Military Wiki
Carl XVI Gustaf
Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm in June 2010.
Preceded by Gustaf VI Adolf
Succeeded by Crown Princess Victoria
Personal details
Born 30 April 1946(1946-04-30) (age 76)
Haga Palace, Sweden
Spouse(s) Queen Silvia, née Sommerlath (m. 1976)
Religion Lutheranism

Carl XVI Gustaf (full name: Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus [ˈkʰɑːɭ ˈɡɵ̞stɑːv ˈfɔlˌke hɵ̞bɛˈʈɵ̞s], born 30 April 1946) is the reigning King of Sweden. On 15 September 1973, he succeeded his grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf. He is the only son of Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha.

The King's heir apparent, upon passage on 1 January 1980 of a new law establishing absolute primogeniture (the first such law passed in European history), is Crown Princess Victoria, the eldest child of the King and his wife, Queen Silvia.

Birth and early life

Carl Gustaf was born at the Haga Palace, Solna, in Stockholm County. He was christened at the Royal Chapel on 7 June 1946 by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Erling Eidem. His godparents were the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark (his paternal uncle and aunt), the Crown Prince of Norway, Princess Juliana of the Netherlands, the King of Sweden (his patrilineal great-grandfather), the Hereditary Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (his maternal uncle), the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Sweden (his paternal grandfather and stepgrandmother), and Count Folke and Countess Maria Bernadotte af Wisborg.

Prince Carl Gustaf was also given the title of the Duke of Jämtland.

His father, Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten, was killed in an airplane crash on 26 January 1947, at the Copenhagen Airport.

Youth and education

Prince Carl Gustaf was the youngest of five children and the only son of Sweden's Prince Gustaf Adolf and Princess Sibylla. His father's death had left the nine-month-old Prince second in line for the throne, behind his grandfather, then Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf. When his great-grandfather Gustaf V died in 1950, the four-year-old Prince became the heir apparent of Sweden.

In a speech[1] in 2005, the King expressed some of his feelings about growing up without having known his father. His sister, Princess Birgitta, elaborated on these feelings in an interview around the same time, commenting that their mother and the strict Swedish royal court of the time did not consider the emotional needs of Prince Gustaf Adolf's children. In that era, she said, tragedy was seldom discussed with children. "Children's questions were met with silence, children's anxiety and fear with the same silence."[citation needed]

As a result, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf was seven years old before he was told about his father's death. "It was Mother's way of handling the situation, to handle living her life. Of course it was not good for us children. It would have been much better to be able to speak about Father's death," continued Princess Birgitta. She said it had been difficult for the future King to come to grips with not having a father and of not having the same memories of him as his older sisters.[citation needed]

The 15-year old Crown Prince of Sweden looks at the recently recovered 17th century Vasa warship in 1961.

After graduating from high school, the Crown Prince completed two and a half years of education in the Royal Swedish Army, the Royal Swedish Navy, and the Royal Swedish Air Force. He received his commission as an officer in all three services in 1968, and he eventually rose to the rank of captain (in the army and air force) and lieutenant (in the navy), before he ascended to the throne. He has also completed his academic studies in history, sociology, political science, tax law, and economics at Uppsala University and Stockholm University.

To prepare for his role as the Head of State, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf followed a broad program of studies on the court system, social organizations and institutions, trade unions, and employers' associations. In addition, he closely studied the affairs of the Riksdag, Government, and Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The Crown Prince also spent time at the Swedish Mission to the United Nations and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), worked at a bank in London, at the Swedish Embassy in London, at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in France, and at the Alfa Laval Company factory in France.


On 15 September 1973, Carl Gustaf became King of Sweden upon the death of his grandfather, King Gustaf VI Adolf. He was invested as King, at the Hall of State of the Royal Palace of Stockholm on 19 September 1973. King Gustaf VI Adolf was the last who used the style By the Grace of God King of the Swedes, the Goths/Geats and the Wends (Swedish language: med Guds Nåde Sveriges, Götes och Wendes Konung

Latin language
Dei Gratia Suecorum, Gothorum et Vandalorum Rex). This traditional title had been in use since the establishment of the hereditary monarchy in 1544. Carl XVI Gustaf instead chose the plain and simple title King of Sweden (Swedish language: Sveriges Konung

), thereby ending a centuries-old tradition.[2]

Such innovations are reflected in his personal motto, "For Sweden – With the times"[3] (Swedish language: "För Sverige – I tiden" ).[4]

Regnal name

Royal Monogram

In the 16th century, Johannes Magnus construed a mythical line of Swedish kings, beginning with Magog, the son of Japheth, in an attempt to substantiate the antiquity of the Swedish throne. Based on that list, King Charles IX (reigned 1604 to 1611) adopted an exaggerated ordinal much higher than that warranted by any reliable historical accounting. Consequently, previous monarchs named Charles (Karl) have traditionally been numbered by counting backwards from Charles IX, though there only were two before him. Thus the current King of Sweden was proclaimed as Carl XVI Gustaf (sometimes in English as "Charles XVI", though he is never called that) even though he is only the tenth historical Swedish king named Carl (Karl, or Charles).[5]

Official duties

The King and Queen of Sweden welcomed at the Kremlin by Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila at the start of the King's State Visit to Russia, 8 October 2001.

The King's duties are, according to the 1974 Instrument of Government, only of a representative and ceremonial nature. The 1974 document stripped the King of most of his formal political powers while retaining him as head of state, thus codifying actual practices dating from the definitive establishment of parliamentary government in 1917. He no longer formally appoints the Prime Minister; that prerogative is now exercised by the Speaker of the Riksdag on the behalf of the Riksdag. Additionally, bills passed by the Riksdag do not need his signature to become law.

He pays State Visits abroad and receives those to Sweden, opens the Annual Session of the Riksdag, chairs the Special Council held during a change of Government, holds regular Information Councils with the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, chairs the meetings of the Foreign Affairs Council, and receives Letters of Credence of foreign ambassadors to Sweden and signs those of Sweden to foreign nations. As this type of figurehead, he also voluntarily abstains from voting in Swedish elections.[6]

King Carl Gustaf (ceremonially) holds the highest ranks in the three branches of the Swedish Armed Forces; this is due to the fact that he was, as stipulated by the 1809 Instrument of Government in effect at the time of his accession to the throne in 1973, the Commander in Chief of the armed forces of Sweden (§ 14) and therefore he was promoted ex officio from his earlier ranks of captain and lieutenant, to general and admiral. Under the provisions of the Instrument of Government of 1974, which became effective on 1 January 1975, King Carl Gustav no longer holds this constitutionally-mandated position of commander-in-chief, but he kept his ranks à la suite since he no longer has any military command authority, except over his military staff at his court.

Worldwide, Carl XVI Gustaf is probably best known as the presenter of the Nobel Prizes each year. He also hands over the Polar Music Prize. The King holds honorary doctoral degrees from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, the Royal Institute of Technology, the Stockholm School of Economics and from the Åbo Akademi University in Finland.

Personal interests

The King is passionate about the environment, technology, agriculture, trade, and industry.

Like many members of the Royal Family, the King has a keen interest in automobiles. He owns several Porsche 911s – a car model which is said to be a particular favourite of the King – as well as a vintage Volvo PV444, a Ferrari 456M GT, an authentic AC Cobra and other cars.[7] The first pictures taken of him and his future wife were of them sitting in his Porsche 911. In the summer of 2005 he was involved in a traffic accident in Norrköping. The accident was described as a "fender bender", with no serious personal injuries claimed. Nevertheless, the incident caused national headlines.[8]


The King is the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation, and often participates in Scout activities both in Sweden and abroad. He regularly visits World Scout Jamborees, for instance the 1979 Dalajamb World Jamboree International Encampment hosted by Sweden, the 2002 World Jamboree held in Sattahip, Thailand, and the 100th Anniversary of World Scouting 2007 World Jamboree held in Hylands Park, England.[9] He also attended the 1981 National Scout Jamboree in Virginia, United States, and was awarded the Bronze Wolf, the only distinction of the World Organization of the Scout Movement, awarded by the World Scout Committee for exceptional services to world Scouting, in 1982. He also attended the 22nd World Scout Jamboree. He gave a speech on 6 August[Clarification needed] at the closing ceremony with more than 40,000 people watching. The band Europe also performed for him singing "The Final Countdown". King Carl Gustaf made an appearance at the 2013 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in West Virginia.[10]

Biofuels research

The King attended the Sweden-Michigan Clean Energy Summit at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Dearborn, Michigan, on 26 September 2008, at the start of a two-day visit to Michigan. He also traveled to Kettering University in Flint, Michigan, for the ceremonial groundbreaking for a biogas plant that will be, when completed, similar to a biogas plant in Linköping, Sweden. On the second day of his visit he toured the test tracks of the Ford Motor Company and General Motors Corporation, then owners of Volvo and Saab respectively.[11]

Marriage and family

Carl XVI Gustaf with Queen Silvia.

