Category Archives: Baden Royals

Friedrich I, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Friedrich I was born September 9, 1826 in Karlsruhe, the third son of Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden and Princess Sofia of Sweden. He had seven siblings:

Portrait of Friedrich and Luise, 1856. source: Wikipedia

On September 20, 1856, Friedrich married Princess Luise of Prussia at the Neues Palais in Potsdam. Luise was the daughter of the future King Wilhelm I of Prussia and Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach. The marriage was encouraged by Luise’s uncle, King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia, who wanted to form an alliance with Baden to strengthen Prussia’s influence within the German Confederation against Austria. Friedrich and Luise had three children:

Friedrich’s children (l-r) Victoria, Friedrich and Ludwig with Victoria’s husband, Gustav of Sweden, c1882. source: WIkipedia

Friedrich’s father died in 1852 and was succeeded by Friedrich’s elder brother, Ludwig II. However, Ludwig was deemed mentally ill, and Friedrich was appointed Regent during his reign. When Ludwig died in 1858, Friedrich succeeded him as Grand Duke Friedrich II.

As Grand Duke, Friedrich sided with Prussia in the wars against Austria and France, and represented Baden at the Palace of Versailles when his father-in-law was created Emperor of Germany in 1871. Within Baden, he was a strong supporter of constitutional monarchy, which was often at odds with his Prussian in-laws. His reign saw the adoption of civil marriage, as well as free elections to the Baden parliament.

Friedrich and Luise, c1902. source: Wikipedia

Friedrich I died on September 28, 1907 while at his summer residence on the island of Mainau. He is buried in the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe. He was succeeded by his elder son, Friederich II, who would become the last Grand Duke of Baden.

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Ludwig II, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Ludwig II was born August 15, 1824 in Karlsruhe, the eldest surviving son of Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden and Sofia of Sweden. He had seven siblings:

He received a solid education, studying in Vienna and Heidelberg. As a Prince of Baden, he held a seat in the Baden Assembly, but only took part in several of their meetings. As he got older, signs of mental illness began to show, and in March 1852, he was diagnosed as having a non-curable mental disorder.

The following month, Ludwig’s father died and he succeeded as Grand Duke of Baden. But because of his illness, his brother Friedrich served as Regent during Ludwig’s brief four-year reign.

At just 33 years old, Grand Duke Ludwig II died in Karlsruhe on January 22, 1858, and was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche. After World War II, his remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

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Sofia of Sweden, Grand Duchess of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Princess Sofia of Sweden was the wife of Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden. She was born Princess Sofia Vilhelmina Katarina Maria Lovisa Charlotta Anna of Sweden on May 21, 1801 in Stockholm. She was the daughter of King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Friederike of Baden, and had four siblings:

Sofia’s father was deposed as King of Sweden in 1809, and the family went into exile in Baden, her mother’s homeland. Her parents soon separated and divorced, and Sofia and her siblings stayed with their mother at Meersburg Castle on Lake Constance in Baden. In 1814, their mother placed the children under the guardianship of her brother-in-law, Tsar Alexander I of Russia.

Leopold of Baden. source: Wikipedia

On July 25, 1819 in Karlsruhe, Sofia married Leopold of Baden, her grandfather’s half-brother. The marriage had been arranged by her great-grandfather, Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden, to help strengthen Leopold’s right to the throne of Baden. (Leopold had been born of Karl Friedrich’s second – and morganatic – marriage, and had only recently been elevated to Prince and Margrave of Baden, and formally acknowledged as having succession rights.) Sophie – having taken the German version of her name – and Leopold had eight children:

Sophie and her children, c1834. source: Wikipedia

She became Grand Duchess in March 1830, when her husband succeeded to the throne. Very conscious of her duty, she worked diligently, supporting her husband and becoming involved in charitable organizations which helped those in need. She maintained a strong interest in science and art, but it was politics that seemed to be her biggest interest. A prolific writer, she maintained an extensive correspondence with relatives and friends throughout Europe, and never hesitated to share her thoughts and opinions when it came to any sort of political situation – whether in her own country or elsewhere.

Sophie was widowed in 1852, and lived out the rest of her life at Karlsruhe Palace. Despite having been very angry because of the way her father had been deposed, and her brother stripped of his Swedish titles, in 1863 Sophie met with the heir to the Swedish throne – the future King Oscar II – and his wife Sofia of Nassau. The meeting served to begin healing the relationship between the two families.

