How Sweden’s party prince Carl Philip gave up his louche lifestyle (for a former TOPL3SS cover girl!) and why the dashing race-car junkie is once again sending fans wild

Taming of the world’s hottest ROYAL HUNK: How Sweden’s party prince Carl Philip gave up his louche lifestyle (for a former topless cover girl!) – and why the dashing race-car junkie is once again sending fans wild

 

Asking a group of school kids to guess his age last November, Prince William found himself on the stinging end of brutal childhood honesty.

’57?’ one well-meaning youngster asked the 41-year-old prince.

It was a reminder of how fast William – now heir to the throne and bearing the weight of so much royal responsibility of late – has grown up.

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Indeed, one silver lining amid all the recent online chatter about cancer-hit Kate Middleton has been the proliferation of pictures of the prince’s younger years, posted by well-wishers in response to vile conspiracies – happier times, often pictures of Kate and William at university in their 20s.

They’re proof of a once uncontested truth: with his mother’s striking features and a full head of floppy hair, William was undoubtedly Europe’s most dashing royal.

But now, a good old-fashioned battle of monarchies is afoot – and William’s crown as most handsome princely hunk seems less secure.

Stepping onto the battlefield with his impossibly chiseled jawline and movie-star good looks, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is causing something of a ruckus.

Known locally for his penchant for fast cars and even faster women – the dishy prince scandalized Nordic high society in 2015 when he married a tattooed bikini model – thirsting images of the 44-year-old have been making the international rounds on social media.

A good old-fashioned battle of monarchies is afoot - and Prince William's crown as most handsome royal hunk seems less secure.
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A good old-fashioned battle of monarchies is afoot – and Prince William’s crown as most handsome royal hunk seems less secure.

Stepping onto the battlefield with his impossibly chiseled jawline and movie-star good looks, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is causing something of a ruckus.
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Stepping onto the battlefield with his impossibly chiseled jawline and movie-star good looks, Prince Carl Philip of Sweden is causing something of a ruckus.

Thirsting images of the 44-year-old have been making the international rounds on social media.
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View gallery

Thirsting images of the 44-year-old have been making the international rounds on social media.

Known locally for his penchant for fast cars and even faster women, the dishy prince scandalized Nordic high society in 2015 when he married a tattooed bikini model.
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View gallery

Known locally for his penchant for fast cars and even faster women, the dishy prince scandalized Nordic high society in 2015 when he married a tattooed bikini model.

Indeed, the ‘Prince Carl Philip’ hashtag has now been viewed more than 110 million times on TikTok alone, often drawing comparisons to actors Henry Cavill and Jamie Dornan.

A keen race-car driver, cross-country skier and former Naval lieutenant, Carl Philip’s athletic physique has long earned him poll position among pin-ups for Swedish teens.

Many of those adoring fans were shocked in 2010 when he swapped out his well-groomed girlfriend of 10 years – PR executive Emma Pernald – for a fake-tanned glamour model who’d once appeared oiled and topless on the cover of gentleman’s magazine ‘Slitz’, a boa constrictor clutched close to protect her modesty.

Carl Philip had met Sofia Hellqvist at a Stockholm nightclub – and many, including aristocratic insiders, wrongly predicted the couple wouldn’t last.

In 2005, Sofia had been cast in the low-rent reality series ‘Paradise Hotel’ (a precursor to Love Island) that followed a group of hot singletons as they paired off in a luxury hotel.

She later moved to New York where she studied accounting while supporting herself as a bartender and yoga instructor.

In an online blog shared only with friends – and since leaked – she would describe in breathless detail nights of debauched partying with A-listers including now-disgraced rapper P. Diddy and actor Mark Wahlberg.

In one post she wrote: ‘To be a woman in NY is an advantage. Don’t take this the wrong way, but here the men aim to please.’

In 2011, Sofia was back permanently in Sweden and living with Carl Philip in a Stockholm apartment close to the city’s royal palace.

The couple announced their engagement in 2014; and their nuptials the following year were attended by the crème of European society.

Looking a far cry from her former self, Sofia walked down the aisle in a custom gown by Swedish brand Ida Sjostedt and a new diamond tiara, designed by her prince charming himself.

In fact, such was the transformation, the only remnant of her past life that commentators were able to remark on was the visible tattoo of a star-like image on her neck.

Many of those adoring fans were shocked in 2010 when he swapped out his well-groomed girlfriend of 10 years for a fake-tanned glamour model who'd once appeared oiled and topless on the cover of gentleman's magazine Slitz.
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View gallery

Many of those adoring fans were shocked in 2010 when he swapped out his well-groomed girlfriend of 10 years for a fake-tanned glamour model who’d once appeared oiled and topless on the cover of gentleman’s magazine Slitz.

