Oscar I of Sweden

Oscar I (Joseph François Oscar Bernadotte; 4 July 1799 – 8 July 1859) was King of Sweden and Norway from 8 March 1844 until his death.[1][2][3] He was the second monarch of the House of Bernadotte.

The only child of King Charles XIV & III John, Oscar inherited the thrones upon the death of his father. Throughout his reign he would pursue a liberal course in politics in contrast to Charles XIV, instituting reforms and improving ties between Sweden and Norway. In an address to him in 1857, the Riksdag declared that he had promoted the material prosperity of the kingdom more than any of his predecessors.[4]

Oscar I
Erik (Wahlberg) Wahlbergson - Oscar I, King of Sweden and Norway 1844-1859 - Google Art Project
King of Sweden and Norway
Reign8 March 1844 – 8 July 1859
Coronation28 September 1844, Stockholm
PredecessorCharles XIV & III John
SuccessorCharles XV & IV
Born4 July 1799
Paris, French First Republic
Died8 July 1859 (aged 60)
Stockholm, Sweden
Burial8 August 1859
IssueCharles XV of Sweden
Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland
Oscar II of Sweden
Princess Eugenie
Prince August, Duke of Dalarna
Full name
Joseph François Oscar Bernadotte
FatherCharles XIV John of Sweden
MotherDésirée Clary
ReligionChurch of Sweden
prev. Catholic Church

Early life and family

Oscar I of Sweden & Norway as child c 1806 by Jean-Baptiste Isabey
Oscar Bernadotte a few years before being chosen with his father to be Swedish royalty.

Oscar was born at 291 Rue Cisalpine in Paris (today: 32 Rue Monceau) to Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, then-French Minister of War and Sovereign Prince of Pontecorvo, and Désirée Clary, Napoleon Bonaparte's former fiancée. He was named Joseph after his godfather Joseph Bonaparte, who was married to his mother's elder sister Julie, but was also given the names François Oscar. The latter name was chosen by Napoleon after one of the heroes in the Ossian cycle of poems. Désirée is said to have chosen Napoleon to be Oscar's godfather.[5][6]

Prince of Sweden

On 21 August 1810,[7] Oscar's father was elected heir-presumptive to the Swedish throne by the Riksdag of the Estates, as King Charles XIII was without legitimate heirs. Two months later, on 5 November,[7] he was formally adopted by the king under the name of "Charles John"; Oscar was then created a prince of Sweden with the style of Royal Highness, and further accorded the title of Duke of Södermanland. Oscar and his mother moved from Paris to Stockholm in June 1811; while Oscar soon acclimatized to life at the royal court, quickly acquiring the Swedish language, Désirée had difficulty adjusting and despised the cold weather. Consequently, she left Sweden in the summer of 1811, and would not return until 1823.[8]

On 17 January 1816, Oscar was elected an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 1818 was appointed chancellor of Uppsala University, where he spent one semester.[9]

Oscar became Crown Prince in 1818 upon the death of his adoptive grandfather, and the accession of Charles John to the Swedish and Norwegian thrones.

In 1832-34 he completed the romantic opera Ryno, the errant knight, which had been left unfinished on the death of the young composer Eduard Brendler. In 1839 he wrote a series of articles on popular education, and in 1841 anonymously published Om Straff och straffanstalter, a work advocating prison reforms.

Marriage and issue

Crownprince Oscar of Sweden painted by Joseph Karl Stieler
Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden, painted by Joseph Karl Stieler
Framsida av medalj med bild av Oscar och Josefina i profil samt text - Skoklosters slott - 99622
Medal with the image of Oscar and Josephine (1829)

Seeking to legitimise the new Bernadotte dynasty, Charles XIV John had selected four princesses as candidates for marriage, in order of his priority:[10]

Oscar would eventually marry Josephine, first by proxy at the Leuchtenberg Palace in Munich on 22 May 1823 and in person at a wedding ceremony conducted in Stockholm on 19 June 1823.

