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Oscar I
King of Sweden and Norway
King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway
Reign 8 March 1844 ‚Äď 8 July 1859
Predecessor Charles XIV John
Successor Charles XV
Spouse Josephine of Leuchtenberg
Charles XV
Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland
Oscar II
Princess Eugenie
Prince August, Duke of Dalarna
Full name
Joseph François Oscar Bernadotte
Father Charles XIV John of Sweden
Mother Désirée Clary
Born 4 July 1799(1799-07-04)
Paris, France
Died 8 July 1859 (aged 60)
Stockholm, Sweden

Oscar I, born Joseph Fran√ßois Oscar Bernadotte (4 July 1799 ‚Äď 8 July 1859), was King of Sweden and Norway from 1844 to his death. When, in August 1810, his father Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was elected Crown Prince of Sweden, Oscar and his mother moved from Paris to Stockholm (June 1811). Oscar's father was the first ruler of the current House of Bernadotte. Oscar's mother was D√©sir√©e Clary, Napoleon Bonaparte's first fianc√©e. Her sister, Julie Clary, was married to Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte. D√©sir√©e chose Napoleon to be Oscar's godfather.



From Charles XIII of Sweden Oscar received the title of Duke of Södermanland. He quickly acquired the Swedish language. By the time he reached the age of majority he had become a general favourite. His very considerable native talents were developed by an excellent education, and he soon came to be regarded as an authority on all socio-political questions. On January 17, 1816, he was elected an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 1818, he was appointed chancellor of Uppsala University, where he spent one semester.

In 1839 he wrote a series of articles on popular education, and (in 1841) an anonymous work, "Om Straff och straffanstalter", advocating prison reforms. Twice during his father's lifetime he was viceroy of Norway. 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 he married the Princess Josephine, daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and granddaughter of the Empress Josephine.

Planned marriage

Oscar's father had selected four princesses as candidates for marriage, in order of his priority:[1]


In 1824 and 1833, the Crown Prince was briefly Viceroy of Norway. In 1838 the king began to suspect his heir of plotting with the Liberal party 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 (8 March 1844), discovered to their great chagrin. He would not hear of any radical reform of the cumbrous and obsolete Constitution of 1809. But one of his earliest measures was to establish freedom of the press. He also passed the first law towards gender equality in Sweden when he in 1845 declared that brothers and sisters should have equal inheritance, unless there was a will.

He formally established equality between his two kingdoms by introducing new flags with the common Union badge of Norway and Sweden and a new coat of arms for the union. Most of the legislation during Oscar I's reign aimed at improving the economic position of Sweden, and the Riksdag of the Estates, in its address to him in 1857, declared that he had promoted the material prosperity of the kingdom more than any of his predecessors.

Swedish Royalty
House of Bernadotte
Bernadotte coa.svg
Charles XIV John
   Oscar I
Oscar I
   Charles XV
   Gustaf, Duke of Upland
   Oscar II
   Princess Eugenie
   August, Duke of Dalarna
Charles XV
   Lovisa, Queen of Denmark
   Carl Oscar, Duke of S√∂dermanland
Oscar II
   Gustaf V
   Oscar, Duke of Gotland
   Eug√©n, Duke of N√§rke
   Carl, Duke of V√§sterg√∂tland
   Princess Margaretha
   M√§rtha, Crown Princess of Norway
   Astrid, Queen of Belgium
   Carl, Duke of √Ėsterg√∂tland
Gustaf V
   Gustaf VI Adolf
   Vilhelm, Duke of S√∂dermanland
   Erik, Duke of V√§stmanland
Gustaf VI Adolf
   Gustaf Adolf, Duke of V√§sterbotten
   Sigvard, Duke of Uppland
   Ingrid, Queen of Denmark
   Bertil, Duke of Halland
   Carl Johan, Duke of Dalarna
   Princess Margaretha
   Princess Birgitta
   Princess D√©sir√©e
   Princess Christina
   Carl XVI Gustaf
Carl XVI Gustaf
   Crown Princess Victoria
   Carl Philip, Duke of V√§rmland
    Madeleine, Duchess of H√§lsingland and G√§strikland

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; placed Swedish and Norwegian troops in cantonments in Funen and North Schleswig (1849‚Äď1850); and mediated the Truce of Malm√∂ (26 August 1848). He was also one of the guarantors of the integrity of Denmark (the London Protocol, 8 May 1852).

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. 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 the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Second French Empire (25 November 1855) for preserving the territorial integrity of Sweden-Norway.

He was the 968th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain.


Oscar I left five legitimate children ‚Äď four sons and one daughter. Two of his sons, Charles and Oscar, succeeded him to the throne.

  1. King Charles XV (Charles IV in Norway) (1826‚Äď1872)
  2. Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland (1827‚Äď1852)
  3. King Oscar II (1829‚Äď1907)
  4. Princess Eugenie (1830‚Äď1889)
  5. Prince August, Duke of Dalarna (1831‚Äď1873)

Oscar also had two children with his mistress, the actress Emilie Högquist:

  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 another mistress, Jaquette Löwenhielm (née Gyldenstolpe), Oscar had a daughter

  1. Oscaria, born 1819.


16. Jean Bernadotte
8. Jean Bernadotte
17. Marie de la Barrère-Bertandot
4. Jean Henri Bernadotte
18. Jacques du Pucheu dit de Laplace
9. Marie du Pucheu dite de La Place
19. Françoise de Labasseur
2. Charles XIV John of Sweden
10. Jean de Saint Vincent
5. Jeanne de Saint Vincent
22. Doumengé Habas d'Arrens
11. Marie d'Abbadie de Sireix
23. Marie d'Abbadie, Abbesse La√Įque de Sireix
1. Oscar I of Sweden
24. Jacques Clary
12. Joseph Clary
25. Catherine Barosse
6. François Clary
26. François Ammoric
13. Françoise Agnes Ammoric
27. Jeanne Boisson
3. Désirée Clary
28. Jean Louis Somis
14. Joseph Ignace Somis
29. Françoise Bouchard
7. Françoise Rose Somis
30. François Soucheiron
15. Catherine Rose Soucheiron
31. Anne Cautier


  1. ^ Hjalmar Lagerqvist, Sveriges drottningar

External links

Oscar I
Born: 4 July 1799 Died: 8 July 1859
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Karl XIV/III Johan
King of Sweden
Succeeded by
Karl XV/IV
King of Norway
Titles of nobility
Preceded by
Duke of S√∂dermanland Succeeded by
Carl Oscar


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