Blanceflor was born in Siena, Italy, in 1891. Her parents were Swedes, the envoyé at the Swedish Embassy in Rome, Carl Bildt and his wife Alexandra, born Keiller. Carl Bildt served at the Swedish Embassy in Rome, almost uninterrupted, between 1889 and 1920.
Blanceflor thus was raised in a culturally rich home, her father was also a writer and member of the Swedish Academy, and she was given a comprehensive education. She spoke fluent Italian, French and English, and despite never having been resident in Sweden, also very good Swedish. Blanceflor was an appreciated person in the cultural life of Rome those days.
In her twenties, Blanceflor met an Italian Prince, seven years older, and they fell in love. His name was Andrea Boncompagni Ludovisi and the couple wished to marry. But the prince’s parents had agreed with the very wealthy family Preston in the USA that Andrea should marry their daughter Margaret Preston Draper, a wedding that took place in Boston in 1916.
The agreement also stated that if the marriage stayed childless and if the prince so wished, they could divorce after ten years. The prince would then keep two larger trusts in the USA at the time as Margaret Preston Draper would keep her Princess title. In 1924 the childless marriage was revoked and the same year Andrea and Blanceflor married.
Blanceflor and Andrea also remained childless and at Andrea’s decease in 1948 Blanceflor inherited the American trusts, the palace at 18 Via Boncompagni in Rome, where they lived, and an estate in Umbria. Later she also acquired a house in the Alban Hills, La Sosta.
In 1962 Blanceflor married the Italian lawyer Adolfo Gancia who also owned a house at Ischia where the spent time. Blanceflor survived her second husband as well, he died in 1966, and she passed away in 1972. She is buried at the Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome besides her parents and together with Adolfo Gancia and his two children from an earlier marriage.
Foundation and museum
Blanceflor’s palace in Rome was by her passing donated to a centre for culture and after an extensive restoration inaugurated in 1995 as a ‘Museum for Decorative Art, Customs and Fashion from the 19th and 20th Centuries’. This Museum and The Foundation are the two public parts of Blanceflor’s estate.