The “Heralds of Sweden” were a group of court officials attached to the Chancellery of the Orders of His Majesty the King (Kungl. Maj:ts Orden, KMO) and later to the State Archives’ heraldry unit as the State Herald. The Chancellery was set up in about 1748 to manage the newly created orders of Sweden (-Seraphim, -Sword and -Polar Star) and constituted the King (as “Lord and Master” of the Royal Swedish Orders), the Heir Apparent, the Herald of the Realm, the Chancellor, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the Ceremoniere, the Banner Bearer and the Chaplain. In 1772 King Gustav III created the Order of Wasa and thus added that order to the Chancellery.
The Herald of the Realm (herald no. 9, in red (purpure?) tabard) was obliged to supervise that the stall plates of the Knights of the (Order of the) Seraphim was arranged in the correct order, supervise their creation and to serve as the Herald in Ordinary at all order and stately ceremonies in Sweden. He was, by office, a Knight of the Order of the Polar Star and carried the insignia of the Order of the Seraphim on a golden medallion pendant from a blue sash as his badge of office. He wore, as can bee seen on the picture, a red (purpure?) velvet tabard embroidered with the insignia of the Order of the Seraphim and its collar surrounded by golden fringes and carried a red (purpure?) baton strewn with the open crowns of the lesser coat of arms of Sweden and crowned with a Swedish Royal Crown and golden fringes, much like the present day baton of the Marshal of the Realm, H.E. prof. Svante Lindqvist (Riksmarskalken). Today the Marshal of the Realm is additionally also the Chancellor of the Chancellery of the Orders of His Majesty the King (KMO).
The Herald of the Realm (Rikshärolden) is not to be confused with “the Swedish King of Arms” (Statsheraldikern), who would perform the traditional duties of a continental King of Arms and wear a “coat of arms tabard” with the greater coat of arms of Sweden (see below). The term vapenkung (King of Arms, literally) has not been used in Sweden for several hundred years.
In the height of the period (ca. 1800) the various orders had their own herald managing specific precedence questions, proclamations, etc. There was a Herald of the Order of the Seraphim (no. 10), a Herald of the Order of the Sword (no. 11), a Herald of the Order of the Polar Star (no. 12) and a Herald of the Order of Wasa (no. 13).
Today the King of Arms, or much rather State Herald, is attached to the State Archives (Riksarkivet) and manages and supervises official heraldry (coats of arms of the Royal Family, of the agencies, of the Armed forces, of regions, etc.) together with an arms painter. He, Mr. Henrik Klackenberg, has no jurisdiction over “private heraldry” of citizens (noble or burgher) and there is no official register or armorial containing coats of arms of Swedish families. The State Herald does not partake in official ceremonies and does not wear a tabard.
The Chancellery of the Orders of His Majesty the King still exists and manages the Order of the Seraphim and the Order of the Polar Star, in view of the fact that the –Sword and –Wasa are dormant since 1974. The office of the Herald of the Realm was removed the same year.
From the Armorial Blog: