Perhaps a little contradictory for such a modern nation, Sweden is also a constitutional monarchy. But although our formal head of state is King Carl XVI Gustaf, the Swedish royal family has long had only representative and ceremonial functions.
The Royal Palace in Stockholm. Photo: Christer Lundin/Stockholm Visitors Board
The people seem to like the glamour that surrounds the royals, though. The monarchy still has widespread public support, so despite the fact that several political parties want Sweden to become a republic, abolishment of the monarchy is not really on the agenda.
The Royal Family. Photo: Ola Berglund
By his side, the king has Queen Silvia and their three children — Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. Queen Silvia was born in Germany to the German-Brazilian Sommerlath family. As the story goes, the Swedish king and future queen clicked immediately when they first met in Munich in 1972, and they subsequently got married in 1976.
Sweden has been a hereditary kingdom since the days of Gustav Vasa in 1544 and the current successor to the throne is Crown Princess Victoria. It was three years after her birth, in 1980, that Sweden became the first country to make its Act of Succession gender-neutral so as to allow the throne to be passed to the first-born child, whether male or female.
Prince Daniel and Crown Princess Victoria. Photo: Paul Hansen/Royal Court
Crown Princess Victoria has become one of Sweden’s most important ambassadors, not least through all the attention that her 2010 wedding to commoner Daniel Westling has attracted. Her duties involve supporting the king, replacing him on official engagements and state visits that he is unable to attend. In addition to being involved in international aid work and peace activism, she works with charity through the Crown Princess Victoria’s Fund, which supports leisure and recreational activities for children and young people with chronic illnesses or functional disabilities.
Despite her royal upbringing, Crown Princess Victoria is considered to be down to earth and fond of ordinary pastimes like playing golf, skiing and working out. In fact, she met Daniel Westling at the gym, where he was the crown princess’s personal trainer.
Rikard Lagerberg & Emma Randecker
Rikard Lagerberg is a writer and editor who has spent most of his adult life in the US and on Ireland. Returning to Sweden he discovered a new curiosity for his native country. Editor and writer Emma Randecker spent most of her life in Sweden, apart from a couple of longer excursions to France and the UK. It was, in particular, a longing for the changing Swedish seasons that made her go back home after a few years. Both Rikard and Emma work at the Swedish Institute.
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