Gustaf Adolf Oscar Fredrik Arthur Edmund was born in Stockholm Palace on 22 April 1906 and was the eldest son of Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden and his first wife, Margaret of Connaught.
Gustaf Adolf was known as Edmund in the family to avoid confusion with his father and he attended the Cavalry Officer Candidate School in Eksjö in 1926 and then the Royal Military Academy. Afterwards, Gustaf Adolf was commissioned in the Svea Life Guards and the Life Regiment Dragoons. As well as having a career in the military, Gustaf Adolf had to carry out royal duties and he was appointed chairman of the Swedish Scout Council in 1932. From 1937, he was honorary chairman of the International Scout Committee.
On 19 October 1932, Gustaf Adolf married his second cousin, Sibylla, daughter of Charles Edward, the deposed Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and they would go on to have five children, including Carl XVI Gustaf, the current King of Sweden.
As the Nazi party rose to prominence in Germany, Gustaf Adolf was required to meet many high-ranking officials, including Adolf Hitler and Hermann Göring, which later left him open to accusations of being a Nazi sympathiser. Matters weren’t helped by the fact Gustaf Adolf’s father-in-law was a known supporter of the Nazi party, however Gustaf Adolf rarely spoke about political matters and left no written record of feelings either way. The Swedish Royal Court has always denied Gustaf Adolf was ever involved with the Nazis and this claim has been backed by evidence from letters by prominent Swedish citizens during the war which claimed the prince had an antagonistic relationship with Göring who lived in Sweden for a time.
Gustaf Adolf was second in line to the Swedish throne behind his father, however he would not live long enough to even seen his father become king. On the afternoon of 26 January 1947, Gustaf Adolf was killed in an airplane crash at Kastrup Airport, Copenhagen. The prince had been on his way home from a hunting trip in the Netherlands where he had been a guest of Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard. The plane had made a routine stop at Copenhagen before continuing on to Stockholm, however it plunged to the ground moments after take off, killing everyone onboard.
The prince’s unexpected death caused a succession crisis as Gustaf Adolf’s son, Carl Gustaf, was only nine months old and there was a chance a regency would be required if his great-grandfather and grandfather died before the boy reached his majority. In fact, Carl Gustaf would become Sweden’s heir apparent, aged four years, after his great-grandfather’s death on 29 October 1950.