Gustaf V of Sweden

Last updated

Gustaf V
Gustaf V fargfoto.jpg
King of Sweden
Reign8 December 1907 – 29 October 1950
Predecessor Oscar II
Successor Gustaf VI Adolf
Prime Ministers
Born(1858-06-16)16 June 1858
Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Died29 October 1950(1950-10-29) (aged 92)
Drottningholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Burial9 November 1950
Spouse
Victoria of Baden
(m. 1881;died 1930)
Issue Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden
Prince Vilhelm, Duke of Södermanland
Prince Erik, Duke of Västmanland
Full name
Oscar Gustaf Adolf
House Bernadotte
Father Oscar II of Sweden
Mother Sophia of Nassau
Religion Church of Sweden
Gustaf V on an award silver medal for horse breeding. Artist: Johan Adolf Lindberg. Sweden's Horse Award Silver Medal, obverse.jpg
Gustaf V on an award silver medal for horse breeding. Artist: Johan Adolf Lindberg.

Gustaf V (Oscar Gustaf Adolf; 16 June 1858 – 29 October 1950) was King of Sweden from 1907 until his death in 1950. He was the eldest son of King Oscar II of Sweden and Sophia of Nassau, a half-sister of Adolphe, Grand Duke of Luxembourg. Reigning from the death of his father Oscar II in 1907 until his own death 43 years later, he holds the record of being the oldest monarch of Sweden and the third-longest reigning after Magnus IV and Carl XVI Gustaf. He was also the last Swedish monarch to exercise his royal prerogatives, which largely died with him, although formally abolished only with the remaking of the Swedish constitution in 1974. He was the first Swedish king since the High Middle Ages not to have a coronation and hence never wore a crown, a tradition continuing to date.

Contents

Gustaf's early reign saw the rise of parliamentary rule in Sweden, although the leadup to World War I pre-empted his overthrow of Liberal Prime Minister Karl Staaff in 1914, replacing him with his own figurehead Hjalmar Hammarskjöld (father of Dag Hammarskjöld) for most of the war. However, after the Liberals and Social Democrats secured a parliamentary majority under Staaff's successor, Nils Edén, he allowed Edén to form a new government which de facto stripped the monarchy of all virtual powers and enacted universal and equal suffrage, including for women, by 1919. Bowing fully to the principles of parliamentary democracy, he remained a popular figurehead for the remaining 31 years of his rule, although not completely without influence – during World War II he allegedly urged Per Albin Hansson's coalition government to accept requests from Nazi Germany for logistics support, refusing which might have provoked an invasion. This remains controversial to date, although he is not known to have shown much support for fascism or radical nationalism; his pro-German and anti-Communist stance was well known also in World War I.

Following his death at age 92, he was implicated in a homosexual affair in the Haijby affair. His alleged lover Kurt Haijby was imprisoned in 1952 for blackmail of the court in the 1930s. (Homosexuality was a criminal offense in Sweden until 1944, though Gustaf's position would have granted automatic immunity.) An avid hunter and sportsman, he presided over the 1912 Olympic Games and chaired the Swedish Association of Sports from 1897 to 1907. Most notably, he represented Sweden (under the alias of Mr G.) as a competitive tennis player, keeping up competitive tennis until his 80s, when his eyesight deteriorated rapidly. [1] [2] He died from flu complications and was succeeded by his son, Gustaf VI Adolf.

Early life

Gustaf V was born in Drottningholm Palace in Ekerö, Stockholm County, the son of Prince Oscar and Princess Sofia of Nassau. At birth Gustaf was created Duke of Värmland. Upon his father's accession to the throne in 1872, Gustaf became crown prince of both Sweden and Norway. On 8 December 1907, he succeeded his father on the Swedish throne, which had been separated from the Norwegian throne two years earlier.[ citation needed ]

On 20 September 1881 he married Princess Victoria of Baden in Karlsruhe, Germany. She was the granddaughter of Sophie, Grand Duchess of Baden, the daughter of deposed Gustav IV Adolf of Vasa Dynasty. Victoria's marriage to Gustaf V united the reigning Bernadotte dynasty with the former royal house of Holstein-Gottorp, and thus was popular throughout Sweden. [ citation needed ]

Public life

Meeting of the three kings in Malmo, 18 December 1914: Haakon VII of Norway, Gustaf V, and Christian X of Denmark. Meeting of Scandinavian kings.jpeg
Meeting of the three kings in Malmö, 18 December 1914: Haakon VII of Norway, Gustaf V, and Christian X of Denmark.

