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Carl XVI Gustaf

King of Sweden, 1973-present

Carl XVI Gustaf

Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus was born at Haga Palace in Solna on April 30, 1946, the only son of then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha; he has four older sisters -- Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée, and Christina. His father died in a plane crash in Copenhagen in 1947.

Crown Prince

King Gustav V, Carl Gustaf's great-grandfather, died on October 29, 1950, and was succeeded by Gustaf V Adolf, Carl Gustaf's grandfather. As the oldest male direct descendant of Gustaf V Adolf, Carl Gustaf thus became Crown Prince of Sweden, at the age of four.

Crown Prince Carl Gustaf was taught privately at the Royal Palace in Stockhom during his pre-school years, and then, beginning in the autumn of 1952, was educated at the Broms School and then the Sigtuna Boarding School. He graduated from the upper secondary level in 1966, after which he underwent two-and-a-half years of training in the Swedish Army, Navy, and Air Force, with special emphasis on naval training. He passed his Naval Officer Examination in 1968, after which he completed a command course at the Swedish National Defence College. By the end of his military training and service, he had reached the ranks of Captain in the Army, Lieutenant in the Navy, and Captain in the Air Force. In 1968, Carl Gustaf embarked on an intensive one-year course of studies at the University of Uppsala. This was followed by a specially-designed program of field trips to government institutions, industries and factories, laboratories, and schools, with special emphasis on the work of the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament) and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. During this period he also participated in the work of the Permanent Swedish Mission to the United Nations and worked with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in Africa. As Crown Prince, he also represented his grandfather at a number of official functions around the world.


Crown Prince Carl Gustaf met Silvia Renate Sommerlath during the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, where she was working as an interpreter and hostess. Their engagement was officially announced on March 12, 1976 (almost three years after he had become king), and they were married at Stockholm Cathedral on June 19, 1976. The couple has since had three children -- Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée (born July 14, 1977), Prince Carl Philip (born May 13, 1979), and Princess Madeine (born June 10, 1982).

wedding of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Renate Sommerlath
wedding of Carl XVI Gustaf

baptism of Princess Victoria in the Stockholm palace chapel
baptism of Princess Victoria


Crown Prince Carl Gustaf became King Carl XVI Gustaf upon the death of Gustaf VI Adolf on September 15, 1973. Since he has no government authority, the king spends much of his time engaged in various personal pursuits, especially organizations concerned with nature and the environment. He personally instituted the King Carl Gustaf Environmental Competition and the Royal Colloquium, an international environmental symposium held in Sweden with participants from all over the world, and has served as chairman of the Swedish branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) since 1988.

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The Robinson Library >> Sweden >> 20th Century

This page was last updated on February 10, 2019.