The existence of a Swedish King can be traced back to prehistoric times, however, it was not until the 16th Century that the hereditary system we know today came into practice.
Like the country it rules, the Swedish Monarchy has led the way in terms of modernisation, for example in 1980 it became the first Monarchy in the world to abandon male primogeniture, instead allowing the eldest child of a monarch to inherit the throne, regardless of gender.
King Carl XVI Gustaf
The youngest of the brood with four older sisters, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus was born on 30th April 1946 in Haga Palace. Less than a year after he was born, his father Prince Gustaf Adolf died in a plane crash at Copenhagen Airport. However, the young Prince was not told of his father’s death until the age of seven.
Carl Gustaf ascended to the throne on the 15th September 1973 following the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. King Carl XVI Gustaf chose to end the tradition of using the title of “By the Grace of God King of the Swedes, the Goths and the Wends”, instead opting for the much simpler “King of Sweden”.
The King has a keen interest in cars, owning more than one of his favourite model, the Porsche 911. In fact, the first photo ever taken of him with his future wife, Silvia, showed the couple sitting in a Porsche 911.
Silvia Renate Sommerlath was born on the 23rd December 1943 in the city of Heidelberg, Germany. When Silvia was only four years old, the family moved to São Paulo, Brazil, where they remained for over a decade.
It was during the 1972 Olympics in Munich that the 29-year-old met her future husband, the then Crown Prince Carl Gustaf. Three years later, Carl Gustaf, who was now King, announced their engagement. The wedding took place that summer on the 19th June in Stockholm Cathedral. Together they went on to have three children, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine.
The Queen is highly skilled when it comes to languages and is a trained interpreter. In total she speaks and impressive six languages (German, Portuguese, French, Spanish, English and Swedish) and even has working knowledge of Swedish Sign Language.
Crown Princess Victoria
The Crown Princess was born in Solna on the 14th July 1977. While Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée may now be the Crown Princess, she did not become heir apparent until the age of two when the Act of Succession was changed, removing male primogeniture.
Throughout her teen years Victoria suffered from anorexia, and it was revealed prior to her university education. The young Crown Princess had originally planned to study at Uppsala University but plans changed: she instead moved to the United States to receive professional help. While there, she also enrolled at Yale University, studying a variety of subjects.
In 1997, when the Crown Princess was only 20, she set up her own charity, The Crown Princess Victoria’s Fund. Its main aim is to help provide recreational activities for children suffering from disabilities or chronic illnesses. Victoria makes private visits to different projects that have been set up thanks to the charity every year.
A fun fact about Victoria is that she has an impressive total of sixteen godchildren. These include children of fellow Royals such as Prince Christian of Denmark and Prince Eléonore of Belgium as well as more immediate family members such as her niece, Princess Leonore.
Olaf Daniel Westling was, coincidently, born on the same day his future father-in-law ascended the throne in 1973. Daniel met his future wife in 2001 when she hired him as her personal trainer. He also owned a company called Balance Training which overlooked the running of three gyms in Stockholm.
Eight years after meeting Victoria, it was announced that Daniel had moved into an apartment in the grounds of Drottningholm Palace. Six months later, the King gave the couple permission to marry.
A year before the wedding, Daniel had to undergo a kidney transplant due to a congenital condition that caused impaired renal function. His father, Olle Westling, was the donor.
The wedding took place on the anniversary of Victoria’s parents’ wedding, the 19th June 2010. At the time it was labelled as one of the biggest Royal weddings since Prince Charles and Diana in 1981. Upon his marriage, Daniel was given the title of Prince Daniel, Duke of Västergötland. Together the pair have one child, Princess Estelle, with a second child on the way.
Children of the Crown Princess Couple:
Princess Estelle Silvia Ewa Mary, Duchess of Östergötland; born 23rd February 2012. Estelle is 2nd in line to the throne and will be Queen after her mother.
Prince Oscar Carl Olof, Duke of Skåne was born on 2nd March 2016.
Prince Carl Philip and Princess Sofia
Upon his birth on the 13th May 1979, male primogeniture dictated that Carl Philip Edmund Bertil would move ahead of his older sister in the line of succession. As such he held the title of Crown Prince for seven months before absolute primogeniture was introduced, meaning Victoria was first in line.
Away from his Royal duties, the Prince has a keen interest in racing cars and holds a license that allows him to compete. He also chose to pursue an education in graphic design in 2003 and did so at the Rhode Island School of Design, USA.
Carl Philip met his future wife, former glamour model, Sofia Kristina Hellqvist in April 2010. The pair went on to marry on the 13th June 2015. Born in Danderyd, Sweden, Sofia has shown a passion for working to support underprivileged children, setting up Project Playground with a friend in 2010.
Prince Alexander was born to the couple on 19th April 2016.
Princess Madeleine and Chris O’Neill
Princess Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine was born in Drottningholm Palace on 10th June 1982.
One of Madeleine’s passions is in raising awareness for the sexual abuse of children and child trafficking, which led her to launch a project called ThankYou by Childhood with World Childhood Foundation, a charity founded by her mother, Queen Silvia.
In 2009, it was announced that Madeleine was to marry Jonas Bergström. However after reports of infidelity on Bergström’s part, the wedding was called off. Following the end of the relationship, Madeleine moved to New York where she met Christopher O’Neill, a American-British financier.
Their engagement was announced in late 2012 and the wedding followed on the 8th June 2013. Upon their marriage, Chris declined any Royal title to allow him to continue with his finance career. The couple currently live in London with their two children, Princess Leonore (b. 20th February 2014) and Prince Nicolas (b. 15th June 2015).