Swedish Royal Family
Great coat of arms of Sweden (without mantle).svg

HM The King
HM The Queen

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The Swedish Royal Family (Swedish: Svenska kungafamiljen) since 1818 has consisted of a number of persons in the Swedish Royal House of Bernadotte, closely related to the King of Sweden. Today those who are recognized by the government are entitled to royal titles and style (manner of address), and perform official engagements and ceremonial duties of state. The extended family of the King (Swedish: Sveriges kungliga familj) consists of other close relatives who are not royal and thus do not represent the country officially.

The House of Bernadotte is the royal house of Sweden, which has reigned since 1818. Between 1818 and 1905, it was also the royal house of Norway. Its founder, Charles XIV John of Sweden, born Jean Bernadotte, was adopted by the elderly King Charles XIII of Sweden, who had no other heir and whose Holstein-Gottorp branch of the House of Oldenburg thus was soon to be extinct.

The current head of the Royal House is King Carl XVI Gustaf, who succeeded his grandfather upon his death on 15 September 1973.

History Edit

A Swedish royal family, as closely related to a head of state, has been able to be identified as existent from as early as the 10th century A.D., with more precise detail added during the two or three centuries that followed. An exceptional case is that of Saint Bridget (1303-1373) who outside of Sweden became known as the Princess of Nericia, A title which appears to have been a noble, rather than a royal one, since she was not the daughter of a king. Historically confirmed monarchs are listed officially by the Swedish Royal Court.

Until the 1620s Swedish provinces were granted as territorial appanages to royal princes which, as dukes thereof, they governed semi-autonomously. Beginning during the reign of Gustav III, and as codified in § 34 of the 1772 Instrument of Government, provincial dukedoms have existed in the royal family as nominal non-hereditary titles only, without any inherent property ownership or trust attached to them; although several members of the royal family have maintained a special public connection to, and sometimes a secondary residence in, "his or her duchy".

The son of a Swedish king has usually held the princely title as a royal dynast (such as Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland), but on a rare occasion also as a rank of nobility (such as Fursten Prince Frederick William of Hessenstein), or as a courtesy title for an ex-dynast (such as Prins Oscar Bernadotte)

Titles Edit

Monarch Edit

The full title of the Swedish monarch from 1544 to 1973 included:

In Swedish: Med Guds Nåde Sveriges, Götes och Vendes Konung (By the Grace of God, King of the Swedes, the Goths/Geats, and the Wends)
In Latin: Dei Gratia Suecorum, Gothorum et Vandalorum Rex

Sometimes the first part of the Latin title was Svionum or Sveonum, all three words meaning "of the Swedes", not "of Sweden".

Götes Konung (King of the Goths) dated back at least to Kings Magnus III, Erik the Saint, and Charles VII (and possibly to Inge the Elder, the title being used in a letter to Inge from the Pope). The title Svea Konung (King of the Swedes) dated to an older era. In the 16th century, it was changed to Sveriges Konung or Rex Sveciae (King of Sweden), a short form of the title that came be used sometimes in less formal circumstances.

Before the accession of the first king of the House of Bernadotte, Charles XIV John, in 1818, the King of Sweden had many other titles relating to the wider Swedish Empire:

Grand Prince of Finland, Duke of Scania, Estonia, Livonia, Karelia, Bremen, Verden, Stettin, Pomerania, Kashubia and Wendia, Prince of Rügen, Lord of Ingria and Wismar, Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Jülich, Cleves and Berg.

During the reign of the House of Holstein-Gottorp from 1751 to 1818, the title Heir to Norway (Arvinge till Norge) was also used, as well as other titles connected to the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp. When, after the Napoleonic wars, Norway was in personal union with Sweden, the title included King of Norway, in older Swedish spellings: Sweriges, Norriges, Göthes och Wendes Konung.

Upon his accession, Carl XVI Gustaf chose for his title simply Sveriges Konung (King of Sweden). This was reflected in his personal motto För Sverige, i tiden ("For Sweden, with the times"). Queen Margrethe II of Denmark did the same in 1972 and, similarly, Harald V of Norway bears no titles except King of Norway.

Heir apparent Edit

The customary title of the heir apparent is Crown Prince of Sweden (Sveriges Kronprins) or, if female, Crown Princess of Sweden (Sveriges Kronprinsessa). The wife of a crown prince would also receive a corresponding title, but not the husband of a crown princess. The traditional official title used until 1980 for other dynastic male heirs was Hereditary Prince of Sweden (Sveriges arvfurste), although the word prince (prins) was used in constitutional legal texts such as the Act of Succession and also colloquially and informally. In all cases the title of princesses was Princess of Sweden (Prinsessa av Sverige). Since 1980, the official title of all dynasts is Prince/Princess of Sweden (Prins/Prinsessa av Sverige).