The couple announced their engagement in 2014; and their nuptials the following year were attended by the crème of European society. Looking a far cry from her former self, Sofia walked down the aisle in a custom gown by Swedish brand Ida Sjostedt and a new diamond tiara, designed by her prince charming himself.
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The couple announced their engagement in 2014; and their nuptials the following year were attended by the crème of European society. Looking a far cry from her former self, Sofia walked down the aisle in a custom gown by Swedish brand Ida Sjostedt and a new diamond tiara, designed by her prince charming himself.

In fact, such was the transformation, the only remnant of her past life that commentators were able to remark on was the visible tattoo of a star-like image on her neck.
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View gallery

In fact, such was the transformation, the only remnant of her past life that commentators were able to remark on was the visible tattoo of a star-like image on her neck.

Carl Philip’s choice of wife hasn’t been the only point of contention in his life.

As the only son of Sweden’s King, Carl XVI Gustaf, Carl Philip was born as the heir apparent to nation’s throne in 1979.

However, when he was just seven months old, changes to Swedish primogeniture laws – that previously saw the crown pass to the oldest male heir, even if he had older sisters – saw Carl Philip stripped of his Crown Prince title.

As such, his older sister Victoria replaced her brother as heir apparent – and today, Carl Philip is fourth in line to the throne, behind his niece and nephew.

In a rare 2023 interview, King Carl Gustaf lamented the government’s decision to retroactively strip his son of the title, slamming the law change as ‘unfair’ and ‘quite strange.’

The heir-turned-spare also lost his right to a multi-million-dollar trust fund that was originally established by the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte in 1813, as a large cash gift to his stepson’s daughter, Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg (who later became Queen of Sweden).

That sizeable inheritance – previously passed down the ages to each first-born son in direct descent – includes priceless jewels and a enviable collection of artworks.

Today, the family’s net worth is said to be over $70 million.

Jilted out of a title and inheritance though he may be, Carl Philip hasn’t allowed these setbacks to get in the way of the playboy lifestyle he clearly hoped to pursue.

2012 saw the royal enjoy what the press dubbed his ‘wild summer’, with Carl Philip variously spotted donning an alien mask while out clubbing, hitchhiking his way to a racing competition, and even getting in a physical altercation with bystanders outside a bar.

Now settled with Sofia and their three son – aged 7, 6 and 3 – he still enjoys a vast array of hobbies including cooking, a passion for fashion and design, and a skilled eye for photography.

Carl Philip is also an accomplished equestrian and avid sportsman.

In 2003, he completed the historic Swedish ‘Vasaloppet,’ the longest cross-country ski race in the world.

Taking after his great-uncle and godfather, Prince Bertil, he has also found a passion in car racing, competing in regional Porsche Carrera Cup championships.

After 12 years in the Swedish Navy’s Amphibious Corps, Carl Philip studied graphic design in Stockholm, before spending a year at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.

He also has a master’s degree in Agricultural and Rural Management, which has given much of his royal charitable work a conservational focus.

After 12 years in the Swedish Navy's Amphibious Corps, Carl Philip studied graphic design in Stockholm, before spending a year at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.
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After 12 years in the Swedish Navy’s Amphibious Corps, Carl Philip studied graphic design in Stockholm, before spending a year at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.

He also has a master's degree in Agricultural and Rural Management, which has given much of his royal charitable work a conservational focus.
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View gallery

He also has a master’s degree in Agricultural and Rural Management, which has given much of his royal charitable work a conservational focus.

Now settled with Sofia and their three sons, he still enjoys a vast array of hobbies including cooking, a passion for fashion and design, and a skilled eye for photography.
+11
View gallery

Now settled with Sofia and their three sons, he still enjoys a vast array of hobbies including cooking, a passion for fashion and design, and a skilled eye for photography.

In 2003, he completed the historic Swedish 'Vasaloppet', the longest cross-country ski race in the world. He has also found a passion in car racing, competing in regional Porsche Carrera Cup championships.
+11
View gallery

In 2003, he completed the historic Swedish ‘Vasaloppet’, the longest cross-country ski race in the world. He has also found a passion in car racing, competing in regional Porsche Carrera Cup championships.

Like his father and sister Victoria, Carl Philip battled dyslexia as a child. It wasn’t until his teens, when he studied at a private boarding school in Connecticut, that he was able to manage the disability with the help of a specialist.

He has admitted it took years for him to be comfortable speaking about his diagnosis, revealing in 2014 the humiliation he often felt when he got confused by numbers during big public speeches.

‘It was a terrible feeling to be hung out in the media as being stupid and unintelligent,’ he said.

Despite this and other potential hardships he has faced – including the rows over his marriage and title – Carl Philip’s life is undoubtedly a gilded one.

As for his wife Sofia, few could begrudge her pride – (she captioned a recent Instagram of her husband and three sons, ‘life has given me not one, but four beautiful princes’) – at overcoming the doubters, and levelling up from former bikini model to Mrs Prince Charming.

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