When he ascended the throne, Gustaf V was, at least on paper, a near-autocrat. The 1809 Instrument of Government made the king both head of state and head of government, and ministers were solely responsible to him. However, his father had been forced to accept a government chosen by the majority in Parliament in 1905. Since then, prime ministers had been chosen according to parliamentary support.[ citation needed ]

At first, Gustaf V seemed to be willing to accept parliamentary rule. After the Liberals won a massive landslide in 1911, Gustaf appointed Liberal leader Karl Staaff as Prime Minister. However, during the runup to World War I, the elites objected to Staaff's defence policy. In February 1914, a large crowd of farmers gathered at the royal palace and demanded that the country's defences be strengthened. In his reply, the so-called Courtyard Speech—which was actually written by explorer Sven Hedin, an ardent conservative—Gustaf promised to strengthen the country's defences. Staaff was outraged, telling the king that parliamentary rule called for the Crown to stay out of partisan politics. He was also angered that he had not been consulted in advance of the speech. However, Gustaf retorted that he still had the right to "communicate freely with the Swedish people." The Staaff government resigned in protest, and Gustaf appointed a government of civil servants headed by Hjalmar Hammarskjöld (father of future UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld) in its place.

The 1917 elections showed a heavy gain for the Liberals and Social Democrats. Despite this, Gustaf initially tried to appoint a Conservative government headed by Johan Widén. However, Widén was unable to attract enough support for a coalition. It was now apparent that Gustaf could no longer appoint a government entirely of his own choosing, nor could he keep a government in office against the will of Parliament. With no choice but to appoint a Liberal as prime minister, he appointed a Liberal-Social Democratic coalition government headed by Staaff's successor as Liberal leader, Nils Edén. The Edén government promptly arrogated most of the king's political powers to itself and enacted numerous reforms, most notably the institution of complete (male and female) universal suffrage in 1918–1919. While Gustaf still formally appointed the ministers, they now had to have the confidence of Parliament. He was now also bound to act on the ministers' advice. Although the provision in the Instrument of Government stating that "the King alone shall govern the realm" remained unchanged, the king was now bound by convention to exercise his powers through the ministers. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the ministers did the actual governing. In turn, while the Instrument of Government made the ministers legally responsible to the Riksdag, it was now understood that they were politically responsible to the Riksdag as well. Gustaf accepted his reduced role, and reigned for the rest of his life as a model limited constitutional monarch. Parliamentarianism had become a de facto reality in Sweden, even if it would not be formalized until 1974, when a new Instrument of Government stripped the monarchy of even nominal political power.

Gustaf V was considered to have German sympathies during World War I. His political stance during the war was highly influenced by his wife, who felt a strong connection to her German homeland. On 18 December 1914, he sponsored a meeting in Malmö with the other two kings of Scandinavia to demonstrate unity. Another of Gustaf V's objectives was to dispel suspicions that he wanted to bring Sweden into the war on Germany's side.[ citation needed ]

Although effectively stripped of political power, Gustaf was not completely without influence. In 1938, for instance, he personally summoned the German ambassador to Sweden and told him that if Hitler attacked Czechoslovakia over its refusal to give up the Sudetenland, it would trigger a world war that Germany would almost certainly lose. [3] Additionally, his long reign gave him great moral authority as a symbol of the nation's unity.

Nazi sympathies

Prince Gustav Adolf, Hermann Goring, and King Gustaf V in Berlin, February 1939 Gustavgoring1939.JPG
Prince Gustav Adolf, Hermann Göring, and King Gustaf V in Berlin, February 1939

Both the King and his grandson Prince Gustav Adolf socialized with 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. He was also noted for appealing to the leader of Hungary to save its Jews "in the name of humanity."

When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 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.[ citation needed ]

During WWII Gustav invited Swedish Nazi leader Sven Olov Lindholm to Stockholm Palace. It is now known[ by whom? ] that the Swedish king in secret had friendships in Lindholm's Nazi movement. [5] [6] [7]

Midsummer crisis 1941

According to Prime Minister Per Albin Hansson during the Midsummer crisis, the King in a private conversation had threatened to abdicate if the Government did not approve a German request to transfer a fighting infantry division – the so-called Engelbrecht Division – through Swedish territory from southern Norway to northern Finland in June 1941, around Midsummer. The accuracy of this claim is debated, and the King's intention (if he did in fact make this threat) is sometimes alleged to be his desire to avoid conflict with Germany. This event has later received considerable attention from Swedish historians and is known as midsommarkrisen, the Midsummer Crisis. [8]

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. [9]

Personal life

Tennis shoes worn by Gustaf V. Tennisskor - Livrustkammaren - 6299.tif
Tennis shoes worn by Gustaf V.

Gustaf V was thin, and famed for his great height. 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 into 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. 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.

