ABBA receive prestigious Order of the Vasa knighthood in their native Sweden

The four members of ABBA have been given one of the most prestigious knighthoods in their native Sweden - which has not been handed out to anyone in almost 50 years.

Agnetha Faltskog, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad received the Order of the Vasa in the capital Stockholm.

They became "Commander of the First Class" of the order for "very outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music life".

The stars were given the knighthoods by King Carl XVI Gustaf in the gilded Vita Havet Assembly Rooms of the Royal Palace - in a ceremony aired live on Swedish media.

Andersson, Faltskog, Lyngstad and Ulvaeus were presented with the honour in a red box by the monarch while Queen Silvia handed them a diploma.

"The order you get today is Sweden's thanks for your exceptional efforts," the sovereign said before giving the orders to ABBA and nine other "exceptional Swedes".

The order comes 50 years after ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton, with their song Waterloo, and they remain the most successful act in the competition's history.

They have sold hundreds of millions of records worldwide and the stage musical based on their songs, Mamma Mia!, is now 25 years old and has spawned two films.

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The Swedish stars have not performed live together for four decades but reunited for a comeback album, Voyage, in 2021 and launched their hologram show in a specially-built London arena a year later.

Sweden has several orders, including the Royal Order of Seraphim for heads of state and foreign royals, and the Royal Order of the Polar Star, given to foreign citizens and stateless persons.

The Royal Order of Vasa is given in recognition of personal efforts for Sweden or for Swedish interests, as well as the successful performance of public duties and assignments.

It was dormant until late 2022, when regulations opened the Royal Orders to Swedish citizens again.

The public was asked to nominate candidates, and the Swedish government and King approved nominees including ABBA.