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Charles XV of Sweden

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Title: Charles XV of Sweden  
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Charles XV of Sweden

Charles XV & IV
Karl XV in the mid-1860s
King of Sweden and Norway
Reign 8 July 1859 – 18 September 1872
Coronation 3 May 1860, Stockholm
5 August 1860, Trondheim
Predecessor Oscar I
Successor Oscar II
Spouse Louise of the Netherlands
Issue Louise, Queen of Denmark
Prince Carl Oscar, Duke of Södermanland
Full name
Carl Ludvig Eugen
House House of Bernadotte
Father Oscar I
Mother Josephine of Leuchtenberg
Born (1826-05-03)3 May 1826
Stockholm
Died 18 September 1872(1872-09-18) (aged 46)
Malmö
Burial Riddarholmskyrkan, Stockholm
Religion Lutheranism

Charles XV & IV also Carl (Carl Ludvig Eugen); Swedish and Norwegian: Karl (3 May 1826 – 18 September 1872) was King of Sweden (Charles XV) and Norway (Charles IV) from 1859 until his death.

Though known as King Charles XV in Sweden (and also on contemporary Norwegian coins[1]), he was actually the ninth Swedish king by that name, as his predecessor Charles IX (reigned 1604–1611) had adopted a numeral according to a fictitious history of Sweden.[2]

Biography

An equestrian portrait of Charles XV, painted by Carl Fredrik Kiörboe, circa 1860

He was born in Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, and dubbed Duke of Skåne at birth. He was the eldest son of King Oscar I and Josephine of Leuchtenberg. He was given his first officer's commission in 1841 by his grandfather, Charles XIV John. After his father's accession to the throne in 1844, he was made a chancellor of the universities of Uppsala and Lund, and in 1853 chancellor of Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. On February 11, 1846, he was made an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

The Crown Prince was Viceroy of Norway briefly in 1856 and 1857. He became Regent on 25 September 1857, and king on the death of his father on 8 July 1859. As grandson of Augusta of Bavaria, he was a descendant of Gustav I of Sweden and Charles IX of Sweden, whose blood returned to the throne after being lost in 1818 when Charles XIII of Sweden died.

On 19 June 1850 he married in Stockholm Louise of the Netherlands, niece of William II of the Netherlands through her father and niece of William I of Prussia, German Emperor, through her mother. The couple were personally quite dissimilar; Princess Louise was in love with her husband, whereas he preferred other women. His well-known mistresses included the countess Josephine Sparre, Wilhelmine Schröder and the actresses Hanna Styrell and Elise Hwasser, the latter the most celebrated actress in Sweden during his reign, and the Crown Prince neglected his shy wife. On the other hand, his relationship to his only daughter, Louise, was warm and close.

As Crown Prince, Charles' brusque manner led many to regard his future accession with some apprehension, yet he proved to be one of the most popular of Scandinavian kings and a constitutional ruler in the best sense of the word. His reign was remarkable for its manifold and far-reaching reforms. Sweden's existing communal law (1862), ecclesiastical law (1863) and criminal law (1864) were enacted appropriately enough under the direction of a king whose motto was: Land skall med lag byggas - "With law shall the land be built". Charles also helped Louis De Geer to carry through his memorable reform of the Parliament of Sweden in 1866. He also declared the freedom of women by passing the law of legal majority for unmarried women in 1858 - his sister Princess Eugenie became the first woman who was declared mature.

Charles was an advocate of Scandinavianism and the political solidarity of the three northern kingdoms, and his friendship with Frederick VII of Denmark, it is said, led him to give half promises of help to Denmark on the eve of the war of 1864, which, in the circumstances, were perhaps misleading and unjustifiable. In view, however, of the unpreparedness of the Swedish army and the difficulties of the situation, Charles was forced to observe a strict neutrality. He died in Malmö on 18 September 1872.[3]

Charles XV attained some eminence as a painter and as a poet. He was followed on both the thrones of Norway and Sweden by his brother Oscar II.

In 1855 he became the 990th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain.

A few weeks before Charles' death, his daughter Louise (then the Crown Princess of Denmark) gave birth to her second son. The young Prince of Denmark became christened as grandfather Charles' namesake. In 1905 this grandson, Prince Carl of Denmark, ascended the throne of Norway, becoming thus his maternal grandfather's successor in that country, and assumed the reign name Haakon VII. The present king, Harald V of Norway, is Charles' great-great-grandson, through his father and mother.

No subsequent king of Sweden to this day is Charles' descendant. However, his descendants are or have been on the thrones of Denmark, Luxembourg, Greece, Belgium and Norway.

Issue

By his wife, Louise of the Netherlands, Charles had two children, a son who died in infancy and a daughter who married the King of Denmark. The early death of his only legitimate son meant that he was succeeded on the throne of Sweden by his younger brother Oscar II.
Name Birth Death Notes
Louise Josephine Eugenie 31 October 1851 21 March 1926 married, 1869, Frederick VIII of Denmark; had issue including Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway.
Carl Oscar Vilhelm Frederik 14 December 1852 13 March 1854 died in infancy

Charles also sired an illegitimate son, Carl Johan Bolander, (4 February 1854 - 28 July 1903), the father of Bishop Nils Bolander[4] and daughter, Ellen Svensson Hammar (28 October 1865 - 1931), and it has been widely rumored that he had many more extramarital children.[5]

Arms

Crown Prince of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Skåne (1826-1844)
Crown Prince of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Skåne (1844-1859)
King Charles XV of Sweden and Norway
Monogram of King Charles XV of Sweden

Ancestry

References

  1. ^ Example
  2. ^ Article Karl in Nordisk familjebok
  3. ^ Cronholm, Neander N. (1902). A History of Sweden from the Earliest Times to the Present Day.  ch 41 pp 289-99
  4. ^ Carl-Erik Sahlberg in Nils Bolander diktare och predikant ISBN 91-86112-39-2 p. 11
  5. ^ Lagerqvist & Åberg in King and Rulers of Sweden ISBN 91-87064-35-9 p 48

External links

  • The Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav - Norwegian and Swedish Monarchs Grand Masters of the Order
  • Family tree of the Royal Norwegian House
  • Kings of Norway (in Norwegian)
  • Much material on early kings (in Norwegian)
Karl XV/IV
Born: 3 May 1826 Died: 18 September 1872
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Oscar I
King of Sweden and Norway
1859–1872
Succeeded by
Oscar II
Titles of nobility
New title Duke of Skåne
1826–1859
Vacant
Title next held by
Gustav Adolf
Political offices
Preceded by
Severin Løvenskiold
Prime Minister of Norway
1856
Succeeded by
Jørgen Herman Vogt
Preceded by
Jørgen Herman Vogt
Prime Minister of Norway
1857
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