The couple had five children:

  1. King Charles XV & IV (1826–1872)
  2. Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland (1827–1852)
  3. King Oscar II (1829–1907)[13]
  4. Princess Eugenie (1830–1889)
  5. Prince August, Duke of Dalarna (1831–1873)

Oscar also had two illegitimate sons (unofficially called the Princes of Lapland) by his first mistress, the actress Emilie Högquist:[14]

  1. Hjalmar Högquist, born 18 June 1839 in Hamburg, died 1874 in London.
  2. Max Högquist, born 12 August 1840 in Stockholm, died 1872 in China.

With his second mistress, Jaquette Löwenhielm (née Gyldenstolpe), Oscar had a daughter:

  1. Oscara Hilder née Meijergeer (1819–1880)


Oscar I of Sweden (Daguerreotype restored)
Daguerreotype of Oscar I in 1844; this is the first known photograph of a Swedish monarch.

In 1824 and 1833, Oscar briefly served as Viceroy of Norway.

In 1838 Charles XIV John began to suspect that his son was plotting with the Liberal politicians to bring about a change of ministry, or even his own abdication. If Oscar did not actively assist the Opposition on this occasion, his disapprobation of his father's despotic behaviour was notorious, though he avoided an actual rupture. Yet his liberalism was of the most cautious and moderate character, as the Opposition—shortly after his accession to the thrones in 1844—discovered to their great chagrin. The new king would not hear of any radical reform of the cumbersome and obsolete 1809 Instrument of Government, which made the king a near-autocrat. However, one of his earliest measures was to establish freedom of the press. He also passed the first law supporting gender equality in Sweden when he in 1845 declared that brothers and sisters should have equal inheritance, unless there was a will.[15] Oscar I also formally established equality between his two kingdoms by introducing new flags with the common Union badge of Norway and Sweden, as well as a new coat of arms for the union.

In foreign affairs, Oscar I was a friend of the principle of nationality; in 1848 he supported Denmark against the Kingdom of Prussia in the First War of Schleswig by placing Swedish and Norwegian troops in cantonments in Funen and North Schleswig (1849–1850), and was the mediator of the Truce of Malmö (26 August 1848). He was also one of the guarantors of the integrity of Denmark (the London Protocol, 8 May 1852).[12]

As early as 1850, Oscar I had conceived the plan of a dynastic union of the three Scandinavian kingdoms, but such difficulties presented themselves that the scheme had to be abandoned.[16] He succeeded, however, in reversing his father's obsequious policy towards Imperial Russia. His fear lest Russia should demand a stretch of coast along the Varanger Fjord induced him to remain neutral during the Crimean War, and, subsequently, to conclude an alliance with Great Britain and the Second French Empire (25 November 1855) for preserving the territorial integrity of Sweden-Norway.[12]


In the 1850s, Oscar's health began to rapidly deteriorate, becoming paralyzed in 1857; he died two years later at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 8 July 1859. His eldest son, who served as Regent during his absence, succeeded him as Charles XV.


Arms and monogram

Coat of arms of Oscar, Duke of Södermanland
Crown Prince, Duke of Södermanland
Blason du Prince Oscar 1826-1844
Crown Prince, Duke of Södermanland
Armoiries des rois Oscar Ier et Charles XV de Suede
King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway
Oskar I, monogram
Royal Monogram of King Oscar I
of Sweden


Ancestors of Oscar I of Sweden
8. Jean Bernadotte
4. Jean Henri Bernadotte
9. Marie du Pucheu dite de La Place
2. Charles XIV John of Sweden
10. Jean de Saint Vincent
5. Jeanne de Saint Vincent
11. Marie d'Abbadie de Sireix
1. Oscar I of Sweden
12. Joseph Clary
6. François Clary
13. Françoise Agnès Ammoric
3. Désirée Clary
14. Joseph Ignace Somis
7. Françoise Rose Somis
15. Catherine Rose Soucheiron


  1. ^ "Oscar 1, Konge". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  2. ^ "Kong Oscar I (1799-1859)". kongehuset.no. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "Oskar, konungar af Sverige och Norge". Nordisk familjebok. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  4. ^ Cronholm, Neander N. (1902). A History of Sweden from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. ch 40 pp 273-88
  5. ^ "Karl 3 Johan, Konge". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  6. ^ "Desideria, Dronning". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Bain 1911, p. 932.
  8. ^ Lars Elgklou (1995). Familjen Bernadotte. En släktkrönika. (The Bernadotte family. A family chronicle.) (in Swedish). Skogs Boktryckeri Trelleborg. p. 21. ISBN 91-7054-755-6.
  9. ^ "Karl 2". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  10. ^ Hjalmar Lagerqvist, Sveriges drottningar
  11. ^ "Josefine, Dronning". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  12. ^ a b c Chisholm 1911.
  13. ^ "Oscar 2, Konge". Norsk biografisk leksikon. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  14. ^ Söderhjelm & Palmstierna in Oscar I, Bonniers, Stockholm 1944, p. 279
  15. ^ "Oscar I". Soylent Communications. Retrieved September 1, 2016.
  16. ^ Lars O. Lagerqvist in Sverige och dess regenter under 1000 år (Sweden and Her Rulers for 1000 years) ISBN 91-0-075007-7 pp. 273-274
  17. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Le livre d'or de l'ordre de Léopold et de la croix de fer, Volume 1 /Ferdinand Veldekens
  19. ^ Johann Heinrich Friedrich Berlien (1846). Der Elephanten-Orden und seine Ritter: eine historische Abhandlung über die ersten Spuren dieses Ordens und dessen fernere Entwicklung bis zu seiner gegenwärtigen Gestalt, und nächstdem ein Material zur Personalhistorie, nach den Quellen des Königlichen Geheimen-Staatsarchivs und des Königlichen Ordenskapitelsarchivs zu Kopenhagen. Gedruckt in der Berlingschen Officin. p. 168.
  20. ^ "The Order of St. Olav". www.royalcourt.no. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Toison Espagnole (Spanish Fleece) - 19th century" (in French), Chevaliers de la Toison D'or. Retrieved 2018-08-09.


Related reading

Oscar I
Born: 4 July 1799 Died: 8 July 1859
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles XIV/III John
King of Sweden and Norway
Succeeded by
Charles XV/IV
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Charles XIII/II
Duke of Södermanland Succeeded by
Charles Oscar
Italian nobility
Preceded by
Duke of Galliera
with Josephine

Succeeded by
Raffaele de Ferrari
1799 in France

Events from the year 1799 in France

1844 in Sweden

Events from the year 1844 in Sweden

1859 in Sweden

Events from the year 1859 in Sweden

Carl Gustaf Löwenhielm

Count Carl Gustaf Löwenhielm (January 30, 1790 – May 18, 1858) was a Swedish diplomat and Lieutenant general.

Carl Gustaf Löwenhielm was born in Värmland and grew up on a manor. He joined the military in 1809 and in 1811 became courtier in the service of the Crown Price, the future King Oscar I of Sweden. In 1812 he traveled to Russia to join the anti-Napoleonic cause. He fought in the Russian army against the French in the battles of Borodino and Leipzig and was present during the conquest of Paris in 1814. He married on 18 September 1817 Jacquette Löwenhielm, the famous mistress of King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway. The couple had no children and divorced in 1828.In 1821, he was promoted to the rank of colonel and served in the general staff of Sweden. He traveled to Bavaria in 1822 on a mission from Prince Oscar to ask for the hand of Josephine of Leuchtenberg on his behalf. In 1824 he was appointed to the equivalent of Swedish ambassador to the Ottoman Empire and served in Istanbul until 1830. Löwenhielm detested his assignment to Turkey and considered the time there a waste of years. He nonetheless managed to accomplish a deal with the Ottoman government through which Swedish merchant ships were allowed to pass through the Bosphorus. After his years in Turkey, Löwenhielm also worked for some years as a Swedish envoy to the Imperial Court in Vienna.In 1840 Löwenhielm married in Vienna Countess Natalie Alexandra von Buxhoeveden (1814-1867), a granddaughter of Friedrich Wilhelm von Buxhoeveden. This time the marriage was a happy one, and as Löwenhielm had inherited a large sum of money from his father he retired from diplomatic duties and settles in Värmland on the family estate. He served as County Governor of Gothenburg and Bohus County between 1843 and 1845 and later again served as a military officer. During the First Schleswig War, he commanded the contingent of volunteers from Sweden and Norway fighting for Denmark in the war with success.

