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|Carl XVI Gustaf|
|Reign||15 September 1973 – present (44 years, 308 days)|
|Enthronement||19 September 1973|
|Predecessor||Gustaf VI Adolf|
|Heir apparent||Crown Princess Victoria|
|Spouse||Queen Silvia, née Sommerlath|
| Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden|
Prince Carl Fredrik, Duke of Västerbotten
Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland
Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland
|Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus|
|House||House of Bernadotte|
|Father||Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten|
|Mother||Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha|
|Born|| 30 April 1946 |
Haga Palace, Sweden
|Religion||Lutheran (Church of Sweden)|
Carl XVI Gustaf (full name: Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, born 30 April 1946) is the reigning King of Sweden since 15 September 1973, succeeding his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf because his father had predeceased him. He is the only son of the late Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.
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 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. He is also 203rd in the line of succession to the British and other Commonwealth thrones.
Carl Gustaf was born at then Haga Palace, Solna, in Stockholm County. He was christened at the Royal Chapel on June 7, 1946 by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Erling Eidem. His godparents were Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark, Crown Princess Ingrid of Denmark, Crown Prince Olav of Norway, Crown Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, King Gustaf V of Sweden, Friedrich Josias, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Crown Princess Louise of Sweden, Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg, and the Countess Maria Bernadotte af Wisborg.
His father, Gustaf Adolf, was killed in an airplane crash on January 26, 1947, at the Copenhagen Airport while visiting Denmark.
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 King Gustaf V died in 1950, the four-year-old Prince became the 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 did not 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 (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 Parliament of Sweden, 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 September 15, 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 (Swedish: 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 (Swedish: Sveriges Konung), thereby ending a tradition centuries old.
Such innovations are reflected in his personal motto, "For Sweden – With the times" (Swedish: "För Sverige – I tiden").
In 2005, King Carl Gustav made a personal and passionate speech about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, a disaster which caused the death of over 500 Swedes in that area, in addition to tens of thousands of more people.
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 exaggerated ordinal much higher than that warranted by any reliable historical accounting. Consequently, previous monarchs named Charles (Karl) have traditionally been numbered by counting backwards from Charles IX, though there only were two before him. Thus the current King of Sweden was proclaimed as Carl XVI Gustaf (sometimes counted in English also as "Charles XVI", though he is never called that) even though he is only the tenth historical Swedish king named Carl (Karl, or Charles).
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.
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 the Prime Minister & the Cabinet, 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 this type of figurehead, he also voluntarily abstains from voting in Swedish elections.
King Carl Gustav (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 January 1, 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.
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 favourite 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 Norrköping. The accident was described as a "fender bender", with no serious personal injuries claimed. Nevertheless, the incident caused national headlines.
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 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 attend the 22nd World Scout Jamboree. He gave a speech on the 6th of August at the closing ceremony with more than 40,000 people watching. The band Europe also performed for him singing "The Final Countdown".
The King attended the Sweden-Michigan Clean Energy Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, on 26 September 2008, at the start of a two-day visit to Michigan. He also traveled to Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, for the ceremonial groundbreaking for a biogas plant that will be, when completed, similar to a biogas plant in Linköping, Sweden. On the second day of his visit he toured the test tracks of the Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, then owners of Volvo and Saab respectively.
Engagement and marriageEdit
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 hostess. The wedding was held on June 19, 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 Queen to be.
King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia have four children:
- Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée, Duchess of Västergötland, born on July 14, 1977. On 19 June 2010, she married Daniel Westling at Stockholm Cathedral. They are styled as the Crown Princess Couple. The couple have a daughter and a son.
- His Royal Highness Prince Carl Fredrik Edmund Oscar, Duke of Västerbotten born on May 13, 1979. On 12 June 2000, he married, Princess Nathalie of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, later Duchess of Västerbotten in the Royal Chapel at Stockholm Palace. They are formally styled as the Prince Couple. The couple have six children, three daughters and three sons. He also has two sons from past relationship.
