ABBA members reunite to receive top Swedish honor

June 7, 2024 - 11:29 AM
The members of the music group ABBA Bjorn Ulvaeus, Anni-Frid Lyngstad, Agnetha Faltskog and Benny Andersson receive the Royal Vasa Order from Sweden's King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia for outstanding contributions to Swedish and international music life at a ceremony at Stockholm Royal Palace, in Stockholm, Sweden, May 31, 2024. (TT News Agency/Henrik Montgomery/via Reuters)

 The four members of iconic Swedish pop group ABBA reunited last week to receive one of the country’s top honors, “the Royal Vasa Order”, during a ceremony in the royal palace in Stockholm.

Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad, who rarely make public appearances together and are now in their 70s, were handed their orders from King Carl XVI Gustaf “for very distinguished contributions within Swedish and international music life”, according to the Royal Court.

The hugely popular group, which formed in 1972 and split in the early 1980s, has sold an estimated 385 million records and still has legions of fans around the world with enduring hits such as “Dancing Queen”, “Thank You For The Music” and “Fernando”.

Sweden this year resumed the awarding of chivalry orders to Swedes after a 50-year pause.

2024 also marks 50 years since ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest final in Britain in 1974 with the song “Waterloo”, bringing them to global attention.

The musical “Mamma Mia!”, composed by Ulvaeus and Andersson and based on their songs, has since its first opening in 1999 been seen by over 70 million people around the world, according to its creators. It has also led to two blockbuster movies.

Ulvaeus told Swedish TV4 after the ceremony he felt “very emotional” receiving the order especially since it originated from the Swedish public.

Sweden has four orders of chivalry, established in the 18th century, of which the Vasa Order is the most junior. Members of the public propose recipients and the formal decisions are made by the government.

—Reporting by Anna Ringstrom and Ilze Filks; Editing by Ros Russell