Emilie Högquist

Emilie Sophie Högquist or Högqvist (29 April 1812 – 18 December 1846) was a Swedish stage actress. She was a star of the Royal Dramatic Theatre and has been referred to as the first celebrity within Swedish drama and known as the Swedish Aspasia, both for her artistic ability but also for the literary salon she hosted. She is also known in history for her love affair with King Oscar I of Sweden.

HSwMS Eugenie

HSwMS Eugenie was a Swedish frigate, armed with 40 cannons. Between the years of 1851 and 1853, the Eugenie was captained by Christian Adolf Virgin as the first Swedish warship to circumnavigate the globe, on a voyage intended to promote Swedish trade. Naval officer Carl Skogman subsequently released an itinerary of the journey.

The vessel was classified as a corvette from 1877 until 1888, when it was converted into an accommodation ship at Skeppsholmen. She was taken out of service completely in 1919 and was sold to a Norwegian shipping company in Moss to be used as floating work home. In 1926, she was sold to a scrap dealer in Halmstad for scrapping.

The ship is named after Princess Eugenie, daughter of Oscar I of Sweden.

Lake Oscar (Douglas County, Minnesota)

Lake Oscar is a lake in Douglas County, in the U.S. state of Minnesota.According to Warren Upham, Lake Oscar was probably named after Oscar I of Sweden.

Louise of the Netherlands

Louise of the Netherlands (Wilhelmina Frederika Alexandrine Anna Louise; 5 August 1828 – 30 March 1871) was the Queen of Sweden and Norway as spouse of King Charles XV of Sweden and IV of Norway.

March Unrest

The March Unrest (Swedish: Marsoroligheterna, (Swedish: [ˈmaʂːˌuːruːlɪɡheːtɛɳa]) was a brief series of riots which occurred in the Swedish capital Stockholm during the Revolutions of 1848.

On 2 March 1848, news of the French Revolution of 1848 reached Stockholm. On the morning of 18 March, the police encountered proclamations all over the capital defying the government and demanding reforms, among them elective and suffrage reform. That afternoon, a banquet was arranged at the Hotel de la Croix. A mob gathered on the square outside, Brunkebergstorg, and threatened to enter the building. The mob was crushed by the police and some were arrested, though they defended themselves by throwing stones.

On the evening, a crowd gathered between the Royal Palace and the Storkyrkan. King Oscar I of Sweden, who was attending a performance of Jenny Lind at the Royal Swedish Opera, met the protesters at Storkyrkobrinken, listened to their complaints and ordered the release of the arrested, which dissolved the crowd.

Another crowd formed later the same day, however, which threw stones through windows at Gustav Adolfs torg, Drottninggatan and Blasieholmen, among them at the windows of Arch Bishop Wingård.

On 19 March, mobs gathered again and shops were plundered. When a crowd on Storkyrkobrinken refused to dissolve, the monarch called out the militia. Shots were fired, leading to 18 casualties among the protesters. At Norra Smedjegatan, the military stormed a barricade. Among the wealthy merchant class, private militias were formed to keep the peace.

The following day was calm. On 21 March, reinforcements from the army arrived to the capital to be at hand in case of further riots, but none occurred.

Nils Ericson

Friherre Nils Ericson (31 January 1802 – 8 September 1870) was a Swedish mechanical engineer (as was his younger brother John Ericsson, who emigrated to England and then the USA). He became a prominent Swedish canal and railway builder.

Born Nils Ericsson, he was raised to the untitled nobility by king Oscar I of Sweden in 1854, and with this he reverted to a spelling of his surname with only one "s". In 1859 he was made a Friherre (equivalent to English Baron), the 403rd such elevation to Sweden's titled nobility.

Peder Carl Lasson

Peder Carl Lasson (14 November 1798 – 5 June 1873) was a Norwegian jurist and politician. He served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway from 1855 to 1877.He was born in rural Bærum in Akershus, Norway. He was the son of Niels Quist Lasson (1762-1853) and Barbara Christiane Bremer (1773-1833).

He went on the Christiania Cathedral School (now Oslo Cathedral School). He studied at the newly founded University of Christiania (now University of Oslo). He graduated with a degree in law during 1822.

