Abba members receive Swedish knighthood

They were awarded a knighthood, last bestowed almost 50 years ago.

Abba have received one of Sweden's most prestigious knighthoods, the Guardian reports.

The pop legends were honored by King Carl XVI Gustaf on May 31 for their cultural influence, which has brought Swedish pop music to a huge global audience.

The group - Benny Andersson, Agneta Fältskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Björn Ulvaeus - made a rare public appearance together in Stockholm, where they were presented with the Royal Order of the Vasa for "outstanding efforts in Swedish and international music".

In 1975, Sweden stopped awarding royal orders to its citizens, but continued to award royal orders to foreigners. However, the country's parliament reinstated the practice in 2022, and the ceremony marked the first time the orders had been awarded to a Swede in half a century.

The group, which has experienced several separations, reunited to receive their honors. Agneta was married to Björn and Benny to Annie-Fried. Both couples separated at the height of their fame, the first couple in 1980 and the second a year later.

Abba are still one of the biggest pop groups in the world, although they haven't played live since 1982, when they appeared on Noel Edmunds' The Late, Late Breakfast Show on the BBC.

After the split, Fältskog, who was a star in Sweden even before joining the band, went on to a successful solo career, but the band's original hits have never faded, becoming pop culture staples for decades.

They have sold more than 400 million albums and singles and were the first Swedes to win Eurovision, and digital versions of the band known as "Abbatars" have played to sold-out venues in London as part of Abba Voyage.

The show, which is performed in a purpose-built venue in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, took seven years and $175 million to put on, and more than 1 million people have bought tickets since its launch.

Abba's popularity was revived by the musical "Mamma Mia!" and its subsequent film adaptation, which introduced the group's music to new generations.

Abba's name still attracts a lot of people and in January this year Anderson and Ulvaeus received a dividend of nearly £1m following a sharp increase in profits for the production company behind the musical "Mamma Mia!" and the film adaptations. | BGNES