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British RoyalsSweden

The Monarchs of 1952: King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden

When Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne on 6 February 1952, she joined a large group of European rulers. In this series, Royal Central looks at the men and women who were ruling on the continent as the longest reign in modern European history got under way.

King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden

King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden’s accession came less than two years before Queen Elizabeth II’s, but he’d been serving as Crown Prince for 42 years before his reign began.

As the oldest child of King Gustav V, Gustaf VI Adolf spent his formative years in Sweden and became the Crown Prince at the age of 25. He inherited his throne shortly before his 68th birthday, making him, at the time, the oldest heir apparent in the world (a record the current Prince of Wales surpassed in 2016).

Gustaf VI Adolf married Princess Margaret of Connaught in 1905 and together they had four children, including heir Prince Gustaf Adolf and Queen Ingrid of Denmark. Princess Margaret succumbed to an infection in 1920, and Gustaf VI Adolf remarried Louise Mountbatten in 1923. Sadly, Prince Gustaf Adolf was killed in an airplane crash in 1947, leaving behind four young children, including the current king, Carl XVI Gustaf.

After his reign began, Gustaf VI Adolf began working on reforms that would transform the role of the monarch, giving up the few remaining powers he held. He was renowned with the Swedish population, who saw him as a strong and gentle king.

At Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, Gustaf VI Adolf was presented by his son, Prince Bertil. Queen Elizabeth made one state visit to Sweden during his reign, from 8–10 June 1956. Gustaf VI Adolf was The Queen’s first incoming state visit, which lasted from 28 June-1 July 1954.

King Gustaf VI Adolf passed away on 15 September 1973 at the age of 90, and was succeeded by his grandson, Carl XVI Gustaf who, next year, will celebrate his Golden Jubilee.

In her 70 year reign, Elizabeth II has seen two Monarchs in Sweden – King Gustaf VI Adolf and King Carl XVI Gustaf.

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.