The Dowager Grand Duchess Sophie died at Karlsruhe Palace on July 6, 1865, and was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche. After World War II, her remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

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Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Grand Duke Leopold was born on August 29, 1790 in Karlsruhe, the eldest son of Karl Friedrich, Margrave (later Grand Duke) of Baden and his second wife, Luise Karoline, Baroness Geyer von Geyersberg. He had four siblings:

  • Prince Wilhelm (1792) – married Alexandrine of Württemberg, had issue
  • Prince Friedrich Alexander (1793) – died in infancy
  • Princess Amalie (1795) – married Karl Egon II, Prince of Fürstenberg, had issue
  • Prince Maximilian (1796) – unmarried

He also had four half-siblings from his father’s first marriage to Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt:

As his parents’ marriage was morganatic, Leopold and his siblings were not titled as Prince/Princess of Baden, nor were they initially in the line of succession. They were styled as Baron/Baroness of Hochberg, and later as Count/Countess of Hochberg. Leopold’s father had always intended that his younger children would be eligible for succession if there were no heirs left from his elder sons. But it wasn’t until 1817 that the Hochberg children were raised to Prince and Margrave of Baden and formally given succession rights by the government the following year.

Sofia of Sweden. source: Wikipedia

Leopold married Princess Sofia of Sweden – the granddaughter of his elder half-brother Karl Ludwig – on July 25, 1819. They had eight children:

He became Grand Duke on March 30, 1830, upon the death of his nephew, Ludwig I. Leopold became the first of the Hochberg line to rule in Baden, and held the throne for just over 22 years. Grand Duke Leopold died in Karlsruhe on April 24, 1852. He was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche, and after World War II, his remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe.

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Ludwig I, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Ludwig I was the third Grand Duke of Baden, reigning from 1818 until 1830. He was born in Karlsruhe on February 9, 1763, the third son of Karl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden (later Grand Duke), and Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt. He had three siblings:

From his father’s second marriage to Baroness Luise Karoline Geyer von Geyersburg (later Countess of Hochberg), he also had five half-siblings:

As the third son, there was little expectation that he would succeed to the throne. He pursued a military career from a young age, serving in the Prussian forces and was recognized for his bravery in battle during the War of the First Coalition. He left the Prussian military in 1795, returning to Baden to assist his father who was the reigning Margrave at that time. He participated in the negotiations with Napoléon Bonaparte, and attended his crowning in 1804. Ludwig also served as Minister of War, and was responsible for the financial and forestry administration of Baden. Despite being friendly with Napoléon, the Emperor soon pushed Ludwig out of his positions with the Baden government, and after criticizing him publicly in 1808, was stripped of his leadership of the military and banished to Schloss Salem in 1810. He would not return to Baden for several years.

Ludwig became Grand Duke upon his nephew’s death on December 8, 1818. He worked to promote the development the country, as well as strengthening the military forces. He also established several universities and churches.

Ludwig never married, but he did have several illegitimate children. He had a long relationship with Katharina Werner – an actress and dancer nearly 35 years younger than him. They met in 1816, when Katharina was just sixteen and Ludwig nearly 51. This relationship resulted in three children – Luise (1817), Ludwig Wilhelm August (1820) and Luise Katharina (1825). In 1827, Ludwig created Katharina Countess of Langenstein and Gondelsheim, and there were rumors that the two had married morganatically, but no proof of this exists. Their youngest daughter married the Swedish Count Carl Douglas in 1848, and their son founded the Baden line of Douglas-Langenstein (named when he took Langenstein Castle as his main residence in the early 1900s).

source: Wikipedia

Grand Duke Ludwig I died in Karlsruhe on March 30, 1830 after suffering a stroke, and was buried in the Karlsruhe Stadtkirche.  After World War II, his remains were moved to the Grand Ducal Chapel in the Pheasant Garden in Karlsruhe. As he had no legitimate heirs, the throne passed to his half-uncle, Leopold I.

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Stéphanie de Beauharnais, Grand Duchess of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Stéphanie de Beauharnais was the first Grand Duchess of Baden, through her marriage to Grand Duke Karl I. She was born at Versailles on August 28, 1789, the daughter of Claude de Beauharnais and Claudine Françoise de Lézay-Marnézia. Stéphanie had one older brother, Albéric (born in 1787), who died in childhood. She also had a younger half-sister from her father’s second marriage – Josephine de Beauharnais (1803). The Beauharnais family soon found themselves under the patronage of the French Emperor Napoléon I. His wife, Joséphine, had previously been married to Stéphanie’s father’s cousin, Alexandre.

