King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden (Jean Baptiste Bernadotte)

source: Wikipedia

King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden (Jean Baptiste Bernadotte)

King Carl XIV Johan of Sweden was born Jean Baptiste Bernadotte on January 26,1763, in Pau, France. He was the youngest of five children of Jean Henri Bernadotte and Jeanne de Saint-Jean. He was educated to follow his father in the law profession, but seems to have had no interest. Following his father’s death, Jean ended his studies and joined the military, where he quickly stood out for his courage and leadership. During the French Revolution, he rose quickly through the ranks, attaining the rank of Brigadier General in 1794.

Désirée Clary, 1807 portrait by Robert Lefèvre. source: Wikipedia

On August 16, 1798, he married Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary, whose sister Julie Clary was married to Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Désirée had previously been engaged to Napoleon. They had one son, Oscar (born in 1799), who would later become King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway.

In 1804, Napoleon was proclaimed Emperor of France, and appointed Bernadotte as Marshal of France. He served for several months as Governor of the recently-occupied Hanover, and in December 1805, took part in the battle of Austerlitz. In recognition of his efforts at Austerlitz, Napoleon created him Prince of Pontecorvo, a small principality in Italy.

Bernadotte’s relationship with Napoleon was often strained, but the Emperor respected Bernadotte greatly. Bernadotte often went against the Emperor’s orders during battle, at least once being stripped of his command. Despite this, he was later appointed Governor of Rome, but never took up the position. Instead, he would find himself heading north to Sweden.

In 1809, King Carl XIII ascended the throne of Sweden. He had no living children, and his adopted son and heir had died the following year. The Swedes had the idea to offer the position of Crown Prince to one of Napoleon’s Marshals. Bernadotte was well-liked in Sweden, particularly because of his considerate treatment of Swedish prisoners during the recent war with Denmark. In addition, he was related to Napoleon through his wife, and already had a son who could continue the succession. On August 21, 1810, the Swedish Riksdag of the Estates elected Bernadotte as Crown Prince. He arrived in Stockholm in November 1810 and was formally adopted by the King, taking the name Carl Johan, and converting from Roman Catholicism to Lutheranism.

The new Crown Prince quickly took an active role in the Swedish government, particularly in the area of foreign policy. He was actively involved in the events leading up to the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, in which Denmark was forced to cede Norway to Sweden. Norway refused to accept the treaty at first, and the Crown Prince invaded, quickly suppressing the Norwegian forces. Soon, Norway became united with Sweden at the Convention of Moss. Unlike the previous union with Denmark, this was a personal union under a single sovereign, and Norway remained an independent state with its own constitution.

Coronation in Norway, painting by Jacob Munch. source: WIkipedia

King Carl XIII died on February 5, 1818, and Bernadotte ascended the throne. His coronation in Sweden took place on May 11th, and he took the name King Carl XIV Johan. In September, he was crowned in Norway, as King Carl III Johan. Thus began the Bernadotte dynasty in Sweden, which continues today.

Following his accession, the King soon lost much of his popularity with the Swedish and Norwegian people. In Norway, his role in the events of 1814 and his constant attempts to change the constitution to allow him great powers, caused him to be viewed skeptically by the people. His attempts to squash the celebrations of Norway’s National Day (May 17th) – going so far as making it illegal – further cemented the negative views of the Norwegians.

In Sweden, where he enjoyed much more power and control, his conservative almost autocratic views caused significant dissent among the population. By the 1830s, there were calls for his abdication, however he held onto his throne and seems to have regained the respect of many of his subjects.

Tomb of King Carl XIV John and his wife De’sire’e Clary. photo © Susan Flantzer

On his 81st birthday in January 1844, King Carl XIV Johan suffered a stroke, from which he never recovered. He died on March 8, 1844 at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Following his funeral, he was interred at the Riddarholm Church in Stockholm.

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November 25: Today in Royal History

Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

November 25, 1034 – Death of King Malcolm II of Scotland at Glamis Castle; buried at Isle of Iona, Scotland
Wikipedia: Malcolm II of Scotland

November 25, 1120 – Death of William the Ætheling, Duke of Normandy, son and heir of King Henry I of England, on the White Ship
William’s death resulted in the The Anarchy, the succession crisis between his sister Maud and her cousin Stephen.
Wikipedia: William Ætheling
Unofficial Royalty: The Sinking of the White Ship and How It Affected the English Succession

November 25, 1253 – Birth of Katherine of England, daughter of King Henry III of England, at the Palace of Westminster
Wikipedia: Katherine of England

