, Victoria, replaced her younger brother Carl Philip as heir to the throne, which, until now, has meant that the Galliera inheritance would have split from the main royal line.
(It could be added that the title Duke of Galliera still exists. The widow of Raffaele de Ferrari, whose name lives on in the Musée Galliera, her Parisian mansion which is now a museum of fashion, bequeathed the Italian properties to Prince Antoine, Duke of Montpensier, son of King Louis-Philippe I of the French and a Prince (Infante) of Spain by his marriage to the sister of Queen Isabel II of Spain. Following the death of the Dowager Duchess in 1888, Antoine was also created Duke of Galliera by King Umberto I of Italy. The current and fifth Duke of Galliera is his great-great-grandson Don Alfonso de Orleans-Borbón y Ferrara-Pignatelli).