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Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden

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For other Swedish royalty named Carl, see Carl of Sweden (disambiguation).
Carl XVI Gustaf
King Carl XVI Gustaf at National Day 2009 Cropped.png
The King in 2009
King of Sweden
Reign 15 September 1973 – present
Enthronement 19 September 1973
Predecessor Gustaf VI Adolf
Heir apparent Crown Princess Victoria
Prime Ministers
Born (1946-04-30) 30 April 1946 (age 72)
Solna, Sweden
Spouse Silvia Sommerlath (m. 1976)
Crown Princess Victoria
Prince Carl Philip
Princess Madeleine
Full name
Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus
House Bernadotte
Father Prince Gustaf Adolf
Mother Princess Sibylla
Religion Church of Sweden
Swedish Royal Family
Greater coat of arms of Sweden (without ermine mantling).svg

HM The King
HM The Queen

HRH Princess Birgitta

Carl XVI Gustaf (full name: Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus [ˈkɑːɭ ˈɡɵstɑːv ˈfɔlˌkɛ hɵbɛˈʈɵs], born 30 April 1946) is the King of Sweden. On 15 September 1973, he succeeded his grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf. He is the only son of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The King's heir apparent, upon passage on 1 January 1980 of a new law establishing absolute primogeniture (the first such law passed in European history), is Crown Princess Victoria, the eldest child of the King and his wife, Queen Silvia.

Early life

Carl Gustaf was born in Haga Palace in Solna, Stockholm County. He was christened at the Royal Chapel on 7 June 1946 by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Erling Eidem. His godparents were the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark (his paternal uncle and aunt), the Crown Prince of Norway, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, the King of Sweden (his patrilineal great-grandfather), the Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (his maternal uncle), the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden (his paternal grandfather and stepgrandmother), and Count Folke and Countess Maria Bernadotte af Wisborg.

Prince Carl Gustaf was also given the title of the Duke of Jämtland. His father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, was killed in an airplane crash on 26 January 1947, at Copenhagen Airport.

Youth and education

Prince Carl Gustaf was the youngest of five children and the only son of Sweden's Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla. His father's death had left the nine-month-old Prince second in line for the throne, behind his grandfather, then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf. When his great-grandfather Gustaf V died in 1950, the four-year-old Prince became the heir apparent of Sweden.

The young Crown Prince Carl Gustaf was seven years old before he was told about his father's death, and he expressed his feelings about growing up without knowing his father in a speech in 2005.

The 15-year-old Crown Prince of Sweden looks at the recently recovered 17th century warship Vasa in 1961.

After graduating from high school, the Crown Prince completed two and a half years of education in the Royal Swedish Army, the Royal Swedish Navy, and the Royal Swedish Air Force. He received his commission as an officer in all three services in 1968, and he eventually rose to the rank of captain (in the army and air force) and lieutenant (in the navy), before he ascended to the throne. He has also completed his academic studies in history, sociology, political science, tax law, and economics at Uppsala University and Stockholm University.

To prepare for his role as the Head of State, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf followed a broad program of studies on the court system, social organizations and institutions, trade unions, and employers' associations. In addition, he closely studied the affairs of the Riksdag, Government, and Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Crown Prince also spent time at the Swedish Mission to the United Nations and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), worked at a bank in London, at the Swedish Embassy in London, at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in France, and at the Alfa Laval Company factory in France.


On 15 September 1973, Carl Gustaf became King of Sweden upon the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. He was invested as King, at the Hall of State of the Royal Palace of Stockholm on 19 September 1973. King Gustaf VI Adolf was the last who used the style "By the Grace of God King of the Swedes, the Goths/Geats and the Wends" (med Guds Nåde Sveriges, Götes och Wendes Konung; Latin: Dei Gratia Suecorum, Gothorum et Vandalorum Rex). This traditional title had been in use since the establishment of the hereditary monarchy in 1544. Carl XVI Gustaf instead chose the plain and simple title "King of Sweden" (Sveriges Konung), thereby ending a centuries-old tradition.[1]

Such innovations are reflected in his personal motto, "For Sweden – With the times"[2] (För Sverige – i tiden).[3]

