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https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/great_coat_of_arms_of_swedensvg.png
Greater coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sweden

While Swedish monarchs show up a lot less in media than their French or British or even German counterparts, they nonetheless occasionally show up in fiction, film and various other kinds of media. Sweden is one of the oldest surviving monarchies in Europe, along with Britain, Denmark and the Papacy. The oldest verifiable Swedish king reigned at some point during the last half of the 10th century.

Because of Troper's Law, this article will mostly describe the monarchs who tends to show up in fiction, with a brief overview of what happens in between. It should be noted that the numbering of Swedish kings is made up: The current king is numbered as Carl XVI, for instance, but there are only nine Carls (Charleses) before him. These traditional numbers were made up in the 16th century, and, as was the custom at the time, trace the Swedish royalty all the way back to Noah.

Medieval Swedish kings tends to have bynames that makes them sound either badass or just odd. They are usually significant in some way although technically they are often bestowed by their enemies, or at least successors... Hence names like "Ragnvald Littlehead" and "Eric the Lisp and Lame".

Viking Kings and the House of Munsö (970–1060)

King Björn and King Olaf (technically Olaf I) are confirmed by Saint Ansgar as Swedish kings in mid 9th century. Other than their invitations of missionarys to Uppland, nothing is known of them. Most Swedish historians consider their actions as friendly gestures. For a long time, Sweden was an elective monarchy, though it became increasingly common for the oldest son of the king to be elected.

Erik Segersällnote 

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mellin1850_p1264_erik_segersall.jpg
Lived: c. 945 – c. 995
Reigned: c. 970 – c. 995

Famous viking king. According to the Norse sagas he defeated his nephew Styrbjörn "the Strong" at the Battle of Uppsala. (This battle is attested on several runestones.) Stories set during the later part of the viking ages tends to include a cameo from him, since he had the favour of Odin. According to tradition he was married to a woman named Sigrid the Haughty, who had a tendency to set impossible tasks for her suitors.

Works that include Erik Segersäll:

  • Erik's fight with Styrbjörn is the subject of the Old Norse "Tale of Styrbjörn".
  • Erik has some mentions in Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla, and a short appearance in the "Saga of Olaf Tryggvason".
  • Franz G. Bengtsson's The Long Ships features a cameo of Styrbjörn the Strong.
  • The Tale of Hårde by Börje Isaksson features the battle of Uppsala as the climax of the second book.

Olof Skötkonung

Lived: c. 980 – 1022
Reigned: c. 995 – 1022
Parents: King Erik Segersäll and either Sigrid the Haughty or Świętosława
Consort: Estrid of the Obotrites

The first Christian king of Sweden, otherwise relatively unremarkable. Exactly what his byname means is unclear, but it may have to do with "sköte", which means vagina. The story that goes along with it is that he was declared king while his mother was still pregnant with him. It may also refer to him being the first king to impose taxes.

Works that include Olof Skötkonung:

  • Under the name of Olaf the Swede, he has a major supporting role in the 13th century Heimskringla, particularly in the sagas of Olaf Tryggvason and Saint Olaf.


After these two followed a bunch of kings of which we know little and who tends to be short-lived and forgotten, including at least one Russian (Anund Gårdske) and conflicts between pagan and Christian kings. Lots of fanciful names, like Sweyn the Sacrificer (Blót-Sveinn), Eric of Good Harvests (Eirikr hinn Ársæli), Ragnvald Round-Head or Little-Head (Ragnvaldr Hnapphöfuð)note  and Magnus the Strong (Magnús Sterki).

The Houses of Erik and Sverker (1125/1130–1250)

Eric IX / Saint Eric

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/erik_overselo.jpg
Lived: c. 1120-25 – 18 May 1160
Reigned: c. 1156 – 18 May 1160
Father: Jedvard

Successor of a king named Sverker the Elder, Erik Jedvardsson, better known as St. Eric is not an official Catholic saint, but was revered as such in Sweden for most of the Middle Ages. According to legends (almost certainly completely fictional) did all the standard saintly stuff, wore a shirt of hairs, lead crusades to Finland, and was killed inside a church. (Note that the other version is that he got drunk, fell off his chair and died, though recent examinations of his remains do indicate that he was killed by multiple sword wounds.)

