Customize the website|
  Listen  
På svenska
The Royal Wedding

Biography

The King at Drottningholm Palace. Photo: Bruno Ehrs/royalcourt.se

The King at Drottningholm Palace. Photo: Bruno Ehrs/royalcourt.se

The early years


On Tuesday 30 April 1946 at 10:20, Sweden's future King Carl XVI Gustaf was born at Haga Palace in Solna. The Prince was given the titles Sweden's Heir Apparent and Duke of Jämtland. He was christened in the Royal Chapel on 7 June 1946 and given the name Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus.

He was the son of the then heir to the throne Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. The family lived at Haga Palace, and The King has four older sisters: Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée and Christina.

A portrait of the heir to the throne and his family, 1946. From left: Princess Sibylla with the young prince, Heir Apparent Gustaf Adolf, Princess Margaretha (standing), Princess Birgitta, Princess Christina and Princess Désirée. Photo: Atelier Jaeger

A portrait of the heir to the throne and his family, 1946. From left: Princess Sibylla with the young prince, Heir Apparent Gustaf Adolf, Princess Margaretha (standing), Princess Birgitta, Princess Christina and Princess Désirée. Photo: Atelier Jaeger

In January 1947, Heir Apparent Gustaf Adolf died in a plane crash at Kastrup Airport near Copenhagen. After the accident, Princess Sibylla and her children moved from Haga Palace to the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Princess Sibylla died in autumn 1972 in Stockholm.

When King Gustaf V died on 29 October 1950, King Gustaf VI Adolf ascended to the throne and the four-year-old Duke of Jämtland became Crown Prince of Sweden.

The family spent their summers at Solliden Palace, just south of Borgholm on the island of Öland. The King inherited Solliden from his great-grandfather, King Gustaf V. The young Crown Prince enjoyed spending time in nature, and Scouting was one of his great interests. In 1955, he became a Cub Scout, called Mowgli, and became a Scout in 1958. One of his first official duties, aged ten, was his participation at a Swedish Scout camp.

Education

1952 Preschool at the Royal Palace of Stockholm
1953 Broms Private School, Tysta Gatan, Stockholm
1959 Sigtuna Humanistiska Läroverk secondary school
1962 Confirmation at Borgholm Church on Öland
1966 Higher school certificate
1966-68 Military service
1968 Naval officer examination. The Crown Prince subsequently completed the Swedish National Defence College's management course. His naval training was supplemented with command duties on board the Swedish Navy's vessels.
1968-69 Academic education programme including courses in history, sociology, political science, financial law and economics at Uppsala University. Economics at Stockholm University.
The Crown Prince receives his higher school certificate in Sigtuna in 1966, and is congratulated by his friends and family in the school yard. In the foreground are Princess Désirée and Princess Sibylla (to the left). Behind them are (from left) Prince Bertil, Niclas Silfverschiöld and The Crown Prince's grandfather, The King, who embraces The Crown Prince wearing his student's cap. Photo: Scanpix

The Crown Prince receives his higher school certificate in Sigtuna in 1966, and is congratulated by his friends and family in the school yard. In the foreground are Princess Désirée and Princess Sibylla (to the left). Behind them are (from left) Prince Bertil, Niclas Silfverschiöld and The Crown Prince's grandfather, The King, who embraces The Crown Prince wearing his student's cap. Photo: Scanpix

Practical social studies


After his schooling, The Crown Prince followed a specially devised programme including study visits to state and municipal authorities, industries, factories, laboratories and schools. The Crown Prince studied the judiciary, social organisations and institutions, and trade union and employer associations. This included a particular emphasis on the operations of the Riksdag, the Swedish Government and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

International studies


In order to gain international experience, The Crown Prince took part in the work involved in the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations in New York and the Swedish International Development Cooperation in Africa. He also spent an extended period in London, at Hambros Bank, the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, and in France at Alfa Laval's facility in Nevers.
The Crown Prince represented King Gustaf VI Adolf on a number of different occasions. In 1970, for example, The Crown Prince led the Swedish delegation at the world exhibition in Osaka, Japan.
Official visit to Japan, 1970. The Crown Prince at the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto on 17 May. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.