The Swedish Succession Act was altered in 1980 to allow for female succession to the throne.[1]

Ducal Edit

King Gustav III revived a tradition from the time of Gustav Vasa and the medieval era by giving male heirs to the throne ducal titles of Swedish provinces. The difference between the ducal titles from the Vasa era and those granted by Gustav III is they now are non-hereditary courtesy titles given at birth. Since 1980, they have been conferred to all royal heirs, male and female. The wives of royal dukes have always shared their husbands' titles; the husbands of royal duchesses have done so as of 2010.

Symbols of the Monarchy Edit

Regalia Edit

Sweden's Royal Regalia are kept deep in the vaults of the Treasury chamber (Swedish: Skattkammaren), located underneath the Royal Palace in Stockholm, in a museum which has been open to the public since 1970. Among the oldest objects in the collection are the sword of Gustav Vasa and the crown, orb, sceptre and key of King Erik XIV. The Regalia is state property and the government authority which holds it in trust is the Legal, Financial and Administrative Services Agency.

The last King to have been crowned with a coronation was Oscar II. His son and successor, Gustaf V, abstained from having a coronation. While the crowns and coronets have not been worn by Swedish royalty since 1907, they are nevertheless still displayed on royal occasions such as at weddings, christenings and funerals. Until 1974, the crown and sceptre were also displayed on cushions beside the Silver Throne at the annual solemn opening of the Riksdag (Swedish: Riksdagens högtidliga öppnande)

Royal Orders of chivalry Edit

The Royal orders have a historical basis, dating back to the 1606 founding of the now extinct Jehova Order. The Royal Orders of Knights of Sweden were only truly codified in the 18th century, with their formal foundation in 1748 by King Frederick I. In 1974 the Riksdag significantly changed the conditions and criteria under which orders and decorations could be awarded: that no Swedish citizen outside the Royal Family is eligible to receive such decorations.

The Order of the Seraphim (Swedish: Serafimerorden) is only awarded to foreign heads of state and members of the Swedish and foreign royal families, while the Order of the Polar Star can be bestowed on any non-Swedish citizen, the Order of the Sword and the Order of Vasa are still conferred.

Since 1975, H. M. The King's Medal is the highest honour that can be awarded to Swedish citizens other than members of the Royal Family.

Members Edit

The Swedish Royal Family is, according to the Royal Court, currently categorized into three groups:[2]

  • first, those with royal titles and style (manner of address) who perform official and unofficial engagements for the nation, are the members of the Royal Family (Swedish: Kungafamiljen) (currently this category only includes the King, Queen and their descendants, including spouses)
  • second, those with royal titles and style (manner of address) who performs no official engagements (Swedish: Kungliga Huset, usually stylized with the shortform Kungl. Huset).
  • and third, the extended family of the King (Swedish: Kungliga Familjens övriga medlemmar, usually stylized with the shortform Kungl. Famljens övriga medlemmar) which is other close relatives who are not dynasts and thus do not represent the country officially.

However, in any case, there is no legislation or other public document which delineates the rules of membership in either the Royal House or Royal Family, as it is left to the sole discretion of the King.

Royal House Edit

The Swedish Royal Court lists the following persons as members of the Royal House (Kungl. Huset):

Royal Family Edit

The Royal Court lists the following persons additionally as members of the Royal Family (Kungl. Familjen):[4]

Line of Succession Edit

Main article: Succession to the Swedish throne

The Act of Succession of 1810 provides the rules governing the line of succession and designates the legitimate heirs to the Swedish Throne; it also states in article 4 that the Monarch and dynastic members of the Royal House must at all times be a Protestant Christian of the pure evangelical faith (by implication the Church of Sweden).[5]

A rewrite of the Act, entering into force in 1980, fundamentally changed the rules of succession from agnatic primogeniture to absolute primogeniture. This allowed for the crown to pass to the eldest child regardless of gender and thus retroactively installed Princess Victoria as Crown Princess (heir apparent) over her younger brother Prince Carl Philip who had been born as Crown Prince.

In its present reading, Article 1 of the Act of Succession limits the potential number of claimants to the throne, so that only the descendants of Carl XVI Gustaf can inherit the Throne. If the royal house were to be extinct, the Riksdag is not obligated to elect a new royal house, as it once was up until the constitutional reforms of the 1970s.


List of honours of the Swedish Royal Family:

Swedish Honours Edit

References Edit

  1. The Swedish Monarchy.
  2. Möt Kungafamiljen. Royal Court of Sweden
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Communiqué on changes to The Royal House. Sveriges Kungahus
  4. Swedish version of Royal Court's website
  5. The Act of Succession] The Riksdag
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