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.
After completing his formal education, in order to prepare him for his future role as the leader of Sweden, he 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 Parliament of Sweden, 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.
He became King of Sweden on 13 September 1973, at the death of his grandfather. He was invested on 19 September 1973. He chose to end the centuries old tradition of being styled as By the Grace of God King of the Swedes, the Goths/Geats and the Wends by chosing to be known simply as King of Sweden.
According to the 1974 Instrument of Government, his role within the political aspect of the monarchy is purely a figure head and representative of Sweden. He is the Honorary Chairman of the World Scout Foundation, and often participates in Scout activities both in Sweden and abroad.
He is very passionate about the environment, technology, agriculture, trade, and industry. He, like most of his family has interest in automobiles-he owns several different types of cars.
He met a Brazilian-German Silvia Sommerlath at the 1972 Muinch Olympics, where she was working as a interpreter and hostess and he was attending to support the Swedish athletes. Four summers later, on 19 June 1976, they married and began to start their family, with the birth of their daughter, Princess Victoria of Sweden, (who on 1 January 1980, would become the King's heir apparent when the succession laws changed) just after their 11 month wedding anniversary. Their only son, Prince Carl Phillp would join her in 1979, and Princess Madeline in 1982. He became a grandfather for the first time in 2012, when his eldest daughter gave birth to her heir apparent, Princess Estelle.
In a 1997 documentary, after years of it being speculated, his wife publicly admitted: "When he was little, people did not pay attention to the problem," she said. "He didn't get the help he needed." She also noted that the couple's children have "a bit of" dyslexia themselves.
He has four sisters: Princess Birgitta of Sweden & Hohenzollern, Princess Margaretha, Mrs. Ambler, Princess Désirée, Baroness Silfverschiöld, and Princess Christina, Mrs. Magnuson.
He is directly related to all of Europe's current reigning monarchies:
- Queen Margarethe II, Queen Anne-Marie of Greece and Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg are his first cousins: his father was their uncle/their mother was his aunt.
- Queen Elizabeth II and King Juan Carlos of Spain are his third cousins twice, by both Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
- Queen Beatix is his third cousin through George Victor, Prince of Waldeck and Pyrmont and Princess Helena of Nassau.
- Grand Duke Henri is also his third cousin, only through King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway and Princess Sophia of Nassau.
- Prince Hans-Adam II is his sixth cousin, via Prince Karl Ludwig of Hohenlohe-Langenburg and Countess Amalie of Solms-Baruth.
- Prince Albert II is his seventh cousin via Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden and Landgravine Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt