He is son of then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha. He was baptised at the Palace Church on 7 June 1946 and named Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus.
The King has four older sisters: the Princesses Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée and Christina. His father Prince Gustaf Adolf died in a plane crash in 1947 in Copenhagen. Princess Sibylla died in Stockholm in 1972.
With the accession of Gustaf VI Adolf to the throne in 1950, following the death of Gustaf V, the four-year-old Carl Gustaf became Crown Prince.
Crown Prince Carl Gustaf became the Swedish Head of State at the age of 27, following the death of King Gustaf VI Adolf, who died on 15 September 1973.
The new King took "For Sweden - With the times" as his motto, thereby declaring his intention of meeting the demands of society on a modern monarch.
The Crown Prince was taught privately at the Royal Palace of Stockholm during his pre-school years. He started school in the autumn of 1952, attending Broms School followed by the Sigtuna Boarding School. He graduated from upper secondary school in 1966.
School was followed by military service. The Crown Prince completed two and a half years' training in the Army, Navy and Air Force, with a special emphasis on naval training. Amongst other military activities, he took part in a long voyage on the mine-laying vessel Älvsnabben in the winter of 1966-67.
The Crown Prince passed his Naval Officer Examination in 1968. He later completed a command course at the Swedish National Defence College and complemented his naval training with officer's duties on board various ships in the Swedish Navy.
In 1968 The Crown Prince began a one-year programme of academic studies comprising History, Sociology, Political Science, Financial Law and Economics at the University of Uppsala. Later he also studied Economics at the University of Stockholm.
The Crown Prince then followed a specially composed programme of field trips to national and local authorities, industries, factories, laboratories and schools.
He studied the Swedish judicial system, social welfare organisations and institutions, trade unions and employer associations, with a special emphasis on the work of the Riksdag (the Swedish Parliament), the Government and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
In order to acquire international experience The Crown Prince participated in the work of the Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations in New York and spent time working with SIDA (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) in Africa. He also spent considerable time in London - at Hambro Bank, the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Chamber of Commerce - and in France at the Alfa Laval plant in Nevers.
In addition, The Crown Prince represented Gustaf VI Adolf on a number of official occasions. In 1970, for example, he headed the Swedish delegation to the World Exposition in Osaka, Japan.
During the Olympic Games in Munich, Germany in 1972, The Crown Prince met Miss Silvia Renate Sommerlath.
She was working at the Games as an interpreter and hostess. Silvia Sommerlath was born in Heidelberg on 23 December 1943. She is the daughter of Walther Sommerlath and his Brazilian wife Alice, née de Toledo, both now deceased.
The engagement of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Silvia Sommerlath was officially announced on 12 March 1976. They were married three months later on 19 June 1976 at Stockholm Cathedral.
The Royal Family resided at the Royal Palace of Stockholm until 1981, when they moved to Drottningholm Palace.