CARL XVI GUSTAF
Carl Gustaf Hubertus Folke, the King of Sweden, was only 27 when he ascended the throne on September 19, 1973. He succeeded his grandfather 90-year old King Gustaf VI Adolf, his father Prince Gustaf Adolf having been killed in an air crash in 1947. The new king chose as his motto "For Sweden in keeping with the times" and one of the first things he did as King of Sweden was to get rid of the ceremonial court curtsy.
Carl Gustaf's mother was Princess Sibylla, nee the Princess Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. She died in 1972. The king has four elder sisters, the Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta, Desiree and Christina.
Carl Gustaf was educated at a co-educational boarding school in Sigtuna, near Stockholm. It is no secret that Carl Gustaf was a poor student, something that could be partly attributed to a mild case of dyslexia. In an article in a Swedish newspaper he is described as "unintellectual, not unintelligent, but with no interest in, or inclination towards studies and probing discussions".
Carl Gustaf passed the university entrance examination in the spring of 1966. Following his military service, he studied for a year at the University of Uppsala.
The King's interest in cars has matured into a wide technical interest that has been of great importance when he has led "royal technology missions" all over the world.
Just months before he ascended to the throne, Carl Gustaf was stripped of all his duties other than the strictly ceremonial ones while at the same time becoming the highest paid monarch in the world.
The king's real interests, apart from cars and boats, have always been animals and nature. He is an outspoken advocate for the environmental movement. He has been a keen and active farmer at his estate, Stenhammar, west of Stockholm. A skilled sportsman, he shoots well and is a good skier and sailor.
Carl Gustaf married Silvia Sommerlath in 1976. She has played a very important role in his life and being a "commoner" of Brazilian and German origin, she has been instrumental in "softening him and opening him up." She is without doubt, the King's most important asset.
The King and Queen have three children, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Philip and Princess Madeleine. The family resides at Drottningholm Palace in the outskirts of Stockholm, famous for its park, the Chinese pavilion and the theater.
The king has hinted that he would have preferred to see his son on the throne but following a parliamentary decision, it will be Crown Princess Victoria who will succeed her father, becoming the first queen of Sweden since Queen Kristina abducted in 1654.