The Monarchy in Sweden
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The Swedish monarchy, regarded as the worldâ€™s most modern, has become more popular in recent years. The current king, Carl XVI Gustaf, enjoys the support of as much as 80 percent of the entire population. And Crown Princess Victoria has become one of the countryâ€™s most important ambassadors.
A royal family with French origins
The Swedish monarchy is one of the worldâ€™s oldest and is firmly rooted in a parliamentary democracy. Swedish monarchs go back a thousand years and have belonged to 11 dynasties of which the current one, the House of Bernadotte, has ruled the longest. The Swedish royal family is related to all the reigning royal courts of Europe.
Carl XVI Gustaf and his family
Swedenâ€™s current king, Carl XVI Gustaf,is the seventh monarch of the House of Bernadotte. He was born on April 30, 1946, the fifth child and only son of Hereditary Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla of Sachsen Coburg-Gotha. The hereditary prince died in an air crash in Denmark the following year.
At the age of four, Carl Gustaf became crown prince of Sweden when his great grandfather Gustaf V died and was succeeded by the then 68-year-old Gustaf VI Adolf, the crown princeâ€™s grandfather. After 23 years as monarch, Gustaf Adolf died and the 27-year-old crown prince became King Carl XVI Gustaf in 1973. His motto is â€˜â€˜For Sweden â€“ with the times.â€™â€™
In 1972, the crown prince met his German-Brazilian future wife, Silvia Sommerlath, who was born in 1943 in Germany. This was in Munich during the Olympic Games, where Silvia was chief hostess. It â€˜â€˜just said click,â€™â€™ the royal couple said in an interview upon their engagement in 1976. They married on June 19 of the same year.
Queen Silvia is a trained interpreter without either royal or noble origins and is the first Swedish queen who has been a professional woman. She quickly organized her own royal household and has a strong commitment to social issues. She has modernized the position of queen so it is in step with the times.
The king and queen have three children: Crown Princess Victoria Ingrid Alice DÃ©sirÃ©e, Duchess of VÃ¤stergÃ¶tland, born on July 14,1977; Prince Carl Philip Edmund, Duke of VÃ¤rmland, born on May 13, 1979; and Princess Madeleine ThÃ©rÃ¨se Amelie Josephine, Duchess of HÃ¤lsingland and GÃ¤strikland, born on June 10, 1982. Since 1982 the royal family has lived at Drottningholm Palace, outside Stockholm.
For Sweden â€“ with the times
Sweden is one of the worldâ€™s most stable and egalitarian democracies, where the monarchy has strong roots and public support. The monarchy, as shaped by the current king, has been adapted to the age we live in. As head of state, the king is Swedenâ€™s foremost unifying symbol, apolitical and without formal powers, based on the new Constitution approved in 1974. The kingâ€™s duties are mainly of a ceremonial and representative nature.
A full program
Once a week, the king holds a planning meeting together with the queen, the crown princess and their closest staff members. They discuss the invitations and queries they have received concerning participation in events by the king, the queen and the crown princess and decide what is most important. They make sure that their appearances are spread throughout Sweden. The royal family receives thousands of invitations per year.
King Carl Gustaf has a strong environmental commitment and is a recognized authority on environmental issues. Among other things, he has received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Award. He participates annually in the Stockholm Water Week and the awarding of the Water Prize. The king is likewise deeply committed to the preservation of Swedenâ€™s cultural heritage and considers it important, for example, that the royal palaces should be open to the public in order to show their collections and parks.
King Carl Gustaf is a very active monarch and keeps up to date with current affairs and the business sector throughout Sweden.
Besides two to three state visits abroad per year, he participates in international trips organized by the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the World Scout Foundation.
Under the collective label â€˜â€˜Royal Colloquiumâ€™â€™ the king organizes high-level seminars on various themes in collaboration with Swedish scientists.
When the king is prevented from performing his duties as head of state, for example during a trip abroad to a distant or inaccessible location, Crown Princess Victoria or her younger siblings, Prince Carl Philip or Princess Madeleine, in the order specified, assume the duties of temporary regent.
Female heir to the throne
The job description of Swedenâ€™s head of state is found in the Constitution. The heir to the throne should be educated to be able to represent Sweden in a constitutionally correct way, which is also appreciated by the people. This is vital because in order to be effective, the heir to the throne needs the support of the Swedish people. In this case the crown princess has a model in her father, King Carl Gustaf, who has modernized the Swedish monarchy in keeping with the times, with a protocol that makes things easier for all those involved.
Since 1980 Sweden has had fully cognatic succession, which means that the first-born child of the monarch is heir to the throne regardless of gender. Crown Princess Victoria will become Swedenâ€™s 70th monarch, and the third female monarch in the history of the Kingdom of Sweden.
No palace schools
Crown Princess Victoria began her formal education at municipal schools, switching to a private school when she began her upper secondary studies. She graduated in 1996 with good grades despite dyslexia, which meant she had to devote a lot of time and energy to her school work.
