Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden

Adolf Frederick or Adolph Frederick (Swedish: Adolf Fredrik, German: Adolf Friedrich; 14 May 1710 – 12 February 1771) was King of Sweden from 1751 until his death. He was the son of Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin, and Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach. [1] [2]

The first king from the House of Holstein-Gottorp, Adolf Frederick was a weak monarch, instated as first in line of the throne following the parliamentary government's failure to reconquer the Baltic provinces in 1741–43. Aside from a few attempts, supported by pro-absolutist factions among the nobility, to reclaim the absolute monarchy held by previous monarchs, he remained a mere constitutional figurehead until his death.

His reign saw an extended period of internal peace, although the finances stagnated following failed mercantilist doctrines pursued by the Hat administration. The Hat administration ended only in the 1765–66 parliament, where the Cap opposition overtook the government and enacted reforms towards greater economic liberalism as well as a Freedom of Press Act almost unique at the time for its curtailing of all censorship, retaining punitive measures only for libeling the monarch or the Church of Sweden.[3]

Adolf Frederick
Gustaf Lundberg - Portrait of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden - WGA13779
Portrait by Gustaf Lundberg
King of Sweden
Reign25 March 1751 – 12 February 1771
Coronation26 November 1751
PredecessorFrederick I
SuccessorGustav III
Born14 May 1710
Gottorp, Schleswig, Duchy of Schleswig
Died12 February 1771 (aged 60)
Stockholm Palace, Stockholm, Sweden
Burial30 July 1771
IssueGustav III
Charles XIII
Frederick Adolf, Duke of Östergötland
Sophia Albertina, Abbess of Quedlinburg
FatherChristian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin
MotherAlbertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach


His father was Christian Augustus (1673–1726) duke and a younger prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, prince-bishop of Lübeck, and administrator, during the Great Northern War, of the duchies of Holstein-Gottorp for his relative Charles Frederick. [4]

His mother Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach (1682–1755) was a descendant of earlier royal dynasties of Sweden, granddaughter of Princess Catherine of Sweden, eldest sister of King Charles X of Sweden. On his mother's side, Adolf Frederick descended from King Gustav Vasa and from Christina Magdalena, a sister of Charles X of Sweden. [5]

From both his parents he was descended from Holstein-Gottorp, a house with a number of medieval Scandinavian royal dynasties among its ancestors. Adolf Frederick was also a 13th-generation descendant of King Erik V of Denmark; a 13th-generation descendant of Sophia of Denmark and King Valdemar I of Sweden; and an 11th-generation descendant of Euphemia of Sweden, Duchess of Mecklenburg and her husband the Duke Albrecht.[6]


Adolf Fredrik of Sweden
Adolf Frederick in old age as King, by Lorens Pasch the Younger

From 1727 to 1750 prince Adolf Frederick was prince-bishop of Lübeck, which meant the rulership of a fief around and including Eutin. After his first cousin Charles Frederick, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp died in 1739, Adolf Frederick became administrator of Holstein-Kiel during the minority of the duke's orphan son, then known as Charles Peter Ulrich. Shortly afterwards, the young boy was invited to Russia by his maternal aunt, Empress Elizabeth, who soon declared him her heir; he later became known as Peter III of Russia.[7]

In 1743, Adolf Frederick was elected heir to the throne of Sweden by the Hat faction (Swedish: Hattarna) in order that they might obtain better conditions at the Treaty of Abo from Empress Elizabeth of Russia,[4] who had adopted his nephew as her heir. He succeeded as King Adolf Frederick twelve years later on 25 March 1751.[8]