- His Royal Highness Prince Carl Philip Edmund Bertil, Duke of Värmland born on 19 May 1980. On 13 June 2015, he married Miss Sofia Hellqvist. They are formally styled as Prince Couple. They have two sons.
- Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, born 10 June 1982. On 8 June 2013, she married Christopher O'Neill in the Royal Chapel. They are formally styled as the Princess Couple. They have two daughters and one son.
Prince Carl Fredrik was born the heir apparent. However, a contitutional reform, which was already under way at the time of his birth, made his older sister, Victoria, the heiress-apparent and Crown Princess of Sweden on January 1, 1980, according to the principles of absolute primogeniture, which Sweden was the first recognized monarchy to adopt. King Carl Gustaf objected, not to the restored female succession but to the fact that his son lost the position and title of Crown Prince of Sweden which he had had since birth.
The King and his wife have fifteen grandchildren:
For many years, it was widely reported that King Carl Gustav had dyslexia. Journalists noted that he misspelled his name when signing his accession document, and in 1973, while visiting a copper mine in Falun, he misspelled his name as "Cal Gustf" when signing it on a rock wall. In an interview on Swedish television in 1997, this 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.
Kinship with European counterpartsEdit
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).
Titles, styles, honors and armsEdit
Title and stylesEdit
- 30 April 1946 - 7 June 1946: His Royal Highness Carl Gustaf, Hereditary Prince (sv. Arvprins) of Sweden
- 7 June 1946 - 29 October 1950: His Royal Highness Carl Gustaf, Hereditary Prince of Sweden, Duke of Jämtland
- 29 October 1950 - 15 September 1973: His Royal Highness Carl Gustaf, Crown Prince of Sweden, Duke of Jämtland
- 15 September 1973 – present: His Majesty Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden
Carl XVI Gustaf's current title is King of Sweden with the style His Majesty. He is usually in contemporary Swedish language use and society referred to as simply "the King" (Swedish: Kungen). In formal events and matters of protocol, he is however referred to as "Your Majesty" (Swedish: Ers Majestät) or "His Majesty the King" (Swedish: Hans Majestät Konungen).
- Lord and Master (and Knight) of the Order of the Seraphim
- Lord and Master (and Commander Grand Cross) of the Order of the Polar Star
- Lord and Master (and Commander Grand Cross) of the Order of the Sword
- Lord and Master (and Commander Grand Cross) of the Order of Vasa
- Lord and Master (and Knight) of the Order of Charles XIII
- Austria: Grand Star of the Decoration of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria
- Belgium: Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
- Brazil: Grand Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross
- Commonwealth realms: Recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain
- Denmark: Knight with Collar of the Order of the Elephant
- Denmark: Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog
- England: Stranger Knight of the Order of the Garter (967th member)
- Estonia: Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana
- Finland: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Rose
- France: Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour
- Germany: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Greece: Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
- Iceland: Grand cross with Collar of the Order of the Falcon
- Japan: Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
- Latvia: Commander Grand Cross with Chain of the Order of the Three Stars (1995)
- Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great
- Luxembourg: Grand Cross of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
- Malaysia: Knight of the Order of the Crown of the Realm
- Mexico: Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle
- Netherlands: Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
- Netherlands: Grand Cross of the Order of the House of Orange
- Norway: Grand Cross with collar of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav
- Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle
- Portugal: Grand Collar of the Order of Prince Henry (1987)
- Portugal: Grand Collar of the Order of Saint James of the Sword (2008)
- Romania: Sash Rank of the Star of Romania
- Spain: Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (1,183rd member)
- Spain: Grand Cross Collar of the Order of Charles III
- Thailand: Knight of the Order of the Rajamitrabhorn
- Thailand: Member of the Order of Ramkeerati
- Ukraine: Member of the Order of Liberty
- Ukraine: The First Class of the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise
Honorary military positionsEdit
- UK: Honorary Admiral, British Royal Navy (Seniority: June 25, 1975)
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 accesion to the throne, he has used the greater coat of arms of Sweden.