Royal wedding weather throughout history

Right now it is too early to issue any weather forecasts for 19 June, when the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Daniel Westling is to be held. However we can offer a historical review of the weather for the previous six royal weddings held in Stockholm, the first being the nuptials of Gustav III in 1766. Three of these weddings were held on the same date - 19 June.

gyllene krona Stockholmsvy
Foto Hans Thoursie

SMHI (the Swedish weather service) have been asked many questions over the past few weeks as concerns 19 June when Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel are to be married. “Is it going to rain?” is probably the most common one. More precise predictions can only be made a week in advance at best, but if local showers are in the offing then a definite forecast can only be made a few hours in advance – if that!

It could be interesting to look back at the statistics on the weather in Stockholm for 19 June over the last 20 years. Then we can see that rain fell on more than half of those days, but this only means that rail fell at some point during that particular 24-hour period. But how great is the probability that there will be rain at a certain time, for example 2 p.m.? Well then the statistics have improved somewhat – this happened on 15-20% of those days.

Weather observations since 1756

Looking back and seeing what the weather has been for the other royal weddings is also an option. SMHI is able to access weather observations from Stockholm since 1756. Since this date there have been eleven weddings for Swedish monarchs or future monarchs, however not all of these have been held in Stockholm.

Karl XIV married his Désirée in France long before he or anyone else could have had any inkling that he would one day be King of Sweden. Oskar II and Gustav V got hitched in Germany and Gustav VI’s two weddings were held in England.

Six weddings in Stockholm, three on 19 June!

So six royal weddings have been held in Stockholm since 1756, and the latest three have been on the same date - 19 June - just like this year.

Thanks to the weather journals from Stockholm we have quite a good picture of the weather on 4 November 1766 when Crown Prince Gustav (Gustav III) married Sofia Magdalena of Denmark. The journal states “drizzly rain all through this happy, ceremonial day”. The temperature was +7° which is fairly good for November.

The hottest wedding day was that of Duke Karl (later Karl XIII) and Charlotta of Oldenburg on 7 July 1774 when it was 23° in the middle of the day.

The coldest royal wedding that has been documented is the one between Kung Gustav IV and Fredrika of Baden on 31 October 1797 when the thermometer went down to -1°, however Stockholm was bathed in weak October sunshine.

The windiest wedding was that between Crown Prince Oskar (Oskar I) and Josefina of Leuchtenberg on 19 June 1823 when a fresh north-easterly was blowing, but at least it was sunny and warm at 20°.

When Crown Prince Karl (Karl XV) married Lovisa of the Netherlands on 19 June 1850 it was 21°, slightly cloudy with a weak west-south-westerly wind blowing on the happy couple.

Cloudy for Carl XVI and Silvia

King Carl XVI and Silvia Sommerlath experienced most rain on 19 June 1976. At mid-day it was cloudy but dry; however in the evening and quite a way into the wee hours of the morning 6 mm of rain fell.

All in all they have been quite lucky with the weather for the last six royal weddings in Stockholm. No real downpours, storms or other nasty weather events. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens this year.

Sverker Hellström, Climatologist