After his death, his family and that of Sverker the Elder would fight each other for the throne (basically taking turns and driving or killing each other off) for the next hundred years or so.

Works that feature St. Eric:

  • St. Eric shows up very briefly (only to get murdered) in Jan Guillou's Arn: The Knight Templar trilogy (which was also made into a couple of movies).

The House of Bjelbo (1250–1364)

Birger Jarl

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/birger_jarl_riddarholmen_stockholm.jpg
Lived: c. 1210 – 21 October 1266
Tenure as Jarl: c. 1248 – 1266
Parents: Magnus Minniskiöld and Ingrid Ylva
Spouses: (1) Ingeborg Eriksdotter (mid-1230s–1254); (2) Matilda of Holstein (1261–1266)

Not a king, but something more along the lines of Regent for Life, Birger was Jarl, something (in Sweden) equivalent to a prime-minister, and ruled first in the name of Eric the Lisp and Lame. Almost a case of Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", if it wasn't for the fact that he was the last guy to ever hold the title of Jarl; apparently it had become too associated with Birger.

Birger is one of the most important medieval rulers of Sweden, he successfully centralized the kingdom and essentially created its medieval form. He also brought most of Finland under Swedish control. His letters contain the very first historical mention of Stockholm and Birger is often seen as the founder of the city.

Works that feature Jarl Birger:

Birger's family would become the ruling family of Sweden for the next 100 years or so, bringing an end to the struggle between royal families and replaced it by bloody infighting ''within'' the royal family. His grandsons, as an example, managed to kill everyone of their generation off, leaving only the young son of one of the contestants to take over. It is during this period of the High Middle Ages that chivalry and Courtly Love reaches Sweden, which has some odd instances of chroniclers trying to fit the above mentioned struggle into the scheme of Courtly Love.

Magnus IV Eriksson

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/magnus_eriksson_cropped.jpg
Lived: April or May 1316 – 1 December 1374
Reigned: 8 July 1319 – 15 February 1364
Parents: Eric, Duke of Södermanland, and Ingeborg of Norway
Consort: Blanche of Namur

Became king at a very young age, king in fact of both Sweden and Norway. He also ended up buying Scania from the German prince who had received it as payment for the debts of the Danish crown. A very unlucky king, he ended up not only reigning during The Black Death, but also had to face significant internal opposition, amongst other things by St. Birgitta (the only officially acknowledged Swedish saint, and something of a badass). His tendency to surround himself with pretty young men lead to frequent condemnation and the nickname "Magnus the Caresser". At his death he was broke, most of his realm was in revolt and depopulated by the plague. His dynastic shenanigans would have important consequences however.

Works featuring Magnus Eriksson:

The Kalmar Union (1389–1523)

After a brief rule by a German prince named Albrecht, the significant intermarriage between the Scandinavian royal families produced someone who was the closest heir (or, backed with an army, close enough) to all three Scandinavian kingdoms. This remarkable person was named Queen Margareta (also known as "King Pantsless", because well... women did not wear pants). She had to deal with German pirates, but otherwise remained ruled relatively peacefully. Since her son died young and she lived in a Heir Club for Men king of society she adopted a cousin to succeed here. This did not end well.

Eric XIII/Eric of Pomerania

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Lived: 1381 or 1382 – 24 September 1459
Reigned: 1396 (de jure) or 28 October 1412 (de facto) – 24 September 1439
Parents: Wartislaw VII, Duke of Pomerania, and Maria of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Consort: Philippa of England (1406–1430)
Morganatic spouse: Cecilia

He was the son of the duke of Pomerania, and his original name was the far less Scandinavian Bogislaw. Managed to provoke one of the biggest peasant uprisings in Swedish history, mainly by setting taxes a mite too high. He pissed off the nobility at the same time, which is never good, ended up getting fired from the throne and trying his hand at piracy before going back home to Pomerania. The next hundred years (roughly the 15th century) was a chaotic period where angry peasants, angry nobility and angry monarchs (usually, but not always, the union kings based in Denmark) vied for control. Special mention should be given to Karl Knutsson (Bonde) for managing to become king three times .

