Carl XVI Gustaf (Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus; born 30 April 1946) has been King of Sweden since 15 September 1973. He is the only son of the late Prince Gustav Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He ascended the throne upon the death of his grandfather, King Gustav VI Adolf.
His godparents were The Crown Prince of Denmark, The Crown Princess of Denmark, The Crown Prince of Norway, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, King Gustaf V of Sweden, Prince Friedrich Josias of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, The Crown Prince of Sweden, The Crown Princess of Sweden, Count Folke Bernadotte af Wisborg and Countess Maria Bernadotte af Wisborg.
In a speech in 2005, the King expressed some of his feelings about growing up without having known his father. His sister, Princess Birgitta, elaborated on these feelings in an interview around the same time, commenting that their mother and the strict Swedish royal court of the time didn't consider the emotional needs of Prince Gustaf Adolf's children. In that era, she said, tragedy was seldom discussed with children. "Children’s questions were met with silence, children’s anxiety and fear with the same silence."
As a result, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf was seven years old before he had been told about his father's death. "It was Mother’s way of handling the situation, to handle living her life. Of course it was not good for us children. It would have been much better to be able to speak about Father’s death," continued Princess Birgitta. She said it had been difficult for the future King to come to grips with not having a father and of not having the same memories of him as his older sisters.
After graduating from high school, the Crown Prince completed two and a half years of education in the Royal Swedish Army, the Royal Swedish Navy, and the Royal Swedish Air Force. He received his commission as an officer in all three services in 1968, and he eventually rose to the rank of Captain (Army & Air Force) and Lieutenant (Navy), before he ascended the throne. He has also completed academic studies in history, sociology, political science, tax law, and economics at the universities of Uppsala and Stockholm.
To prepare for his role as the Head of State, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf followed a broad program of studies on the court system, social organisations and institutions, trade unions, and employers' associations. In addition, he closely studied the affairs of the Riksdag, Government, and Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Crown Prince also spent time at the Swedish Mission to the United Nations and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), worked at a bank in London, the Swedish Embassy in London, the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in France, and at the Alfa Laval company factory in France.
Such innovations are reflected in his personal motto För Sverige, i tiden, "For Sweden, with the times".
They have three children:
Prince Carl Philip was born heir apparent. However, a constitutional reform that was already under way at the time of his birth made his older sister, Victoria, the Crown Princess and heiress-apparent on 1 January 1980, according to the principles of equal primogeniture, which Sweden was the first country to adopt.
The King's duties are, according to Regeringsformen, of a representative and ceremonial nature. He pays State Visits abroad and receives those to Sweden, opens the Annual Session of the Parliament, chairs the Special Council held during a change of Government, holds regular Information Councils with Ministers, Chairs the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council, and receives and signs Letters of Credence of foreign Ambassadors to Sweden — and signs those of Sweden to foreign nations. The King holds the highest ranks in the three branches of the Swedish Armed Forces à la suite according to the Constitution.
Worldwide, Carl XVI Gustaf is probably best known as the presenter of the Nobel Prizes each year. He also hands over the Polar Music Prize. The King holds honorary doctoral degrees from; Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm School of Economics and from Åbo Akademi University in Finland.
The King is passionate about the environment, technology, agriculture, trade, and industry.
Like many members of the Royal Family, the King has a keen interest in automobiles. He owns several Porsche 911s — a car model which is said to be a particular favorite of the King — as well as a vintage Volvo PV444, a Ferrari 456 MGT, an authentic AC Cobra and other cars. The first pictures taken of him and his future wife were of them sitting in his Porsche 911. In the summer of 2005 he was involved in a traffic accident in Norrköping. The accident was described as a "fender bender", with no serious personal injuries claimed. Nevertheless, the incident caused national headlines.
In 2005 The King held a personal and passionate speech about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which had led to the death of over 500 Swedes.
The King is the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation, and often participates in Scout activities both in Sweden and abroad. The King visits regularly World Scout Jamborees, for instance in 2002 in Sattahip, Thailand and 2007 in Hylands Park, England. He attended the 1981 National Scout Jamboree in Virginia, U.S., and was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1982.
Carl Gustaf's patriline is the line from which he is descended father to son.
Patrilineal descent is the principle behind membership in royal houses, as it can be traced back through the generations - which means that Carl XVI Gustaf is a member of the House of Bernadotte. Unusually for a European monarch, Carl Gustaf's patriline cannot be traced back further than the beginning of the 17th century. House of Bernadotte