November 25, 1314 – Death of John Balliol, King of Scots at his family’s château at Hélicourt in France; buried at St. Waast at Bailleul-sur-Eaune, France
Wikipedia: John Balliol

November 25, 1609 – Birth of Henrietta Maria of France, wife of King Charles I of England, at Hotel du Louvre in Paris, France
The state of Maryland in the United States was named after her.
Wikipedia: Henrietta Maria of France

November 25, 1638 – Birth of Catherine of Braganza, wife of King Charles II of England, at Vila Viçosa in Lisbon, Portugal
The borough of Queens in New York City was supposedly named for Catherine.
Unofficial Royalty: Catherine of Braganza

November 25, 1868 – Birth of Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine, grandson of Queen Victoria, at Neues Palais, Darmstadt (Germany)
Full name: Ernst Ludwig Karl Albert Wilhelm
Ernst was the son of Princess Alice and Grand Duke Louis of Hesse and by Rhine. He married his first cousin Princess Victoria Melita of Edinburgh but they divorced after seven years of marriage. Ernest married again to Princess Eleonore of Solms-Braunfels.
Unofficial Royalty: Ernst Ludwig, Grand Duke of Hesse and by Rhine

November 25, 1876 – Birth of Victoria Melita of Edinburgh, granddaughter of Queen Victoria, at San Antonio Palace in Malta
Victoria Melita was the daughter of Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Grand Duchess Marie Alexandrovna of Russia. She married his first cousin Grand Ernst Ludwig of Hesse and by Rhine, but they divorced after seven years of marriage. After the divorce, she married her Romanov first cousin Grand Duke Kryill Vladimirovich.
Unofficial Royalty: Victoria Melita of Edinburgh

November 25, 1885 – Death of King Alfonso XII of Spain at Palacio Real de El Pardo in Madrid, Spain; buried at the Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real in El Escorial, Spain
Unofficial Royalty: King Alfonso XII of Spain

November 25, 1925 – Death of Vajiravudh, Rama VI of Siam, at the Grand Palace, Phra Nakhon, Siam (Thailand)
Wikipedia: Vajiravudh

Royal News: Wednesday 25 November 2015





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November 24: Today in Royal History

Wedding of King Louis XIII of France and Anne of Austria, Photo Credit –

November 24, 1273 – Birth of Alfonso, Earl of Chester, son of King Edward I of England, at Bordeaux, France
Alfonso was the third son and ninth child of Edward I and Eleanor of Castile.  His two elder brothers had died so Alfonso was the heir apparent to the throne.  Alfonso died at age 11 at Windsor Castle and was buried at Westminster Abbey near the shrine of Edward the Confessor.  Had he survived his father, England would have had a King Alfonso.
Wikipedia: Alfonso, Earl of Chester

November 24, 1615 – Wedding of King Louis XIII of France and Anne of Austria
Wikipedia: Louis XIII
Wikipedia: Anne of Austria

November 24, 1655 – Birth of King Charles XI of Sweden at Tre Kronor in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: Charles XI of Sweden

November 24, 1715 – Death of Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp, wife of King Charles X of Sweden; buried at Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp

November 24, 1724 – Birth of Maria Amalia of Saxony, wife of King Charles III of Spain, at Dresden Castle, Germany
Wikipedia: Maria Amalia of Saxony

November 24, 1741 – Death of Queen Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden at Stockholm; buried at Riddarholmen Church in Stockholm, Sweden
Wikipedia: Ulrika Eleonora of Sweden

November 24, 1916 – Death of Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau, wife of Grand Duke Adolphe of Luxembourg
Unofficial Royalty: Adelheid-Marie of Anhalt-Dessau, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg

November 24, 1960 – Death of Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia in Toronto, Canada; buried at York Cemetery in Toronto
Wikipedia: Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna

Royal News: Tuesday 24 November 2015

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Royal News: Monday, 23 November 2015

Doing some shopping on Please remember to use our Amazon link – found at the top of the right-hand column on every page of our site. It costs you nothing, and every purchase made through that link helps to support Unofficial Royalty, so that we can continue to bring you the royal news and features every day. Thank you!