Works featuring Erik of Pomerania:

  • The Engelbrekt Rebellion, which takes place during Erik's reign, is a relatively common era for plays and novels, especially during the 60s and 70s.
  • He appears briefly as Henry V's brother-in-law in The King.

Christian II

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Lived: 1 July 1481 – 25 January 1559
Reigned: 1 November 1520 – 23 August 1521
Parents: King John II and Christina of Saxony
Consort: Isabella of Austria
Nickname: Kristian Tyrann ("Christian the Tyrant")

The most infamous of the union kings, both due to propaganda from his successor and his own murderous actions, which have caused some to label him as a schizophrenic.

After a complicated set of turns (involving several different Swedish families with the same name, and the king's father and grandfather, as well as a pretty nifty statue of Saint George) Christian II had managed to (somewhat) assume control over the kingdom of Sweden.

He then did what any renaissance prince would: He invited his enemies to a party promising them amnesty for all crimes against the crown, then accused them of heresy for having deposed a bishop who was an ally of him, and had them all publicly executed (all except one bishop who had the foresight to affix a note proclaiming his innocence to his seal when signing said deposition). The so-called Stockholm Bloodbath predictably lead to yet another uprising, led by the son of one the executed noblemen (see below).

In later years a story emerged in Sweden that he was known as "Christian the Good" in Denmark. This, however, isn't actually true. The Danes never gave him any sobriquet and just call him "Christian II."

The House of Vasa (1523–1654)

Gustav I

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gustav_i_of_sweden_c_1550.jpg
Lived: 12 May 1496 – 29 September 1560
Reigned: 6 June 1523 - 29 September 1560
Parents: Erik Johansson Vasa and Cecilia Månsdotter
Consorts: (1) Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg (1531–1535); (2) Margaret Leijonhufvud (1536–1551); (3) Catherine Stenbock (1552–1560)
Nickname: Gustav Vasanote 

Usually seen as the founder of the modern Swedish state, Gustav was the son of a member of the high nobility (he sometimes spelled his name "Gösta Jerksson", which is fitting but unintentional) who was sent as a hostage to king Christian , who then promptly took off with the hostages. Gustav managed to escape and make his way back to the capital only to find that his father had been among the executed at the Stockholm Bloodbath. He then made his way to the province of Dalarna experiencing many public-domain adventures along the way, allegedly being hidden in cellars, in wagonloads of hay and generally acting King Incognito, despite not being king yet. With a Rousing Speech he managed to convince the peasants of Dalarna to rise up against the Danish king. He managed to succeed (aided by a noble's rebellion in Denmark and a shitload of loans from the Hansa) and was finally proclaimed king in 1523, de facto ending the Union of Kalmar.

Once he was king, Gustav proceeded to get rid of anyone who had ever helped him come to the throne: Beating down and executing as rebels anyone who opposed his new, more centralized style of rule (including most of the people who had supported him in the first place) declaring war on his creditors, confiscating church land and introducing the reformation, and ended up as the richest man in Europe.

Gustav Vasa is relatively commonly featured in plays and novels, but curiously absent from movies or TV.

Works featuring Gustav Vasa

  • This Hark! A Vagrant comic features Gustav Vasa giving birth to Sweden. Literal giving birth and literal landmass of Sweden.
    Gustav Vasa your baby resembles a penis

Erik XIV

Lived: 13 December 1533 – 26 February 1577
Reigned: 29 September 1560 – January 1569
Parents: King Gustav I and Catherine of Saxe-Lauenburg
Consort: Karin Månsdotter

Son and successor to Gustav Vasa, son from his first marriage and... not quite right in the head. During his reign his paranoia and poor advice from advisors lead to him eventually stabbing people and running off into the woods. He also married a commoner, tried to kill his brother(s) and was eventually deposed and poisoned, according to legend with arsenic-laced peasoup.

