Carl XVI. Gustaf

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Carl XVI. Gustaf (2017)
Signature of Carl XVI.  Gustaf

Carl XVI. Gustaf (born April 30, 1946 at Haga Castle near Stockholm ; full name Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus ) is the head of the Swedish royal family Bernadotte and has been King of Sweden since September 15, 1973 . Since August 2016 he has been the longest reigning king since Sweden existed as an independent kingdom; since April 2018 also the longest reigning king in Swedish history.


Swedish royal family
Great coat of arms of Sweden.svg

HM Konung Carl XVI. Gustaf
HM Drottning Silvia

HKH Princess Birgitta

Carl Gustaf is the youngest child and only son of the Duke of Västerbotten Gustav Adolf Hereditary Prince of Sweden (1906-1947) and his German wife Princess Sibylla (1908-1972), the eldest daughter of the last reigning Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha , Carl Eduard and Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg , a niece of the last German Emperor and King of Prussia Wilhelm II .


Youth and education

Carl XVI. Gustaf at Haga Castle, around 1950

His father was killed in a plane crash in Denmark in 1947 when Carl Gustaf was just under nine months old. Since then he has stood after his grandfather, the then Crown Prince and later King Gustav VI. Adolf , second in line to the throne. In 1950 his grandfather became king and he himself crown prince. As a boy he had little taste for the role. According to an old custom, a kindergarten was set up for the Crown Prince in the castle, but afterwards he was sent to public schools, where he was treated like the other students. After graduating from high school in 1966, he signed up for the fleet as an officer candidate with the number 001 and went on a long voyage around the world for almost half a year on board a mine layer . After the Navy, the Army and Air Force took over his further training. In the end he was an ensign four times : in the fleet, in the Jämtland Feldjäger Regiment , in the Reich Body Guard and in the Air Force. He attended the Universities of Uppsala and Stockholm , where he studied economics , political science , sociology and history .

King of Sweden

Carl XVI. Gustaf and Silvia of Sweden on the wedding day of Crown Princess Victoria

After the death of his grandfather, Carl XVI. Gustaf enthroned in 1973.

Marriage and offspring

On March 12, 1976, the official engagement took place with Silvia Sommerlath , whom he had met at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich , where she had worked as head hostess . On June 19, 1976, a glamorous wedding followed in the Storkyrkan , the Stockholm cathedral. The day before the wedding, the song "Dancing Queen" by the pop group ABBA premiered in a program in honor of the bride and groom on Swedish television.

The royal couple belong to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden . The marriage had three children:

The king and his family live in the Drottningholm and Solliden castles .

Succession Act

With a reform of the Act of Succession to the Throne, which came into force on January 1, 1980, Carl XVI. Gustaf set as the new exit to the throne . Only his descendants can inherit the Swedish throne, all other branches of the Bernadotte family are excluded. It was also determined that the firstborn would inherit the throne regardless of gender. Previously, the succession to the throne had been limited to male descendants, which is why Carl Philip was initially heir to the throne. With the change, Victoria became the Crown Princess. Carl Gustaf was very critical of the change. In 1977, during the discussion about the new regulation, he said that the job was "too difficult for a girl". Furthermore, some regulations of the old Succession Act of 1810 were changed. So the requirement of equality has been abolished. The marriage to Silvia Sommerlath was only possible without losing the throne because he was already king at that time. As crown prince he would have lost his claim to the throne.

Official duties

George W. Bush, Laura Bush and the Swedish Royal Couple in front of the White House (2006)

After the reform of one of Sweden's four basic laws, the "form of government" (Swedish Regeringsformen ), in 1974 the duties of the head of state are exclusively representative and ceremonial. For example, the king does not sign any laws , does not appoint the minister of state or the individual ministers, and is not in command of the armed forces . On the other hand, he opens the Swedish Reichstag every autumn with a speech of more general content (he does not give a speech from the throne ), always chairs the first session of a new government, accredits the ambassadors of other countries to Sweden and is chairman of the Advisory Council for Foreign Affairs ( Utrikesnämnden in Swedish ). On official occasions he almost always appears in an admiral's uniform with the ribbon of the Seraphim Knights .

On the occasion of his state visit to the Sultanate of Brunei on February 9, 2004, Carl Gustaf praised the dictatorial ruling sultan of his host country for his alleged closeness to the citizens. As a result, he triggered a storm of indignation in his home country, whereupon the monarch, who in any case has no political powers, publicly regretted his "inexperienced" remarks. At the end of this "affair", the Swedish government decided to provide the formal head of state with a member of the government as a "controlling" companion on trips abroad.

After the tsunami catastrophe at Christmas 2004, in which over 500 Swedish adults and children were killed, Carl Gustaf gave a moving speech in 2005 that received a lot of recognition.


