Brazilian Connections: ABBA and the Real Life “Dancing Queen”

Our story begins when Silvia Renate Sommerlath was born in wartime Germany, to a German father and Brazilian mother. Now stop and think about that…a German marries a Brazilian in the middle of Hitler’s Germany. There has to be a story there.

Unfortunately, we don’t know it. So…moving on…

After the war, Silvia’s family moved to her mother’s native Brazil, where her father served for ten years as an executive for a Swedish company. When Silvia was about fourteen years old, her parents moved back to Germany.

Fast forward to 1972, and the twenty-nine-year-old Silvia found herself working as a translator (besides Portuguese and German she also spoke French, Spanish, and English) for the Olympic games, held in Munich that year. While there, she met a dashing young Swede named Carl Gustaf, and the two hit it off.

Now, Carl Gustaf was not just any of the presumably multitudes of Swedes named Carl Gustaf. No, this Carl Gustaf just happened to be the crown prince of Sweden, and the following year, upon the death of his grandfather, he would become King Carl XVI Gustaf. Despite his newfound responsibilities as King of Sweden (at this point we’re assuming that a king of Sweden must have at least some responsibilities) King Carl and his Brazilian sweetheart maintained their romance, and in June of 1976 they officially tied the knot.

King Carl and Silvia, obviously waiting for photographers to leave so they could get back to…well…whatever it was they were doing before the photographers came around. (img src)

So the current Queen of Sweden is Brazilian. Cool huh? But that’s not the coolest part. Nosiree!

The coolest part is what happened the evening before their wedding. You see, there was a  band that was beginning to make waves on the international scene at the time. You may have heard of them…they were called ABBA, and they had one or two moderate hits in the ’70s.

Just kidding. They were huge in the ’70s. And they were also Swedish in the ’70s. And on the evening before the wedding of King Carl and Silvia, they were invited, along with other Swedish performers, to give a special command performance before the royal lovebirds.

It just so happened that Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Anni-Frid (it’s an acrostic, you see) had just written a new song called “Dancing Queen”. “What better way to debut this song, than in front of a real queen!” they though…except in Swedish.

And so on that night, decked out in what must have been extremely uncomfortable traditional Swedish outfits, the group ABBA performed “Dancing Queen” for a real queen, who, as it turns out, was Brazilian.

And I know what you’re asking. “Did anybody think to tape this event?”

Yes. Yes they did. And the performance was spectacular. If you go to 3:35 you can see King Carl and the soon-to-be Queen Silvia.

And if you keep going to 3:45 you will see this guy.


We have no idea who he is…but he’s awesome.



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