After her mother’s death in 1791, Stéphanie was placed in the Convent of Penthemont by her godmother, and later moved to southern France with two nuns. When Napoléon learned of her existence, he had her brought to Paris and placed under the care of his wife, Joséphine. After becoming Emperor in 1804, Napoléon sought to strengthen alliances with several of the European dynasties by arranging several marriages of his extended family. One of these marriages was between Stéphanie and Hereditary Prince Karl, the grandson and heir of the Elector of Baden. In 1806, Napoléon brought Stéphanie to the Imperial Court and adopted her, elevating her to an Imperial Highness and French Princess.

Karl of Baden. source: Wikipedia

Stéphanie and Karl married in a lavish ceremony held in Paris on April 8, 1806. Stéphanie was not interested in her new husband at all, and refused to spend time with him. Upon returning to Baden, they lived separately for several years, and Stéphanie was largely shunned by the Grand Ducal court. After several years, with the Grand Duke’s health declining, she and her husband finally came together, accepting their responsibility to provide heirs to the throne. Over the next seven years, they had five children:

Her husband became Grand Duke of Baden just days after Stéphanie gave birth to her first child. As the previous Grand Duke had been widowed before the Grand Duchy was proclaimed, Stéphanie was the first Grand Duchess. Never immensely popular, her position weakened even further after the death of Emperor Napoléon in 1814.

When her husband died in 1818, Stéphanie moved with her surviving daughters to Mannheim Palace where she focused on providing them with a proper education and finding them suitable husbands. Through these marriages, Stéphanie’s descendants include the former Kings of Romania and Yugoslavia, as well as the current King of the Belgians, Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

Having survived her husband by more than 41 years, the Dowager Grand Duchess of Baden died in Nice on January 29, 1860. Her remains were returned to Baden and she was buried alongside her husband in St. Michael’s Church in Pforzheim.

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Karl, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Karl, Grand Duke of Baden, reigned from 1811 until 1818. He was born Karl Ludwig Friedrich on July 8, 1786, the son of Karl Ludwig, Hereditary Prince of Baden and Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt. Karl had seven siblings:

Upon his father’s death in 1801, Karl became heir-apparent to his grandfather, Karl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden. Over the next five years, Baden would become an Electorate and then a Grand Duchy in 1806.

Stéphanie de Beauharnais. source: Wikipedia

That same year, on April 8, 1806, Karl married Stéphanie de Beauharnais, the daughter of Claude de Beauharnais and Claudine Françoise de Lézay-Marnézia. She was also the adopted daughter of the French Emperor Napoléon I. Napoléon, wanting to secure an alliance with the Electorate of Baden, arranged for the marriage, despite neither Karl nor Stéphanie wanting to marry each other. For several years, the two lived separately, and it wasn’t until Karl’s grandfather was nearing death that they came together and began a family. They had five children:

Karl became Grand Duke upon his grandfather’s death in 1811. In 1817, with no living male heirs, and only one unmarried uncle to succeed him, Karl formally gave dynastic rights to his half-uncles – the sons of his grandfather from his second, morganatic, marriage. This kept the Grand Ducal throne of Baden from passing to Karl’s brother-in-law, the King of Bavaria. In 1818, Karl oversaw the passing of a new and much more liberal constitution.

Grand Duke Karl died at Schloss Rastatt on December 8, 1818. He is buried in St. Michael’s Church in Pforzheim. As he had no male heirs, the throne of Baden passed to his uncle, Ludwig I. However, his descendants include the former Kings of Romania and Yugoslavia, the current King of the Belgians, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and the Sovereign Prince of Monaco.

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Luise Karoline Geyer von Geyersberg, Countess of Hochberg

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Luise Karoline was the second – and morganatic – wife of the future Grand Duke Karl Friedrich of Baden. She was born in Karlsruhe on May 26, 1768 to Ludwig, Baron Geyer von Geyersberg and Maximiliana, Countess of Sponeck. Her godparents were her future husband, Karl Friedrich, and his first wife, Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt.

She received a private school education in Colmar, and later served as a lady-in-waiting to the Hereditary Princess of Baden – the daughter-in-law of her future husband.

Karl Friedrich of Baden. source: Wikipedia

On November 24, 1787, Luise Karoline married Karl Friedrich – then Margrave of Baden – as his second wife. Together they had five children:

At the time of the marriage, Karl Friedrich created Luise Karoline Baroness of Hochberg, and their children were not included in the line of succession. However, in 1796, Karl Friedrich decreed – with the agreement of his sons from his first marriage – that his sons with Luise Karoline would be eligible to the throne should there be no heirs from his first marriage. In 1799, the Holy Roman Emperor Franz II elevated Luise Karoline to Countess of Hochberg, retroactively to 1796. Despite several written decrees, it wasn’t until 1817 that the reigning Grand Duke, Karl, elevated Luise Karoline’s children to Prince/Princess of Baden, and the following year asked the congress to formally confirm their succession rights.

