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Carl XVI Gustaf (Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus; born 30 April 1946) has been King of Sweden ( ) since 15 September 1973. He is the only son of the late Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He ascended to the throne upon the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. His father Prince Gustaf Adolf was unexpectedly killed in an airplane crash on the afternoon of 26 January 1947, at the Kastrup Airport, Kastrup, Denmark. King Gustav VI Adolf, his grandfather, proclaimed that the infant Prince Carl Gustaf, Duke of Jämtlandmarker, would become Crown Prince in his father's place.

Unlike many other European monarchs who have extensive styles, King Carl Gustaf's formal and complete style is simply His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden. The King's heir apparent, upon passage on 1 January 1980 of a new law establishing equal primogeniture (the first such law passed in European history) is Crown Princess Victoria, the eldest child of the King and his wife, Queen Silvia.

Birth and early life

Carl Gustaf was born at Haga Palacemarker ("Haga Slott") ("Kungliga Hovförsamlingen"), Solnamarker, Upplandmarker. He was christened at the Royal Chapel on 7 June 1946 by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Erling Eidem, and was given the title of Duke of Jämtlandmarker.

His godparents were The Crown Prince of Denmark, The Crown Princess of Denmark, The Crown Prince of Norway, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, King Gustaf V of Sweden, Prince Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, The Crown Princess of Sweden, Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg and Countess Maria Bernadotte af Wisborg.

Youth and education

Prince Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus was the youngest of five children and the only son of Sweden's Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla. His father's death in an airplane crash outside Copenhagenmarker, Denmarkmarker, on 26 January 1947 left the nine-month-old Prince second in line for the throne, behind his grandfather, then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf. When his great-grandfather King Gustaf V died in 1950, the four-year-old Prince became heir apparent of Sweden.

In a speech in 2005, the King expressed some of his feelings about growing up without having known his father. His sister, Princess Birgitta, elaborated on these feelings in an interview around the same time, commenting that their mother and the strict Swedish royal court of the time didn't consider the emotional needs of Prince Gustaf Adolf's children. In that era, she said, tragedy was seldom discussed with children. "Children’s questions were met with silence, children’s anxiety and fear with the same silence."

As a result, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf was seven years old before he had been told about his father's death. "It was Mother’s way of handling the situation, to handle living her life. Of course it was not good for us children. It would have been much better to be able to speak about Father’s death," continued Princess Birgitta. She said it had been difficult for the future King to come to grips with not having a father and of not having the same memories of him as his older sisters.

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 (Army & Air Force) and Lieutenant (Navy), before he ascended the throne. He has also completed academic studies in history, sociology, political science, tax law, and economics at the universities of Uppsalamarker and Stockholmmarker.

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 organisations and institutions, trade unions, and employers' associations. In addition, he closely studied the affairs of the Riksdagmarker, 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 , worked at a bank in Londonmarker, the Swedish Embassy in Londonmarker, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in Francemarker, 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 ( ; ). 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 ( ), thereby ending an age-old tradition.

Such innovations are reflected in his personal motto, "For Sweden – With the times" ( ).

Marriage and family

The king married Silvia Sommerlath, whose father was German and mother 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 19 June 1976 at Stockholm Cathedralmarker ("Storkyrkan Cathedral") ("Kungliga Hovförsamlingen") in Stockholmmarker, and the ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Olof Sundby. The King and his family reside at Drottningholm Palacemarker outside of Stockholm since 1980 and use the Royal Palace of Stockholmmarker as their workplace.

They have three children:

  1. Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland (b. 1977), engaged to Daniel Westling (b. 1973)
  2. Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland (b. 1979)
  3. Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland (b. 1982), engaged to Jonas Bergström (b. 1979)

Prince Carl Philip was born heir apparent. However, a constitutional reform that was already under way at the time of his birth made his older sister, Victoria, the Crown Princess and heiress-apparent on 1 January 1980, according to the principles of equal primogeniture, which Sweden was the first country to adopt.

Kinship with European counterparts

The king is related to all current European reigning monarchs (at least through John William Friso, Prince of Orange, the most recent common ancestor of today's reigning European royal houses):

Royal duties and personal interests

The King and Queen of Sweden at the White House, 23 October 2006

The King's duties are, according to Regeringsformen, of a representative and ceremonial nature. He pays State Visits abroad and receives those to Sweden, opens the Annual Session of the Parliament, chairs the Special Council held during a change of Government, holds regular Information Councils with Ministers, chairs the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council, and receives and signs Letters of Credence of foreign ambassadors to Sweden and signs those of Sweden to foreign nations. As an important and popular symbol of the Royal Kingdom of Sweden, by law the King has no political power and he voluntarily abstains from voting in general elections. In line with traditions, the King holds the highest ranks in the three branches of the Swedish Armed Forces à la suite according to the Constitution.

