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How Sofia Hellqvist is being prepared to become a Swedish princess

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Sofia Hellqvist made headlines in 2010 when she was confirmed as the new girlfriend of Prince Carl Philip of Sweden. Five years on and little remains of the former model and reality TV contestant, who is set to walk down the aisle and marry her handsome prince in June.

Having undergone a profound transformation in the lead-up to her new role as a princess, Sofia has never denied her colourful past.


sophie hellqvist 1 © Photo: Getty Images

Sofia Hellqvist has come a long way from her modelling and reality TV show days 

"A lot has been written over the years, not only following our engagement," Sofia previously said in a documentary entitled The Year with the Royal Family. "For me it's pretty boring, it happened ten years ago and I've moved on with my life. But no regrets, experience shapes a person."

The bride-to-be certainly knows what is expected of her, as she added: "I've known the royal family for years. I understand their lifestyle and I know things will change. I feel ready, there won't be any surprises. I think everything will be alright."

sophia hellqvist2 © Photo: Getty Images

Sofia Hellqvist and Prince Carl Philip of Sweden announced their engagement in June 2014

Royal watchers have seen how the palace prepared Sophia long before her engagement to Carl Philip was announced last June. Her adaptation to royal life began in 2011, when Sofia and Carl Philip moved in together in the upmarket area of Djurgården, Stockholm.

The first conversations were held about how Sofia would be prepared and senior advisors Barbro Ehnbom and Alice Trolle-Wachtmeister took her under their wing – much like when Prince Daniel, Crown Princess Victoria's husband, was given training by Sweden's brigadier general, Jan-Eric Warren, on the history of Sweden and the royal family among other matters.

sophia together © Photo: Getty Images

Sofia Hellqvist was confirmed as Prince Carl Philip's girlfriend in 2010

Leading businesswoman Barbro, who founded women's network Barbro's Best & Brightest, met Sofia in New York a few years ago and introduced her to her exclusive network.

One of the women Sofia met was Countess Alice – a noblewoman who has served the Swedish royal court since the seventies. The countess has helped a number of royals including Sofia's future mother-in-law Queen Silvia, who was born Silvia Sommerlath.

sophia makeover © Photo: Getty Images

Sofia Hellqvist had a flower tattoo on her right arm removed

Another leading lady who Sofia has depended on in her makeover process is her stylist Camilla Åstrand. The Swedish fashion expert helped change Sofia's image. Gone was the fringe, replaced by a more formal swept-back hairstyle, and the casual clothes, exchanged for more classic outfits. Sofia no longer stops by the tanning salon, and also had her belly button piercing and tattoo of a winding flower on her right arm removed.

While Sofia counts Camilla as her regular stylist, over the years she has reached out to other women for more formal events, including Princess Victoria's lady-in-waiting Tina Törnqvist, who helped dress Sofia for her engagement announcement last year.

sofia hellqvist christening © Photo: Getty Images

Sofia Hellqvist was invited to Princess Leonore's baptism last summer

Sofia, who has been easily accepted by the royal family, has been gradually invited to official events and family gatherings. At the wedding of Princess Madeleine, Carl Philip's sister, in 2013 Sofia was sat a few rows behind the royal family. She was also invited to both Princess Estelle and Princess Leonore's baptism – two acts that showed Sofia is one step closer to joining the family.

What was even more telling was Sophia's attendance at the Nobel banquet alongside other Swedish royals. She arrived on the arm of her fiancé Carl Philip for the traditional dinner – one of the most important events of the social calendar in Sweden that follows the Nobel Prize awarding ceremony in Stockholm.

sophia hellqvist6 © Photo: Getty Images

Sofia Hellqvist attended the Nobel banquet on the arm of her fiancé Prince Carl Philip 

Apart from adapting her royal profile, Sophia has also focussed on her public one. In 2010 she spent some time in Langa, South Africa with Project Playground, which helps underprivileged children. Sophia starred in a documentary with Swedish network SVT, speaking about her charitable projects.

When she becomes a princess, there's no doubt that Sophia will continue to work with such charities and others relating to mistreated women and victims of AIDS – issues that members of the royal family are yet to represent.

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