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Gustaf V
King of Sweden
Reign 8 December 1907 - 29 October 1950 (&0000000000000042.00000042 years, &0000000000000325.000000325 days)
Predecessor Oscar II
Successor Gustaf VI Adolf
Spouse Victoria of Baden
Gustaf VI Adolf
Prince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland
Prince Erik, Duke of Västmanland
Full name
Oscar Gustaf Adolf
Father Oscar II
Mother Sofia of Nassau
Born 16 June 1858(1858-06-16)
Drottningholm Palace
Died 29 October 1950 (aged 92)
Drottningholm Palace
Burial Riddarholmen Church

Gustaf V (Oscar Gustaf Adolf) (16 June 1858 ‚Äď 29 October 1950) was King of Sweden from 1907 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Oscar II of Sweden and Sophia of Nassau, a half-sister of Adolphe I, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Dying aged 92, he holds the record of being the oldest monarch of Sweden and the second-longest reigning monarch of Sweden.


Early life

Gustaf V was born in Drottningholm Palace in Ekerö, Stockholm County and at birth was created Duke of Värmland. On 8 December 1907, he succeeded his father on the Swedish throne, which had been separated from the Norwegian throne two years earlier.

He married in Karlsruhe Princess Victoria of Baden on 20 September 1881. She was the granddaughter of Sofia of Sweden, and her marriage to Gustaf V united by a real blood link (and not only so-called adoption) the reigning Bernadotte dynasty with the former royal house of Holstein-Gottorp.

Public life

Gustaf V was the last Swedish king to intervene directly in the politics of the country (in 1914 on the disputes over defence budgets). He was a conservative man, who did not approve of the democratic movement and the demands for workers' rights. Gustaf V was also the last Swedish King to be Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces (between 1907 and 1939).

Gustaf V was considered to have German sympathies during World War I. His political stance during the war was highly influenced by his domineering wife, who felt a strong connection to her German homeland. On 18 December 1914, he sponsored a meeting with the other two Kings of Scandinavia to demonstrate unity within and between the Scandinavian countries. Another of Gustaf V's objectives with this three-King conference was to dispel suspicions that he wanted to bring Sweden into the war on Germany's side.

Nazi sympathies

Both the King and his grandson Prince Gustav Adolf, socialized with certain Nazi leaders before World War II, though arguably for diplomatic purposes. Gustaf V attempted to convince Hitler during a visit to Berlin to soften his persecution of the Jews, according to historian Jörgen Weibull. [1] He was also noted for appealing to the leader of Hungary to save its Jews "in the name of humanity." [2] At the behest of American President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gustaf V appealed to Hitler for peace negotiations in 1938, "in the interest of peace". [3]

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in October 1941, Gustaf V tried to write a private letter to Hitler thanking him for taking care of the "Bolshevik pest" and congratulating him on his "already achieved victories". [4] He was stopped from doing so by the Prime Minister Hansson. Nevertheless, the King sent the message to Hitler (through a telegram by the German embassy in Stockholm) behind the back of the Government.

The 1941 Threat of Abdication

According to Prime Minister Hansson the King had, during a private conversation, threatened to abdicate if the Government did not approve of the German request for permission to transfer one armed division ‚Äď the Engelbrecht Division ‚Äď through Swedish territory from northern Norway to northern Finland in June 1941. The accuracy of this claim is debated, and the King's stated intention (if he did in fact make this threat) was to avoid conflict with Germany. [5]

However, confirmation of the King's action is contained in German Foreign Policy documents captured at the end of the war. On 25 June 1941, the German Minister in Stockholm sent a "Most Urgent-Top Secret" message to Berlin in which he stated that the King had just informed him that the transit of German troops would be allowed. He added:

The King's words conveyed the joyful emotion he felt. He had lived through anxious days and had gone far in giving his personal support to the matter. He added confidentially that he had found it necessary to go so far as to mention his abdication. [6]

According to Ernst Wigforss, both Gustaf V and Prince Gustav Adolf attempted to persuade the Swedish Government to allow the Allies to transport troops through Sweden, though this was rejected by the Government because it was felt it would cause retributions from Germany. [7]