Official visit to Japan, 1970. The Crown Prince at the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto on 17 May. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.

Ascending to the throne


When King Gustaf VI Adolf died on 15 September 1973, the 27-year-old Crown Prince Carl Gustaf became King of Sweden. He had held a vigil at his grandfather's deathbed in Helsingborg, and came to the capital as regent on 16 September.
King Carl XVI Gustaf officially becomes Sweden's Head of State during the speech from the throne in the Hall of State. Photo: Jan Collsiöö/Scanpix

King Carl XVI Gustaf officially becomes Sweden's Head of State during the speech from the throne in the Hall of State. Photo: Jan Collsiöö/Scanpix

On Wednesday 19 September, the new King took the royal oath in front of the Swedish Government in the Cabinet Meeting Room. He then appeared in front of the Riksdag, the diplomatic corps and the Royal Court in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Afterwards, he gave the traditional commemorative speech in remembrance of the late monarch. The cabinet meeting and the ceremony from the Hall of State were broadcast live on TV. More than 25,000 people had gathered on Norrbro to congratulate and greet the new King Carl XVI Gustaf.
 
The King took "För Sverige i tiden" ("For Sweden — With the Times") as his motto. This reflected his desire to meet the demands placed by society on a modern monarch.

The King's monogram was created by graphic designer Karl-Erik Forsberg, and was completed just a month or so after The King ascended to the throne. In 1978, Karl-Erik Forsberg was named Sweden's first Court Graphic Designer.

The King's monogram was created by graphic designer Karl-Erik Forsberg, and was completed just a month or so after The King ascended to the throne. In 1978, Karl-Erik Forsberg was named Sweden's first Court Graphic Designer.

The King's first state visit was to Norway, on 8 October 1974. The next state visits were to neighbouring countries and countries with which the Bernadottes have close links, such as Finland, Denmark, Iceland and the United Kingdom.
Cabinet meeting, December 1974. According to the Constitution Act of 1974, the Prime Minister is responsible for ensuring that the Head of State is kept informed about matters concerning the nation. It is formally The King who convenes the cabinet briefing, but the decision is made in consultation with the Prime Minister. Photo: Leif R Jansson/Scanpix

Cabinet meeting, December 1974. According to the Constitution Act of 1974, the Prime Minister is responsible for ensuring that the Head of State is kept informed about matters concerning the nation. It is formally The King who convenes the cabinet briefing, but the decision is made in consultation with the Prime Minister. Photo: Leif R Jansson/Scanpix

The King carried out his first county visit to his former duchy of Jämtland. As monarch, The King has carried out annual visits to Sweden's various counties and municipalities. In connection with The King's 40th jubilee, The King and Queen will be visiting all of Sweden's 21 counties during 2013. Find out more about The King and Queen's county visits here.opens in new window

State visit, May 2000. Finland's President Tarja Halonen is welcomed in the Inner Courtyard at the Royal Palace. Photo: Leif R Jansson/Scanpix

State visit, May 2000. Finland's President Tarja Halonen is welcomed in the Inner Courtyard at the Royal Palace. Photo: Leif R Jansson/Scanpix

Marriage and family


At the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, The Crown Prince met Miss Silvia Renate Sommerlath. She was working as an interpreter and hostess during the games.

Silvia Renate Sommerlath was born in Heidelberg on 23 December 1943. She is the daughter of Walther Sommerlath and his wife Alice, née de Toledo.

The engagement of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Miss Silvia Renate Sommerlath was announced on 12 March 1976 at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. The wedding took place in Stockholm Cathedral on Saturday 19 June 1976.