The crown princessâ€™s studies at universities and other academic institutions comprise an important part of her education â€“ but as heir to the throne she must continuously ensure the breadth of her education on social issues. Courses on individual subjects are of greater importance than concentrating on an academic degree.
After graduating from upper secondary school, in the autumn of 1996 the crown princess studied French for foreign students at the UniversitÃ© Catholique lâ€™Ouest in Angers, France. Starting in 1998, the crown princess was enrolled at Yale University in the United States for five semesters, taking courses in geology, history and international relations. During her period at Yale, her interest in international issues deepened and she took private lessons on current politics, wrote an essay on the role of the United Nations in Iraq and completed internships at the UN in New York and the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Later, in the spring of 2002, she continued her international studies at the Department of Peace and Conflict Research, Uppsala University, Sweden.
Alternating studies with internships and representation
She has studied the structure and function of Swedish society, among other things through internships at the Swedish Government Offices and various institutions. Through a study program at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), for example, she has visited Uganda and Ethiopia. She has also interned at the offices of the Swedish Trade Council in Berlin and Paris, has undergone basic military training and has taken courses at the Swedish National Defense College in Stockholm.
As crown princess, she has participated in a state visit to Iceland and visited Saudi Arabia and Hungary with Swedish delegations. She has also traveled in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in order to study development assistance work in these countries. She has been in Brazil to attend the Volvo Ocean Race in Rio de Janeiro.
Continuing studies in social science subjects have been demanding. Her course in constitutional policy included the applications and consequences of the rules concerning the election system, parliamentary government, referendums, federalism and the court system. The crown princess has also completed a political science course.
The crown princess can rely on her parentsâ€™ encouragement in her education. For some years she has also been in continuous contact with European heirs to the throne belonging to her own generation. She has had especially close ties with her Nordic colleagues, that is, the heirs to the thrones of Denmark and of Norway.
The crown princess has her own mentor, who provides both moral and practical support and accompanies her on official assignments, especially on trips that the heir to the throne takes to represent Sweden, which she regularly undertakes as part of her education. To date, she has visited Japan, the United States, Australia, Macedonia and Kosovo, among others.
Her mentorâ€™s task includes ensuring that there is room â€“ between her studies and official duties â€“ for cultural experiences, both planned and spontaneous. In addition to her mentor, the crown princess has a secretary who takes care of practical desk work and a lady-in-waiting in her household.
Crown Princess Victoria also participates in foreign state visits and official visits to Sweden, the opening of the Riksdag, the National Day celebration on June 6, the Nobel Festivities and official banquets at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. She acts as temporary regent when the king is prevented from performing his duties as head of state.
Ambitious and dedicated
The crown princess is in great demand as an ambassador of successful Swedish endeavors in culture, art and design, which are fields that she herself enjoys. Through her work at the Swedish Trade Council, for example, she has gained a good grasp of the international marketing of Sweden and Swedish products. Her enthusiasm and knowledge make her a much-appreciated representative of Sweden. The crown princess is down-to-earth and approachable, has a good sense of humor, and is hard-working and respectful of traditions.
Brief facts about the crown princess
Marriage: The day the crown princess marries, it will be with the permission of the king. The king, in turn, turns to the government for permission. This is in compliance with the 1980 Act of Succession.
Foreign language skills: English, French and German
Leisure interests: Nature and outdoor pursuits.
The royal familyâ€™s summer paradise islocated in Ã–land, a large island in south-eastern Sweden. During the summer months at the Palace of Solliden, the family gathers to spend time with each other privately. The crown princess relaxes by helping out with the gardening and has learned bee-keeping and honey production.
The crown princess has artistic talents and both paints and draws. She is interested in art and appreciates the cultural heritage her ancestors left behind. She is also proud to be able, during major celebrations, to wear the historical jewelry worn by previous generations of the royal family.
She is a genuine animal lover. Her favorite animals are dogs.
Office: Along with the king and the queen, the crown princess has her office and staff at the Royal Palace in Stockholmâ€™s Old Town.
Home: For the time being at Drottningholm Palace outside Stockholm.
The House of Bernadotte
The founder of the current royal family, Karl XIV Johan, was born Jean Baptiste Bernadotte in Pau, southern France, and was the son of a procurator. Jean Baptiste had begun to study law, but when his father died he instead became a soldier. Young Bernadotte made a brilliant career thanks to the French Revolution. He advanced to Marshal of France and Prince of Ponte Corvo.
As a general, he married DesirÃ©e Clary, former fiancÃ©e of Brigadier General and future Emperor NapolÃ©on Bonaparte. In 1810, the 47-year-old Jean Baptiste became crown prince of Sweden after the Danish prince who had been chosen to succeed the childless King Karl XIII died of a stroke. The French marshal was one of four candidates to the Swedish throne in a war-ravaged Europe.In 1818, Karl Johan became king of Sweden and the coupleâ€™s only child, Oscar, became crown prince.