Today, she’s been happily married to Prince Carl Philip for more than three years, but when Princess Sofia of Sweden first began dating her now-husband, the 33-year-old former reality star experienced a “hate storm” of criticism. 

“I was met with an enormous hate storm from people who had opinions about me as a person, about my relationship,” Sofia revealed during a new interview for Sweden’s TV4. “I was surprised and it definitely affected me. I didn’t understand that people had such need to express how badly they felt about me. It was very tough.”

Sofia was first noticed by the public at age 20 when she posed in a bikini for the Swedish men’s magazine Slitz. A few years later, the young star was cast on the reality compeition show Paradise Hotel and made it to the final episode. Sofia has also worked as a yoga instructor, model, and waitress. 

In July 2010, the Swedish royal family officially confirmed Carl Philip’s romance with Sofia and the couple later became engaged in June 2014. Despite many Swedish citizens criticizing Carl Philip — who is fourth in line for the throne — for his relationship with Sofia, the pair married in a lavish royal wedding in June 2015 and are now proud parents to two sons, Prince Alexander, 2, and Prince Gabriel, 11 months. 

Now that she’s a working member of the Swedish royal family, Sofia is passionate about promoting her charitable efforts through The Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia Foundation, which aims to combat hate speech and online bullying. 

“I was adult when this happened to me, so I can only imagine in a school environment and in other instances how big this can be in a child’s world,” she told TV4. “They don’t have the same perspective on life and don’t have the understanding that it’s not really about you and that you should just see past it.”

Sofia added, “For me, I learned to actively stay away from reading about myself. So in my world, I felt like things died down.”

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