In his younger, more sane, days he was one of the suitors of Queen Elizabeth I of England.

Johan III

Lived: 20 December 1537 – 17 November 1592
Reigned: January 1569 – 17 November 1592
Parents: King Gustav I and Margaret Leijonhufvud
Consorts: (1) Catherine Jagellonica (1562–1583); (2) Gunilla Bielke (1589–1592)

Brother of Erik XIV, married a Polish princess and built lots of fancy castles. Also probably poisoned his brother in prison.

Sigismund

Lived: 20 June 1566 – 30 April 1632
Reigned: 17 November 1592 – 24 July 1599
Parents: King Johan III and Catherine Jagllonica
Consorts: (1) Anne of Austria (1592–1598); (2) Constance of Austria (1605–1631)

Made king of Poland at a young age and sent off there; he never liked Poland very much but became a staunch Catholic, problematic as he also became king of Protestant Sweden. His uncle Charles would eventually stage an uprising and crown himself king. The resulting Succession Crisis would lead to an on-again, off-again war between Sweden and Poland for the next 60-years or so.

Charles IX

Lived: 4 October 1550 – 30 October 1611
Reigned: 22 March 1604 – 30 October 1611
Parents: King Gustav I and Margaret Leijonhufvud
Spouse: Maria of Palatinate-Simmern (1579–1589)
Consort: Christina of Holstein-Gottorp (1592–1611)

The son of Gustav Vasa who was most like his dad. Highly and successfully involved in the above Succession Crisis while he was still Duke Karl of Södermanland. Mostly famous for being the father of his son:

Gustav II Adolf

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gustav_ii_adolf_of_sweden.jpg
Lived: 9 December 1594 – 6 November 1632
Reigned: 30 October 1611 – 6 November 1632
Parents: King Charles IX and Christina of Holstein-Gottorp
Consort: Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg
Nickname: Gustav Adolf den store ("Gustavus Adolphus the Great")

Sweden's greatest warrior-king, best known for his pivotal role in the Thirty Years' War. Really did do the entire King Incognito thing when looking for a bride. For most of his reign, he worked closely together with his chancellor (not particularly evil) Axel Oxenstierna in something of a Brains and Brawn combination (although Gustav was far from stupid himself). His reign was spent almost entirely on horseback. The Swedish Empire was at its greatest extent under him, with about half of Germany conquered and Gustav Adolf possibly eyeing the imperial throne. However, his untimely death in battle meant that it was never consolidated.

Works that feature Gustavus Adolphus:

  • The 1632 Alternate History series by Eric Flint, where he is depicted as something of a Boisterous Bruiser. (Also survives the battle that would have killed him, with massive consequences on the course of events thereafter.)
  • Namesake of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.
  • He gets his own song in the Sabaton album Carolus Rex, "The Lion from the North", which is mainly about his role in the Thirty Years' War. The next track, "Gott Mit Uns", is about his victory at the Battle of Breitenfeld.
  • Brian McNeill's "The Gothenburg Reel" is written in honor of Gustavus Adolphus and the many Scots mercenaries that fought under his command during the Thirty Years' War.
  • He's the leader of Sweden in Civilization V.

Christina

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/drottning_kristina_av_sverige.jpg
Lived: 18 December 1626 – 19 April 1689
Reigned: 16 November 1632 – 16 June 1654
Parents: King Gustav II Adolf and Maria Eleonora of Brandenburg
Nickname: The Minerva of the North

The daughter of Gustav II Adolf, at birth she was apparently mistaken for a boy and while it was quickly cleared up her father decided to raise her to become his successor (aided by not having any other legitimate children). Due to her upbringing as the heir, she was the most well educated woman of her day in the entirety of Europe.

