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As King Carl Gustaf marks 50 years on the Swedish throne, here are 50 facts on a jubilee king

King Carl XVI Gustaf marks 50 years on the Swedish throne this month. To celebrate, we are taking a look at 50 facts you may not know about the jubilee king.

  1. Carl Gustaf was born in Haga Palace on 30 April 1946, and his father passed out after his birth.
  2. His father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, died in a plane crash in Denmark when Carl Gustaf was only nine months old.
  3. He was seven-years-old before he was told about his father’s death in a plane crash.
  4. Carl Gustaf became the heir to the Swedish throne at four-years-old.
  5. The King’s childhood nickname was “Tjabo”.
  6. As a child, he dreamt of being a farmer, locomotive driver or tractor driver.
  7. He was known to be a very shy child and is still not fond of the limelight.
  8. His first car was a Volvo Amazon.
  9. He is the youngest child and only son of his parents; his three older sisters are Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta, Desiree, and Christina.
  10. The King succeeded his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf, to the throne on 15 September 1973.
  11. He was 27 when he became King of Sweden.
  12. When he ascended the throne, plans were already in place to strip the King of his formal political powers, making him a ceremonial monarch only. This took effect in 1974.
  13. Carl Gustaf is Sweden’s longest-reigning monarch.
  14. His motto as monarch is “For Sweden – With the times.”
  15. He is related to Queen Victoria through both his mother and father. Victoria, “the Grandmother of Europe,” was the great-grandmother to both his parents.
  16. He is first cousins with Queen Margrethe of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
  17. He was third cousins with the late Queen Elizabeth II.
  18. The King plays the harmonica.
  19. He has dyslexia.
  20. He loves twine pie.
  21. His Majesty is known to love a practical joke.
  22. The King is not a huge fan of desserts.
  23. His Majesty is a passionate Scout and is honorary chairman of the World Scout Foundation.
  24. Carl Gustaf used to smoke but has since quit the habit.
  25. In 2000, he personally apologised for speeding in Denmark while driving a Ferrari.
  26. The King loves fishing.
  27. His Majesty speaks English, French, German and Swedish.
  28. He has admitted he can feel “angry, pissed off and sad” about things reported in the media about him.
  29. The press linked the King and then Princess Margareta of Romania, but a photograph of him and Silvia Sommerlath in a convertible ended that speculation in 1973.
  30. Carl Gustaf was the first monarch to marry a non-royal (the now Queen Silvia) in over 400 years.
  31. He met his German-Brazilian wife, Silvia Sommerlath, at the 1972 Summer Olympics.
  32. Popular Swedish group, ABBA performed for Their Majesties wedding and dedicated “Dancing Queen” to Queen Silvia.
  33. Their wedding was the first royal wedding in Sweden since 1797.
  34. The King waited to propose to Silvia until after his grandfather’s death due to the latter’s firm belief and unwillingness to bend that royals should only marry other royals.
  35. He and the Queen reside at Drottningholm Palace while using the Royal Palace in Stockholm as their place of work.
  36. He wears his wedding ring on his little finger.
  37. After ascending the throne, the King allowed his uncle, Prince Bertil, to marry his longtime love, Welsh Lillian Craig, without losing his royal title.
  38. His Majesty was the first monarch in the world to adopt absolute primogeniture – meaning the eldest child, regardless of gender, follows him in the line of succession.
  39. Although the King supported the change in the laws of succession, he has been vocal on his disagreement with it applying retroactively as it stripped his son, Carl Philip, of the role of Crown Prince and replaced him with Carl Gustaf’s eldest child, Victoria, as heir to the throne.
  40. He was only present at the birth of his youngest child, Princess Madeleine. He was unable to make it back in time for the births of his two older children, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Carl Philip.
  41. The King and Queen have a dog named Brandie.
  42. He has an agricultural and forest farm at Stenhammar Palace.
  43. King Carl Gustaf is the shortest of the Bernadotte monarchs.
  44. His Majesty lightheartedly suggested bathtubs should be banned because of the waste of energy and water.
  45. When asked about his secret to a happy marriage, he said “separate bathrooms.”
  46. The King is a fan of Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, and Stevie Wonder.
  47. He loves a good bargain at a flea market.
  48. In 2019, King Carl Gustaf revoked the styles of Royal Highness and places in the Royal House of his grandchildren through Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine in order to streamline the monarchy and allow them to have more normal lives.
  49. The King didn’t hold back after the pandemic and said Sweden failed in its handling of COVID-19.
  50. A Swedish version of “The Crown” is in the works to cover his life.

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About author

Brittani is from Tennessee, USA. She is a political scientist and historian after graduating with a degree in the topics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in December 2014. She also holds a master's degree from Northeastern University. She enjoys reading and researching all things regarding the royals of the world. She's been researching, reading, and writing on royalty for over a decade. She became Europe Editor in October 2016, and then Deputy Editor in January 2019, and has been featured on several podcasts, radio shows, news broadcasts and websites including Global News Canada, ABC News Australia, WION India and BBC World News.