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How Swedish monarchs are crowned

Earlier this year, we were treated to an ancient coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey when King Charles III was crowned, but what did King Carl XVI Gustaf’s crowing look like?

In comparison, Carl XVI Gustaf was crowned King in a much more subdued atmosphere. Modern kings of Sweden, dating back to the reign of Gustav V, which began in 1907, are not crowned in a full ceremony involving many set pieces and oaths, like their British counterparts.

Carl XVI Gustaf was enthroned almost immediately after his succession on 19 September 1973. In the morning, he took the traditional Konungaförsäkran, or King’s Declaration, in front of the gathered Council of State at the Royal Palace in Stockholm and was enthroned in a small ceremony later that afternoon.

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The new Swedish King then gave a brief accession speech to talk about his role and his hopes for his reign. He stood in front of the Throne, draped with an ermine robe, and wore a military uniform with his Orders of the Seraphim, the Polar Star and the Sword displayed.

Sweden has its own regalia, which was displayed during the crowning ceremony. It consists of crowns, coronets, orb, sceptres, and other pieces and is never worn in the modern era. The pieces are displayed at important royal events like crownings, weddings, christenings, and funerals and are otherwise stored in the Royal Vault at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

There is no basis to prevent a Swedish monarch from having a coronation, which used to be the norm, but King Oscar II, crowned in 1873, was the last to have a traditional coronation.

Swedish coronations were typically held in either the Storkyrkan (Stockholm Cathedral) in Stockholm or the Uppsala Cathedral and involved heavy church presences. There were hymns, robes, anthems, and solemn anointing before the moment of crowning. The ceremony would repeat itself for the queen consort, and then the newly-crowned King and queen would be offered up in prayer before the service ended.

At his enthronement, Carl XVI Gustaf was joined by his four sisters, Princess Margaretha, Mrs Ambler, Princess Birgitta of Sweden and Hohenzollern, Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld, and Princess Christina, Mrs Magnuson, and his uncle, Prince Bertil.

His parents were both deceased by the time he ascended to the Swedish throne, and though he and Queen Silvia were in a discreet relationship at the time, she did not attend the ceremony.

The lack of lavish ceremony suits Carl XVI Gustaf, however. At the time of his accession, he chose the motto “For Sweden–With the Times.”

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.