Madeleine was born on 10 June 1982 at 19:05 CEST at Drottningholm Palace and is a member of the Swedish Royal Family from the House of Bernadotte. She was christened at The Royal Palace Church on 31 August 1982, her godparents being her father's maternal cousin the Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, her maternal uncle Walther L. Sommerlath, her father's paternal cousin Princess Benedikte of Denmark, and her paternal aunt Princess Christina, Mrs Magnuson. Her fourth name, Josephine honours her ancestor Josephine of Leuchtenberg. She was given the honorary title of Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland. It was the first time since the early 17th century (when such titles were still more than honorary) that a Swedish ducal title included more than one province.
Madeleine is an enthusiastic Equestrian. She has owned horses (which were stabled at the Royal Stables) and competed in showjumping under the name "Anna Svensson". She also enjoys skiing, and is interested in theatre, dance and art. In recognition of her age of majority in 2001, a scholarship fund was created in her name by the Gävleborg province, which comprises her duchies of Hälsingland and Gästrikland. It encourages and supports young people involved in horse riding. In 2001, Madeleine first distributed such awards as 'Pony Rider of the Year with trainer in Gävleborg' and 'Gold Rider'.
Madeleine is the patron of the organisation Min Stora Dag (the Swedish equivalent of Make-A-Wish Foundation, more commonly known as My Big Day, (its translation into English). She is also affiliated with Europa Nostra, Carl Johan-League and the Royal Motorboat Club. In 2006, she interned for UNICEF for six months in New York City and worked for the division of Child Protective Services. In 2012, she co-founded the Thank You by Childhood campaign which works to raise awareness of the issues surrounding the sexual abuse of children and the work the World Childhood Foundation does to prevent it.
On 11 August 2009, Madeleine announced her engagement to Lawyer Jonas Bergström (b. 1979). Madeleine said in her engagement interview that they became engaged in Capri in early June 2009. An engagement dinner took place on the engagement day in Solliden Palace on Öland. The engagement could only take place after Bergström had been awarded the official approval of the Swedish Cabinet Regeringen and that had been communicated to her Father, the King.
The wedding was originally due to take place in the second half of 2010 but was postponed due to "many things happening in an intense period of time", mainly her sister Victoria's wedding in June. Queen Silvia denied the rumoured relationship issues. However, media reporting of the relationship issues escalated, and on 24 April 2010 it was announced that the wedding would not go ahead, and the engagement was broken off.
Madeleine undertakes various engagements on behalf of her Father and the people of Sweden. She participates in the celebrations of Sweden's National Day, the Nobel festivities, dinners and state visits with other members of the royal family. She represented Sweden at the opening of the New Sweden Gallery on 5 June 2011, at the American Swedish Historical Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania which features an animated map of the New Sweden settlement by Sean Moir.
After her relationship with Bergström ended, Madeleine moved to New York City, where she worked for the World Childhood Foundation, the organisation that her mother co-founded. On 25 October 2012, the Swedish Royal Court announced her engagement with the British-born American financier Christopher O'Neill. On 23 December 2012, it was announced that the wedding would take place on 8 June 2013, at the Royal Palace chapel in Stockholm. O'Neill chose to remain untitled: a member of the Swedish Royal Family must hold Swedish citizenship which O'Neill declined.
On 19 December 2014, it was announced that Madeleine and her husband were expecting their second child, and their son, Prince Nicolas, was born in Stockholm on 15 June 2015. In February 2015, the Swedish Royal Court announced that the family had moved to Stockholm from New York. In May 2015, the Swedish Royal Court announced that O'Neill had moved to London, United Kingdom in April. In Autumn 2015, several months after the birth of Prince Nicolas, the entire family moved to London, where O'Neill's Business is located.