Monarchy of Sweden
|King of Sweden|
Greater coat of arms of Sweden
|Carl XVI Gustaf|
since 15 September 1973
|First monarch||Eric the Victorious|
The monarchy of Sweden is centered on the monarchical
Sweden in the present day is a representative democracy in a parliamentary system based on popular sovereignty, as defined in the current Instrument of Government (one of the four Fundamental Laws of the Realm which makes up the written constitution). The monarch and the members of the royal family undertake a variety of official, unofficial and other representational duties within Sweden and abroad.
|History of Sweden|
Scandinavian peoples have had kings since prehistoric times. As early as the 1st century CE,
Originally, the Swedish king had combined powers limited to that of a war chief, a judge and a priest at the
About 1000 A.D., the first king known to rule both Svealand and Götaland was Olof Skötkonung, but further history for the next two centuries is obscure, with many kings whose tenures and actual influence/power remains unclear. The Royal Court of Sweden, however, does count Olof's father, Eric the Victorious, as Sweden's first king. The power of the king was greatly strengthened[why?] by the introduction of Christianity during the 11th century, and the following centuries saw a process of consolidation of power into the hands of the king. The Swedes traditionally elected a king from a favored dynasty at the Stones of Mora, and the people had the right to elect the king as well as to depose him. The ceremonial stones were destroyed around 1515.
In the 12th century, the consolidation of Sweden was still affected by dynastic struggles between the Erik and Sverker clans, which ended when a third clan married into the Erik clan and the House of Bjelbo was established on the throne. That dynasty formed pre-Kalmar Union Sweden into a strong state, and finally king Magnus IV (reigned 1319–1364) even ruled Norway (1319–1343) and Scania (1332–1360). Following the Black Death,[clarification needed] the union weakened, and Scania reunited with Denmark.
In 1397, after the Black Death and domestic power struggles, Queen Margaret I of Denmark united Sweden (then including Finland), Denmark and Norway (then including Iceland) in the Union of Kalmar with the approval of the Swedish nobility. Continual tension within each country and the union led to open conflict between the Swedes and the Danes in the 15th century. The union's final disintegration in the early 16th century led to prolonged rivalry between Denmark-Norway and Sweden (with Finland) for centuries to come.
16th- and 17th-century changes
Catholic bishops had supported the
Inspired by the teachings of
Tax reforms took place in 1538 and 1558, whereby multiple complex taxes on independent farmers were simplified and standardised throughout the district[clarification needed] and tax assessments per farm were adjusted to reflect ability to pay. Crown tax revenues increased, but more importantly the new system was perceived as fairer. A war with Lübeck in 1535 resulted in the expulsion of the Hanseatic traders, who previously had had a monopoly on foreign trade. With its own burghers in charge, Sweden's economic strength grew rapidly, and by 1544 Gustav controlled 60% of the farmlands in all of Sweden. Sweden now built the first modern army in Europe, supported by a sophisticated tax system and an efficient bureaucracy.
At the death of King Gustav I in 1560, he was succeeded by his oldest son
In 1604, the Estates finally recognized the regent and de facto ruler as King Charles IX. His short reign was one of uninterrupted warfare. The hostility of Poland and the breakup of Russia involved him in overseas contests for the possession of
As the heiress presumptive, at the age of six
The Estates elected
Charles X Gustav died in
Charles XI was succeeded by his son, Charles XII, who would prove to be an extremely able military commander, defeating far larger enemies with the small but highly professional Swedish army. His defeat of the Russians at Narva when just 18 years old was to be his greatest victory. However his campaigning at the head of his army during the Great Northern War would ultimately lead to catastrophic defeat at the Battle of Poltava after which he spent several years in Turkey (now Moldova). Some years later he was killed at the Siege of Fredriksten during an attempt to invade Norway. The Swedish Age of Greatness (Swedish: stormaktstiden) had ended. [n 9]
18th century to the present
Charles XII's sister,
The 1720 Instrument in Government was later replaced by the
On 17 September 1809 in the
Although the 19th century Bernadotte monarchs that would follow Charles XIV John's reign tried to defend the power and privileges they still had, the tide incrementally turned against "personal regal rule" (Swedish: personlig kungamakt) with the growth of the liberals, social democrats, and the expansion of the franchise.
Only during World War II, in the so-called Midsummer crisis (regarding the issue whether neutral Sweden should permit rail transport of German troops from Norway passing through to Finland), did Gustaf V allegedly try to intervene in the political process by threatening to abdicate.
Following the required double
Carl XVI Gustaf became king on 15 September 1973 on the death of his grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf and because of his father's early death has become the longest reigning monarch in Swedish history.
Constitutional and official role
When, on 1 January 1975, it replaced the
Although the unwritten precedent was set in 1917, when
Thus, the monarch lost all formal executive powers, becoming a ceremonial and representative
At the request of the Speaker of the Riksdag, the monarch opens the annual session of the Riksdag (Riksmötets öppnande) in the chamber of the
While the monarch is no longer the commander-in-chief (högste befälhavare) of the Swedish Armed Forces, as he once was under the 1809 Instrument of Government King Carl XVI Gustaf is the foremost representative of the Swedish defence establishment and holds supreme rank in each of the service arms. He ranks as a four star admiral in the Swedish Navy and general in the Swedish Army and Air Force. As part of his court, the monarch has a military staff, which is headed by a senior officer (usually a general or admiral, retired from active service) and includes active duty military officers serving as aides-de-camp to the monarch and his or her family.
The monarch and members of the
Many of the Swedish
Perhaps the most globally known ceremony in which the Royal Family annually participate is the Nobel Prize award ceremony held at the Stockholm Concert Hall (and the subsequent banquet in the Stockholm City Hall), where the monarch hands out the Nobel Prizes on behalf of the Nobel Foundation for outstanding contributions to mankind in physics, chemistry, literature, physiology or medicine, and the economic sciences.