During his twenty-year reign, Adolf Frederick was little more than a figurehead, the real power being lodged in the hands of the Riksdag of the Estates, often distracted by party strife. Twice he endeavoured to free himself from the tutelage of the estates. The first occasion was in 1756 when, stimulated by his imperious consort Louisa Ulrika of Prussia (sister of Frederick the Great), he tried to regain a portion of the attenuated prerogative through the Coup of 1756 to abolish the rule of the Riksdag of the Estates and reinstate absolute monarchy in Sweden. He nearly lost his throne in consequence. On the second occasion during the December Crisis (1768), under the guidance of his eldest son, the crown prince Gustav, afterwards Gustav III of Sweden, he succeeded in overthrowing the "Cap" (Swedish: Mössorna) senate, but was unable to make any use of his victory.[4][9]


Adolf Frederick died in Stockholm on 12 February 1771 after having consumed a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, kippers and champagne, which was topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: hetvägg made of semla and served in a bowl of hot milk .[10][11]

The king was regarded, both during his time and in later times, as dependent on others, a weak ruler and lacking of any talents. But he was allegedly also a good husband, a caring father, and a gentle master to his servants. His favourite pastime was to make snuffboxes, which he allegedly spent a great deal of time doing. His personal hospitality and friendliness were witnessed by many who deeply mourned him at his death.

Following his death, his son Gustav III seized power in 1772 in a military coup d'état, reinstating absolute rule.[12]


By his marriage to Princess Louisa Ulrika of Prussia (which took place on 18 August/29 August 1744 in Drottningholm), he had the following children:

  1. (Stillborn) (18 February 1745 in Stockholm)
  2. Gustav III (1746–1792)
  3. Charles XIII (1748–1818)
  4. Frederick Adolf (1750–1803)
  5. Sofia Albertina (1753–1829)

With Marguerite Morel he had one son who died as a child:

  1. Frederici (d. 1771)[13]

Adolf Frederick may have been the father of Lolotte Forssberg by Ulla von Liewen, but this has however never been confirmed.[14]


  1. ^ L. Stavenow. "Adolf Fredrik". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  2. ^ "Christian August (Herzog von Holstein-Gottorf)". Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  3. ^ "Adolf Fredrik". Nordisk familjebok. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Adolphus Frederick" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 1 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 211–212. This cites:
    • R. Nisbet Bain, Gustavus III. and his Contemporaries, vol. i. (London, 1895).
  5. ^ Nina Ringbom. "Kristina Magdalena av Pfalz-Zweibrücken". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  6. ^ "Holstein-Gottorp". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "Peter III". Saint-Petersburg.Com. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  8. ^ "Hattpartiet, Hattarna". Nordisk familjebok. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  9. ^ "Mösspartiet, Mössorna". Nordisk familjebok. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  10. ^ The lowdown on Sweden's best buns Archived 2008-02-16 at the Wayback Machine The Local, February 2007
  11. ^ Magnus Carlstedt. "Hetvägg". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  12. ^ "Gustav III (January 24, 1746 – March 29, 1792)". European Royal History. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  13. ^ Gunilla Roempke (1994). Gunilla Roempke. ed. Vristens makt – dansös i mätressernas tidevarv (The power of the ankle - dancer in the epoch of the royal mistresses) Stockholm: Stockholm Fischer & company. ISBN 91-7054-734-3
  14. ^ af Klercker, Cecilia, ed. Hedvig Elisabeth Charlottas dagbok [The diary of Hedvig Elizabeth Charlotte] (in Swedish). VI 1797-1799. (1927) Translated by Cecilia af Klercker. Stockholm: P.A. Norstedt & Söners förlag. pp. 290–291
  15. ^ Genealogie ascendante jusqu'au quatrieme degre inclusivement de tous les Rois et Princes de maisons souveraines de l'Europe actuellement vivans [Genealogy up to the fourth degree inclusive of all the Kings and Princes of sovereign houses of Europe currently living] (in French). Bourdeaux: Frederic Guillaume Birnstiel. 1768. p. 28.

