On Sunday, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden celebrated 40 years on the throne with a dance in the Stockholm Royal Palace Courtyard.
Other weekend festivities included a dinner and concert on Saturday evening and a Sunday morning church service in the palace chapel. Dignitaries from nearby Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway attended the church service.
The king is 67 years-old and questions have arisen in recent years regarding how long he will remain on the throne. In an interview prepared especially for his anniversary, the king addressed the issue: “I can’t answer that. It will be determined by my health gradually. But I think it’s very exciting because there is so much happening in the world around us.”
Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus, Duke of Jämtland, became the reigning monarch of Sweden on September 15, 1973 at the age of 27. He succeeded his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. Carl’s father, then-crown prince Gustaf Adolf died in a plane crash in 1947, paving the way for his son’s ascension to the throne.
King Carl Gustaf married German-born Silvia Renate Sommerlath in 1976. They have three children: Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip, and Princess Madeleine.
In 1980, the Swedish Parliament made a change to the Act of Succession that put absolute primogeniture into place. Essentially, the change meant that the first-born child of a monarch is heir to the throne, regardless of gender. Prior to 1980, Prince Carl Philip was heir apparent to the Swedish throne, but now that place of honor and responsibility belongs to Crown Princess Victoria. When she ascends to the throne, Victoria will be the third female monarch in the history of Sweden and the first since 1720.
The monarchy enjoys great popularity in Sweden, although its role is purely ceremonial. An exhibition celebrating King Carl Gustaf’s reign – 40 Years on the Throne, 40 Years Serving Sweden – will be open at the Stockholm Palace until February, 2014.