King of Sweden celebrates 75th birthday with only a modest amount of pomp

King Carl XVI Gustaf turned 75 on Friday, but due to the pandemic marked his birthday without the lavish flair of a royal anniversary – unless you count a military flyover and a reception with the prime minister.

King of Sweden celebrates 75th birthday with only a modest amount of pomp
King Carl XVI Gustaf on his 75th birthday. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

In contrast to the monarch’s 70th birthday when people lined the streets of Stockholm to fete him, the Swedish Royal Court said celebrations would be “limited” because of the pandemic.

Instead of playing host to royals from other countries, smaller receptions were planned for the the morning with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and other senior politicians, and one with representatives from the Swedish military in the afternoon.

His birthday comes after his first appearance on a podcast this week, in which he spoke about how he enjoyed his position, even if the stress of being in the public eye was sometimes difficult.

“It is very tough, it’s draining in my opinion. But I’m not the only one. Any leader, of a company or politician, who shoulders responsibility, ought to feel the same,” the king said.

Six aircraft in formation over the Royal Palace in Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

Born on April 30, 1946, Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus Bernadotte was only nine months old when his father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, was killed in a plane crash in Denmark.

He assumed the throne in 1973 following the death of his grandfather, the long-reigning Gustaf VI Adolf.

The King for many years struggled to shed his image as a car-mad playboy after being thrust onto the throne at age 27, making him at the time the youngest monarch in the world.

The King and Queen Silvia with parliamentary deputy speaker Åsa Lindestam and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: Anders Wiklund/TT

In December, the King – who has largely ceremonial powers and does not typically comment on political issues – stoked controversy by saying that Sweden had “failed” to save lives during the pandemic.

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