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Gustaf VI Adolf
Gustaf VI Adolf in November 1962
King of Sweden
Reign29 October 1950 – 15 September 1973
Enthronement30 October 1950
Predecessor Gustaf V
Successor Carl XVI Gustaf
Prime ministers
Born(1882-11-11)11 November 1882
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Died15 September 1973(1973-09-15) (aged 90)
Helsingborg Hospital, Helsingborg, Sweden
Burial25 September 1973
( m. 1905; died 1920)
( m. 1923; died 1965)
Oscar Fredrik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf
House Bernadotte
Father Gustaf V of Sweden
Mother Victoria of Baden
Religion Church of Sweden
Signature Gustaf VI Adolf's signature

Gustaf VI Adolf (Oscar Fredrik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf; 11 November 1882 – 15 September 1973) was King of Sweden from 29 October 1950 until his death in 1973. He was the eldest son of Gustaf V and his wife, Victoria of Baden. Before Gustaf Adolf ascended the throne, he had been crown prince for nearly 43 years during his father's reign. As king, and shortly before his death, he gave his approval to constitutional changes which removed the Swedish monarchy's last nominal political powers. He was a lifelong amateur archeologist particularly interested in Ancient Italian cultures.


He was born at Stockholm Palace and at birth created Duke of Scania. A patrilineal member of the Bernadotte family, he was also a descendant of the House of Vasa through maternal lines. Through his mother, Victoria, he was a descendant of Gustav IV Adolf of the House of Holstein-Gottorp (Swedish line). In addition to this, he was also a great-grandson of Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany and had a connection to the House of Hohenzollern (his maternal grandmother being the Kaiser’s only daughter).

Crown Prince (1907–1950)

Gustaf Adolf wearing his ducal coronet in Stockholm Palace circa 1900

Gustaf Adolf became Crown Prince of Sweden on the death of his grandfather, King Oscar II on 8 December 1907.

1934–35 trip to the Near East

From September to December 1934, the Crown Prince, Crown Princess Louise, Princess Ingrid and Prince Bertil visited a number of countries in the Near East. The journey began on 13 September from Stockholm. The journey went by rail via Malmö, Berlin and Rome to Messina, where the royals boarded the Swedish Oriental Line motor ship Vasaland, destined for Greece. They stopped at Patras and then the journey continued to Aegion. [1] On 20 September, they arrived in Piraeus, from where the royals took a train to Athens, where they were received by the President of Greece and representatives of government agencies. Furthermore, an excursion was made to Delphi, Nafplio and Delos with the cruiser Hellas. After returning to Athens, Vasaland departed for Thessaloniki on 28 September, where the international fair was visited. On 2 October, they arrived in Istanbul. After the ship dropped anchor, the royals were landed on the Asian side of the strait. The sloop docked at the quay in front of Haydarpaşa railway station. At the platform, President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's caravan waited, in which the journey continued to Ankara. At the station, the guests were received by Atatürk, members of the government and the administration. After his arrival, the Crown Prince visited Atatürk as well as Foreign Minister Tevfik Rüştü Aras. The visit to Ankara lasted from 3 to 5 October. On 5 October, a two-day visit to Bursa was made. The stay in Turkey ended with a four-day incognito break in Istanbul, during which several receptions were held at the Swedish legation. [1]

On 10 October, the royal travelers continued with Vasaland, which arrived on 12 October in Smyrna. From here, the departure took place on 15 October with the president's own train and on the 17 October it arrived in Aleppo, after Prince Bertil and a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs joined the party on the way. In Aleppo, the stay was extended to about 14 days, when the Crown Prince contracted a mild intestinal catarrh due to the stressful climate. On 1 November, the journey continued. The Crown Prince Couple, Princess Ingrid and Prince Bertil then boarded a British military plane and arrived in Baghdad on the same day. The King Ghazi of Iraq met at his country retreat Kasr-el-Zuhoor, from where he accompanied his guests to Bilatt Castle. At all the official events that followed, except for King Ghazi of Iraq, his uncle and father-in-law, King Ali of Hejaz, the President of the Council and members of the Cabinet, the President of the Senate and others. [1] On 6 November, the royals left by train for Khanaqin, where cars were ready to take them to Tehran. At the border, they were received by a representative of the Persian government and in Tehran by the Foreign Minister and the Grand Master of the Ceremonies, as well as representatives of government agencies. The Crown Prince's family went in a procession to the castle, where the Shah for the Crown Prince represented the council president and others were present. The Shah then accompanied the Crown Prince to the Golestan Palace. After several days in the Persian capital, he left for Mazandaran Province to study for three days the ongoing construction work for the Trans-Iranian Railway. He then returned to Tehran to say goodbye to the Shah. The Crown Prince's family then left on 17 November in Volvo cars for Isfahan and Persepolis. In the latter place, the royals lived in the so-called Xerxes' harem and visited the city under the leadership of Professor Ernst Herzfeld. On 25 November, the return journey to Baghdad began over the snowy passes along the Kum-Sultanabad- Kermanshah road, a three-day uninterrupted journey by car. [1]

After a week-long unofficial stay in Baghdad with visits to modern factories and excursions to Ur and Babylon, the Crown Prince Couple and Princess Ingrid left for Damascus on 5 December by plane. Prince Bertil accompanied the car caravan through the desert, where camel troops paraded at Rutbah station. On 6 December, the President of the Syrian Republic hosted a banquet for the Crown Prince's family, who stayed in Syria for four days. During the return journey to Beirut, Baalbek and the ruins of the old sun city were visited. In Beirut, the royals were received with military honors and were guests of the French government. The High Commissioner of the Levant, with whom the Crown Prince and Crown Princess stayed, hosted a dinner, as did the President of the Lebanese Republic. [1] The Crown Prince also visited the new port facilities in Beirut and visited the offices of the Swedish Oriental Line, Volvo and SKF. Furthermore, the journey went to Jerusalem. The royals arrived on 11 December by car in Palestine and met at the border by the English Commissioner for the Northern District. A two-day break was made in Haifa, where the royals lived in the government building on Mount Carmel. Visits were made on board the Swedish Orient Line's motor ship Hemland. During his stay in Haifa, the Crown Prince laid a wreath at the monument to King Faisal I of Iraq. Excursions were made to Capernaum, Acre, Nazareth and Nablus as well as the modern Jewish cooperative colony of Nahallah. The Crown Prince's family arrived in Jerusalem on 13 December and immediately went to their residence during their stay there, the residence of the English High Commissioner. The program for the following days included a two-day break in Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Visits were made to the offices of Volvo, SKF, ASEA and other Swedish companies. [1] A two-day excursion was made around 20 December to Jericho, the Dead Sea, Transjordan's capital Amman and Petra. The travelers were received by the Emir of Transjordan. After their return to Jerusalem, the royals continued immediately with train to Cairo, where they were guests of the Egyptian government. Due to King Fuad's illness, the Prime Minister hosted the reception banquet at Zafaran Palace on 22 December. The royal guests spent Christmas in stillness, partly in a villa at the foot of the pyramids, partly on the Swedish legation. The Crown Prince and Prince Bertil then visited for a couple of days Alexandria. The Swedish consul Carl Wilhelm von Gerber arranged a reception for the governor, the chief officials, the consuls and the judiciary and the Swedish deputy consul and such for the leading trade representatives. [1]

Reign (1950–1973)

On 29 October 1950, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf became king a few days before his 68th birthday, upon the death of his father, King Gustaf V. He was at the time the world's oldest heir apparent to a monarchy (this in turn was broken by his grandnephew Charles, Prince of Wales on 2 November 2016). On 30 October he took the regal assurance and was enthroned on queen Christina's Silver Throne. He then delivered his accession speech and adopted Plikten framför allt ("Duty before all"), as his personal motto.

During Gustaf VI Adolf's reign, work was underway on a new Instrument of Government to replace the 1809 constitution and produce reforms consistent with the times. Among the reforms sought by some Swedes was the replacement of the monarchy or at least some moderation of the old constitution's provision that "The King alone shall govern the realm."

Gustaf VI Adolf's personal qualities made him popular among the Swedish people and, in turn, this popularity led to strong public opinion in favour of the retention of the monarchy. Gustaf VI Adolf's expertise and interest in a wide range of fields (architecture and botany being but two) made him respected, as did his informal and modest nature and his purposeful avoidance of pomp. While the monarchy had been de facto subordinate to the Riksdag and ministers since the definitive establishment of parliamentary rule in 1917, the king still nominally retained considerable reserve powers. With few exceptions, though, Gustaf Adolf chose to act on the advice of the ministers.

The King died in 1973, at the old hospital in Helsingborg, Scania, close to his summer residence, Sofiero Castle, after a deterioration in his health that culminated in pneumonia. He was succeeded on the throne by his 27-year-old grandson Carl XVI Gustaf, son of the late Prince Gustaf Adolf. He died the day before the election of 1973, which is suggested to have swayed it in support of the incumbent Social Democratic government. [2] In a break with tradition, he was not buried in Riddarholmskyrkan in Stockholm, but in the Royal Cemetery in Haga alongside his wives.

Not long before his death, Gustaf Adolf approved a new constitution that stripped the monarchy of its remaining political powers. The new document took effect in 1975, two years after Gustaf Adolf's death, leaving his grandson as a ceremonial figurehead.

Personal interests

Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf meets some English footballers (c. 1910–1914).

The King's reputation as a "professional amateur professor" was widely known; nationally and internationally, and among his relatives. Gustaf VI Adolf was a devoted archaeologist, and was admitted to the British Academy for his work in botany in 1958. Gustaf VI Adolf participated in archaeological expeditions in China, Greece, Korea and Italy, and founded the Swedish Institute in Rome.

Gustaf VI Adolf had an enormous private library consisting of 80,000 volumes and – nearly more impressively – he actually had read the main part of the books. He had an interest in specialist literature on Chinese art and East Asian history. Throughout his life, King Gustaf VI Adolf was particularly interested in the history of civilization, and he participated in several archaeological expeditions. His other great area of interest was botany, concentrating in flowers and gardening. He was considered an expert on the Rhododendron flower. At Sofiero Castle (the king's summer residence) he created an admired Rhododendron collection.

Like his sons, Prince Gustaf Adolf and Prince Bertil, Gustaf VI Adolf maintained wide, lifelong interests in sports. He enjoyed tennis and golf, and fly fishing for charity. He was president of the Swedish Olympic Committee and the Swedish Sports Confederation from their foundations and until 1933, and these positions were then taken over by his sons in succession, Gustaf Adolf until 1947 and then Bertil until 1997.

According to all six books of memoires by his sons Sigvard [3] and Carl Johan, [4] nephew Lennart [5] and of wives of the two sons, [6] Gustaf Adolf from the 1930s on took a great and abiding interest in removing their royal titles and privileges (because of marriages that were unconstitutional at the time), persuaded his father Gustaf V to do so and to have the Royal Court call the three family members only Mr. Bernadotte.

Family and issue

Gustaf Adolf with his first wife, Margaret, and their children in 1912

Gustaf Adolf married Princess Margaret of Connaught on 15 June 1905 in St. George's Chapel, at Windsor Castle. Princess Margaret was the daughter of Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of the United Kingdom. Gustaf Adolf and Margaret had five children:

Name Birth Death Notes
Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten 22 April 1906 26 January 1947(1947-01-26) (aged 40) Married Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, his second cousin; died in a plane crash at Copenhagen Airport, father of King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
Prince Sigvard, Duke of Uppland 7 June 1907 4 February 2002(2002-02-04) (aged 94) later Prince Sigvard Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg
Queen Ingrid 28 March 1910 7 November 2000(2000-11-07) (aged 90) Queen of Denmark; wife of Frederick IX of Denmark and mother of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland 28 February 1912 5 January 1997(1997-01-05) (aged 84) married Lillian Davies, no issue
Prince Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna 31 October 1916 5 May 2012(2012-05-05) (aged 95) later Prince Carl Johan Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg.

Crown Princess Margaret died suddenly on 1 May 1920 with her cause of death given as an infection following surgery. At the time, she was eight months pregnant and expecting their sixth child.

Gustaf Adolf married Lady Louise Mountbatten, formerly Princess Louise of Battenberg, on 3 November 1923 at St. James's Palace with a celebration at Kensington Palace. [7] She was the sister of Lord Mountbatten and aunt of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and a niece of Empress Alexandra of Russia. She was also a first cousin once removed of her husband’s first wife both being descendants of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. It was Lady Louise who became Queen of Sweden. Both Queen Louise and her stepchildren were great-grandchildren of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom, Crown Princess Margaret having been a first cousin of Queen Louise's mother, Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine.

His second marriage produced only one stillborn daughter on 30 May 1925.

While his first wife visited her native Britain in the early years of their marriage, it was widely rumored in Sweden that Gustaf Adolf had an affair there with operetta star Rosa Grünberg. [8] Swedish vocalist Carl E. Olivebring (1919–2002) in a press interview claimed to be an extramarital son of Gustaf VI Adolf, a claim taken seriously by the king's biographer Kjell Fridh (1944–1998). [9]

King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden was the grandfather of his direct successor King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and also of former Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

By his second marriage King Gustaf VI Adolf was an uncle to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.



Country Date Appointment
  Sweden [10] 11 November 1882 – 19 October 1950 Knight with Collar Royal Order of the Seraphim
11 November 1882 – 19 October 1950 Commander Grand Cross Order of the Sword
11 November 1882 – 19 October 1950 Commander Grand Cross Order of the Polar Star
1 June 1912 – 19 October 1950 Commander Grand Cross Order of Vasa
11 November 1882 – 19 October 1950 Knight with Collar Order of Charles XIII
18 September 1897 King Oscar II's Jubilee Commemorative Medal
20 September 1906 Crown Prince Gustaf's and Crown Princess Victoria's Silver Wedding Medal
6 June 1907 King Oscar II and Queen Sofia's Golden Wedding Medal
16 June 1928 King Gustaf V's Jubilee Commemorative Medal
16 June 1948 King Gustaf V's Jubilee Commemorative Medal
Quasi-Official Orders


Honorary degrees
Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf receives his diploma as an honorary doctorate from the University of Chicago from its president, Professor Max Mason in 1926.

Military ranks

Honorary military ranks

Other Honors

Arms and monogram

Upon his creation as Duke of Skåne, Gustaf Adolf was granted a coat of arms with the arms of Skåne in base. These arms can be seen on his stall-plates both as Knight of the Swedish order of the Seraphim in the Riddarholm Church in Sweden, but also the Frederiksborg Chapel in Copenhagen, Denmark, as a Knight of the Danish Order of the Elephant. Upon his accession to the throne in 1950, he assumed the Royal Arms of Sweden.

As prince of Sweden and Norway
and Duke of Scania 1882 to 1905

As crown prince of Sweden and
Duke of Scania 1907 to 1950

Greater Coat of Arms of Sweden, also the King's coat of arms

Royal Monogram of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden



  1. ^ One of seven gold medals awarded in 1941 by Field Marshal Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim. [11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Kjellberg, H. E., ed. (1934). Svenska Dagbladets årsbok (Händelserna 1934) [Svenska Dagbladet's yearbook (Events of 1934)] (in Swedish). Vol. 12. Stockholm: Svenska Dagbladet. pp. 73–77. SELIBR  283647.
  2. ^ Magnusson, Jane (25 November 2011). "När Martin Luther King träffade kungen". Dagens Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 22 March 2016.
  3. ^ Sigvard Bernadotte's memoires
  4. ^ Carl Johan Bernadotte's memoires
  5. ^ Lennart Bernadotte's first book & second book
  6. ^ Marianne Bernadotte's memoires & Kerstin Bernadotte's
  7. ^ "Royal Wedding 1923". British Pathe News.
  8. ^ Elgklou, Lars (1978). Bernadotte: historien - och historier - om en familj (in Swedish). Stockholm: Askild & Kärnekull. p. 170. ISBN  91-7008-882-9. SELIBR  7589807.
  9. ^ Fridh, Kjell (1995). Gamle kungen: Gustaf VI Adolf : en biografi (in Swedish). Stockholm: Wahlström & Widstrand. ISBN  91-46-16462-6. SELIBR  7281986.
  10. ^ a b c Sveriges statskalender för året 1947 (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1947. p. 5.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah Påhlsson, Leif (25 September 1973). "Kung Gustaf Adolfs medaljer och ordnar" [King Gustaf Adolf's medals and orders]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). p. 9. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  12. ^ a b Norges Statskalender (in Norwegian), 1890, pp. 589–590, retrieved 6 January 2018 – via
  13. ^ "The Order of the Norwegian Lion". Royal Court of Norway. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  14. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). National Council. p. 95. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
  16. ^ Bille-Hansen, A. C.; Holck, Harald, eds. (1969) [1st pub.:1801]. Statshaandbog for Kongeriget Danmark for Aaret 1969 [State Manual of the Kingdom of Denmark for the Year 1969] (PDF). Kongelig Dansk Hof- og Statskalender (in Danish). Copenhagen: J.H. Schultz A.-S. Universitetsbogtrykkeri. pp. 18, 20. Retrieved 29 May 2020 – via da:DIS Danmark.
  17. ^ "ORÐUHAFASKRÁ" (in Icelandic). President of Iceland. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  18. ^ " The Imperial Orders and Decorations of Ethiopia Archived 26 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine", The Crown Council of Ethiopia. Retrieved 7 September 2020.
  19. ^ "Suomen Valkoisen Ruusun Suurristi Ketjuineen". (in Finnish). Retrieved 7 May 2020.
  20. ^ Italy. Ministero dell'interno (1920). Calendario generale del regno d'Italia. p.  57.
  21. ^ Boletín Oficial del Estado. 1 February 1910. Vol. L, #32, p. 253
  22. ^ Royal Thai Government Gazette (5 November 1911). "ส่งเครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์ไปพระราชทาน" (PDF) (in Thai). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2019. {{ cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= ( help)
  23. ^ "No. 27793". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 May 1905. p. 3513.
  24. ^ "No. 27807". The London Gazette. 16 June 1905. p. 4251.
  25. ^ List of Knights of the Garter – 1348 to present – via
  26. ^ a b "Rektors tal vid doktorspromotionen den 25 maj 2018" [Rector's speech at the doctoral promotion on 25 May 2018] (PDF) (in Swedish). Lund University. 25 May 2018. p. 3. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  27. ^ "SWEDISH PRINCE TO RECEIVE HONORARY DEGREE FROM YALE". The Harvard Crimson (in Swedish). 14 June 1926. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  28. ^ "Past Honorary Degree Recipients" (in Swedish). University of Chicago. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  29. ^ "Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden receives a doctorate at Princeton, 1926" (in Swedish). Bridgeman Images. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  30. ^ Rudberg, Erik, ed. (1927). Svenska Dagbladets årsbok (Händelserna 1926) [Svenska Dagbladet's yearbook (Events of 1926)] (in Swedish). Vol. 12. Stockholm: Svenska Dagbladet. p. 46. SELIBR  283647.
  31. ^ "Kronprinsen promoverad till juris hedersdoktor under akademisk ståt" [The Crown Prince promoted to honorary doctor of law under academic status]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 5 June 1929. p. 1. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  32. ^ a b c d "14 gånger hedersdoktor" [14 times honorary doctorate]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 21 May 1955. p. 10A. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  33. ^ Sandstedt, Sven (7 July 1938). "Två tal av kronprinsen sista jubileumsfestdagen" [Two speeches by the Crown Prince on the last anniversary celebration day]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). p. 1. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  34. ^ "HARVARD TO HONOR PRINCE; Plans to Give Degree to Gustaf Adolf at July 11 Reception". The New York Times (in Swedish). 30 June 1938. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  35. ^ "Honorary Degree Recipients" (in Swedish). University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  36. ^ "Honorary doctors at KTH" (in Swedish). KTH Royal Institute of Technology. 28 June 2022. Retrieved 26 October 2022.
  37. ^ Sveriges statskalender för år 1903 (PDF) (in Swedish). Stockholm: P.A. Nordstedt & Söner. 1902. p. 168.
  38. ^ Sveriges statskalender för skottåret 1908 (PDF) (in Swedish). Stockholm: P.A. Nordstedt & Söner. 1908. p. 129.
  39. ^ a b c d e Älmeberg, Roger (2020). Gustaf VI Adolf: regenten som räddade monarkin (in Swedish). [Stockholm]: Norstedts. ISBN  9789113116648. SELIBR  fstlmgqwcvcwh6mg.
  40. ^ Sveriges statskalender för året 1933 (PDF) (in Swedish). Uppsala: Fritzes offentliga publikationer. 1933. p. 239.
  41. ^ "No. 39237". The London Gazette (Supplement). 25 May 1951. p. 2927.
  42. ^ "No. 40851". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 August 1956. p. 4579.
  43. ^ "No. 43174". The London Gazette (Supplement). 29 November 1963. p. 9907.
  44. ^ Hånbog for flyvevåbnet 1963-64 (in Danish). Copenhagen: Ministry of Defence. 1963. p. 1.
  45. ^ The Caxton Club Yearbook 1965 104 and The Caxton Club Yearbook 1971 supplement of 1973

External links

Gustaf VI Adolf
Born: 11 November 1882 Died: 15 September 1973
Regnal titles
Preceded by King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Swedish royalty
Preceded by Crown Prince of Sweden
Succeeded by
Title last held by
Charles XV
Duke of Skåne
Title next held by
Prince Oscar