She grew up together with her cousin the soon-to-be Charles X. There was even a Childhood Marriage Promise involved, but as she grew she decided that she did not want to get married at all, leading to centuries of historians speculating on her sexuality. (The fact that her cousin grew up into something of a womanizer didn't help).

She ended up abdicating her throne to her cousin Charles, converting to Catholicism and retiring to Italy.

She also managed to kill off René Descartes by hiring him as court philosopher, forcing him to get up early in the morning and not heating his rooms enough.

Works that feature Queen Christina:

The House of Palatinate-Zweibrübcken (1654–1720)

Charles X Gustav

Lived: 8 November 1622 – 13 February 1660
Reigned: 6 June 1654 – 13 February 1660
Parents: John Casimir, Count Palatine of Zweibrücken-Kleeburg, and Catherine of Sweden
Consort: Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp

Would spend more or less his entire reign fighting, first against Poland, then against Denmark. Managed to pull off an awesome moment by walking his entire army from the mainland to Sjaelland on the ice. Eventually, according to historians, "achieved the perfect form of a sphere" and died of pneumonia.

Charles XI

Lived: 4 December 1655 – 15 April 1697
Reigned: 13 February 1660 – 5 April 1697
Parents: King Charles X Gustav and Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp
Consort: Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark

A shy unassuming kid who grew up into something of a badass, mainly by slaughtering his way through the Swedish forests (he was fond of hunting). He managed to make himself an absolute monarch, crushed the power of the high aristocracy and reigned relatively peacefully. According to legend, he spent much of his time as King Incognito, spying on corrupt officials. In these stories he is portrayed as hiding his Bling of War under a grey cloak until the time to reveal himself, earning him the nickname Gråkappan (The Grey Cloak).

Works that feature Charles XI

  • Part 2 of Sabaton History's "Swedish Trilogy" covers Karl XI's ascension and his victory over King Christian of Denmark at the Battle of Lund.

Charles XII

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/karl_den_xii_1682_1718_king_of_sweden_axel_sparre___nationalmuseum___15793tif.jpg
Lived: 17 June 1682 – 30 November 1718
Reigned: 5 April 1697 – 30 November 1718
Parents: King Charles XI and Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark
Nickname: Carolus Rex

Ascended to the throne at only 15, had a biography written by Voltaire. He spent his entire reign fighting Poland, Denmark, and Russia (See The Great Northern War). The war went well for him at first, but eventually the Russian Tsar beat him by utilising scorched earth tactics and the cold Russian winter, which led to his defeat and the end of Sweden's period as a Great Power.

His death at the siege of Fredrikshald is somewhat of a Stock Unsolved Mystery, with people arguing whether he was killed by a Norwegian soldier, a war-weary Swede, or an agent of his brother-in-law, Frederick, who went on to be Frederick I of Sweden. Among the weirder theories is the one that he was shot with a button due to the rumours that said he was immune to regular bullets. A relatively common subject for novels and other stories.

His sister Ulrika Eleonora ended up succeeding him but abdicated in favour of her husband Frederick I. Both her succession and her abdication gave the equivalent of parliament a chance to reduce royal power dramatically, ushering in the so-called Age of Liberty when the country was ruled by the Riksdag (Parliament), with the king having very little power.

The House of Holstein-Gottorp (1751–1818)

Adolf Frederick

Lived: 4 May 1710 – 12 February 1771
Reigned: 25 March 1751 – 12 February 1771
Parents: Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin, and Princess Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach
Consort: Louisa Ulrika of Prussia

The first king of this dynasty, Adolf Fredrik was relatively harmless, his wife however, was the sister of Frederick the Great and had an ambition to match. They failed to reassert royal control though; when the king refused to sign decisions into law, the Riksdag simply used a rubber stamp with his signature instead. Died of overeating.

