HM Queen Silvia. Photo: Peter Knutson/Royal Court

HM Queen Silvia. Photo: Peter Knutson/Royal Court

Queen Silvia was born in Heidelberg, Germany, on 23 December 1943.

She is the daughter of the late Walther Sommerlath and his Brazilian wife Alice, née de Toledo, also deceased. The Queen has one older brother: Ralf Sommerlath. Her other brothers, Jörg and and Walther Sommerlath, passed away in 2006 and 2020.

The Sommerlath family lived in Sao Paulo, Brazil between 1947 and 1957, where Walther Sommerlath held various positions, including President of the Brazilian subsidiary of Swedish company Uddeholm. The family returned to West Germany in 1957.

Education and Professional Life

Silvia Renate Sommerlath graduated from high school in Düsseldorf in 1963. Between 1965 and 1969 she studied at the Munich School of Interpreting, majoring in Spanish.

After graduating, Silvia Sommerlath worked at the Argentinean Consulate in Munich.

Work with the Olympic Committee

Silvia Sommerlath worked as a hostess trainer with the Organising Committee for the Munich Olympic Games between 1971 and 1973. She then became Deputy Head of Protocol of the Organising Committee for the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria.


Silvia Sommerlath met Crown Prince Carl Gustaf at the 1972 Olympic Games.

The engagement of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Renate Sommerlath was announced on 12 March 1976. They were married on 19 June the same year, at Stockholm Cathedral.

Initially the Royal Family lived in an apartment at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. In 1982 they moved to Drottningholm Palace.

Official Duties

Queen Silvia often accompanies King Carl Gustaf on official trips in Sweden and state visits abroad.

She makes regular visits to national and municipal authorities, as well as schools, universities and other educational institutions, in order to gather information.

She frequently participates in anniversary events, openings of conferences and symposia and other official events.

The Queen is a member of the Lutheran Church of Sweden.

Speaks six languages

In addition to Swedish, The Queen also speaks German, English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.