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The Laws of Succession in … Sweden

The line of succession to the Swedish throne is dictated by the Swedish constitution, which sets out requirements for those in line to the throne. Currently, there are only eleven people in the line of succession.

In Sweden, the Act of Succession governs who can succeed to the throne, and the country abides by absolute primogeniture (the eldest child, regardless of gender, inherits the throne). Only legitimate descendants of King Carl XVI Gustaf (the current monarch) can ascend the throne. Thus, only eleven people are eligible to succeed the King at present.

To qualify, a person must be a member of the Church of Sweden (Lutheranism) and be brought up “within the Realm.” A prince or princess also must gain the government’s consent to his or her marriage after the King presents the marriage option to them; they cannot become a sovereign of any foreign state.

A royal will be disqualified if they stop being Lutheran, do not get consent to their marriage or ascend to another throne without permission from the monarch and Riksdag (Swedish parliament). Additionally, they will lose their succession rights if they are not brought up within the Realm.

The members of the Swedish Royal House Photo: Linda Broström/The Royal Court of Sweden

The requirement of a child being educated and raised in Sweden has led to much discussion due to the three children of Princess Madeleine who have, so far, been primarily raised and educated in the United States, where their father is employed. Princess Leonore was born in the United States in 2014 and has dual American-Swedish citizenship. At the time of her birth, the Marshal of the Realm, Svante Lindqvist, said: “She will be brought up here from the age of six and have her entire schooling in Sweden. She will become Swedish, speak Swedish flawlessly and take a Swedish matriculation exam.”

However, the majority of the upbringing between her and her siblings has been in the United States; does this change the line of succession? In short, no.

After the King revoked the children’s Royal Highness style and place in the Royal House in 2019, the King and the Royal Court argued that the requirement ordering children to be raised within the Realm no longer applies to them. The Swedish government has not challenged this interpretation.

Princess Leonore, Princess Adrienne and Prince Nicolas. Photo: PrincessMadeleine/Instagram

The Swedish Line of Succession is the following:

  1. Crown Princess Victoria
  2. Princess Estelle
  3. Prince Oscar
  4. Prince Carl Philip
  5. Prince Alexander
  6. Prince Gabriel
  7. Prince Julian
  8. Princess Madeleine
  9. Princess Leonore
  10. Prince Nicolas
  11. Princess Adrienne

Of these eleven royals, only five are members of the Royal House and hold the style of Royal Highness: Crown Princess Victoria, Princess Estelle, Prince Oscar, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine.

However, this was not always the case. Until 2019, Princes Nicolas, Alexander and Gabriel and Princesses Leonore and Adrienne held the styles of Royal Highness and were members of the Royal House. In October that year, the King stripped all of his grandchildren but Princess Estelle and Prince Oscar of their Royal Highness style. He also removed them from the Royal House. They all remained members of the Royal Family and retained their spots in the line of succession.

This was done to allow his other grandchildren to grow up more privately and without the pressure of one day having to represent the crown. As such, when they become adults, they will not be expected to carry out royal duties.

When Prince Julian was born in 2021, he was the first grandchild of the King to be born without the Royal Highness style and place in the Royal House.

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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.