The King's life - 60 years

Four generations: King Gustaf V, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, Prince Gustaf Adolf and Prince Carl Gustaf. Photo: Ateljé Jaeger

Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus was born at twenty minutes past ten in the morning on Tuesday, April 30, 1946.

One minute later a gun salute was fired from naval station batteries in Stockholm, Karlskrona and Gothenburg, Stockholm and Blekinge's coast artillery defense and all authorized salute vessels. 42 shots in two rounds - it was a boy!

Hereditary Prince

The new hereditary prince was the eagerly awaited son of Princess Sibylla and Prince Gustaf Adolf, who together already had four daughters - the Princesses: Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée and Christina.

In a cabinet meeting at the Royal Palace of Stockholm it was announced that the prince would be called Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus and would be the Duke of Jämtland.

Royal godparents  

The baptism took place at the Royal Chapel on June 7, 1946.

The hereditary prince was given ten godparents:  King Gustaf V, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf, Crown Princess Louise, the Duke of Coburg-Gotha, Crown Prince Fredrik and Crown Princess Ingrid of Denmark, Crown Prince Olav of Norway, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg and Countess Maria Bernadotte af Wisborg.

Beloved children's nurse

"The Duke", as he was called by the family, weighed 3,500 grams at birth and was 50  centimeters long.
Day to day care was entrusted to Ingrid Björnberg, a children's nurse who had already been employed by the Haga family in 1939 - a job that became a lifetime commitment.

Family tragedy

Carl Gustaf was only nine months old when his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, was killed in a plane crash at Kastrup in Copenhagen on January 26, 1947.  

Move to the Royal Palace of Stockholm

Despite the tragedy, the prince had a harmonious childhood. He was given great freedom but was not spoiled. The family at Haga moved into the Royal Palace of Stockholm in 1950. For the motor interested "Little Prince" it was great fun to drive his pedal car in the long corridors of his new home. It was also fun to count the cars on Skeppsbron.

Crown Prince at four years of age

That same year, on October 29, 1950, Gustav V died. Sweden had a new king, Gustaf VI Adolf, and Carl Gustaf, just four years old, became Sweden's crown prince.
A special advisory board was established to plan the crown prince's studies. Following one year's preparatory preschool at the palace, the crown prince started school at Broms School in Stockholm on September 1, 1953.  

Student years

When it was time for primary school and secondary school,  Sigtuna Humanistiska Läroverk in Sigtuna was chosen - a boarding school, where the prince matriculated in natural sciences on April 22, 1966.

He continued his academic studies at Uppsala University and complemented this with economic studies at the Stockholm School of Economics.

Military training

His military training started in the summer 1966.   The prince chose the navy and participated in, amongst other things, an around the world tour on the long distance vessel the Älvsnabben. He also received training within the air force and army.  

Military experts have confirmed that Crown Prince Gustaf, if the opportunity had presented itself, could have been a very skilled air force pilot. He is the first royal person in the world to break the sound barrier as a passenger in the J35 Draken fighter, on September 22, 1967.

Modern King

A number of intensive years of "King in training" followed. The crown prince gathered experience of industry and commerce in Sweden and abroad.

When Gustaf VI Adolf died on September 15, 1973, the new King despite his age of 27 years, was well prepared for his future responsibilities. As a teenager, his intention already was to be a modern king.  

New openness

At the coronation ceremony in the Hall of State on September 19, 1973, Carl XVI Gustaf declared that he would be resolute in following his grandfather's good example and become a symbol of modern monarchy. The King's desire for renewal and openness is emphasized in his choice of motto - "For Sweden - With the Times."


In his first year as monarch, The King was busy familiarizing himself with his new tasks and organizing work at the Royal Court.  

In Germany, a young woman was waiting - a woman that the Crown Prince had met at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972. Despite all speculation in the press, everyone was taken by surprise the following year when the engagement between King Carl Gustaf and Miss Silvia Sommerlath was officially announced on March 12, 1976.

Famous click

Silvia Sommerlath had just finished her work within the International Olympic Committee as head of the Olympic Game Hostesses. Now she was sitting in the famous engagement couch at the Royal Palace of Stockholm and the King explained the love story "It just clicked!"

A new queen

The wedding took place at the Stockholm Cathedral on a beautiful early summer day on June 19, 1976. The King presented Sweden's new Queen from the palace balcony to a cheering crowd of tens of thousands on Norrbro with the words "My wife and I ... We are so happy!"

Three children were born: the future Crown Princess Victoria (1977), Prince Carl Philip (1979) and Princess Madeleine (1982).

Fight for the environment

Carl XVI Gustaf has made himself known and respected as a voice for issues concerning nature and the environment.  Since early childhood he has appreciated nature and fought for the environment.

Scouting engagements  

The King's interest in scouting is grounded in his view of the scout movement as an international peace and environmental movement amongst youths from all sectors of society.  

Ingrid Ericsson, a scout leader in Klara-Jacob's scout corps, was an important role model and laid the foundation for a lifetime commitment to the scouts. The King is a Principle Honorary Member of the Swedish Guide and Scout Association and an Honorary Member of the World Scout Foundation.  
In later years The King's interest in the scouts has deepened  through his work for increased leadership training within the scout movement and the establishment of a new scout troup targeting immigrant children.

High tempo

King Carl Gustaf keeps a high work tempo, is curious, interested and perceptive. With extensive experience in many fields, he has gathered a broad all-round education.

As a door opener for Sweden abroad, he follows in his uncle Prince Bertil's footsteps and makes invaluable contributions to Swedish interests, most of all within industry and commerce and on the science and technology front.

Active leisure time

King Carl Gustaf has never kept his great interest in technology a secret. One of his dreams is to have his own motor museum.  

Art collector

Less well known is the great interest in art and culture that has been passed down through the monarchy. The King is a collector of art and has inherited an interest in graphic art from his grandfather.  He has arranged for one of the rooms at the Royal Palace in Stockholm to be given a modern design in order to show the interior decor style of our times in a building that is more than 250 years old.  

Solliden jubilee

The King is also extremely engaged in work at Stenhammar Palace  i Sörmland and in Solliden,  the Royal Family's private palace on the island of Öland. In preparation for Solliden's 100-year jubilee this summer he has actively participated in planning various exhibitions and events.  

A good listener

Sven Broman, Editor in Chief of the weekly magazine Året Runt was a part of the future King's mass media council in the 1970s. He has described King Carl Gustaf as frank, natural and unaffected.

King Gustaf VI Adolf's advice to his grandson is used as a guiding principle by Carl XVI Gustaf:
- Be natural and listen attentively!


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