‘Outstanding’ Abba members receive knighthoods from Sweden’s King

The four members of Swedish pop quartet Abba have received knighthoods in Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf.

The Order of the Vasa was handed out for the first time in almost 50 years.

Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad became Commander of the First Class of the order for “very outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music life”.

Sweden has several orders, including the Royal Order of Seraphim, which is awarded to heads of state and foreign royals, and the Royal Order of the Polar Star that is given to foreign citizens.

Sweden ABBA Royal Order
Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia presented the awards (Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency via AP)

Earlier this year, candidates were nominated by the public and the Swedish government, and the King approved the nominees that included the four Abba members.

The orders were awarded during a solemn ceremony at the Royal Palace in the gilded Vita Havet Assembly Rooms. The monarch handed them the order in a red box while a diploma was given to them by Queen Silvia.

”The order you get today is Sweden’s thanks for your exceptional efforts,” the monarch said before handing out the awards to “13 exceptional Swedes”.

Sweden ABBA Royal Order
Abba celebrate winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest (Robert Dear/AP)

A Eurovision victory in 1974 with the song Waterloo turned Abba into a musical juggernaut, with their melodic disco pop selling hundreds of millions of records worldwide.

The stage musical Mamma Mia! based on the band’s songs is 25 years old and spawned two movies.

The Swedish band members have not performed together live for four decades but released a comeback album, Voyage, in 2021. The digital Abba-tars opened in London in 2022.

Two other recipients were 2023 Nobel Prize winners French-Swedish physicist Anne L’Huillier, and Svante Paabo, who won the coveted award in physics and medicine. They were both made Commander Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Polar Star for “outstanding research efforts”.

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