Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

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Chris Green
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Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

Postby Chris Green » 13 Oct 2015, 13:47

Subsequent to my contacting the Swedish Royal Court about the Duke of Ångermanland's coat of arms, I enquired whether, to their knowledge, the Duke's father, Mr Christopher O'Neill, had been granted arms by the College of Arms. As far as they know he has not.

http://amateurheralds.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=913

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_O%27Neill

Mr O'Neill chose not to take Swedish nationality upon marriage to Princess Madeleine, and thus did not become a Prince of Sweden nor Duke of Hälsingland and Gästrikland nor receive the Order of the Seraphim which tradition suggests he would otherwise have been granted. He is however a Commander of the Order of the Polar Star, which is not restricted to Swedes.

Heraldically this creates an enormous void and a conundrum that could in theory keep the lights burning late at Queen Victoria Street. Mr O'Neill is English born and an American citizen by descent. He is the husband of a Princess and Duchess, the father of both a Princess and Duchess and a Prince and Duke. His father-in-law is a King, his sister-in-law is a Crown Princess. Mr O'Neill himself is - potentially but not actually - armigerous. But how would/should he be treated heraldically by the College of Arms? He is clearly a Gentleman, though he might not seem to fulfill the criteria for an Esquire, though one may I think allow the possession of a Swedish Order of Chivalry as granting that status. Moreover, were he granted English arms should he be able to impale his wife's (Swedish) arms? We know already that his children would not inherit his arms since they have been (or will shortly be) granted Swedish arms as Royal Duchess/Duke.

I fear that this is a conundrum with no solution, save that Mr O'N might some day become Swedish and be granted the Ducal status that he has so far avoided. The College of Arms may well have breathed a collective sigh of relief when they realised that a petition for a grant of arms was not forthcoming. Pity though.
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Re: Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

Postby Arthur Radburn » 13 Oct 2015, 15:20

According to the Wikipedia article, Mr O'Neill and his family will shortly be moving to England. That raises the question of the status of his royal wife's and children's arms in England. As Swedish grants, they are foreign from the English point of view. Will the College expect them to be placed on record?
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Chris Green
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Re: Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

Postby Chris Green » 13 Oct 2015, 15:50

Arthur Radburn wrote:According to the Wikipedia article, Mr O'Neill and his family will shortly be moving to England. That raises the question of the status of his royal wife's and children's arms in England. As Swedish grants, they are foreign from the English point of view. Will the College expect them to be placed on record?


I think they have already moved though the move is not intended to be permanent. In due course the family will move back to Sweden as the children will be educated here. I can't see why the College of Arms would wish Princess Madeleine's Swedish arms, or those of the children, to be recorded at the College. She is Swedish and has no intention of taking British nationality. If of course Mr O'N were to be granted arms by the College, I suppose those of his family would be recorded simply to ensure the completeness of the record.
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Ton de Witte
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Re: Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

Postby Ton de Witte » 14 Oct 2015, 08:30

I do not see the conundrum, if a petition is made he will be a commoner and as such get such arms as befitting that status. Foreign orders will have no influence on the arms so no supporters.
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Re: Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

Postby Martin Goldstraw » 14 Oct 2015, 09:38

As far as I am aware, the College of Arms no longer concerns itself with keeping a record of foreign arms. If he doesn't trouble the College, they won't trouble him.
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Iain Boyd
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Re: Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

Postby Iain Boyd » 16 Feb 2016, 21:23

What is Christopher O'Neill's descent?

Could not the Irish authorities grant him arms - assuming that his proven descent goes back far enough?

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Re: Christopher O'Neill (Husband of Princess Madeleine of Sweden)

Postby Chris Green » 17 Feb 2016, 07:29

Mr O'N was born in London. His father (Paul Cesario) and grandfather (Paul Holian) were born in New York and Massachusetts respectively. His great grandfather (Joseph) was born in Glasgow, Scotland, so he could conceivably seek arms from Lord Lyon. His great great grandfather was supposedly Bernard O'Neill (no birthplace given), but beyond that ???

Thus the Irish connection is the name and little more. The Scottish connection is stronger, but the English is rock solid: born in London and has a British passport. I have no doubt that, with his money and connections, Mr O'N could have a family tree created to rival those of the various US Presidents whose Irish ancestry has been established. It would however do nothing to "improve" his right to arms which is simply that of an English gentleman (or more likely Esquire now that he is married to a royal princess). Indeed in Swedish terms he is already a "Riddare" (knight), since he is a Kommendör av Nordstjärneorden ([Knight] Commander of the Order of the Polar Star). Of course, had he taken Swedish nationality he would now be a royal Duke (albeit by marriage) and armigerous as a member of the Swedish royal family (which at present he is not).
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