Sveriges Kungahus

40 years as Sweden's Head of State

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Motiv: The King at the opening of the 2012 Parliamentary Session. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/Scanpix

The King: four decades as Sweden's Head of State

By First Marshal of the Court Mats Nilsson
On 15 September 1973, at the age of just 27, the then Crown Prince Carl Gustaf ascended to the throne and thereby became King Carl XVI Gustaf, Sweden's Head of State. This means that The King has been Sweden's Head of State for 40 years — a long and eventful period. The King took "För Sverige i tiden" ("For Sweden — With the Times") as his motto. This choice of motto was probably more far-sighted and bold than many people realised at the time. Taking guidance from these words, The King has actively followed developments and current events, both within Sweden and internationally, and has acted as an important link between the past, the present and the future.

An early and sustained interest in the environment

The King has been firmly committed to the environment and nature for a long time. Back in 1972, as Crown Prince of Sweden, The King took part in the first global UN conference on environmental issues, which was held in Stockholm. Forty years later, in 2012, The King and Queen played an active part in the global UN conference on sustainable development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During the intervening years, The King has taken a number of initiatives and been involved in many activities within the field of nature and the environment. Many study visits, trips and seminars have been initiated and carried out as a result of his strong commitment.

The Scouts and young people

The Scout Movement has been close to The King's heart all his life. He continues to support the movement, and often dons his Scout uniform to take part in various activities. Particularly in recent years, he has also taken the opportunity to promote the situation of young people and to support them in various ways. For example, The King founded the Young Leadership Foundation, which aims to recognise exemplary efforts and to encourage young people in Sweden to develop good leadership skills through ongoing personal development.

Representing Swedish industry

There can be no doubt about The King's great interest in — and support for — Swedish innovation, industry and exports. He has taken part in countless trips, seminars and visits to promote these areas, which are of vital importance to Sweden and the Swedish economy. Although the value of this work cannot be calculated in terms of export success, job opportunities or new contacts, the effects should not be underestimated.

Head of State

The King is our Head of State. According to the Swedish Constitution, The King has a number of constitutional duties, although these are not always generally well known. These duties have always been given the highest priority. For the past 40 years, The King has led change of government cabinet meetings and cabinet briefings, chaired the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs and declared the Parliamentary Session open. He has received foreign ambassadors who have submitted their credentials, and — together with The Queen — has hosted and carried out many state visits.

The King has a great many duties. As Sweden's Head of State, he has not only spent 40 years on the throne. He has also spent 40 years faithfully working and living for Sweden. And I know that his sense of duty, his work and his commitment to Sweden "with the times" will continue in the future.

The King at the opening of the 1974 Parliamentary Session. Photo: Leif R Jacobsson/Scanpix

The King at the opening of the 1974 Parliamentary Session. Photo: Leif R Jacobsson/Scanpix