Ingrid (Nenne) Björnberg worked as a nanny for the Swedish royal family from 1939 to 1960. She later worked as a housekeeper and, from 1974, was the royal housekeeper at Stockholm Palace, Rosenborg Castle and Tullgarn Castle.
Ingrid Björnberg was born in Essunga, Västergötland in 1913. She grew up on the entailed estate of Stora Djupså in a conservative environment, which she described as secure, simple and filled with outdoor activities, while also offering opportunities to attend balls and other entertainment. After her father died in 1932 she trained to become a nanny and spent a few years working as such. For a long time she wished to undergo further training at the Socialpolitiska institute (today: Department of Social Work). In 1938 she was invited to become the nanny for the royal princesses at Haga Palace, that is the three eldest daughters of Prince Gustaf Adolf and his consort Princess Sibylla, named Princess Margareta, Princess Birgitta, and Princess Desirée. This was an offer she could not reject. She began to work at Haga Palace in 1939. She remained in service even when a further two children, Princess Christina and Prince Carl Gustaf, were born to the royal family. When Prince Gustaf Adolf died in an airplane crash while returning from Amsterdam in 1947 she decided to remain with the family and thus abandoned any ambitions of undertaking further training.
Ingrid Björnberg stayed on in Princess Sibylla’s service long after the royal children had grown up. According to her memoirs her tasks increasingly became that of a chaperone and companion, initially for the princesses and then for Sibylla herself. From 1960 onwards her title was that of housekeeper for Princess Sibylla. As was the norm, nannies lived with the family but in 1959 Ingrid Björnberg was given her own small apartment at the palace. Later on she was given a small summerhouse on Öland close to Princess Sibylla’s summer residence at Hagaberg. She remained in Stockholm Palace until just before her death. In 1974 she was appointed palace housekeeper at Stockholm Palace, and in 1976 her title was expanded to include Rosenberg and Tullgarn Castles.
Nenne (as she had been known by the royal children) also served as nanny to the children of the current (2018) king Carl Gustaf and his queen Silvia, despite her advanced years. According to Crown Princess Victoria she was more like the grandmother they never had.
Ingrid Björnberg can be seen as a representative of all women who had to abandon their own ambitions and private lives in order to loyally serve a family’s needs, in this case that of the Swedish royal family. She died in Stockholm in 1994 and is buried in her family tomb at Essunga cemetery.