Regnal name

Royal Monogram

In the 16th century, Johannes Magnus construed a mythical line of Swedish kings, beginning with Magog, the son of Japheth, in an attempt to substantiate the antiquity of the Swedish throne. Based on that list, King Charles IX (reigned 1604 to 1611) adopted an ordinal not much supported by any accurate historical sources. Previous monarchs named Charles (Karl in Swedish) have traditionally been numbered by counting backwards from Charles IX, and subsequent monarchs by counting forward from him, though there were only two before him. Thus the current King of Sweden proclaimed himself Carl XVI Gustaf even though he is only the tenth Swedish monarch by the first name.[4]

Official duties

The King and Queen of Sweden welcomed at the Kremlin by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila at the start of the King's State Visit to Russia, 8 October 2001.

The King's duties are, according to the 1974 Instrument of Government, only of a representative and ceremonial nature. The 1974 document stripped the King of most of his formal political powers while retaining him as head of state, thus codifying actual practices dating from the definitive establishment of parliamentary government in 1917. Previously, the King formally appointed the Prime Minister, though in practice he was almost always the leader of the majority party or coalition in the Riksdag. Since the adoption of the current Instrument, that prerogative is now exercised by the Speaker of the Riksdag on the behalf of the Riksdag. Additionally, bills passed by the Riksdag do not need his signature to become law.

He pays State Visits abroad and receives those to Sweden, opens the Annual Session of the Riksdag, chairs the Special Council held during a change of Government, holds regular Information Councils with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, chairs the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council, and receives Letters of Credence of foreign ambassadors to Sweden and signs those of Sweden to foreign nations. As this type of figurehead, he also voluntarily abstains from voting in Swedish elections.[5]

King Carl Gustaf (ceremonially) holds the highest ranks in the three branches of the Swedish Armed Forces; this is due to the fact that he was, as stipulated by the 1809 Instrument of Government in effect at the time of his accession to the throne in 1973, the Commander in Chief of the armed forces of Sweden (§ 14) and therefore he was promoted ex officio from his earlier ranks of captain and lieutenant, to general and admiral. Under the provisions of the Instrument of Government of 1974, which became effective on 1 January 1975, King Carl Gustav no longer holds this constitutionally-mandated position of commander-in-chief, but he kept his ranks à la suite since he no longer has any military command authority, except over his military staff at his court.

Worldwide, Carl XVI Gustaf is probably best known as the presenter of the Nobel Prizes each year. He also hands over the Polar Music Prize. The King holds honorary doctoral degrees from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Royal Institute of Technology, the Stockholm School of Economics and from the Åbo Akademi University in Finland.

Personal interests

The King is passionate about the environment, technology, agriculture, trade, and industry. Like many members of the Swedish royal family, the King has a keen interest in automobiles. He owns several Porsche 911s – a car model which is said to be a particular favourite of the King – as well as a vintage Volvo PV444, a Ferrari 456M GT, an authentic AC Cobra and other cars.[6] The first pictures taken of him and his future wife were of them sitting in his Porsche 911. In the summer of 2005 he was involved in a traffic accident in Norrköping. The accident was described as a "fender bender", with no serious personal injuries claimed. Nevertheless, the incident caused national headlines.[7]


The King is the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation, and often participates in Scout activities both in Sweden and abroad. He regularly visits World Scout Jamborees, for instance the 1979 Dalajamb World Jamboree International Encampment hosted by Sweden, the 2002 World Jamboree held in Sattahip, Thailand, and the 100th Anniversary of World Scouting 2007 World Jamboree held in Hylands Park, England.[8] He also attended the 1981 National Scout Jamboree in Virginia, United States, and was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1982. He also attended the 22nd World Scout Jamboree. He gave a speech on 6 August 2011 at the closing ceremony with more than 40,000 people watching. The band Europe also performed for him singing "The Final Countdown". King Carl Gustaf made an appearance at the 2013 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in West Virginia.[9]

Marriage and family

King Carl XVI Gustaf with Queen Silvia.

