monarchy as it works in Sweden
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Travel topics > Cultural attractions > Historical travel > Swedish monarchy

Sweden has been a monarchy since the country was unified around AD 1,000, at the end of the Viking Age. The current monarch is king Carl XVI Gustaf, reigning since 1973.

Sweden has eleven Royal Palaces (kungliga slott), most of them open to the public, to some extent.


Since 1975, Sweden's monarch has no political power, and a purely ceremonial role. The title is hereditary without respect to gender.

Since 1973, the King of Sweden is Carl XVI Gustaf. His motto is För Sverige - I tiden, "For Sweden, with the times". Among other things, the motto is found on Swedish currency.


Map of Swedish monarchy
  • 1 Drottningholm Palace (Drottningholms slott) (Ekerö). While the Royal Palace is in Stockholm's Old Town, the Royal family lives at Drottningholm Palace on the Lovön island in Lake Mälaren. The 18th-century palace is beautiful, and much of it is open to the public. The surroundings are well worth a walk as well.    
  • 2 Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan), Trångsund 1 (Stockholm/Gamla stan). Storkyrkan is the oldest church in Gamla stan. Built in the 13th century in the Gothic style, the exterior was remodelled in Baroque style around 1740. The church is the seat of the Church of Sweden bishop of Stockholm. It contains two pieces of famous artwork: the 15th-century wooden statue of Saint George and a copy of the oldest known image of Stockholm, Vädersolstavlan ("The Sun Dog Painting"), a 1636 copy of a lost original from 1535.    
  • 3 Riddarholmen Church (Riddarholmskyrkan) (Stockholm/Gamla stan). Riddarholm is the ancient core of Stockholm and this is the city's oldest building - though no longer the oldest church, as it's nowadays simply a museum. Built as an abbey in the late 14th century. Fifteen Swedish monarchs are buried here, from Gustavus Adolphus (1594–1632) to Gustav V (1858–1950). One notable absence is Queen Kristina, who abdicated in 1654, converted to Catholicism, and is buried in St Peter's Church in the Vatican.    
  • 4 Royal Palace (Kungliga Slottet) (Stockholm/Gamla stan). At times referred to by Swedes at the "Royal Castle". Built between 1697 and 1754, dominating the north-eastern part of the Old Town, the Royal Palace is the official residence of the king of Sweden, though only used for state ceremonies, as the Royal family lives at Drottningholm in Ekerö. Entrance ticket includes The Royal Apartments, the Tre Kronor Museum, the Treasury, and Gustav III's Museum of Antiquities. Limited opening during state ceremonies.    
  • 5 Stones of Mora (Mora stenar) (Knivsta). A couple of monumental stones commemorating the election of kings during the Middle Ages, until monarchy became hereditary in the 16th century.    
  • 6 Hagaparken (Solna). A Royal Palace park in Solna with a rich history, open to the public, and great for picnics. The palace, Haga slott, is the residence of Crown Princess Victoria and her family, and as of 2021 not open to the public.
  • 9 Ulriksdal Palace (Ulriksdals Slott) (Solna). A Royal Palace open to the public. An orangery with a collection of 18th and 19th century sculptures. A Royal theatre which is occasionally open.
  • 10 Rosendal Palace (Rosendals slott) (Stockholm/Djurgården). Though the beautiful and central location, this Royal palace is little known. Guided tours during summer.
    • 11 Rosendal Gardens (Rosendals trädgård). A historic free-entrance garden, worth a visit for travellers not in a hurry.
  • 12 Rosersberg Palace (Rosersberg, Märsta). A 17th-century Baroque palace built at the height of the Swedish Empire, used as the summer residence of Charles XIV John (named Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, serving as Napoleon's general, before his coronation) during the early 19th century. The palace museum offers guided tours during summer. Textile furnishings are original; this is very unusual, as textiles are normally replaced as they wear out through the years. The palace contains an early replica of the United States Declaration of Independence, gifted from the USA in 1801, as well as other interesting artefacts.

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Sweden also has several nobility palaces and manors without direct connection to the Royal family.

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