Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Forty one years a king

Amidst the excitement surrounding the thirtieth birthday of Prince Harry, which dominated royal news over recent days, and the rush to photograph Queen Letizia of Spain as she marked her first birthday as a monarch on the same day, a rather important celebration took a back seat. But that doesn't change its significance. On September 15th 2014, Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden marked his 41st anniversary as king of his country. Into his fifth decade as a monarch, he shows no signs of losing his energy for kingship.

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden's reign began on September 15th 1973

Carl Gustaf of Sweden took the throne on the death of his grandfather, Gustav VI Adolf, He was 27 at the time, a young king and especially so compared with his predecessor who had become monarch at the age of 67 having spent 43 years as Crown Prince.  Carl XVI Gustaf's monarchy has been seen as a continuation of the modernising process begun by his grandfather and despite some bumps along the way, it has been a success.

King Carl XVI Gustaf and his consort, Queen Silvia

Last year there were months of celebrations as the king approached his fortieth anniversary as monarch, all culminating in dancing in the streets and in the palace courtyard as Carl XVI Gustaf toasted his fellow countrymen and women.  This year, the big day passed very quietly with attention instead on Prince Daniel who was born on the day his father in law became king and whose big birthday, his fortieth, had to take a back seat last year for the jubilee.

The king and queen at a gala event earlier this year

The king and queen mark their fortieth wedding anniversary in 2016 and that's when Queen Silvia will celebrate forty years as a monarch.  In the meantime, the couple's anniversaries will probably take a back seat to the big events in the next generation.  This year has been all about Princess Madeleine's daughter, Leonore, who was born in February and about Prince Carl Philip who announced his engagement in June.  And 2015 will bring at least one more major event for the younger royals with that royal wedding. More jubilees will come for the king in that time and most likely pass as quietly as the one just gone. After the gentle celebrations of 2014, Carl XVI Gustaf now finds himself forty one years a king.

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