The King married Silvia Sommerlath, whose father was German and whose mother was Brazilian, and who had grown up in both countries. They met at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where she was an interpreter and host. The wedding was held on 19 June 1976, at the Stockholm Cathedral, and the ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Olof Sundby. The wedding was preceded, the evening before, by a Royal Variety Performance, where the Swedish musical group ABBA performed "Dancing Queen" for the very first time, as a tribute to Sweden's future queen.[10][11] The King and his family moved to Drottningholm Palace west of Stockholm in 1980. He and the Queen have maintained their business offices at the Royal Palace of Stockholm.

King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia have three children and three grandchildren:

Prince Carl Philip was born the heir apparent. However, a constitutional reform, which was already under way at the time of his birth, made his older sister, Victoria, the heir apparent and Crown Princess of Sweden on 1 January 1980, according to the principles of absolute primogeniture, which Sweden was the first recognized monarchy to adopt.[12] King Carl Gustaf objected after the reform, not to the succession by females but to the fact that his son lost the position and title which he had had since birth.[13]

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Title and styles

The Regal Assurance taken by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf on 19 September 1973

Administered by Mr. Lennart Geijer, Councillor of State and Head of the Ministry for Justice

Unofficial English language translation

"We, Carl Gustaf, King of Sweden make known: that as our Supreme God has pleased to call away the formerly Mighty, High-Born Prince and Lord, Gustaf VI Adolf, King of the Swedes, the Goths and the Wends, and We, according to, and by authority of, the Act of Succession, as established and enacted by the Estates of the Realm on 26 September 1810, following the Illustrious Lord, have ascended to the Royal Swedish Throne.

Therefore We assure most solemnly and loudly, that We intend to, and shall, Govern the Realm in accordance with the on 6 June 1809 by the King and the Estates of the Realm, jointly enacted, and for observance issued, Instrument of Government, literal direction abide, and to the other Fundamental Laws of the Realm, public laws and legal ordinances.

We shall also conform to the before mentioned Instrument of Government and laws, as a resolute King and a caring father for the Swedish people, throughout a legal, just and lenient Reign, seek to by Our utmost ability to advocate the veritable interests and welfare of the Realm and that of each of its inhabitants, all of which We by free will and following mature consideration have decided to do, We thus confirm this by the written signature of Our Name, and by a lively oath, that this We shall adhere to and carry out, so truly help me God to life and mind."

  • 30 April 1946 – 7 June 1946: His Royal Highness Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden
  • 7 June 1946 – 29 October 1950: His Royal Highness The Duke of Jämtland
  • 29 October 1950 – 15 September 1973: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Sweden, Duke of Jämtland
  • 15 September 1973 – present: His Majesty The King of Sweden


On his creation as Duke of Jämtland, Carl XVI Gustaf was granted an achievement of arms which featured the arms of Jämtland in base (these arms can be seen on his stallplate as knight of the Danish Order of the Elephant at Frederiksborg Palace). Since his accession to the throne, he has used the greater coat of arms of Sweden although he is still associated with the ducal title of Jämtland.

Coat of arms Kronprins Carl Gustav av Sverige.svg
Arms of Carl Gustaf as Duke of Jämtland from 1950 to his accession
Greater coat of arms of Sweden.svg
Arms of Carl XVI Gustaf used since his accession to the throne.


