It was only a minor car accident, but with Carl XVI Gustaf, the king of Sweden, at the wheel, it didn’t stay minor for long. In order to mark the spot and grab some regal attention, a 10-foot (3 meter) burnished crown was erected in the middle of the circle, along with a new name: the King’s Carousel.
It was the 25th of August in 2005 when the King was navigating his BMW M3 in the southeastern city of Norrköping. As is sometimes the case with roundabouts, things didn’t go so smoothly. He collided with another car, and although little damage was done, the newspaper Aftonbladet seized on a contest opportunity. They launched a competition to rename the circle.
The winning suggestion was the King’s Carousel, a name that harkens back to another royal driving incident with a backstory of its own. In 1946, Gustav V’s chauffeur skidded off the road while driving the king and his hunting companions back to Stockholm. With the image of King Gustav’s shiny Cadillac stuck in a ditch, people started calling the bend in the road the King’s Curve, which later became its official name.
Maybe most curious about the Swedish royal fender-benders were the cars themselves. A Cadillac and a BMW? Does Volvo know about this?
Know Before You Go
Norrköping is in southeast Sweden, about 85 miles southwest of Stockholm. The King's Roundabout, still officially named Packhusrondellen (the Warehouse Roundabout) is on the north side of the Motala River, at the intersection of Norra Promenaden and Packhusgatan.