Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden
|Gustaf VI Adolf|
|Reign||29 October 1950 – 15 September 1973|
|Successor||Carl XVI Gustaf|
|Spouse||Princess Margaret of Connaught
Lady Louise Mountbatten
|Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten
Ingrid, Queen of Denmark
Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland
Carl Johan Bernadotte
|Oscar Fredrik Wilhelm Olaf Gustaf Adolf|
|Mother||Victoria of Baden|
11 November 1882|
The Royal Palace in Stockholm
|Died||15 September 1973
Helsingborgs lasarett, Helsingborg, Sweden
|Burial||Royal Burial Grounds, Solna|
(Church of Sweden)
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. He was the eldest son of Gustaf V and his wife, Victoria of Baden, and had been Crown Prince of Sweden for the preceding 43 years in the reign of his father. He was the last king to reign under the Instrument of Government of 1809, which formally acknowledged a potentially powerful role for the monarch. However, at the time of his accession the parliamentary system in Sweden had been firmly established for more than three decades, and thus the role of the monarchial head of state was in practice reduced to a figurehead role.
He was also the last Swedish king to date to choose a spouse of equal birth.
Gustaf VI Adolf was a lifelong amateur archeologist particularly interested in Ancient Italian cultures. Later in his life he was a keen supporter of the Civil Rights, meeting with Martin Luther King in Stockholm. His death came only days before the election of 1973, which is suggested to have swayed it in support of the incumbent Social Democratic government.1
He was born at the Royal Palace in Stockholm and at birth created Duke of Skåne. A patrilineal member of the Bernadotte, 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 Sweden of the deposed House of Holstein-Gottorp.
In 1938 he was elected an honorary member of the Virginia Society of the Cincinnati.
On 29 October 1950, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf became king at age 67 upon the death of his father, King Gustaf V. He was at the time the world's oldest heir apparent to a monarchy. His personal motto was Plikten framför allt, "Duty before all".
During Gustaf VI Adolf's reign, work was underway on a new Instrument of Government – eventually taking effect in 1975 after the king's death – 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. The monarchy was, however, made subordinate to a democratic state. Additional powers of the monarch were removed when Sweden's constitutional reform became complete in 1975.
The King died in 1973, ten weeks shy of his 91st birthday, at Helsingborg Hospital 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. In a break with tradition, he was not buried in Riddarholmskyrkan in Stockholm, but in the Royal Burial Grounds in Haga alongside his two deceased wives.
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 at 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 (the king's summer residence) he created one of the very finest Rhododendron collections.
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.
Crown Princess Margaret died suddenly on 1 May 1920 of an infection following surgery. At the time, she was eight months pregnant and expecting her sixth child.
He married Lady Louise Mountbatten, formerly Princess Louise of Battenberg, on 3 November 1923 at St. James's Palace. She was the sister of Lord Mountbatten and aunt of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. 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.
King Gustaf VI Adolf and Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden had five children:
|Prince Gustav Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten||22 April 1906||26 January 1947 (aged 40)||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 (aged 94)||later Count Sigvard Bernadotte af Wisborg|
|Princess Ingrid||28 March 1910||7 November 2000 (aged 90)||later Queen of Denmark; wife of Frederick IX of Denmark and mother of the present Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece|
|Prince Bertil, Duke of Halland||28 February 1912||5 January 1997 (aged 84)||married Lillian Davies, no issue|
|Prince Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna||31 October 1916||5 May 2012 (aged 95)||later Count Carl Johan, Bernadotte af Wisborg, married Countess Gunilla Wachtmeister af Johannishus, had adopted issue|
Gustaf Adolf's second marriage to Louise 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.2 Swedish vocalist Carl-Erik Olivebring (1919–2002) in a press interview admitted to being an extramarital son of Gustaf VI Adolf, a claim taken seriously by the king's biographer Kjell Fridh (1944–1998).3
His title used in official documents was: Gustaf Adolf, by the Grace of God, King of Sweden, of the Goths and of the Wends (Swedish: Gustaf Adolf, med Guds nåde, Sveriges, Götes och Vendes Konung).
- State Orders
- Grand Master (and Knight with Collar from birth) of the Order of the Seraphim
- Lord and Master (and Commander Grand Cross from birth) of the Order of the Sword
- Grand Master (and Commander Grand Cross from birth) of the Order of the Polar Star
- Lord and Master (and Commander Grand Cross) of the Order of Vasa
- Quasi-Official Orders
- Lord and Master (and Knight by birth) of the Order of Charles XIII
- High Protector (and Honorary Knight) of the Order of Saint John in Sweden
- Swedish Medals
- Oscar II and Queen Sofia golden wedding memory sign
- Oscar II's 35-year reign jubilee memory sign
- His Majesty King Gustaf V's 70th birthday instituted memory sign
- Great Star of Honour for Services to the Republic of Austria (1960)4
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary (Austro-Hungarian Empire)
- Grand Cordon of the Order of Leopold
- Collar of the Order of Mohammed Ali
- Commander Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose
- Knight Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour
- Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Knight of the Order of the Black Eagle
- Commander of the Order of the Red Eagle
- Knight Grand Cross of the House Order of Fidelity
- House and Merit Order of Peter Frederick Louis
- Knight Grand Cross of the Saxe-Ernestine House Order
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Rue Crown
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer
- Knight Grand Cross decorated with Collar of the Order of the Falcon
- Grand Collar of the Order of Pahlavi
- Order of Al Rafidain
- Knight Grand Cross decorated with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (14 June 1966)
- Knight of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (1905)
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1905)
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown of Italy (1905)
- Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
- Knight of the Order of Osmanieh, 1st Class
- Order of the Sun with diamonds
- Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword
- Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece (1910, 1126th Knight)
- Royal Knight of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri
- Honorary degrees
In 1918, Gustaf VI Adolf received an honorary doctorate at Lund University, in 1926 an Honorary Doctorate at Yale, Princeton and Clark Universities, at Cambridge in 1929 and in 1932 at the University of Dorpat.
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 Riddarsholmskyrkan in Sweden, but also the Frederiksborg Chapel in Copenhagen, Denmark, as an Knight of the Danish Order of the Elephant. Upon his accession to the throne in 1950, he assumed the Arms of Dominion of Sweden.
- (In Swedish) Elgklou, Lars in Bernadotte - historien och historier on en familj ISBN 91-7008-882-9 p.170
- (In Swedish) Fridh, Kjell in Gamle Kungen Gustaf VI Adolf – En biografi 1995 ISBN 91-46-16462-6
- "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 95. Retrieved 5 October 2012.
Gustaf VI Adolf of SwedenBorn: 11 November 1882 Died: 15 September 1973
|King of Sweden
Carl XVI Gustaf
|Crown Prince of Sweden
Title last held byCharles XV
|Duke of Skåne
Edward VII of the United Kingdom
|President of Organizing Committee for Summer Olympic Games
Henri de Baillet-Latour
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