Luise Karoline, Countess of Hochberg died in Karlsruhe on June 23, 1820. She is buried in St. Michael’s Church in Pforzheim along with her husband. Ten years after her death, her eldest son, Leopold, became the 4th reigning Grand Duke of Baden.

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Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt, Margravine of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt was the first wife of the Karl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden-Durlach, who would later become the first Grand Duke of Baden. She was born in Darmstadt on July 11, 1723, the youngest child of Ludwig VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Charlotte, Countess of Hanau-Lichtenberg. Karoline Luise had two older siblings:

After her mother’s death when Karoline Luise was just three, she was raised in Buchsweiler by her father. A very talented child, she learned to speak five languages and developed a love for the arts. As an adult, she maintained a correspondence with Voltaire and worked to establish Karlsruhe as one of the cultural centers of Europe, often hosting noted writers and musicians. A talented artist and musician herself, Karoline Luise was a member of Baden’s court orchestra and the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. In addition to her artistic interests, she was also a student of the natural sciences and had a laboratory in Karlsruhe where she often conducted experiments. Her numerous collections – including artwork, musical manuscripts, minerals and other natural history artifacts – later formed the foundation for several museums in Karlsruhe.

Karl Friedrich of Baden. source: Wikipedia

Karoline Luise married Karl Friedrich on January 28, 1751 in Darmstadt. Together they had five children:

Titled Margravine of Baden-Durlach from her marriage, she became Margravine of Baden in October 1771 when Baden-Durlach and Baden-Baden were reunited as one Margraviate.

After falling down some stairs in 1799, her health began to deteriorate. While in Paris with her son, she suffered a stroke on April 8, 1783 and died. She is buried in St. Michael’s Church in Pforzheim.

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Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden

by Scott Mehl

source: Wikipedia

Karl Friedrich was the first Grand Duke of Baden, reigning from 1806 until 1811. He was born in Karlsruhe on November 22, 1728, the son of Hereditary Prince Friedrich of Baden-Durlach and Princess Amalia of Nassau-Dietz. Karl Friedrich had one younger brother – Wilhelm Ludwig (1732).

In 1738, at just ten years old, Karl Friedrich succeeded as Margrave of Baden-Durlach upon his grandfather’s death. Baden-Durlach was one of the branches of the ancient Margraviate of Baden, which had been divided several times over the previous 500 years. When the last Margrave of Baden-Baden, August Georg, died in 1771 without heirs, Karl Friedrich inherited the territory. This brought all of the Baden territory together once again, and Karl Friedrich became Margrave of Baden.

Baden’s domains were widespread, and Karl Friedrich made it his mission to try and gain some of the territory in-between. When he joined forces with Austria in the war with France in 1792, Baden ended up have to give up his territories on the left bank of the Rhine to France. But a few years later, fighting along with the Russians against Napoleon, he was able to expand Baden, and the margraviate was elevated to an Electorate within the Holy Roman Emperor.

Karl Friedrich further expanded Baden when, in 1805, he fought on the side of the French, gaining territories from the Austrian Empire. In 1806, he joined the Confederation of the Rhine, and upon the end of the Holy Roman Empire, Karl Friedrich declared himself sovereign, as Grand Duke of the newly created Grand Duchy of Baden. He continue to support the French, and in the Peace of Vienna in 1809, gained more territory from the Kingdom of Württemberg. Through his efforts, Karl Friedrich had quadrupled the size of Baden by the end of his reign.

Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt. source: Wikipedia

Karl Friedrich was married twice. His first wife was Karoline Luise of Hesse-Darmstadt, who he married on January 28, 1751. She was the daughter of Ludwig VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt and Charlotte of Hanau-Lichtenberg. Karl Friedrich and Karoline Luise had five children:

Luise Karoline, Baroness Geyer von Geyersberg. source: Wikipedia

Following Karoline Luise’s death in 1783, Karl Friedrich married again – morganatically – on November 24, 1787. His bride was Luise Karoline, Baroness Geyer von Geyersberg. She was created Baroness of Hochberg – and later Countess of Hochberg – a title which would pass to their five children: (years later, in 1817, the children from this marriage were given succession rights and were elevated to Prince/Princess of Baden.)

At the age of 82, Grand Duke Karl Friedrich I died in Karlsruhe on June 10, 1811. He is buried in St. Michael’s Church in Pforzheim.

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