Princess Lilian of Sweden dies aged 97

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - Princess Lilian of Sweden arrives for the Gala Dinner at Royal Palace to celebrate King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden's 60th Birthday on April 30, 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden. Princess Lilian died Sunday March 10, 2013 at age 97.

Swedish Princess Lilian, who waited over three decades to marry her lifelong love Prince Bertil, passed away at her Stockholm home on Sunday at the age of 97, the royal palace announced Sunday.

"It is with sorrow that I have learnt that H.R.H. (Her Royal Highness) Princess Lilian is dead," Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in a statement.

"A much loved and appreciated member of the royal family has now passed away," he added.

The princess was born Lillian Davies to a working class family in Swansea, Wales in August 1915, reports Reuters.

Lilian was a married model when she met Bertil at fancy London nightclub Les Ambassadeurs in 1943. She divorced her British actor husband Ivan Craig in 1945.

King Gustaf VI Adolf, the king's grandfather, refused to give his blessing to a marriage between the prince and the commoner since that would jeopardize the survival of the Bernadotte dynasty.

Berti's eldest brother died in a plane crash leaving Bertil next in line to the throne until his infant son, the current King Carl XVI Gustaf, came of age.

Two other brothers had already renounced their claim to the throne by marrying commoners, reports AP.

Lilian was forced to stay in the shadows though the couple did live together.

It wasn't until 33 years later in 1976, when Carl XVI Gustaf was on the throne, that the two were finally allowed to wed.

Lilian and Bertil's sacrifices and lifelong dedication to one another gripped Sweden and made them a popular love story.

"If I were to sum up my life, everything has been about my love," the petite princess said of her husband Prince Bertil when she turned 80 in 1995.

"He's a great man, and I love him."

Popular royal Bertil, who was known in Sweden as "prince charming" because of his romance with Lilian, died in 1997 aged 84, reports AP. The couple never had any children.

In 2010, Lilian withdrew from the public eye, suffering from Alzheimer's disease.