External links

Adolf Fredrik
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 14 May 1710 Died: 12 February 1771
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Fredrik I
King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Gustav III
Preceded by
Charles Augustus of Holstein-Gottorp
Prince-Bishop of Lübeck
Succeeded by
Frederick August of Oldenburg

1710 (MDCCX)

was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Sunday of the Julian calendar, the 1710th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 710th year of the 2nd millennium, the 10th year of the 18th century, and the 1st year of the 1710s decade. As of the start of 1710, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923. In the Swedish calendar it was a common year starting on Saturday, one day ahead of the Julian and ten days behind the Gregorian calendar.

1751 in Sweden

Events from the year 1751 in Sweden



was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Saturday of the Julian calendar, the 1771st year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 771st year of the 2nd millennium, the 71st year of the 18th century, and the 2nd year of the 1770s decade. As of the start of 1771, the Gregorian calendar was

11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.

1771 in Sweden

Events from the year 1771 in Sweden

Adolf Friedrich

Adolf Friedrich may refer to:

Adolf Friedrich von Schack (1815–1894), German poet, literary historian, and art collector

Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg (1873–1969), German colonial politician and African explorer

Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden (1710–1771)

Adolphus Frederick II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1658–1708)

Adolphus Frederick VI, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1882–1918)

Cecilia Elisabeth Würzer

Cecilia Elisabeth Würzer (d. 10 April 1761), was a Swedish (originally German) singer and member of the Kungliga Hovkapellet in 1743-1761. She was one of five women to have been officially members of the Royal Orchestra in the age of liberty.

Würzer came to Sweden from Germany in 1743 as a member of the Musical company employed by Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden. She was one of only five women to be officially inducted in the Royal Orchestra during the age of liberty. However, unlike Judith Fischer, Sophia Schröder and Gustaviana Schröder, she and Hedvig Witte were in fact never paid from the funds of the royal orchestra; Witte was unofficially paid while Würzer was given her salary from the personal funds of Adolf Frederick. Cecilia Elisabeth Würzer were particularly noted for her performance at the funeral of Frederick I of Sweden, when she sang a part written by Johan Helmich Roman with her colleague Eleonora Witte.

Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin

Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp-Eutin (11 January 1673 – 24 April 1726) was a cadet of the reigning ducal House of Holstein-Gottorp who became prince of Eutin, prince-bishop of Lübeck and regent of the Duchy of Holstein-Gottorp.

He was the father of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden, and the maternal grandfather of Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia.

December Crisis (1768)

December Crisis (1768) (Swedish: Decemberkrisen) was a political crisis which occurred in Sweden in December 1768 when Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden, demonstrated against his limited powers by refusing to sign state documents, thereby paralyzed the government and bringing about a new Riksdag of the Estates.


Gommern is a town in the Jerichower Land district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated approximately 15 km (9 mi) southeast of Magdeburg. On January 1, 2005, the municipalities Dannigkow, Dornburg, Karith, Ladeburg, Leitzkau, Menz, Nedlitz, Vehlitz and Wahlitz have been incorporated into Gommern. On January 1, 2008, Prödel was incorporated, and on January 1, 2009, Lübs was incorporated.

Gustaf Björnram

Gustaf Björnram (1746-1804) was a Swedish mystic and spiritualist medium.He was born in Savolax as the son of the lieutenant Per Björnram (1700-1766) and Anna Margareta Amnorin. He was a student of the Åbo University and moved to Stockholm where he became a private teacher and a secretary. Through his work as writer for the Freemasons he came in to contact with Elis Schröderheim, who introduced him to king Gustav III of Sweden.

Gustaf Björnram claimed to be able to communicate with the spirits of the dead and arranged well attended seances frequented by the king and Prince Charles, during which he allegedly forwarded predictions about the future from the dead. For a couple of years around 1780, he was an immensely fashionable medium in Stockholm, was inducted into the Freemasons and given a Sinecure by the monarch. He once performed a seance in the church of Lovö, where he called upon the spirit of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden in the presence of the king and a circle of his favorites, among them Adolf Fredrik Munck, where the father of the king appeared as a mask behind a curtain of smoke in the dark church.

