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Monday, December 11, 2023

Sweden’s figurehead king celebrates 50 years on the throne

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STOCKHOLM — Sweden this week marks the fiftieth anniversary of King Carl XVI Gustaf’s accession to the throne with 4 days of celebrations that culminate with a army parade via the capital.

The dimensions of the golden jubilee could not attain the degrees of royal anniversaries in Britain, however it’s nonetheless a uncommon likelihood for the monarchy to fete itself with pomp and ceremony within the egalitarian Scandinavian nation.

Carl Gustaf, 77, is the primary king within the Swedish monarchy’s greater than 1,000-year historical past to achieve 50 years on the throne. And following the dying of Queen Elizabeth II final 12 months, he’s the second-longest reigning European monarch alive at the moment, after his cousin Queen Margrethe II, who celebrated her fiftieth anniversary on Denmark’s throne final 12 months.

Margrethe and King Harald V of Norway are among the many dignitaries on the visitor checklist for the jubilee occasions, which embody an opera efficiency at Drottningholm Palace exterior Stockholm, the residence of the king and his spouse, Queen Silvia; a church service on the Royal Palace in Stockholm; royal salutes; banquets and a televised speech to the nation by the king. On Saturday the king and queen will trip in a horse-drawn carriage via downtown Stockholm together with 3,000 servicemen and ladies from the Swedish Military, Navy and Air Pressure.

Safety is predicted to be tight after Sweden raised its terror alert to the second-highest stage following a string of public desecrations of the Quran that sparked offended demonstrations throughout Muslim international locations and threats from militant teams.

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Like in neighboring Scandinavian international locations, the Swedish monarch has a ceremonial position as the pinnacle of state however no political energy. Many Swedes additionally regard him as an emblem of the nation and unifying determine throughout instances of disaster.

“I believe that what largely stands out for Swedes is the way in which he has kind of held the nation collectively in instances of unrest and when now we have gone via troublesome instances,” royal watcher Roger Lundgren stated, pointing to the 1986 homicide of Prime Minister Olof Palme and the December 2004 tsunami in South East Asia which killed greater than 500 vacationing Swedes.

Extra just lately, Carl Gustaf uncharacteristically spoke out towards Swedish authorities’ dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the nation failed to guard the aged in care houses. Sweden stood out for its pandemic technique, which was largely based mostly on voluntary measures quite than obligatory lockdowns.

Carl Gustaf was 27 when he ascended the throne on Sept. 15, 1973, upon the dying of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. Carl Gustaf was first in line to the throne as a result of his personal father died in a airplane crash when he was an toddler.

Years later, the king spoke of his sense of loss throughout a memorial service to victims of the tsunami.

“Many kids have misplaced one or each of their dad and mom,” he stated. “I believe I do know what meaning. I’ve been such a toddler myself.”

The royal household stays in style in Sweden, regardless of occasional scandals within the tabloid press surrounding the king’s personal life. Polls present a transparent majority of Swedes are in favor retaining the monarchy, although critics name it an anachronism that does not belong in a contemporary democratic society.

The king and queen have three kids, Crown Princess Victoria, Prince Carl Philip and Princess Madeleine. Because the eldest sibling, Victoria jumped forward of Carl Philip within the line of succession when Sweden in 1980 determined that the monarch’s eldest youngster, quite than the eldest male youngster, ought to inherit the throne.

Carl Gustaf made headlines in January this 12 months when he appeared to counsel that the change within the succession guidelines had been unfair to Carl Philip. He backtracked in a press release issued by the palace just a few days later, saying “it pains me deeply when, on reflection, I learn feedback that counsel that I might not stand behind my daughter, Crown Princess Victoria, as Sweden’s inheritor to the throne.”

Carl Gustaf could also be Sweden’s final male monarch for some time as Victoria’s first-born youngster was additionally a woman. Princess Estelle, now 11, is second in line to the throne, behind her mom.


Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark. Related Press video journalist David Keyton in Stockholm contributed to this report.

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