Photo: The Royal Court, Sweden
King Carl XVI Gustaf ascended to the Swedish throne on 15 September 1973 (by chance, the same day as his future son-in-law, Daniel Westling, was born) at the age of 27. He became king of Sweden after his death grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf.
He lay at his grandfather’s deathbed in Helsingborg and returned to Stockholm as the new monarch on 16 September.
On 19 September, Carl Gustaf took the oath as King of Sweden in front of the Cabinet before standing before the parliament (Riksdag), the diplomatic corps and the court in Rikshall at the Royal Palace. His Majesty then gave the traditional memorial service for the monarch who had just died in front of a live television audience.
The new monarch later appeared on the balcony of the royal palace to greet the assembled crowds before attending a private meeting with the cabinet in which he announced his government name and motto. Carl Gustaf chose his reign slogan as “For Sweden – in time” and said that he would rule as King Carl XVI Gustaf.
His new monogram was completed a few months after his ascension by graphic designer Karl-Erik Forsberg, and he was later appointed the Royal Court’s first graphic artist in 1978.
When he became monarch, there were already plans to change some of the laws in Sweden regarding the monarchy, including removing some of the monarch’s power. The government instrument of 1974 entered into force on 1 January 1975 and removed most of the formal powers from the monarch – leaving him with only ceremonial roles as his counterpart in Britain. However, the monarch in Sweden has less power than the British monarch; he has no power to formally appoint a prime minister or give royal consent to government proposals.
Although he was a bachelor at the time of his accession to the throne, he was dating German-born Silvia Sommerlath. Less than three years after he became king of Sweden, he announced his engagement to Silvia, and they married in June 1976. They have three children: Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. They also have eight grandchildren.