However, when his prediction about the death of the king's mother, which was eagerly awaited by the king, did not materialize, and the royal physician Sven Anders Hedin exposed him as a fraud by describing how he had witnessed his preparations for the so-called seance in the Lovö church, he lost his favor with the king, who gave him a pension and dismissed him from court. He was replaced by Henrik Gustaf Ulfvenklou.

Lorens Pasch the Younger

Lorens or Lorenz Pasch the Younger (1733–1805) was a Swedish painter.

Ordre de l'Harmonie

L’Ordre de l’Harmonie (French: "The Order of Unity"), also called Solfjädersorden (Swedish: "The Order of the Hand fan"), was a Swedish royal dynastic order, founded by Queen Louisa Ulrika of Sweden in 1744. It was awarded to 22 people between 1744 and 1746.

Princess Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach

Princess and Margravine Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach (3 July 1682 – 22 December 1755) was a German princess. She was the daughter of Frederick VII, Margrave of Baden-Durlach and his wife Duchess Augusta Marie of Holstein-Gottorp. She married Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin.

Princess Amalia of Sweden

Princess Amalia of Sweden (Amalia Maria Charlotta; 22 February 1805 in Stockholm – 31 August 1853 in Oldenburg) was a Swedish princess, daughter of King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Frederica of Baden.

Queen Louise of Sweden

Queen Louise of Sweden may refer to:

Louisa Ulrika of Prussia (1720-1782), daughter of Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover; wife of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden

Louise of the Netherlands (1828–1871), daughter of Prince Frederick of the Netherlands and Princess Louise of Prussia (1808–1870); wife of Charles XV of Sweden

Louise of Battenberg (1889–1965), daughter of Prince Louis of Battenberg and Princess Victoria of Hesse and by Rhine; wife of Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden

Rubber stamp (politics)

A rubber stamp, as a political metaphor, refers to a person or institution with considerable de jure power but little de facto power; one that rarely or never disagrees with more powerful organs.In situations where this superior official's signature may frequently be required for routine paperwork, a literal rubber stamp is used, with a likeness of their hand-written signature. In essence, the term is meant to convey an endorsement without careful thought or personal investment in the outcome, especially since it is usually expected as the stamper's duty to do so. In the situation where a dictator's legislature is a "rubber stamp", the orders they are meant to endorse are formalities they are expected to legitimize, and are usually done to create the superficial appearance of legislative and dictatorial harmony rather than because they have actual power.

Historian Edward S. Ellis called this type of legislature a toy parliament, with specific reference to Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II's General Assembly of the Ottoman Empire, created in 1876 with the sole purpose of appeasing the European powers. This is true even in some modern states. In the People's Republic of China, the nearly 3,000-member-strong National People's Congress is ostensibly "the most powerful organ of state", but de facto "it is little more than a rubber stamp for party decisions."During the reign of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden (1751–71), the Riksdag of the Estates had the power to sign binding documents with a literal name stamp, sometimes against the will of the king who by law was an absolute monarch.

Conversely, in a constitutional monarchy, the monarch is typically a "rubber stamp" to an elected parliament, even if he or she legally possesses considerable reserve powers or disagrees with the parliament's decisions. In parliamentary republics such as India, the President is often described as a rubber stamp.

Ulla von Liewen

Ulrica "Ulla" Elisabeth von Liewen (24 February 1747, in Stockholm – 16 May 1775, in Uppsala), was a Swedish courtier and baroness. She was at one point the royal mistress of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and are known as the likely mother of Lolotte Forssberg.

Ulla von Liewen was the daughter of the noble Carl Gustaf von Liewen and Ulrika Eleonora Ribbing af Zernava. She served as maid of honor to the queen of Sweden. Originally engaged to count Per Brahe, she was impregnated by the king and gave birth to a daughter. The queen was informed, and agreed to keep the matter a secret and care for the child.

