Queen Silvia of Sweden


Silvia (born Silvia Renate Sommerlath; 23 December 1943) is the queen of Sweden as the spouse of King Carl XVI Gustaf. She has held this title since her marriage to the king in 1976. She is the mother of the heir apparent to the throne, Crown Princess Victoria.

Silvia
Queen Silvia, 8 June 2013
Queen consort of Sweden
Tenure19 June 1976 – present
BornSilvia Renate Sommerlath
(1943-12-23) 23 December 1943 (age 77)
Heidelberg, Germany
Spouse
(m. 1976)
Issue
FatherWalther Sommerlath
MotherAlice Soares de Toledo
ReligionChurch of Sweden
Signature

Childhood and parentage


Silvia Renate Sommerlath was born in Heidelberg, Germany, on 23 December 1943,[1] the only daughter of Alice (née Soares de Toledo) and Walther Sommerlath. Her father was German and her mother was Brazilian.[2]

She has one older brother: Ralf Sommerlath (born 1929). Her other brothers were Walther Sommerlath, who died in 2020, and Jörg Sommerlath, who died in 2006. The Mother-Child House Jörg Sommerlath in Berlin, operated by Queen Silvia's World Childhood Foundation,[3] is named after her brother.[citation needed]

She attended high school in Düsseldorf, graduating in 1963; and she attended the Munich School of Interpreting from 1965 to 1969, majoring in Spanish.[1]

She has some fluency in Swedish Sign Language, a national sign language used by the deaf community in Sweden.[4] She is a trained interpreter and Swedish is her sixth language. She speaks her native German, her mother's language of Portuguese, as well as French, Spanish, and English.[2]

Marriage and family


During the 1972 Summer Olympics, Silvia Sommerlath met Crown Prince Carl Gustaf. At the time, she was leading a marketing campaign for the city of Munich. Sommerlath and the other Olympic hostesses wore sky-blue dirndls to promote Bavarian cultural identity.[5][6][7][8] After the death of King Gustaf VI Adolf on 15 September 1973, Carl XVI Gustaf succeeded to the throne.

He and Silvia announced their engagement on 12 March 1976 and were married three months later, on 19 June in Stockholm Cathedral ("Storkyrkan Cathedral") in Stockholm.[9] It was the first marriage of a reigning Swedish monarch since 1797. The wedding was preceded, the evening before, by a Royal Variety Performance, where the Swedish musical group ABBA performed "Dancing Queen" for the very first time, as a tribute to Sweden's future queen.[10][11]

The King and Queen of Sweden have three children and eight grandchildren:

In February 2021, Silvia was taken to hospital after she fractured her right wrist in a fall.[12]

Father's alleged Nazi links


In July 2002, the Queen was bothered by becoming the subject of international curiosity when an article published in the syndicalist newspaper Arbetaren reported that German state archives record that the Queen's father, Walther Sommerlath, joined the Nazi party's foreign wing, the NSDAP/AO, in 1934, when he was living in Brazil and working for a German steel company.[13] In December 2010, Queen Silvia wrote a letter of complaint to Jan Scherman, the CEO of TV4, the network that had aired a documentary about her father's alleged Nazi past.[14]

Queen Silvia commissioned a report from World War II expert Erik Norberg, a choice which was criticized due to Norberg having ties to the royal family. In his report, Norberg argued that the Queen's father had in fact helped the owner of the steel-fabrication plant, a Jewish businessperson, escape from Germany by taking over the factory.[15] In a December 2011 interview for Channel 1 with Sweden's public service broadcaster Sveriges Television, Silvia called media's handling of the information about her father "character assassination".[16]

Charity involvement


Queen Silvia in Oslo during the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden

Queen Silvia established Mentor International in 1994 in collaboration with the World Health Organization. Her vision was to offer mentoring as inspiration, empowerment, and motivation for young people to make healthy life choices and view their futures more positively. Mentor's work has been recognized by the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime, the Organization of American States, and the Council of Europe. She is now an honorary board member of Mentor Foundation.[17]

She was also a co-founder of the World Childhood Foundation in 1999, having been inspired by her work as Patron of the first World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm.[18] She has also been involved in the Global Child Forum, which she helped initiate, as a keynote speaker in several forums.[19][20]

Her commitment to the work with dementia and the care of the elderly at the end of life is also well known and respected. On her initiative, Silviahemmet was established in Stockholm. It works to educate hospital personnel in how to work with people suffering from dementia, and also initiates research in the area.[21]

She chairs the Royal Wedding Fund, which supports research in sports and athletics for disabled young people[22] and the Queen Silvia Jubilee Fund for research on children and disability.[22]

Queen Silvia holds honorary positions in the Swedish Amateur Athletic Association, the Children's Cancer Foundation of Sweden and Save the Children Sweden.[22]

Honours and arms


Styles of
Queen Silvia as consort
Reference styleHer Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty

National

Foreign

Awards

References


  1. "Biography – Sveriges Kungahus" (in Swedish). Kungahuset.se. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  2. Weinraub, Bernard (15 March 1976). "Swedish King's Fiancee: Silvia Renate Sommerlath". TimesMachine. NYTimes.com. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  3. "Startpage". Childhood. Archived from the original on 9 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  4. "Essener LVR-Schule zu Gast bei Königin Silvia von Schweden" [Students of an LVR School in Essen visit Queen Silvia of Sweden] (in German). 8 April 2009. Archived from the original on 25 April 2010. Retrieved 7 April 2010.
  5. Eddy, Melissa (28 September 2013). "Dirndl, Dress of Past, Makes a Comeback in Bavaria". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  6. Gerlach, Franziska (4 September 2015). "Die Macht der Tracht". Süddeutsche Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 13 August 2020.
  7. Horn, Heather (20 September 2015). "The Devil Wears a Dirndl". The Atlantic. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  8. Strassmair, Michaela (September 2019). "Typisch Oktoberfest? Darum gehört ein Dirndl eigentlich nicht auf die Wiesn". www.focus.de (in German). Retrieved 9 May 2020.
  9. Kilborn, Peter (20 June 1976). "Swedish Monarch Marries German as 150,000 Turn Out". The New York Times. p. 3. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  10. "Retro Romance: Sweden's Dancing Queen Silivia". Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
  11. Dancing Queen Royal Swedish Opera by ABBA World Hit Song Track Theatrical Stage Act Video on YouTube
  12. Stacey, Danielle (15 February 2021). "Queen Silvia of Sweden injured after accident at home". Hello!. Retrieved 17 February 2021.
  13. Berlin, Allan Hall in. "Swedish queen's family 'made fortune from Jewish factory seized by Nazis'". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  14. "Silvia klagade på naziprogram – i brev till TV 4:s vd". Aftonbladet. 31 December 2010.
  15. "Swedish queen's report denies father had Nazi links". BBC News. 9 August 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  16. Åter med kungafamiljen, SvT Channel 1, 29 December 2011.
  17. "ECEB Mentoring – A mentoring programme in the spotlight: Mentor International". www.ecebmentoring.eu. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  18. "Startpage". Childhood. Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  19. "Queen Silvia of Sweden and HRH Princess Haya open Global Child Forum". Emirates News Agency. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  20. Persson, Joakim (10 May 2016). "Queen Silvia of Sweden closes Global Child Forum". ScandAsia. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  21. "History". Silvia Hemmet.
  22. "Queen Silvia – Royal Engagements". Kungahuset.
  23. "Reply to a parliamentary question about the Decoration of Honour" (PDF) (in German). p. 551. Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  24. "Sveriges Kungahus – Sveriges Kungahus". www.kungahuset.se (in Swedish). Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  25. "Vabariigi President". President.ee. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
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  27. Swedish Royal Website (Swedish), Gala dinner with photos 1-6-7
  28. Gala dinner during the state visit of Greek President Karolos Papoulias (21 May 2008)
  29. "Fálkaorðuhafar". Falkadb.forseti.is. 26 October 1981. Archived from the original on 13 March 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  30. Italian Presidency website, S.M. Silvia la Regina di Svezia Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine, Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italian
  31. vestnesis.lv. "Par Atzinības krusta piešķiršanu – Latvijas Vēstnesis". www.vestnesis.lv (in Latvian). Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  32. "Lietuvos Respublikos Prezidentė" (in Lithuanian). Lrp.lt. Archived from the original on 19 April 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  33. "Lithuanian president: Swedish royal visit is consolidation of bonds between the countries – News in English – LRT". Lrt.lt. 8 October 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  34. Swedish Royal website, kungahuset.se; accessed 7 April 2016. (in Swedish)
    State visit of Grand-Dukes of Luxembourg in Sweden, gala dinner (15 April 2008)
  35. "Visite d´Etat en Suède – Cour Grand-Ducale de Luxembourg – Avril 2008". Monarchie.lu. 15 April 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  36. "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang, dan Pingat Persekutuan".
  37. Portuguese Presidency Website, Orders search form Archived 17 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine : type "RAINHA SÍLVIA" in "nome", then click "Pesquisar"
  38. Portuguese Presidency, King Carl XVI receives the Grand Collar of the Order of Saint James of the Sword and Queen Silvia receives the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry : Photo.
  39. Recipients of Order of the Star of Romania (Excel file) Archived 3 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine, canord.presidency.ro; accessed 7 April 2015. (in Romanian)
  40. PPE Agency Photo among gala dinner gallery, ppe-agency.com; accessed 7 April 2016.
  41. Boletín Oficial del Estado, boe.es; accessed 7 April 2016. (in Spanish)
  42. "Statsbesök från Tunisien – dag 1 – Sveriges Kungahus". Kungahuset.se. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  43. Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise, zakon1.rada.gov.ua; accessed 7 April 2016.(in Ukrainian)
  44. "Photographic image" (JPG). Content.foreningshuset.se. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  45. "Photographic image" (JPG). Content.foreningshuset.se. Retrieved 7 April 2016.