The King married Silvia Sommerlath, whose father was German and whose mother was Brazilian, and who had grown up in both countries. They met at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, where she was an interpreter and hostess. The wedding was held on 19 June 1976, at the Stockholm Cathedral, and the ceremony was performed by the Archbishop of Uppsala, Olof Sundby. 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 Queen to be.[12][13] The King and his family moved to Drottningholm Palace west of Stockholm in 1980. He and the Queen have maintained their business offices at the Royal Palace of Stockholm.

King Carl Gustav and Queen Silvia have three children:

  • Her Royal Highness Victoria Ingrid Alice Désirée, Crown Princess of Sweden, Duchess of Västergötland, born on 14 July 1977. She was married on 19 June 2010, to Daniel Westling, who was born on 15 September 1973, (on the same day that Carl XVI Gustav ascended the Swedish throne). Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel have one child:
    • Princess Estelle, Duchess of Östergötland (born 23 February 2012)
  • His Royal Highness Prince Carl Philip Edmund Bertil, Duke of Värmland, born on 13 May 1979.
  • Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine Thérèse Amelie Josephine, Duchess of Hälsingland and Gästrikland, born on 10 June 1982. She was married on 8 June 2013, to Christopher O'Neill, who was born on 27 June 1974.

Prince Carl Philip was born the heir apparent. However, a Constitutional reform, which was already under way at the time of his birth, made his older sister, Victoria, the heiress-apparent and Crown Princess of Sweden on 1 January 1980, according to the principles of absolute primogeniture, which Sweden was the first recognized monarchy to adopt.[14] King Carl Gustaf objected, not to the restored female succession but to the fact that his son lost the position and title of Crown Prince of Sweden which he had had since birth.[15]

Titles, styles,honours and arms

Title and styles

The Regal Assurance taken by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf on 19 September 1973

Administered by Mr. Lennart Geijer, Councillor of State and Head of the Ministry for Justice

Unofficial English language translation

"We, Carl Gustaf, King of Sweden make known: that as our Supreme God has pleased to call away the formerly Mighty, High-Born Prince and Lord, Gustaf VI Adolf, King of the Swedes, the Goths and the Wends, and We, according to, and by authority of, the Act of Succession, as established and enacted by the Estates of the Realm on 26 September 1810, following the Illustrious Lord, have ascended to the Royal Swedish Throne.

Therefore We assure most solemnly and loudly, that We intend to, and shall, Govern the Realm in accordance with the on 6 June 1809 by the King and the Estates of the Realm, jointly enacted, and for observance issued, Instrument of Government, literal direction abide, and to the other Fundamental Laws of the Realm, public laws and legal ordinances.

We shall also conform to the before mentioned Instrument of Government and laws, as a resolute King and a caring father for the Swedish people, throughout a legal, just and lenient Reign, seek to by Our utmost ability to advocate the veritable interests and welfare of the Realm and that of each of its inhabitants, all of which We by free will and following mature consideration have decided to do, We thus confirm this by the written signature of Our Name, and by a lively oath, that this We shall adhere to and carry out, so truly help me God to life and mind."

  • 30 April 1946 – 7 June 1946: His Royal Highness Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden
  • 7 June 1946 – 29 October 1950: His Royal Highness The Duke of Jämtland
  • 29 October 1950 – 15 September 1973: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Sweden, Duke of Jämtland
  • 15 September 1973 – present: His Majesty The King of Sweden


On his creation as Duke of Jämtland, Carl XVI Gustaf was granted an achievement of arms which featured the arms of Jämtland in base (these arms can be seen on his stallplate as knight of the Danish Order of the Elephant at Frederiksborg Palace). Since his accession to the throne, he has used the greater coat of arms of Sweden

Kronprins Carl (XVI) Gustaf vapen.svg
Arms of Carl XVI Gustaf from 1946 to his accession to the throne, as Duke of Jämtland.
Blason Oscar II de Suède.svg
Arms used since his accession to the throne.