The story was described in 1799 by count Fredrik Georg Strömfelt to Eleonora Charlotta d'Albedyhll after the attempt of Princess Sophia Albertine of Sweden to have Lolotte Forssberg officially acknowledged as her sister, by then countess Stenbock by marriage (though the year is here 1769 instead of 1766):

"Queen Louisa Ulrika had a lady-in-waiting by the name Ulla Liewen, engaged to count Per Brahe, son of the unhappy count Erik. In 1769 she fell sick and was delivered of "The Petite", who was the daughter of Adolf Fredrik. The queen was informed of the secret, but out of friendship for her maid of honor, who had a good name for virtue and good customs - perhaps also in reference to the utter jealousy, which Her Majesty had displayed in the matter of the charming actress and dancer m:lle Dulondel, with whom the King had a son called Fredriksson, a jealousy which caused the exile of m:lle Dulondel from the realm - the queen promised her husband to care for the child under the vow of secrecy. Those, who have seen countess Stenbock in her younger years, as well as the portrait of Ulla Liewen, can not doubt the matter. Beside, she looks like Adolf Fredrik, and this explains, why people have found such as resemblance between her and princess Sofia Albertina".

Princess Sophia Albertine stated to her intimate friend, countess Caroline Ehrencrona, the she had several reasons to believe that Ulla Liewen was the mother of Lolotte Forssberg, but that she would keep quite about it out of concern for the Liewen family, even though the matter seemed to be an open secret in high society.In 1770, Ulla Liewen married the politician and courtier baron Charles De Geer (1747–1805). Their daughter Charlotte De Geer later married Hans Henric von Essen. The daughter of her spouse in his second marriage, Vilhelmina, served as mistress of the Robes to Désirée Clary and married Carl Edvard Gyldenstolpe, who was at one point engaged to marry Lolotte Forssberg.

Ulrica Schönström

Ulrica Schönström, née Adlersten (1694-1757) was a Swedish baroness and courtier. She was the royal governess of the children of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia.

She was born to baron Göran Adlersten and Maria Ehrenberg and married in 1715 to Albrekt Schönström (d. 1740). In 1751, she was appointed royal governess to the royal children in succession to Hedvig Elisabet Strömfelt. She was appreciated by the queen who regarded her as dutiful and thoughtful: "she has excellent qualities and are very devoted to my children". After her tenure as governess, she continued in service as hovmästarinna or senior lady in waiting to princess Sophia Albertina of Sweden.

Vilhelmina Gyldenstolpe

Vilhelmina Gyldenstolpe, née De Geer (16 December 1779, Stockholm-31 December 1858, Stockholm), was a Swedish court official. She served as överhovmästarinna (Senior lady-in-waiting) to the queen and later queen dowager of Sweden, Désirée Clary, from 1829 to 1858.

Ancestors of Adolf Frederick, King of Sweden[15]
16. John Adolf, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (=28)
8. Frederick III, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (=14)
17. Augusta of Denmark (=29)
4. Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp
18. John George I, Elector of Saxony (=30)
9. Marie Elisabeth of Saxony (=15)
19. Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia (=31)
2. Christian August of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince of Eutin
20. Christian IV of Denmark
10. Frederick III of Denmark
21. Anne Catherine of Brandenburg
5. Frederikke Amalie of Denmark
22. George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
11. Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
23. Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt
1. Adolf Frederick of Sweden
24. Frederick V, Margrave of Baden-Durlach
12. Frederick VI, Margrave of Baden-Durlach
25. Barbara of Württemberg
6. Frederick VII, Margrave of Baden-Durlach
26. John Casimir, Count Palatine of Kleeburg
13. Christina Magdalena of the Palatinate-Zweibrücken
27. Catharina of Sweden
3. Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach
28. John Adolf, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (=16)
14. Frederick III, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp (=8)
29. Augusta of Denmark (=17)
7. Augusta Marie of Holstein-Gottorp
30. John George I, Elector of Saxony (=18)
15. Marie Elisabeth of Saxony (=9)
31. Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia (=19)
Sverker · Eric
Kalmar Union
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