Haijby affair

Allegations of a love affair between Gustav and Kurt Haijby led to the court paying 170,000 kronor under threat of blackmail by Haijby. This led to the so-called Haijby affair and several criticized trials and convictions against Haijby which spawned considerable controversy about Gustav's alleged homosexuality. [10]

Death

After a reign of nearly 43 years, King Gustaf V died in Stockholm, due to flu complications on 29 October 1950. His 68-year-old son Gustav succeeded him as Gustav VI Adolf.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

Honours

National honours [11]
Foreign honours [13]

Arms

Upon his creation as Duke of Värmland, Gustaf V was granted a coat of arms with the Arms of Värmland in base. Upon his accession to the throne, he assumed the Arms of Dominion of Sweden.

Issue

NameBirthDeathNotes
King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden 11 November 188215 September 1973Married 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 18845 June 1965Married Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna of Russia (1890–1958), had issue
Prince Erik of Sweden, Duke of Västmanland 20 April 188920 September 1918Died unmarried of the Spanish flu, no issue

Swedish author Anders Lundebeck (1900-1976) allegedly was an extramarital son of King Gustaf V, [22] an allegation purported by Lundebeck himself and to some extent supported by existing facts. [23]

Ancestry

Related Research Articles

Charles XV of Sweden King of Sweden and Norway

Charles XV also Carl ; Swedish: Karl XV and Norwegian: Karl IV was King of Sweden and Norway from 1859 until his death. Though known as King Charles XV in Sweden, he was actually the ninth Swedish king by that name, as his predecessor Charles IX had adopted a numeral according to a fictitious history of Sweden.

Margrethe II of Denmark Queen of Denmark

Margrethe II is Queen of Denmark, as well as the supreme authority of the Church of Denmark and commander-in-chief of the Danish Defence. Born into the House of Glücksburg, a royal house with origins in northern Germany, she was the eldest child of Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden. She became heir presumptive to her father in 1953, when a constitutional amendment allowed women to inherit the throne.

Haakon VII of Norway King of Norway

Haakon VII was the King of Norway from 1905 until his death in 1957.

Olav V of Norway King of Norway

Olav V was King of Norway from 1957 until his death.

Harald V of Norway King of Norway

Harald V is the King of Norway, having ascended the throne upon the death of his father King Olav V on 17 January 1991.

Oscar II of Sweden King of Sweden

Oscar II was the King of Sweden from 1872 until his death, and was also the final King of Norway from the House of Bernadotte until being deposed in 1905.

Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden King of Sweden

Carl XVI Gustaf is King of Sweden. He ascended the throne on the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf, on 15 September 1973.

Queen Silvia of Sweden Queen consort of Sweden

Queen Silvia of Sweden is the spouse of King Carl XVI Gustaf and mother of the heir apparent to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria. In 2011, Silvia became the longest-serving queen of Sweden, a record previously held by Sophia of Nassau.

Frederick IX of Denmark King of Denmark

Frederick IX was King of Denmark from 1947 to 1972.

Ingrid of Sweden Queen consort of Denmark

Ingrid of Sweden was Queen of Denmark from 1947 until 1972 as the wife of King Frederick IX.

Monarchy of Sweden Rulers of Sweden

The Monarchy of Sweden concerns the monarchical head of state of Sweden, which is a constitutional and hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary system. The Kingdom of Sweden has been a monarchy since time immemorial. Originally an elective monarchy, it became an hereditary monarchy in the 16th century during the reign of Gustav Vasa, though virtually all monarchs before that belonged to a limited and small number of families which are considered to be the royal dynasties of Sweden.

Order of the Falcon national order of Iceland

The Order of the Falcon is the only order of chivalry in Iceland, founded by King Christian X of Denmark and Iceland on 3 July 1921. The award is awarded for merit for Iceland and humanity and has five degrees. Nowadays, appointments are made on the nomination of the President of Iceland and that of a "five-member council".

Prince Carl Philip, Duke of Värmland Duke of Värmland

Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, Duke of Värmland, is the only son and the second of three children of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. As of 2016, Prince Carl Philip is fourth in the line of succession, after his older sister, Crown Princess Victoria, his niece and goddaughter Princess Estelle, and his nephew Prince Oscar. He lives with his wife, Princess Sofia, and two sons, Prince Alexander and Prince Gabriel, in Villa Solbacken in central Stockholm.

Frederick I, Grand Duke of Baden Grand Duke of Baden

Frederick I was the sovereign Grand Duke of Baden, reigning from 1856 to 1907.

The Courtyard Crisis was a constitutional conflict between the Swedish king and prime minister and significant event in Swedish 20th-century history, marking the last time the Monarch of Sweden directly intervened in a controversial partisan political issue, as was done by the King Gustaf V through the Courtyard Speech at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 6 February 1914, in front of 32 000 assembled farmers from all over the country, in which he argued for higher military spending.

Order of Vasa Swedish order of chivalry

The Royal Order of Vasa is a Swedish order of chivalry, awarded to citizens of Sweden for service to state and society especially in the fields of agriculture, mining and commerce. It was instituted on 29 May 1772 by King Gustav III. It was unrestricted by birth or education and could therefore be awarded to anyone. It was the most junior of all the Swedish orders. It was often awarded to Norwegian subjects of the dual monarchy until Oscar I founded the Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1847. Since 1974 the order is no longer conferred: officially it has been declared as "dormant", along with the Order of the Sword.

Carl August Ehrensvärd (1858–1944) Swedish count and admiral

Count Carl August Ehrensvärd was a Swedish Navy admiral, politician and Minister for Naval Affairs 1907–1911.

Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden King of Sweden

Gustaf VI Adolf was King of Sweden from 29 October 1950 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Gustaf V and his wife, Victoria of Baden, and had been Crown Prince of Sweden for the preceding 43 years in the reign of his father. Not long before his death at age 90, he approved the constitutional changes which removed the Swedish monarchy's last nominal political powers. He was a lifelong amateur archeologist particularly interested in Ancient Italian cultures.

Carl Gustaf Hammarskjöld Swedish military officer and politician

General Carl Gustaf Valdemar Hammarskjöld was a Swedish Army officer and conservative politician.

References

  1. http://www.ne.se/lang/gustaf-v
  2. http://www.ne.se/lang/haijbyaff%C3%A4ren
  3. William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (Touchstone Edition) (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990)
  4. Dagens Nyheter 070729 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2007.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. https://www.svd.se/karaktarsmord-pa-doda-svenskar
  6. Gustaf V och andra Världskriget. Carlsson, Erik. 2007. ISBN   9789185057887
  7. Operation Norrsken: Om Stasi och Sverige under kalla kriget, av Christoph Andersson
  8. Hansson (Wahlbäck, Regeringen och kriget. Ur statsrådens dagböcker 1939–41)
  9. Documents of German Foreign Policy 1918–1945 Series D Volume XIII The War Years 23 June 1941 – 11 December 1941, Published in UK by HMSO and in US By Government Printing Office.
  10. Heumann, Maths (1978). Rättsaffärerna Kejne och Haijby (in Swedish). Stockholm: Norstedt. ISBN   91-1-787202-2.
  11. "Sveriges statskalender (1905) p. 438" (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 January 2018 via runeberg.org.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Justus Perthes, Almanach de Gotha 1913 (1913) page 99
  13. "Sveriges statskalender (1950), II, p. 5" (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 January 2018 via runeberg.org.
  14. "Sveriges och Norges statskalender (1870) p. 690" (in Swedish). Retrieved 6 January 2018 via runeberg.org.
  15. "The Order of the Norwegian Lion", The Royal House of Norway. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  16. Jørgen Pedersen (2009). Riddere af Elefantordenen, 1559–2009 (in Danish). Syddansk Universitetsforlag. p. 471. ISBN   978-87-7674-434-2.
  17. "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  18. Boettger, T. F. "Chevaliers de la Toisón d'Or - Knights of the Golden Fleece". La Confrérie Amicale. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  19. "No. 27286". The London Gazette . 19 February 1901. p. 1226.
  20. "Garter Knights Meet in Splendid Ceremony ... King Haakon is Invested," New York Times. 25 November 1906
  21. "No. 28134". The London Gazette . 5 May 1908. p. 3311.
  22. Article 2009-10-02 Om två uteblivna Nobelpris by Ivo Holmqvist in Dixikon (sponsored by the Swedish Arts Council)
  23. Sir Gustaf von Platen in Bakom den gyllene fasaden Bonniers ISBN   91-0-058048-1 p 35
Gustaf V
Born: 16 June 1858 Died: 29 October 1950
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Oscar II
King of Sweden
1907–1950
Succeeded by
Gustaf VI Adolf
Royal titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Charles
Crown Prince of Sweden
1872–1907
Succeeded by
Gustaf Adolf
Crown Prince of Norway
1872–1905
Succeeded by
Olav
Vacant
Title last held by
Carl Adolf
Duke of Värmland
1858–1907
Vacant
Title next held by
Carl Philip
Political offices
Vacant
Title last held by
Carl
Viceroy of Norway
1884
Vacant
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Sir Cyril Newall
Cover of Time magazine
30 October 1939
Succeeded by
Tom Harmon