Personal life

Swedish Royalty
House of Bernadotte
Bernadotte coa.svg
Charles XIV John
   Oscar I
Oscar I
   Charles XV
   Gustaf, Duke of Upland
   Oscar II
   Princess Eugenie
   August, Duke of Dalarna
Charles XV
   Lovisa, Queen of Denmark
   Carl Oscar, Duke of S√∂dermanland
Oscar II
   Gustaf V
   Oscar, Duke of Gotland
   Eug√©n, Duke of N√§rke
   Carl, Duke of V√§sterg√∂tland
   Princess Margaretha
   M√§rtha, Crown Princess of Norway
   Astrid, Queen of Belgium
   Carl, Duke of √Ėsterg√∂tland
Gustaf V
   Gustaf VI Adolf
   Vilhelm, Duke of S√∂dermanland
   Erik, Duke of V√§stmanland
Gustaf VI Adolf
   Gustaf Adolf, Duke of V√§sterbotten
   Sigvard, Duke of Uppland
   Ingrid, Queen of Denmark
   Bertil, Duke of Halland
   Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna
   Princess Margaretha
   Princess Birgitta
   Princess D√©sir√©e
   Princess Christina
   Carl XVI Gustaf
Carl XVI Gustaf
   Crown Princess Victoria
   Carl Philip, Duke of V√§rmland
    Madeleine, Duchess of H√§lsingland and G√§strikland

Gustaf V was tall and thin. He wore pince-nez eyeglasses and sported a pointed mustache for most of his teen years.

Gustaf V was a devoted tennis player, appearing under the pseudonym Mr G. As a player and promoter of the sport, he was elected in to the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1980. The King learned the sport during a visit in Britain in 1876 and founded Sweden's first tennis club on his return home. In 1936 he founded the King's Club. During his reign, Gustaf was often seen playing on the Riviera. On a visit to Berlin, Gustaf went straight from a meeting with Hitler to a tennis match with the Jewish player Daniel Prenn. [8] During World War II, he interceded to obtain better treatment for Davis Cup stars Jean Borotra of France and Gottfried von Cramm of Germany, who had been imprisoned by the German Government.


Allegations of a homosexual affair made the Court pay Kurt Haijby at least 170,000 crowns. [9] This later led to the Haijby affair. No other evidence has ever been presented to support the allegations.

Styles and titles

Gustaf V was the 1,062nd Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain, the 828th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1905 and the 216th Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.


King Gustaf V died in Stockholm in 1950.

Image gallery


Name Birth Death Notes
King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden 11 November 1882 15 September 1973 married 1) Princess Margaret of Connaught (1882-1920), had issue (four sons, one daughter) , married 2) Lady Louise Mountbatten (1889-1965), had issue (a stillborn daughter)
Prince Vilhelm of Sweden, Duke of Södermanland 17 June 1884 5 June 1965 married Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (1890-1958), had issue
Prince Erik of Sweden, Duke of Västmanland 20 April 1889 20 September 1918 died unmarried of the Spanish Flu, no issue


16. Jean Henri Bernadotte
8. Charles XIV John of Sweden
17. Jeanne de Saint Vincent
4. Oscar I of Sweden
18. François Clary
9. Désirée Clary
19. Françoise Rose Somis
2. Oscar II of Sweden
20. Alexandre, vicomte de Beauharnais
10. Eugène de Beauharnais
21. Joséphine Tascher de la Pagerie
5. Josephine of Leuchtenberg
22. Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
11. Princess Augusta of Bavaria
23. Augusta Wilhelmine of Hesse-Darmstadt
1. Gustaf V of Sweden
24. Karl Christian of Nassau-Weilburg
12. Frederick William, Prince of Nassau-Weilburg
25. Princess Carolina of Orange-Nassau
6. William, Duke of Nassau
26. Wilhelm Georg, Burgrave of Kirchberg
13. Burgravine Louise Isabelle of Kirchberg
27. Princess Isabella Auguste of Reuss
3. Sofia of Nassau
28. Frederick I of W√ľrttemberg
14. Prince Paul of W√ľrttemberg
29. Augusta of Brunswick-Wolfenb√ľttel
7. Princess Pauline of W√ľrttemberg
30. Frederick, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg
15. Katharina Charlotte of Saxe-Hildburghausen
31. Duchess Charlotte Georgine of Mecklenburg-Strelitz


  1. ^ Bernadottes on Sweden's Throne
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Dagens Nyheter 070729 [3]
  5. ^ Hansson (Wahlbäck, Regeringen och kriget. Ur statsrådens dagböcker 1939-41) [4]
  6. ^ Documents of German Foreign Policy 1918-1945 Series D Volume XIII The War Years 23 June 1941 ‚Äď 11 December 1941, Published in UK by HMSO and in US By Government Printing Office.
  7. ^ [5]
  8. ^ [6]
  9. ^ Heumann, Maths (1978) (in Swedish). R√§ttsaff√§rerna Kejne och Haijby. Stockholm: Norstedt. ISBN 91-1-787202-2.  
  1. Opener of the 1912 Summer Olympics

External links

Gustaf V
Born: 16 June 1858 Died: 29 October 1950
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Oscar II
King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Gustaf VI Adolf
Preceded by
Carl Adolf
Duke of Värmland
Title next held by
Carl Philip of Sweden

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