Birthday: November 15, 1882
Died At Age: 90
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Gustaf VI Adolf
Born Country: Sweden
Born in: Stockholm, Sweden
Famous as: Former King of Sweden
Emperors & Kings
Spouse/Ex-: Louise Mountbatten (m. 1923–1965), Princess Margaret of Connaught (m. 1905–1920)
father: Gustaf V of Sweden
mother: Victoria of Baden
siblings: Duke of Södermanland, Prince Wilhelm
children: Bertil Gustaf Oscar Carl Eugen Bernadotte, Carl Johan Bernadotte, Ingrid of Sweden, Prince Bertil; Duke of Halland, Prince Gustaf Adolf; Duke of Västerbotten, Sigvard Bernadotte
Died on: September 15, 1973
place of death: Helsingborgs hospital, Helsingborg
Cause of Death: Pneumonia
City: Stockholm, Sweden
education: Uppsala universitet, Royal Swedish Army Staff College
Who was Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden?
Gustaf VI Adolf was a Swedish king who ruled for nearly 23 years from 1950 to 1973. Aged 67 when he has crowned the king, he was the oldest monarch to be crowned at that time. Before he became the king he was the crown prince for nearly 43 years. During his reign, he was instrumental in approving the constitutional changes that went on to remove even the last traces of political power in the monarch. He was also an amateur archaeologist who was particularly interested in the ancient Italian cultures. He had excavated and written multiple papers on ancient Swedish monuments. He was also considered to be an authority on Chinese ceramics. His interest in archaeology was so deep that even at the age of 88, he was a part of an excavation in Italy. Gustaf was fluent in multiple languages, such as Swedish, English, French, and German. He could also read Italian and Latin. Apart from being an archaeologist, he was also an ardent sports enthusiast and a botanist.
Childhood & Early Life
Gustaf VI Adolf was born on 11th November 1882, at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. His parents were King Gustaf V and Victoria of Baden. The eldest of his parents’ three sons, he had two brothers, Prince Wilhelm and Prince Erik.
In his early days, he and his brothers were educated by their governess Ida Borin. Starting from 1890, they were taught by Dr. Carl Svedelius. The three brothers used to spend their summers at the Tullgarn Palace which was owned by their mother’s family.
In 1901, Gustaf began his higher education at Uppsala University where he studied history, economics, political science and archaeology. At this university, Gustaf found his love for archaeology. He made famous Bronze Age discoveries while excavating Haga Mound when he was still a student. A significant discovered item is in the Swedish History Museum.
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Accession & Reign
Gustaf VI Adolf became the crown prince on 8th December 1907, when his grandfather, King Oscar II, died and his father, Gustaf V, was made the king. He was the crown prince until his father died just a few days before his 68th birthday.
When he was a crown prince, he was also elected as an honorary member of the Virginia Society of the Cincinnati, which was a society formed to safeguard the fellowship of the Continental Army officers who had served in the Revolutionary War.
Gustaf VI Adolf became the king of Sweden on 29th October 1950, after being the crown prince for nearly 43 years. During his reign, a new Instrument of Government that would replace the 1809 constitution was implemented. One of the new reforms was to bring changes to the provision that the king alone can govern the country.
Gustaf was an extremely popular king during his time, owing to his pleasing demeanor and humility. He was also respected owing to his knowledge in various fields, such as archaeology and botany. In fact, he was so popular that the people were in favor of retaining the monarchy in Sweden! He had a personal motto – “Duty before all.”
Family & Personal Life
Gustaf VI Adolf married Princess Margaret of Connaught at the St. George’s Chapel of Windsor Castle, on 15th June 1905. Princess Margaret was the daughter of Prince Arthur who was the Duke of Connaught. Arthur was the third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of UK.
Gustaf and Margaret had five children: Prince Gustaf Adolf, Prince Sigvard, Princess Ingrid, Prince Bertil, and Prince Carl Johan. Princess Margaret died suddenly on 1st May 1920 when she was pregnant with their 6th child.
Gustaf then married Lady Louise Mountbatten on 3rd November 1923. Incidentally, when Gustaf became the king, it was Louise Mountbatten who became the queen of Sweden. She was the sister of Lord Mountbatten and the aunt of Prince Philip of Edinburgh.
Being a devoted archaeologist, Gustaf VI participated in various archaeological expeditions in China, Korea, Greece, and Italy. He was also admitted into the British academy for his work in botany in 1958. He had a large private library which had nearly 80, 000 volumes of books.
He was also extremely interested in sports like tennis, golf and fly fishing for charity. He was the president of the Swedish Olympic Committee and the Swedish Sports Confederation.
Death & Legacy
Gustaf VI Adolf died on September 15th, 1973, at the ripe age of 90, at the Helsingborg Hospital at Helsingborg. He suffered from pneumonia in his last days. He was buried at Solna, Stockholm, Sverige.