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Frederick I of Sweden: Wikis

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Frederick I
Prince consort of Sweden
King of Sweden
Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
Frederick I
Reign 24 March 1720 – 25 March 1751
Coronation 3 May 1720
Predecessor Ulrika Eleonora
Successor Adolf Frederick
Spouse i) Louise Dorothea of Prussia
ii) Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden
Father Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
Mother Maria Amalia of Courland
Born 23 April 1676
Kassel, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel
Died 25 March 1751 (aged 74)
Stockholm, Sweden
Burial 26 February 1719
Riddarholmen Church, Stockholm

Frederick I (Swedish: Fredrik I) (23 April 1676 – 25 March 1751) was King of Sweden from 1720 and Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel from 1730 until his death.

Contents

Youth

He was the son of Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, and Princess Maria Amalia of Courland.
In 1692 the young prince made his Grand Tour to the Dutch Republic, in 1695 to Italy and later he studied in Geneva. After this he had a military career, leading the Hessian troops as Lieutenant General in the War of Spanish Succession on the side of the Dutch.
He was defeated in 1703 in the Battle of Speyerbach, but participated the next year in the great victory in the Battle of Blenheim.
In 1706 he was again defeated by the French in the Battle of Castiglione.
Both in 1716 and 1718 he joined the campaign of Charles XII of Sweden against Norway, and was appointed Swedish Generalissimus.

King of Sweden

He married his second wife, Princess Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden, in 1715. He served as prince consort of Sweden during Ulrika Eleonora's rule as Queen regnant from 1718 until her abdication in 1720, when he succeeded her by the election of the Swedish Estates. He was the only prince consort of Sweden to date, and of course the only king of Sweden to also have been prince consort.

Frederick I had much influence during the reign of his wife, and was a very active and dynamic king at the beginning of his 31-year reign. But after the aristocracy had regained power during the wars with Russia, he became not so much powerless as uninterested in affairs of state. In 1723, he tried to strengthen royal authority, but after he failed, he never had much to do with politics. He did not even sign official documents; instead a stamp of his signature was used. He devoted most of his time to hunting and love affairs. His marriage to Queen Ulrika Eleonora was childless, but he had several children by his mistress Hedvig Taube.[1]

Some historians have suggested that the stray bullet which killed his brother-in-law Charles XII of Sweden in 1718 was actually fired by Frederick's aide. Charles had been an authoritarian and demanding ruler; one reason the Swedish Estates elected Frederick was because he was taken to be fairly weak, which indeed he turned out to be.

The defeats suffered by Charles XII in the Great Northern War ended Sweden's position as a first-rank European power. Under Frederick, this had to be accepted. Sweden also had to cede Estonia, Ingria and Livonia to Russia in the Treaty of Nystad, in 1721.

In 1723 Frederick rewarded the military inventor Sven Åderman with the estate of Halltorps on the island of Öland, for improving the rate of fire of the musket.

As a king, he was not very respected. When he was crowned, it was said; "King Charles we recently buried, King Frederick we crown - suddenly the clock has now passed from twelve to one". It is said about him, that although a lot of great achievements in the country's development happened during his reign, he never had anything to do with them himself. When he died, Carl Gustaf Tessin said about him:

Under the reign of King Frederick, science has developed - he never bothered to read a book. The merchant business has flourished - he has never encouraged it with a single coin. The Stockholm Palace has been built - he has never been curious enough to look at it.

Neither did he have anything to do with the founding of the first Swedish speaking theater at Bollhuset during his reign. One of his few important policies was the banning of duels.

Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel

Frederick became Landgrave of Hesse only in 1730, ten years after becoming King of Sweden. He immediately appointed his younger brother William governor of Hesse.

As Landgrave, Frederick is generally not seen as a success. Indeed, he did concentrate more on Sweden, and due to the negotiated, compromise-like ascension to the Stockholm throne, he and the court had a very low appanage. The money for the very expensive court, then, came since the 1730s from wealthy Hesse, and this means that Frederick essentially behaved like an absentee landlord. Also, Frederick's father, Charles I of Hesse-Kassel, had been the state's most successful ruler, rebuilding the state over his decades-long rule by means of economic and infrastructure measures and state reform, as well as tolerance, such as attracting, for economic purposes, the French Huguenots. His brother the governor, who would succeed Frederick as Landgrave William VIII of Hesse-Kassel, though by background a distinguished soldier, was likewise a great success locally. There are very few physical remainders of Frederick in Hesse today; one of them is his large Royal Swedish paraph (FR) over the old door of the University of Marburg's former riding hall, now the Institute of Physical Education.

Ancestry

Family and issue

Frederick's sarcophagus in Riddarholm Church

On 31 May 1700, he married his first wife, Louise Dorothea, Princess of Prussia (1680–1705), daughter of Frederick I of Prussia (1657–1713) and Elizabeth Henrietta of Hesse-Kassel (1661-1683). His first marriage was childless.

His second wife, whom he married in 1715, was Ulrika Eleonora, Princess of Sweden, (1688–1741), daughter of Charles XI of Sweden (1655–1697) and of Ulrike Eleonora of Denmark (1656–1693). This marriage was also childless.

Frederick I had three extramarital children with his mistress Hedvig Taube:

After the death of Hedvig Taube, his official mistress was the noblewoman Catharina Ebba Horn, whom he gave the title and recognition of German-Roman Countess (1745-1748).

Thus, the Hessian line in Sweden ended with him and was followed by that of Holstein-Gottorp. In Hesse-Kassel, he was succeeded by his younger brother William VIII, a famous general.

References

External links

Frederick I
Cadet branch of the House of Hesse
Born: 23 April 1676 Died: 25 March 1751
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Ulrike Eleonora of Denmark
as Queen consort
Prince consort of Sweden
1718–1720
Succeeded by
Ulrika Eleonora the Younger
as Queen consort
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Ulrika Eleonora the Younger
as Queen regnant of Sweden
King of Sweden
1720–1751
Succeeded by
Adolf Frederick
Preceded by
Charles
Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
1730–1751
Succeeded by
William VIII
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