He received a license as a barrister and began a career in law, being appointed Supreme Court judge in 1828, Supreme Court assessor in 1837 and district stipendiary magistrate (sorenskriver) of Aker in 1848.He had many law-related publications to his name. He was acting Minister of Justice and the Police from July to September 1852 and October 1852 to April 1853, as a member of the interim governments. Such interim governments were established when King Oscar I of Sweden travelled abroad or was ill.Lasson appointed successor to Chief Justice Georg Jacob Bull who died in 1854. Lasson served as the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Norway from 1855 to 1877.

Prince August, Duke of Dalarna

Prince Nikolaus August of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Dalarna (24 August 1831 – 4 March 1873) was the youngest of the five children of King Oscar I of Sweden and Josephine of Leuchtenberg.

Prince Carl Bernadotte

Carl Gustaf Oscar Fredrik Christian, Prince Bernadotte (10 January 1911 – 27 June 2003), originally Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland, was the youngest child and only son of Prince Carl of Sweden and Princess Ingeborg of Denmark and eventually a prince of the Belgian nobility. To distinguish himself from his father, he was widely known as Carl Junior. He was the brother of Princess Margaretha of Sweden, Queen Astrid of Belgium and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway.

Prince Carl Oscar, Duke of Södermanland

Prince Carl Oscar of Sweden, Duke of Södermanland (Carl Oscar Vilhelm Frederik; 14 December 1852 – 13 March 1854) was a prince of Sweden and Norway.

Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland

Prince Gustaf of Sweden and Norway, Duke of Uppland (Frans Gustaf Oscar, 18 June 1827 at Haga Palace, Solna – 24 September 1852 in Kristiania, Norway), also known officially as Gustav, was the second son of Oscar I of Sweden and Josephine of Leuchtenberg, and the younger brother of Prince (from 1844 Crown Prince) Charles.

Princess Adrienne, Duchess of Blekinge

Princess Adrienne of Sweden, Duchess of Blekinge (Adrienne Josephine Alice Bernadotte; born 9 March 2018) is the third child and second daughter of Princess Madeleine and Christopher O'Neill. She is a granddaughter of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia. She is tenth in the line of succession to the Swedish throne.

Princess Margaretha of Sweden

Princess Margaretha of Sweden (Margaretha Sofia Lovisa Ingeborg; 25 June 1899 – 4 January 1977) was a member of the Swedish Royal Family and a Princess of Denmark by marriage. She was the elder sister of Crown Princess Märtha of Norway and Queen Astrid of Belgium.

Princess Märtha of Sweden

Princess Märtha of Sweden (Märtha Sofia Lovisa Dagmar Thyra; 28 March 1901 – 5 April 1954) was Crown Princess of Norway as the spouse of the future King Olav V from 1929 until her death in 1954. The presently reigning King Harald V is her only son. Märtha was also a maternal aunt of Baudouin of Belgium and Albert II of Belgium.

Skarhult Castle

Skarhults Castle (Swedish: Skarhults slott) is a castle in Eslöv Municipality, Scania, in southern Sweden.

The present castle was constructed in the 1560s in the then Danish province of Scania by Danish riksråd Sten Rosensparre, though certain parts of the castle are presumed to be older.

The estate was originally called Skarholta or Skarolt. From at least the 14th century until 1624, it belonged to the Rosensparre family, who also called themselves Skarholt, and then to the Ruud family and the Trolle family.

In 1658, Scania became a Swedish province, and in 1661, it was bought by the Swedish count Pontus Fredrik De la Gardie. In reality, however, it was bought by the funds of his rich wife, Beata Elisabet von Königsmarck who, as a married woman and thereby a minor, could not formally be listed as its buyer and owner until after she was widowed in 1692. In practice, Beata Elisabet von Königsmarck managed the estate alone from 1661 until her death in 1723, when it was inherited by the grandson of her daughter, count Erik Brahe. His son, Magnus Fredrik Brahe, sold Skarholt to Charles XIV John of Sweden in 1826.

Skarholt was sold to baron Jules von Schwerin by Oscar I of Sweden and is still privately owned.

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