April 30: Happy Birthday King Carl XVI Gustaf!

His Majesty the King of Sweden has special reason to celebrate this year as 2013 also marks 40 years for him on the Swedish throne. 

  • April 30 – Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf turns 67. Grattis på födelsedagen och ja må han leva! Photo courtesy of kungahuset.se Photographer: Bruno Ehrs
  • Public support for the monarchy in Sweden is strong with 70% of Swedes saying they want a monarchy, while 23% would instead prefer a Republic. We also recently reported that the royal most Swedes have confidence in is Crown Princess Victoria: Swedish Royals with the people's confidence

  • No retirement in sight: “It’s part of a monarch’s duty, to keep his job as long as he is in full possession of his senses,” the Swedish King said in an interview. Full name: Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus Bernadotte. Born: April 30 1946. Parents: Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha.
  • On April 30 our king turned 67, and he has special reason to celebrate this year as 2013 also marks 40 years for him on the Swedish throne. It was in 1973 on September 15 that Carl Gustaf became Carl XVI Gustaf. Why XVI? Well, in the 16th century, Archbishop Johannes Magnus construed a mythical line of Swedish kings, beginning with Magog, the son Japheth, in an attempt to substantiate the antiquity of the Swedish throne. Because this list is not historically correct, Carl Gustaf became Carl XVI Gustaf, even though he is only the tenth historical Swedish king named Carl (or Karl).

  • Only son of then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf
    Carl Gustaf was born at the Haga Palace in Solna, the only son of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He has four older sisters. The prince’s father died in an airplane crash when the prince was only nine months old, and the king (as well as his sisters) has in recent interviews elaborated on what it was like to grow up not having known his father. Princess Birgitta, one of his sisters, said that their mother and the strict Swedish royal court of the time did not consider the emotional needs of her and her siblings. Tragedy, she said, was seldom discussed with children. As a result Crown Prince Carl Gustaf was seven years old before he was told about his father’s death.
    After graduating from high school, Carl Gustaf completed two and a half years of education in the Royal Swedish Army, the Royal Swedish Navy, and the Royal Swedish Air Force. To prepare for his role as Head of State, he also followed a broad program of studies on the court system, social organizations, and institutions and so on.

  • Long live the King
    Upon the death of his grandfather King Gustaf VI Adolf on September 15 in 1973, Carl Gustaf became King of Sweden, and was invested as King at the Hall of State of Stockholm’s Royal Palace on the 19th of September the same year. He adopted as his personal motto: “For Sweden – With the times” (För Sverige – I tiden).
    The king’s duties are, according to the 1974 Instrument of Government, only of representational and ceremonial natures. This 1974 document stripped the regent of most of his formal political powers, while still retaining his as head of state. As monarch, Carl XVI Gustaf pays State Visits abroad and receives those to Sweden, opens the Annual Session of the Riksdag, chairs the Special Council held during a change of Government, holds regular Information Councils with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, chairs the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council, and receives Letters of Credence of foreign ambassadors to Sweden and signs those of Sweden to foreign nations. As this type of figurehead, he also voluntarily abstains from voting in Swedish elections.
    The King is passionately interested in the environment, technology, agriculture, trade, and industry. Like many members of the Royal Family, he is also interested in cars, and owns several Porsche 911s, as well as a vintage Volvo PV444, a Ferrari 456M GT, and an authentic A C Cobra.
    On June 19, 1976, he married German-Brazilian Silvia Sommerlath (they had met at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where she was an interpreter and a hostel). They live at the Drottningholm Palace west of Stockholm, where they moved in 1980. They have three children: Crown Princess Victoria (born 1977), Prince Carl Philip (born 1979), and Princess Madeleine (born 1982).