Swedish appointments and honours

  • Sweden Grand Master (and Knight with Collar) of the Order of the Seraphim (30 April 1946)[16]
  • Sweden Sweden
  • Sweden Lord and Master (and Commander Grand Cross) of the Order of the Sword[16] (dormant Order since 1975)
  • Sweden Grand Master (and Commander Grand Cross) of the Order of the Polar Star
  • Sweden Lord and Master (and Commander Grand Cross) of the Order of Vasa[16] (dormant Order since 1975)
  • Sweden Lord and Master (and Knight by birth, however not worn as he is not a freemason) of the Order of Charles XIII
  • Sweden High Protector (and Honorary Knight) of the Order of Saint John in Sweden

Foreign honours

Honorary military positions


  • African Medical and Research Foundation Sweden (AMREF)
  • Allmänna Idrottsklubben (AIK)
  • Barnens Dags Riksförbund
  • Centralföreningen för Idrottens Främjande i Sverige
  • Djurgårdens Hembygdsförening
  • Friends of the Nationalmuseum
  • Friends of the Swedish Museum of Natural History
  • Friluftsfrämjandet
  • Föreningen Svenska Atheninstitutets Vänner
  • Föreningen Konstnärernas Vänner
  • Föreningen för Svenskar i Världen
  • Gastronomiska Akademien
  • Gripsholmsföreningen
  • Idrottsföreningen Kamraterna (IFK)
  • Kulturen i Lund
  • Kungl. Automobil Klubben
  • Kungl. Motorbåt Klubben
  • Kungl. Svenska Aeroklubben
  • Kungl. Svenska Segel Sällskapet
  • Riksföreningen mot Cancer
  • Royal Physiographic Society in Lund
  • Royal Society of Sciences and Letters in Gothenburg
  • Royal Society of Sciences in Uppsala
  • Royal Swedish Academy
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Arts
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Music
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Swedish Society of Naval Sciences
  • Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences
  • Save the Visby Ringwall Campaign
  • Stiftelsen Det Naturliga Steget
  • Stiftelsen Drottningholmsteaterns Vänner
  • Stiftelsen Håll Sverige Rent
  • Stiftelsen Stockholm Water Foundation
  • Stiftelsen Svenska Flaggan
  • Stiftelsen Svensk Våtmarksfond
  • Stockholms Konserthusstiftelse
  • Stockholms Studentsångarförbund
  • Svea Orden
  • Svenska Arkeologiska Samfundet
  • Svenska Blå Stjärnan
  • Svenska Djurskyddsföreningen
  • Svenska Jägareförbundet
  • Svenska Kennelklubben
  • Svenska Livräddningssällskapet - Simfrämjandet
  • Svenska Motionsdagen (Korpen Svenska Motionsidrottsförbundet)
  • Svenska Rominstitutets Vänner
  • Svenska Turistföreningen
  • The Guides and Scouts of Sweden
  • Svenska Sällskapet för Antropologi och Geografi
  • Sverige-Amerika Stiftelsen
  • Sveriges Allmänna Konstförening
  • Sveriges Hembygdsförbund
  • Sveriges Skogsvårdsförbund
  • Swedish Bible Society
  • Swedish Colonial Society
  • Swedish Lions
  • Swedish Red Cross
  • Swedish Rotary
  • Swedish Sports Confederation
  • Sångsällskapet Orphei Drängar
  • The American-Scandinavian Foundation
  • Wilhelm Peterson-Berger Society
  • World Scout Foundation
  • World Wide Fund for Nature Sweden (WWF)
  • Östasiatiska Museets Vänner



