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Oscar I of Sweden
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Oscar I of Sweden

King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway, Joseph François Oscar Bernadotte (July 4, 1799 - July 8, 1859) was the only son of General Bernadotte, afterwards King Charles XIV of Sweden and Norway, and his wife, Eugenie Desirée Clary, afterwards Queen Desideria. When, in August 1810, Bernadotte was elected crown prince of Sweden, Oscar and his mother removed from Paris to Stockholm (June 1811).

Oscar I
ReignMarch 8, 1844-July 8 1859
CoronationSeptember 28, 1844 in Sweden
Royal motto "Rätt och sanning - Ret og Sandhed"
("Right and truth")
QueenJosephine of Leuchtenberg
Royal HouseBernadotte
PredecessorCharles XIV, as the Swedish title
and Carl III, as the Norwegian title.
SuccessorCharles XV, as the Swedish title
and Carl IV, as the Norwegian title.
Date of BirthJuly 4, 1799
Place of BirthParis, France
Date of DeathJuly 8, 1859
Place of DeathRoyal Palace in Stockholm
Place of BurialRiddarholmskyrkan, Stockholm


From Charles XIII of Sweden the lad received the title of Duke of Sudermannia. He quickly acquired the Swedish language, and, by the time he reached manhood, 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. 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. On June 19, 1823 he married the princess Josephine, daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and granddaughter of the Empress Josephine.


In 1824 and 1833, the Crown Prince was briefly Prime Minister 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 (March 8, 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 formally established equality between his two kingdoms by introducing new flags with a common union badge 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, rightly declared that he had promoted the material prosperity of the kingdom more than any of his predecessors. In foreign affairs Oscar I was a friend of the principle of nationality. In 1848 he supported Denmark against Prussia in the First War of Schleswig; placed Swedish and Norwegian troops in cantonments in Funen and North Schleswig (1849-1850); and mediated the Truce of Malmö (August 26th, 1848). He was also one of the guarantors of the integrity of Denmark (the London protocol, May 8th, 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 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 France (November 25, 1855) for preserving the territorial integrity of Scandinavia.

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.


Oscar I left four sons, of whom two, Carl and Oscar, succeeded him to the throne.

  1. King Charles XV (Charles IV in Norway) (1826-1872)
  2. Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uplandia (1827-1852)
  3. King Oscar II (1829-1907)
  4. Princess Eugenie (1830-1889)
  5. Prince August, Duke of Dalecarlia (1831-1873)

Oscar also had two children with his mistress, the actress Emilie Högquist:
  1. Hjalmar Högquist, born June 18, 1839 in Hamburg.
  2. Max Högquist, born August 12, 1840 in Stockholm.
They were often more or less parodically referred to as The Princes of Laponia.

Preceded by:
Charles XIV/ Carl III Johan
King of Sweden Succeeded by:
Charles XV/ Carl IV
King of Norway