Carl Gustaf during the Scout Gala of the World Scout Foundation 1998 in Munich

Carl Gustaf is very interested in nature and nature conservation , agriculture , sports and fast cars. He is honorary chairman of the World Scout Foundation and is still an active scout himself .

He successfully participated in the Wasalauf (cross-country skiing over 89 km) three times , the last time at the age of 50. Although he is the patron of the AIK football club , he is a supporter of the Djurgårdens IF sports club . He is also a hunter . Carl Gustaf is a cousin of Queen Margrethe of Denmark . The residence of the royal family has been Drottningholm Palace since 1981 .

The program Året med kungafamiljen has been produced every year since 1977 , in which Carl Gustaf is shown both as head of state and privately as father and husband.

Coats of arms, titles, medals and honors

coat of arms


  • 1946–1950: His Royal Highness Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden, Duke of Jämtland
  • 1950–1973: His Royal Highness Crown Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden, Duke of Jämtland
  • 1973 – today: His Majesty King Carl XVI. Gustaf of Sweden

Orders and honors

Birthday photo 2015

Military honors



Pedigree of Carl XVI. Gustaf, King of Sweden
Old parents

Swedish royal crown
King Oskar II (1829–1907)
⚭ 1857
Princess Sophia of Nassau

Grand Duke Friedrich I of Baden
⚭ 1856
Princess Luise of Prussia (1838–1923)

Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
⚭ 1840 Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland (1819–1901)
British Tudor crown

Friedrich Karl Nikolaus of Prussia (1828–1885)
⚭ 1854
Princess Maria Anna of Anhalt-Dessau

Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
⚭ 1840 Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland (1819–1901)
British Tudor crown

Georg Viktor zu Waldeck and Pyrmont
⚭ 1853
Princess Helene von Nassau-Weilburg (1831–1888)

Friedrich of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
⚭ 1854
Princess Adelheid Christine zu Schaumburg-Lippe (1821–1899)

Duke Friedrich VIII of Schleswig-Holstein
⚭ 1856
Princess Adelheid Victoria zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg (1835–1900)

Great grandparents

Swedish royal crown
Gustav V (1858–1950)
⚭ 1881
Princess Viktoria of Baden (1862–1930)

Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
⚭ 1879
Princess Luise Margareta of Prussia

Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany
⚭ 1882
Princess Helene of Waldeck and Pyrmont (1861–1922)

Friedrich Ferdinand of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
⚭ 1885
Princess Caroline Mathilde of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg


Swedish royal crown
King Gustav VI. Adolf (1882–1973)
⚭ 1905
Princess Margaret of Connaught (1882–1920)

Duke Carl Eduard of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1884–1954)
⚭ 1905
Princess Viktoria Adelheid of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1885–1970)


Gustav Adolf Hereditary Prince of Sweden , Duke of Västerbotten (1906–1947)
⚭ 1932
Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1908–1972)

Swedish royal crown
King Carl XVI. Gustaf of Sweden (* 1946)


  • Thomas Sjöberg, Deanne Rauscher, Tove Meyer: Carl XVI Gustaf - Den motvillige monarken . Lind & Co. 2010. ISBN 978-91-7461-016-1 (Swedish)
  • Thomas Sjöberg, Deanne Rauscher, Tove Meyer: Carl Gustaf XVI - The unwilling monarch . Heel Verlag, Königswinter 2010. ISBN 978-3-86852-444-4

Web links

Commons : Carl XVI. Gustaf (Sweden)  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Text of the Act of Succession to the Throne in English on the pages of the Swedish Diet. (PDF file; 137 kB)
  2. Summary article on the Swedish Succession Act on the Swedish public television website (Swedish)  ( page no longer available , search in web archives )@1@ 2Template: dead link /
  4. DN newspaper article about the king's football preferences (Swedish)
  5. List of all decorations awarded by the Federal President for services to the Republic of Austria from 1952 (PDF file; 6.59 MB)
  6. Jean Schoos : The medals and decorations of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the former Duchy of Nassau in the past and present. Publishing house of Sankt-Paulus Druckerei AG. Luxembourg 1990. ISBN 2-87963-048-7 . P. 345.
  7. List of the bearers of the order of the Infante Dom Henrique (Collane)
  9. List of the bearers of the Collane of the Order of the Marienland Cross
  10. Decree of the Ukrainian President on the award by the President of Ukraine "Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise" (Ukrainian)
  12. ^ Decree of the Ukrainian President on the award of Carl XVI. Gustaf with the Order of Freedom (Ukrainian)
  15. Kungens Ordinary - Sveriges Kungahus. Retrieved July 12, 2017 (Swedish).
predecessor Office successor
Gustav VI. Adolf King of Sweden
since 1973