Gustaf V 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 second-longest reigning after Magnus IV. He was also the last Swedish monarch to exercise his royal prerogatives and 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. Following his death at age 92, he was implicated as a homosexual in the Haijby affair and his supposed lover – career criminal and accused pedophile Kurt Haijby – was imprisoned in 1952 for blackmail of the court in the 1930s. An avid hunter and sportsman, he presided over the 1912 Olympic Games, most notably, he represented Sweden as a competitive tennis player, keeping up competitive tennis until his 80s, when his eyesight deteriorated rapidly. He died from flu complications and was succeed by his son, Gustaf V was born in Drottningholm Palace in Ekerö, Stockholm County, the son of Prince Oscar and Princess Sofia. At birth Gustaf was created Duke of Värmland, upon his fathers 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, on 20 September 1881 he married Princess Victoria of Baden in Karlsruhe, Germany. She was the granddaughter of Princess Sophie of Sweden, and her marriage to Gustaf V united, by a blood link. When he ascended the throne, Gustaf V was, at least on paper, 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 forced to accept a government chosen by the majority in Parliament in 1905. Since then, prime ministers had been according to parliamentary support. 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 Staaffs defence policy, in February 1914, a large crowd of farmers gathered at the royal palace and demanded that the countrys defences be strengthened. In his reply, the so-called Courtyard Speech—which was actually written by explorer Sven Hedin, Staaff was outraged, telling the king 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 in its place, to date, it is the last time that a Swedish king directly intervened in the governing of the country
Image: Gustaf V färgfoto
Gustaf V on an award silver medal for horse breeding. Artist: Johan Adolf Lindberg.