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 Sciencesmarker, Royal Institute of Technologymarker, Stockholm School of Economicsmarker and from Åbo Akademi Universitymarker in Finlandmarker.

The King is passionate about the environment, technology, agriculture, trade, and industry.

Like many members of the 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 favorite of the King — as well as a vintage Volvo PV444, a Ferrari 456M GT, an authentic AC Cobra and other cars. 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 Norrköpingmarker. The accident was described as a "fender bender", with no serious personal injuries claimed. Nevertheless, the incident caused national headlines.

In 2005 the King made a personal and passionate speech about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunamimarker, which had led to the death of over 500 Swedes.


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. He also attended the 1981 National Scout Jamboree in Virginiamarker, USAmarker, 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.

Biofuels research

The King attended the Sweden-Michigan Clean Energy Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dearborn, Michiganmarker, on 26 September 2008, at the start of a two-day visit to Michigan. He also traveled to Kettering Universitymarker in Flint, Michiganmarker, for the ceremonial groundbreaking for a biogas plant that will be, when completed, similar to a biogas plant in Linköpingmarker, Sweden. On the second day of his visit he toured the test tracks of the Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, owners of Volvo and Saab receptively.

Titles, styles and honours


The King’s current title is simply His Majesty The King of Sweden. He also holds the personal title of Duke of Jämtland.

Style of reference

Carl XVI Gustaf is usually referred to as simply "the King" ( ). In formal events and protocols, he is however entitled to "Your Majesty" ( ) or "His Majesty the King" ( ).

Royal and State Orders received

Other honours



For many years, it was widely rumoured that the king had dyslexia. Journalists noted that he misspelled his name when signing his accession document, and in 1973, when visiting a copper mine in Falunmarker, he misspelled his name as "Cal Gustf" when signing it on a rock wall. In an interview on Swedish television in 1997 the condition was admitted publicly when his wife addressed the issue. "When he was little, people did not pay attention to the problem," she said. "He didn't get the help he needed." She also noted that the couple's children have "a bit of" dyslexia themselves.

Regnal name

In the 16th century, Johannes Magnus constructed a mythical line of Swedish kings, beginning with Magog, the son of Japheth, to demonstrate the antiquity of the Swedish throne. On the basis of his list, Eric XIV and Charles IX adopted their high ordinals; previous monarchs with those names are traditionally numbered counting backward from Eric XIV and Charles IX. The King of Sweden is therefore called Carl XVI Gustaf (Charles XVI Gustav) rather than Carl X Gustaf, although there are only nine known Swedish kings bearing the name Carl before him.


Patrilineal descent

Carl Gustaf's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.

Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations - which means that Carl XVI Gustaf is a member of the House of Bernadotte. Unusually for a European monarch, Carl Gustaf's patriline cannot be traced back further than the beginning of the 17th century.House of Bernadotte

  1. Jouandot deu Pouey
  2. Pierre deu Pouey de Bernadotte
  3. Jean Bernadotte, 1649–1698
  4. Jean Bernadotte, 1683–1760
  5. Jean Henri Bernadotte, 1711–1780
  6. Charles XIV John of Sweden, 1763–1844
  7. Oscar I of Sweden, 1799–1859
  8. Oscar II of Sweden, 1829–1907
  9. Gustaf V of Sweden, 1858–1950
  10. Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, 1882–1973
  11. Prince Gustav Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, 1906–1947
  12. Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, b. 1946

See also

External links

Notes and references

  • Ordenskalender 1969 & 1975, Riksmarskalksämbetet, Stockholm.
  2. SFS (1973:702)
  3. The Roual Family: H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf
  4. Kungafamiljen: H.M. Konung Carl XVI Gustaf
  5. SOU 1977:5 Kvinnlig tronföljd, p.16.
  6. Monarkens uppgifter.
  8. Swedish king crashes car, The Local, 25 August, 2005.
  9. [1] The King of Sweden at the Jamboree
  10. Detroit Free Press, 27 September 2008.
  11. Article Karl in Nordisk familjebok

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