Gustav III

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gustaviii.jpg
Lived: 24 January 1746 – 29 March 1792
Reigned: 12 February 1771 – 29 March 1792
Parents: King Adolf Frederick and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia
Consort: Sophia Magdalena of Denmark

Probably the Swedish king that appears the most in media: At least two or three television dramas have been created about the king, and an innumerable amount about his contemporaries.

A complicated figure, he managed to stage a revolution, restoring royal power and ending the Age of Liberty, and gave military support to the coalition of monarchies that tried to quash The French Revolution and place Louis XVI back on the throne. He was also fond of theatre and the arts, founding the Swedish Academy and sponsoring the great writers of his time including Carl Michael Bellman.

He was eventually shot during a masquerade ball as part of a conspiracy involving disaffected nobles, and succumbed to his wounds thirteen days later. Conspiracy theories have been made surrounding his assassination, usually surrounding his brother (who acted rather suspiciously), but sometimes bringing in the Freemasons.

Works that feature Gustav III:

  • Two Operas, Il ballo di maschera, by Giuseppe Verdi, and Gustave le troisiéme, ou le bal masque by Francois Auber are based on the assassination of Gustav III.
  • A story in The Phantom deals with said Phantom trying to prevent the king's murder.

Gustav IV Adolph

Lived: 1 November 1778 – 7 February 1837
Reigned: 29 March 1792 – 29 March 1809
Parents: King Gustav III and Sophia Magdalena of Denmark
Consort: Frederica of Baden

He's something of The Scrappy of the Swedish monarchy, failing at almost everything he did, most importantly losing Finland to the Russians through his diplomatic inflexibility and his belief that Napoléon Bonaparte was The Antichrist. He was eventually deposed and went mad, living out the last years of his life in Switzerland under the name Colonel Gustavsson.

Works that feature Gustav IV:

  • The novel The Wolves of Elba involves a plot by agents of Napoleon to meddle in his marriages.
  • His failure as a commander in general and attempts to emulate Charles XII in particular is mocked in one of the poems of The Tales Of Ensign Stål.

Charles XIII

Lived: 7 October 1748 – 5 February 1818
Reigned: 6 June 1809 – 5 February 1818
Parents: King Adolf Frederick and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia
Consort: Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp

The heirless and somewhat senile uncle of Gustav IV. He was placed on the throne by the Swedish nobles after the coup of 1809. A succesion crisis soon followed, where several princes were offered the crown of Sweden. Among them the Danish governor of Norway, Christian August, who accepted, only to suddenly die under more-or-less suspicious circumstances in 1810. The Swedish crown was then offered to the extremely genre savvy French general Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, who accepted. Charles died in 1818, proudly naming himself king of Norway and Sweden for four years.

The House of Bernadotte (1818–present)

The current ruling house of Sweden, and the longest-ruling one.

Charles XIV John

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/portrait_of_karl_xiv_johan_1763_1844_1843_king_of_sweden_and_norway_by_emile_mascre_nationalmuseum_stockholm_sweden.jpg
Lived: 26 January 1763 – 8 March 1844
Reigned: 5 February 1818note  – 8 March 1844
Parents: Henri Bernadotte and Jeanne de Saint-Jean
Consort: Désirée Clary

Born as Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, the son of a lawyer from Pau in France, making his story something of a Rags to Royalty story. He served in the French army under Napoleon I and eventually became Marshall of France (as well as marrying one of Napoleon's old flames, Désirée Clary, whom he dumped for Joséphine de Beauharnais). He was contacted by a Swedish colonel in Paris and asked if he wanted to become King of Sweden. He did.

As the Crown Prince of Sweden, he was expected to go against Russia (to somehow recover Finland) but chose instead to join the alliance against Napoleon (which included Russia). Thus he ensured himself a seat at the winner's table (having made himself useful in the battle of Leipzig), which lead to Norway being taken away from Napoleonic ally Denmark and enrolled in a union with Sweden. The ensuing, and very short, 1815 war between Sweden and Norway is notable as the last war Sweden has fought in to date.