National honours

Foreign honours


Honorary military positions



See also


  • (Swedish) Ordenskalender 1969 & 1975, Riksmarskalksämbetet, Stockholm.
  1. "Kungl. Maj:ts kungörelse (1973:702) med anledning av konung Gustaf VI Adolfs frånfälle;" (in Swedish). 19 September 1973. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  2. "The Royal Family: H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf". Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  3. "Kungafamiljen: H.M. Konung Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  4. "Karl". Nordisk familjebok (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  5. "Monarkens uppgifter" (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  6. Enqvist, Victoria. "För Sverige - i bilen". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  7. "Swedish king crashes car". The Local. 25 August 2005. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  8. "The King of Sweden at the Jamboree". [dead link]
  9. Wilkes, Collin (22 July 2013). "Jambopalooza, summit hikes – ‘experience of a lifetime’". The Herald-Sun. Durham, North Carolina: Paxton Media Group. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  10. "Retro Romance: Sweden's Dancing Queen Silivia". Retrieved 6 December 2010. [dead link]
  11. Dancing Queen Royal Swedish Opera by ABBA World Hit Song Track Theatrical Stage Act Video on YouTube
  12. SOU 1977:5 Kvinnlig tronföljd, p.16.
  13. Peterson, Claes (24 November 2003). "Kungen: Grundlagen är lustig". Aftonbladet. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 "Mariage princier en Suède : dîner de gala au Palais royal" (in French). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  15. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 457. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  18. "State visit of Sweden in Belgium 2001, Gala dinner, group photo". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  21. "State visit of Lula da Silva in 2007, Photo of Presidential and Royal couples" (in Dutch). ANP Photo. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  25. "State visit of President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria in Sweden 2007, Gala dinner group photo". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Persondetaljer Hans Majestæt Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Danish). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  34. "Estonian State Decorations, Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Estonian). Website of the President of Estonia. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  36. "Estonian State Decorations, Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Estonian). Website of the President of Estonia. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  37. "Galamiddag för Estlands presidentpar på Kungliga slottet 1-6-7" (in Swedish). Swedish Royal Website. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  38. "Les souverains suédois reçoivent le président estonien" (in French). Noblesse et Royautés. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  44. "State visit of President Johannes Rau in Sweden in 2003". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  45. "King's photo". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  46. King Carl XVI Gustaf wearing the Grand Cross ribbon bar at the birthday of his cousin, Prince Andreas, Hereditary Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
  47. "Galamiddag på Kungliga slottet" (in Swedish). 21 May 2008. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  49. "Photo from State visit of Swedish Royal Family in Iceland". Seegers Press. Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  50. "Order of the Falcon, search form" (in Icelandic). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  51. Badraie
  52. Badraie
  53. "S.M. Carl XVI Gustaf il Re di Svezia - Decorato di Gran Cordone, Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" (in Italian). Italian Presidency website. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  57. "State visit of Jordan in Sweden (2003) Group photo of Swedish and Jordanian sovereigns wearing reciprocal orders". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  58. "State visit of Latvia in Sweden (2005), Gala dinner, Group photo". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?][not in citation given]
  62. "Galamiddag på Kungliga slottet 15/04/2008" (in Swedish). Swedish Royal website. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  63. "Visite d´Etat en Suède 15/04/2008" (in French). Cour Grand - Ducale de Luxembourg. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  64. "State visit of Grand-Dukes of Luxembourg in Sweden". AMP Picture. Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  65. "gala dinner on 15/04/2008". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  66. "State Visit of Malaysian King in Sweden, 2005, King Carl XVI Gustav with order sash, close details". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  67. "State Visit of Malaysian King in Sweden, 2005, King Carl XVI Gustav & Queen Silvia during gala dinner". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  68. Carl XVI Gustaf in the background wearing the Grand Collar insignia
  71. "Dîner de gala en l’honneur des souverains suédois" (in French). Noblesse et Royautés. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  75. 75.0 75.1 "Orders search form : type "REI Carlos XVI" in "nome", then click "Pesquisar"" (in Portuguese). Portuguese Presidency Website. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  77. "Recipients of Order of the Star of Romania" (ms xls). Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  78. "State honours : 1st Class received in 2002 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)". Slovak Republic Website. Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  79. "1997 National Orders awards". Retrieved 19 August 2012. 
  82. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  83. 83.0 83.1 Pinterest, Carl XVI Gustaf wearing the Order of the Golden Fleece Collar and the Star of Grand Cross w Collar of the order of Charles III
  84. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  85. "State visit of Sweden in Thailand, 2003, Gala dinner". Retrieved 19 August 2012. [unreliable source?]
  86. Noblesse et Royautes (French), State visit of Turkey in Sweden, Gala dinner, March 2013
  88. 88.0 88.1 Pinterest, Carl XVI Gustaf wearing the Order of the Garter Grand Cross and the Royal Victorian Chain
  91. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 46627. p. 8697. 7 July 1975.

External links

Carl XVI Gustaf
Born: 30 April 1946
Swedish royalty
Title last held by
Prince Oscar
Duke of Jämtland
Title next held by
Lines of succession
Preceded by
Gustaf Adolf
Crown Prince of Sweden
Title next held by
Carl Philip
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Gustaf VI Adolf
King of Sweden
Heir apparent: