- Monarchy of Sweden
King of Sweden Monarchy
Coat of arms of Sweden
Carl XVI Gustaf
Style: His Majesty Heir apparent: Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden First monarch: Eric the Victorious (first monarch of undisputed historicity) Formation: Unknown
The monarchy of Sweden is the constitutional monarchy of the Kingdom of Sweden. The present monarch, Carl XVI Gustaf, has reigned since 15 September 1973. He and his immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties. As Sweden is a representative democracy based on a parliamentary system, the monarch has a largely ceremonial role, though officially he or she is head of state and holds the highest public office in Sweden and the highest military and social rank. The Act of Succession of 1810 designates the House of Bernadotte as the Swedish royal house; it also states that the king (and thus implicitly any queen regnant) must be a Protestant Christian.
Kingdom of Sweden
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Politics and government of
Sweden has been a kingdom since prehistoric times. As early as the 1st century, Tacitus wrote that the Suiones had a king, but the order of succession to the later historic kings of Sweden is not known, except for what is accounted for in the historically controversial Norse sagas (see Mythical kings of Sweden and Semi-legendary kings of Sweden).
Originally, the Swedish king had little power, and that was restricted to the functions of a warchief, judge and priest at the Temple at Uppsala (see Germanic king). It is a testimony to this lack of influence that there are thousands of runestones commemorating commoners, but no chronicle about the Swedish kings, prior to the 14th century (though a list of kings was added in the Westrogothic law), and only a few runestones that may mention kings: Gs 11 (Emund the Old), U 11 (Haakon the Red) and U 861 (Blot-Sweyn).
The power of the king was, however, greatly strengthened by the introduction of Christianity during the 11th century, and the following centuries saw a process of consolidation of power in the hands of the king.
The king was traditionally elected at the Stones of Mora, and the people had the right to both elect the king and to depose him. The stones were, however, destroyed ca 1515.
The office has been hereditary since 1544. The present Bernadotte dynasty was established during the Napoleonic Wars through the Constitution of 1809 and the Act of Succession of 1810, in a bloodless Revolution after present-day Finland, then the eastern half of the Realm, was lost to Russia.
The 19th century Constitution divided the powers of government between the Riksdag and the monarch. Following the breakthrough of Parliamentarism in 1917 the king's powers were considerably reduced, and he became a constitutional monarch with only limited political authority.
Head of state
In 1974 a new Instrument of Government became part of the Constitution which abolished the Privy Council as the government institution and stripped the Monarch of virtually all formal powers, while still retaining him as Head of State. Many of the king's previous political functions were transferred to the Speaker of the Riksdag. The monarch leads the Privy Council in a session that establishes the new government following a general election or cabinet reshuffle. The king also chairs the Committee for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesnämnden), a body which serves to officially inform the head of state and the leaders of the opposition of government affairs. Bills passed in the Swedish parliament become law without having to acquire royal assent. Thus, in Sweden, unlike most constitutional monarchies, the Monarch is no longer even the nominal chief executive.
Another constitutional reform in 1980 changed the rules for succession to equal primogeniture. This allowed for the crown to pass to the eldest child regardless of gender and thus installed Princess Victoria as heir apparent over her younger brother Prince Carl Philip.
A simplified title that was sometimes used in less formal circumstances was Rex Sveciae or Sveriges Konung, the king of Sweden. The traditional full title of the Swedish sovereign was: By the Grace of God, King of Sweden, the Goths/Geats and the Wends (Swedish: med Guds Nåde Sveriges, Götes och Vendes Konung; Latin: Dei Gratia Suecorum, Gothorum et Vandalorum Rex, sometimes the first part of the Latin title was Svionum or Sveonum, all meaning the Swedes, not Sweden). Other titles that were a part of the full title before the House of Bernadotte, which acceded the throne in 1818, were:
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 Holstein-Gottorp dynasty the title heir of Norway (Swedish: Arvinge till Norge) was added, as also other titles that were connected to the dukes of Holstein-Gottorp. When Norway after the Napoleonic wars was included in a personal union with Sweden, the title King of Norway also was included in the title. In older spelling in Swedish the title was Sweriges, Norriges, Göthes och Wendes Konung.
This traditional full title with smaller alterations had been in use since the establishment of the hereditary monarchy in 1544. For example the title Vendes Konung "King of the Wends" started to be used then. However the title Götes Konung "King of the Goths", dates back to Magnus Ladulås and Erik the Saint and the title King of the Swedes Svea Konung, dates back to those times as well. This latter title was however already in the 16th century changed to the title Sveriges Konung, King of Sweden, and this short form of the title was also used frequently. Carl XVI Gustaf instead chose the plain and simple title King of Sweden (Swedish: Sveriges Konung), thereby ending an age-old tradition.
Such innovations are reflected in his personal motto För Sverige, i tiden, "For Sweden, with the times".
The line of succession
Present monarch: His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf (since September 15, 1973), born 1946
- HRH Crown Princess Victoria, Duchess of Västergötland, daughter of the King, born 1977
- HRH Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland, son of the King, born 1979
- HRH Princess Madeleine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, daughter of the King, born 1982
- List of Swedish governments
- List of Swedish monarchs
- Royal mottos of Swedish monarchs
- Swedish monarchs family tree
- Swedish Royal Family
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- Carl XVI Gustaf (SE)
- Elizabeth II (UK)
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