Charles never learned how to speak Swedish (which he himself was sorry for) and spent a good deal of his reign ruling from his bedchamber because he felt it was too cold to get up. Being the most notable of the union kings of Sweden and Norway, he features in a number of poems written by Henrik Wergeland, usually because of his revolutionary role, and because he actually gave Wergeland a steady job. His son Oscar I is also granted at least one poem by Wergeland.

His relationship with Norway was shaky at best, conflicted at worst. The fact that he never forgave Norway for electing Danish prince Christian Frederik over him, nagged him to the point that he actually forbid the celebrations of May 17 (Norwegian constitution day). When the Norwegians decided to celebrate it anyway, it nearly came to blows, and the king had to give in, for the sake of a stable union. He also called in the army a couple of times when the Norwegian parliament opposed him.

His successors gradually lost power until they were reduced to their current figurehead status, in which the monarchs get to keep a purely ceremonial role as long as they promise to not get involved in politics in any way.

Gustav V

Lived: 16 June 1858 – 29 October 1950
Reigned: 8 December 1907 – 29 October 1950
Parents: King Oscar II and Sophia of Nassau
Consort: Victoria of Baden

The last king to wield any political power, Gustav reigned through both World Wars. Despite being personally very conservative and prone to meddle in politics, he helped back the introduction of universal suffrage and constitutional monarchy after seeing what the Russians did to the Tsar.

Carl XVI Gustaf

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Born: 30 April 1946
Reign: 15 September 1973 – present
Parents: Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
Consort: Silvia Sommerlath
Nickname: Lillprinsen ("the Little Prince")note 

Due to the untimely death of his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, in a plane crash in 1947, the future Carl XVI Gustaf became the new Crown Prince at a very young age, and was known as ”Lillprinsen” (”The Little Prince”) during the reign of his grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf (an avid archaeologist who frequently went King Incognito to go on digs). As of April 2018, he's the longest-reigning monarch in Swedish history, the previous record holder being Magnus Eriksson way back in the 14th centurynote .

Married to Queen Silvia Sommerlath, who's a Rags to Royalty story in her own right, having met then-Crown Prince Carl at the 1972 Summer Olympics, where she was working as a hostess. ABBA even performed "Dancing Queen" at the Royal Swedish Opera the day before their wedding on 19 June 1976.

C. XVI G. is typically portrayed in comedy as The Ditz. Since he has been known to misspell "kung", the Swedish word for king, that portrayal might be completely justified, as he suffers from serious dyslexia, as does the crown princess. We also have the line "Kära Örebroare!" ("Dear citizens of Örebro!")... Said during a speech in Arboga. All the same, he's generally respected by the Swedes as a humble and kind of harmless guy doing a job that nobody else really wants to do. He knows his reputation and knows how to use it. At a 2018 ceremonial inspection of the Swedish Military, a reporter shouted out ”What does your Majesty think about the Swedish Military?” and without blinking he simply answered ”The Swedish Winter? [looked up in the cloud free blue sky, smiled] Amazing!note 

Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland

Born: 14 July 1977
Parents: King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath
Spouse: Daniel Westling

A constitutional change in the 70s made the succession open to the eldest child, male or female, which made Crown Princess Victoria the heir to the throne. In recent years, Princess Victoria has gradually taken on more and more duties as she matures and the King grows older, though the king has stressed that he has no intention of abdicating completely in her favour. After marrying her personal trainer (and later, one assumes, her boyfriend) in 2010 she became the second Heir to the throne to marry a person whose parents were both Swedes (and also a commoner, but so was her mother), the first one being Eric XIV in 1568, and back then it was mostly seen as a sign that he was utterly and completely insane (and he admittedly was, but this probably wasn't related to that).

Being highly respected, and seen as both intelligent and dutiful, you occasionally hear people mutter that ”I don’t wish The King to be dead, but I certainly think Victoria would be better at the job”. Victoria's oldest child is a girl, Princess Estelle, which means that barring any tragedies or a sudden resurgence of republicanism, Sweden will eventually be ruled by women for the forseeable future.


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