Daily Mail: Festive and feminine: Crown Princess Mary dazzles in a red Dolce & Gabbana dress as she attends the first Christmas event of the holiday season

Daily Mail: King of Sweden calls for a ban on BATHS and admits he is now ‘ashamed’ to run one after realising how much energy they use

Daily Mail: SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Career girl Zara has more reason than most to celebrate ‘dynamic’ new relationship with the Chinese
Daily Mail: Charles: Climate change a cause of Syria’s civil war
Daily Mail: Now Prince Charles blames the ‘horrors’ of the Syria war on a failure to tackle climate change… so finally someone agrees with Charlotte Church
Daily Mail: Princess Diana’s niece Lady Kitty Spencer showcases her curves in a skimpy red bikini as she hits the beach with hunky Australian weather presenter James Tobin
Express: Diana’s niece, Lady Kitty Spencer flaunts her curves in teeny tiny bikini on Bondi Beach
Express: Prince Charles blames climate change for war in Syria
Guardian: Prince Charles: climate change may have helped cause Syrian civil war
Telegraph: Prince Charles: Climate change failure is a factor behind Syrian crisis
Telegraph: Ken Olisa: The most powerful black man in Britain

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Maria Christina of Austria, Queen of Spain

by Susan Flantzer

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

The second wife of King Alfonso XII of Spain, Her Imperial and Royal Highness Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria, Princess of Hungary and Bohemia, was born on July 21, 1858 at Židlochovice Castle near Brno, Moravia (now in the Czech Republic). She was given the names Maria Christina Henriette Desideria Felicitas Raineria, but was called Christa in her family. Maria Christina was the third of the six children of first cousins Archduke Karl Ferdinand of Austria-Teschen and Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska of Austria.

Maria Christina had one half-sister from her mother’s first marriage to Archduke Ferdinand Karl Viktor of Austria-Este:

Maria Christina had five siblings, but two died in infancy:

Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska and her children – standing: Friedrich, his wife Isabella; sitting left to right – Maria Theresia, Maria Christina, and Archduchess Elisabeth Franziska; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Maria Christina grew up in Vienna at the court of her second cousin Franz Joseph I, Emperor of Austria. She was well educated and excelled in languages, literature, and history. In 1868, Queen Isabella II of Spain was deposed and her family went into exile in Paris, France. Isabella’s eldest son Alfonso later attended the Theresianum, an elite secondary school in Vienna. It was during his time in Vienna that Alfonso first met Maria Christina. The Spanish monarchy was restored in 1874 and Alfonso became King Alfonso XII at the age of 17. He married his first cousin Princess Maria de las Mercedes of Orléans, but tragically she died five months later from typhoid fever. A year later, Alfonso agreed to marry Mercedes’ sister Maria Cristina, but she developed tuberculosis and died during their engagement.

Alfonso’s choice of a bride then fell upon Maria Christina, and the couple married on November 29, 1879 at the Royal Basilica of Our Lady of Atocha Madrid. Maria Christina and Alfonso had three children:

King Alfonso XII and his second wife Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Alfonso was not faithful to Maria Christina and in the beginning of their marriage, she endured these infidelities. Alfonso had an affair with Italian opera singer Adela Borghi, but the affair with Spanish opera singer Elena Sanz, with whom Alfonso had two children, Alfonso Sanz (1880 – 1970) and Fernand Sanz  (1881-1925), was the final straw. Maria Christina was finally able to prevail and Elena Sanz was sent into exile in Paris. Competing for the French Olympic Team, Fernand Sanz won a silver medal in cycling at the 1900 Olympics in Paris.

On November 25, 1885, three days before his 28th birthday, King Alfonso XII died from tuberculosis at the Royal Palace of El Pardo in Madrid, leaving two daughters and Maria Christina pregnant with their third child. It was decided that Maria Christina would rule as regent until the child was born. If the child were a male, he would become king and if the child were a female, Alfonso and Maria Christina’s elder daughter María Mercedes would become queen. On May 17, 1886, a son was born who immediately became King Alfonso XIII.

“The Death of Alfonso XII” or “The Last Kiss” by Juan Antonio Benlliure, 1887; Credit – Wikipedia

Maria Christina continued as regent until Alfonso XIII reached the age of 16 and took control of the monarchy in 1902. After 1902, she was styled Su Majestad la Reina Madre, Her Majesty The Queen Mother. Despite her political responsibilities, Maria Christina was an exemplary mother and spent much time dealing with her children’s education. She developed interests in many aspects of Spanish culture and even grew to tolerate bullfighting.

Maria Christina with her three children in 1897; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

In 1905, on a state visit to the United Kingdom, King Alfonso XIII met Princess Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg (known as Ena), the only daughter of Queen Victoria’s youngest child Princess Beatrice, and the two developed a strong interest in each other. However, there were several issues that would need to be resolved before they could consider marriage. The first issue was religion. Alfonso was Catholic while Ena was Protestant. The second issue was the potential of Ena bringing hemophilia into the Spanish royal family. As Ena’s brother suffered from the disease, there was a very good chance that Ena herself was a carrier. The third obstacle was Alfonso’s mother, Maria Christina. She did not feel the Battenbergs were royal enough (due to the morganatic marriage which started that family), and wanted her son to marry a member of the Habsburg dynasty of Austria. Eventually all three obstacles were overcome and the couple married on May 31, 1906, at the Royal Monastery of San Jerónimo in Madrid, in a wedding attended by many royals from around the world. Alfonso and Ena had seven children and their oldest and youngest had hemophilia. See Unofficial Royalty: Hemophilia.

Maria Christina and her grandchildren around 1911; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

On February 5, 1929, Maria Christina attended the theater with Queen Ena and her daughters. The family dined as usual at the Royal Palace of Madrid, at nine in the evening. Following the meal, the family moved to the living room, where each night they viewed a film. Then they retired to their rooms for the night just after midnight. Shortly after going to bed, Maria Christina felt a sharp pain in the chest and could barely breathe. Her maid, seeing her pain, asked if she wanted to call her son the king, but Maria Christina said no. Soon, Maria Christina had another very strong pain, a fatal heart attack.

Maria Christina in the 1920s; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Maria Christina was buried in the Pantheon of Kings in the Royal Crypt of the Monastery of El Escorial.  Two years later, in 1931, in the face of overwhelming popular rejection, King Alfonso XIII fled the country as the Second Spanish Republic was proclaimed, followed by Francoist Spain after the Spanish Civil War. The monarchy was restored in 1975 when Maria Christina’s great grandson Juan Carlos became king.

Maria Christina tomb

Tomb of Maria Christina; Photo Credit –

Wikipedia: Maria Christina of Austria

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November 23: Today in Royal History

King William III of the Netherlands, Photo Credit – Wikipedia

November 23, 1243 – Wedding of Richard, Earl of Cornwall (son of King John of England) and Sanchia of Provence at Westminster Abbey
Wikipedia: Richard, Earl of Cornwall
Wikipedia: Sanchia of Provence

November 23, 1503 – Death of Margaret of York, wife of Charles I, Duke of Burgundy and sister of King Edward IV of England and King Richard III of England, in Mechlin, Flanders
Wikipedia: Margaret of York

November 23, 1511 – Death of Anne of York, daughter of King Edward IV of England; buried at Church of St. Michael the Archangel, Framlingham, Suffolk
Anne married Thomas Howard, Earl of Surrey (later 3rd Duke of Norfolk) but she died young and they had no children.  The Duke later married Anne Stafford, daughter of the Duke of Buckingham and was the uncle of Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard.
Wikipedia: Anne of York

November 23, 1589 – Wedding of King James I of England (King James VI of Scotland) and Anne of Denmark at the Old Bishop’s Palace in Oslo, Norway
Unofficial Royalty: James I of England
Wikipedia: Anne of Denmark

November 23, 1609 – Birth of Sophia Eleonore of Saxony, wife of George II, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt, in Dresden (Germany)
Wikipedia: Sophia Eleonore of Saxony

November 23, 1886 – Birth of Prince Alexander of Battenberg, grandson of Queen Victoria, at Windsor Castle
Full name: Alexander Albert
Alexander was the son of Princess Beatrice of the United Kingdom and Prince Henry of Battenberg.  He married Lady Irene Denison, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Londesbrough.  During World War I, his surname was changed to Mountbatten and he was created 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke.
Unofficial Royalty: Alexander Mountbatten, 1st Marquess of Carisbrooke

November 23, 1890 – Death of King Willem III of the Netherlands at Het Loo, near Apeldoorn, The Netherlands; buried at Nieuwe Kerk in Delft, The Netherlands
Unofficial Royalty: Willem III of the Netherlands

November 23, 1965 – Death of Elisabeth of Bavaria, wife of King Albert I of the Belgians, in Brussels, Belgium; buried at the Royal Crypt in the Church of Our Lady in Laeken, Brussels, Belgium
Unofficial Royalty: Elisabeth of Bavaria, Queen of the Belgians

Royal News: Sunday 22 November 2015

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Royal Birthdays & Anniversaries: November 22 – November 28

Louis Ducruet; Photo Credit –

23rd birthday of Louis Ducruet, son of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco; born at the Centre Hospitalier Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo, Monaco on November 26, 1992
Wikipedia: Louis Ducruet


Prince Hitachi of Japan; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

80th birthday of Prince Hitachi of Japan, son of Emperor Hirohito of Japan; born at the Tokyo Imperial Palace on November 28, 1935
Wikipedia: Prince Hitachi