The evening before the wedding, the Royal Opera held a gala soirée. Behind Miss Silvia Renate Sommerlath and King Carl XVI Gustaf are the parents of the bride-to-be, Walther and Alice Sommerlath. There was enormous media interest in what was Sweden's first royal wedding of modern times. It was The King's express wish that there should be the greatest possible openness with regard to the official wedding arrangements. Photo: Istvan Bajzat DPA/IBL Bildbyrå

The evening before the wedding, the Royal Opera held a gala soirée. Behind Miss Silvia Renate Sommerlath and King Carl XVI Gustaf are the parents of the bride-to-be, Walther and Alice Sommerlath. There was enormous media interest in what was Sweden's first royal wedding of modern times. It was The King's express wish that there should be the greatest possible openness with regard to the official wedding arrangements. Photo: Istvan Bajzat DPA/IBL Bildbyrå

The King and Queen have three children: Crown Princess Victoria, born 14 July 1977, Prince Carl Philip, born 13 May 1979, and Princess Madeleine, born 10 June 1982.
 
Up until 1981, the Royal Family lived in an apartment at the Royal Palace of Stockholm, but moved to Drottningholm Palace in 1982.
 
The Crown Princess and Prince Daniel were married at Storkyrkan (The Great Church) in Stockholm on 19 June 2010. Their daughter, Princess Estelle, was born on 23 February 2012. In accordance with the 1979 Act of Succession, which took effect on 1 January 1980, Princess Estelle is second in line to the throne after Crown Princess Victoria.

The King's commitments

Nature and the environment


The King is extremely committed to issues relating to nature conservation and the environment, and has considerable knowledge within both these areas. For example, The King has taken the initiative for the Royal Colloquium, an annual international environmental symposium held in Sweden with participants from around the world.
 
Since 1988, The King has been chairman of the Swedish branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature, WWF.

The Scout Movement


Since his childhood, The King has been involved in various Scouting activities, both in Sweden and abroad. The King is Honorary Chairman of the Swedish Scout Movement, and since 1977 has been Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation.
Each year, The King attends the Scouts' clean-up day on Djurgården in Stockholm. Here he is pictured at the event in spring 2011. Photo: Anders Wiklund/Scanpix

Each year, The King attends the Scouts' clean-up day on Djurgården in Stockholm. Here he is pictured at the event in spring 2011. Photo: Anders Wiklund/Scanpix

Technology


In recent years, The King has taken part in the Royal Technology Mission, arranged by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. The aim has been to study technological and industrial knowledge, and to encourage collaboration within these fields, including in the Czech Republic, China, Japan, Italy, the United Kingdom, the USA, South Korea, South Africa, Brazil and India.

Interests

Cars


The King's great passions were clear from an early age: cars and tools. On his fifth birthday, he received a pedal car, a trowel, bricks, gardening tools and a yoke with two buckets.
 
He remains interested in motoring to this day. At the annual Swedish King's Rally on Öland, he drives a 1946 Volvo PV 60, which he received on his 50th birthday.

Nature, sport and outdoor life


Ever since he was a young boy, The King has enjoyed spending time in the countryside. He enjoys outdoor life, various sporting activities, hunting and game preservation. The King is a skilled skier and has competed in the Vasaloppet ski race on three occasions, in 1977, 1987 and 1997.
The Crown Prince steers an outboard motorboat during the summer of 1958. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.

The Crown Prince steers an outboard motorboat during the summer of 1958. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.

The King has a holiday cottage in the ski resort of Storlien, which he inherited from his parents. When Prince Bertil died, the Royal Family also inherited Villa Mirage at St Maxime in France. The Royal Family spend their summers at Solliden Palace on Öland.

Art, music and food


The King is interested in art, music and food, and is a member of the Gastronomic Academy.
The King presents the 2011 Polar Music Prize to US singer and poet Patti Smith. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

The King presents the 2011 Polar Music Prize to US singer and poet Patti Smith. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix

The King has initiated a number of musical events at the Royal Palace of Stockholm, and has exhibited items from King Gustaf VI Adolf's and his own private collection of graphic art. The King has worked actively to open up the royal palaces and to make them and their unique collections of art more accessible to the general public.