  • (Swedish) Ordenskalender 1969 & 1975, Riksmarskalksämbetet, Stockholm.
  1. "Birgitta: Jag är rörd till tårar" (in Swedish). 12 January 2005.,2789,587642,00.html. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  2. "Kungl. Maj:ts kungörelse (1973:702) med anledning av konung Gustaf VI Adolfs frånfälle;" (in Swedish). 19 September 1973.${HTML}=sfst_lst&${OOHTML}=sfst_dok&${SNHTML}=sfst_err&${BASE}=SFST&${TRIPSHOW}=format=THW&BET=1973:702$. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  3. "The Royal Family: H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf". Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  4. "Kungafamiljen: H.M. Konung Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  5. "Karl" (in Swedish). Nordisk familjebok. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  6. "Monarkens uppgifter" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  7. Enqvist, Victoria. "För Sverige - i bilen" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  8. "Swedish king crashes car". 25 August 2005. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  9. "The King of Sweden at the Jamboree". [dead link]
  10. Wilkes, Collin (July 22, 2013). "Jambopalooza, summit hikes – ‘experience of a lifetime’". Durham, North Carolina: Paxton Media Group. Retrieved July 24, 2013. 
  11. "Title unknown". 27 September 2008. 
  12. "Retro Romance: Sweden's Dancing Queen Silivia". Retrieved 2010-12-06. [dead link]
  13. "Dancing Queen Royal Swedish Opera by ABBA World Hit Song Track Theatrical Stage Act Video". YouTube. Retrieved 2010-12-06. 
  14. SOU 1977:5 Kvinnlig tronföljd, p.16.
  15. Peterson, Claes (24 November 2003). "Kungen: Grundlagen är lustig". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Mariage princier en Suède : dîner de gala au Palais royal" (in French). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  17. "Reply to a parliamentary question" (in German) (pdf). p. 457. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  18. "State visit of Sweden in Belgium 2001, Gala dinner, group photo". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  19. "State visit of Lula da Silva in 2007, Photo of Presidential and Royal couples" (in Dutch). ANP Photo. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  20. "State visit of President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria in Sweden 2007, Gala dinner group photo". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 "Persondetaljer Hans Majestæt Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Danish). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  22. "Estonian State Decorations, Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Estonian). Website of the President of Estonia. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  23. "Estonian State Decorations, Carl XVI Gustaf" (in Estonian). Website of the President of Estonia. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  24. "Galamiddag för Estlands presidentpar på Kungliga slottet 1-6-7" (in Swedish). Swedish Royal Website. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  25. "Les souverains suédois reçoivent le président estonien" (in French). Noblesse et Royautés. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  26. "State visit of Finland in Sweden 2012 Photo of presidential and royal couples". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  27. "State visit of Mitterrand in Sweden (1984) Photo gallery". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  28. "State visit of President Johannes Rau in Sweden in 2003". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  29. "King's photo". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  30. "Galamiddag på Kungliga slottet" (in Swedish). 21 May 2008. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  31. "Photo from State visit of Swedish Royal Family in Iceland". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  32. "Order of the Falcon, search form" (in Icelandic). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  33. "S.M. Carl XVI Gustaf il Re di Svezia - Decorato di Gran Cordone, Cavaliere di Gran Croce Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana" (in Italian). Italian Presidency website. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  34. "State visit of Jordan in Sweden (2003) Group photo of Swedish and Jordanian sovereigns wearing reciprocal orders". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  35. "State visit of Latvia in Sweden (2005), Gala dinner, Group photo". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?][not in citation given]
  36. "Lietuvos Respublikos Prezidentė - Search form on Lithuanian presidency website" (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 2012-08-19. [not in citation given]
  37. "Galamiddag på Kungliga slottet 15/04/2008" (in Swedish). Swedish Royal website. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  38. "Visite d´Etat en Suède 15/04/2008" (in French). Cour Grand - Ducale de Luxembourg. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  39. "State visit of Grand-Dukes of Luxembourg in Sweden". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  40. "gala dinner on 15/04/2008". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  41. "State Visit of Malaysian King in Sweden, 2005, King Carl XVI Gustav with order sash, close details". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  42. "State Visit of Malaysian King in Sweden, 2005, King Carl XVI Gustav & Queen Silvia during gala dinner". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  43. "Dîner de gala en l’honneur des souverains suédois" (in French). Noblesse et Royautés. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  44. "Harald V's 70th Birthday, group photo of European sovereigns and presidents". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  45. 45.0 45.1 "Orders search form : type "REI Carlos XVI" in "nome", then click "Pesquisar"" (in Portuguese). Portuguese Presidency Website. Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  46. "Recipients of Order of the Star of Romania" (ms xls). Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  47. "State honours : 1st Class received in 2002 (click on "Holders of the Order of the 1st Class White Double Cross" to see the holders' table)". Slovak Republic Website. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  48. "1997 National Orders awards". Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  49. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  50. Boletín Oficial del Estado
  51. "State visit of Sweden in Thailand, 2003, Gala dinner". Retrieved 2012-08-19. [unreliable source?]
  52. Noblesse et Royautes (French), State visit of Turkey in Sweden, Gala dinner, March 2013
  53. "No. 46627". 7 July 1975. 

External links

Carl XVI Gustaf
House of Bernadotte
Born: 30 April 1946
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Gustaf VI Adolf
King of Sweden
1973 – present
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Gustaf Adolf
Crown Prince of Sweden
Title next held by
Carl Philip

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