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The monarch’s role in Sweden

Sweden has a constitutional monarchy under a parliamentary system – similar to that in other kingdoms in Europe. The current monarch is King Carl XVI Gustaf, who has been on the throne since 1973; his heir apparent is Crown Princess Victoria.

The monarch in Sweden does not hold the same powers as many counterparts, and his official role is limited. For example, he does not nominate or dismiss a prime minister or give royal assent to bills from the Swedish legislature (Riksdag). The King is also not the head of the armed forces but is their foremost representative. King Carl Gustaf is an admiral of the Navy, general of the Army and the Air Force, and Honorary Commander of the Life Guards and the Life Regiment Hussars.

The Swedish monarch is not crowned. King Oscar II was the last monarch to have a coronation. The royal crowns and coronets have not been worn since 1907; instead, they are displayed at royal occasions like weddings, christenings and funerals.

King Carl Gustaf, as head of state, has complete immunity from criminal charges while he is on the throne; however, he is not granted immunity from civil charges. He opens parliament once a year upon their request and receives letters of credence from foreign ambassadors to Sweden. The monarch also signs credence letters for Swedish ambassadors to other countries.

Other responsibilities for the King include chairing councils with the government through the Change of Government Council, Councils of State and meetings when a new member of the Royal Family is born. His Majesty chairs Advisory Councils on Foreign Affairs, hosts incoming state visits and undertakes outgoing state visits on behalf of Sweden.

The King and the Royal Family are present each year at the Nobel ceremony in Stockholm. The monarch hands out the Nobel Prizes on behalf of the Nobel Foundation at Stockholm Concert Hall.

The monarch is also the Grand Master of the Royal Swedish Orders of Chivalry – Order of the Seraphim, Order of the Polar Star, the Order of Vasa and Order of the Sword. The latter two are being reintroduced on 1 January 2023 after lying dormant for many years.

Sweden abides by absolute primogeniture, meaning the eldest child, regardless of gender, will inherit the throne. Sweden was the first European country to adopt this form of succession in 1980. To be in the line of succession, the person must be a direct descendant of King Carl XVI Gustaf, born in wedlock, Protestant (Church of Sweden), brought up within Sweden, receive the government’s permission to marry and not become monarch of another country without the government and reigning monarch’s consent.

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.