Louise of Sweden
Louise Josephine Eugenie of Sweden (Swedish: Lovisa Josefina Eugenia; 31 October 1851 – 20 March 1926) was Queen of Denmark as the spouse of King Frederick VIII. She was the only surviving child of King Charles XV of Sweden and Louise of the Netherlands.
Louise was born in Stockholm. After the death of her brother, Prince Carl Oscar in 1854, her father treated her the way boys usually were treated at the time, which meant that she was allowed to develop much less restrained than most girls, becoming a confident, natural and happy person. Her father once lovingly said about her: "She's an ugly devil, but she's funny!", and treated her in the same gruff affectionate manner that was normally associated with a father's treatment of a son. This somewhat worried her mother, Queen Louise, herself very eager to behave according to the feminine ideal of the time. In Sweden, Princess Louise was commonly referred to as "Sessan" (in English: "Sessy"), but Louise referred to herself as "Stockholmsrännstensungen" (The Stockholm urchin), which her uncle, the future king Oscar II, found shocking and tried to stop her from using. Louise is described as a loved and spoiled only child, doted upon by her parents: she is said to have been like her mother in appearance, but like her father in her behavior, and she is described as energetic and happy.
After the birth of her brother in 1852, her mother had suffered an injury which prevented her from having more children. This meant a succession problem: although Sweden previously had female monarchs, and approval of female succession was declared in 1604, provision had not been made for it in the new constitution of 1809. Louise was therefore not acknowledged as an heir to the throne because of her gender. Louise's succession would have required a change in the law, as would also have been necessary regarding the throne of Norway, which did not have female succession. As she was the only surviving child of her parents, her father King Charles XV made repeated attempts to change the constitution to make her accepted as an heir to the throne of Sweden and Norway. However, when her father's brother had his first son in 1858, followed by several more in the following years, her father was not given any support for his attempts because the matter was considered to be moot since male heirs were now already provided.
Louise was the center of society already as a child in Stockholm, were children's balls were arranged for her at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, which were considered as the most important part of the society children s social life and attended by among others her male cousins. Her academic education was provided by her governess Hilda Elfving. In 1862, she and her mother became students of Nancy Edberg, the pioneer of swimming for women. The art of swimming was initially not regarded as being entirely proper for women, but when the Queen and her daughter supported it by attending the lessons, swimming was quickly made fashionable and became accepted for females.
Louise became the subject of speculations regarding her marriage early on. The most popular candidate was Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark (1843–1912). Louise and Frederick had been introduced to each other the first time in 1862. The marriage was considered desirable for several reasons. The situation between the royal houses of Sweden-Norway and Denmark was very tense at this time. Upon the death of the childless King Frederick VII of Denmark in 1863, there had been support for having Charles XV or his brother Prince Oscar of Sweden placed on the Danish throne instead of Christian IX. Charles XV was critical toward Christian IX, whose personal qualities he doubted. In Denmark, there was disappointment over the fact that Sweden, despite the current Scandinavism, had not supported Denmark against Prussia during the Danish-Prussian war in 1864. After 1864, both Sweden-Norway and Denmark started to discuss plans of creating a form of symbolic peace between the two nations by arranging a marriage between Louise and Crown Prince Frederick. Charles XV of Sweden would like to see his daughter be Queen of Denmark, and in Denmark, the marriage would be preferred before a marriage to a German Princess, which would have been the other alternative, after the recent war with Germany. However, Charles XV did not wish to force his doted daughter in an arranged marriage, and therefore left the final decision entirely to her own taste. The 14 April 1868, a meeting was arranged between Louise and Frederick at Bäckaskog Manor in Scania. As the matter was dependent upon weather Louise would like Frederick or not, the guests had not been informed about the purpose of the meeting in the case Louise would not like Frederick and decide against the marriage, and except Frederick, only the Danish King was present from the Danish royal family. Upon meeting each other, however, both were apparently pleased, and Louise agreed to the marriage. The engagement was sudden declared at breakfast the day after, which shocked her aunt and uncle, who had not been told why they were present.
During the engagement in the winter of 1868-1869, Louise studied the Danish language, literature, culture and history under Lorentz Dietrichson. Louise married Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark (1843–1912) in Stockholm on 28 July 1869. The wedding was celebrated with great pomp during a state a famine in Sweden. However, the dowry of the Princess had all been made in Sweden, to boost the economy. The marriage was welcomed by all three countries as a symbol of the new Scandinavism. Louise was the first Swedish princess to be married into the Danish royal house since the Middle Ages.
Crown Princess of Denmark
In Denmark, Louise became known as Louise rather than Lovisa. During her long period as Crown Princess of Denmark, she became very popular with the public, but unpopular with the Danish court and royal house.
The marriage did not result in any friendship between the royal houses, and Louise experienced ostracism within the royal family, which was dominated by her mother-in-law, Queen Louise. She was not liked by her mother-in-law and her sister-in-law, and her husband was to timid to give her any support toward his mother and sisters. Her frank nature was not accepted at the Danish royal court, were her behavior caused horror. At one occasion, when her mother-in-law viewed her dressed in a Parisian evening gown and disapprovingly ordered her to change her hair style, she answered the same informal way as she was used to in Sweden with a: "Take it easy, Pedersen!", something which made Queen Louise order her and Frederick to leave the country for three months. Crown Princess Louise described to the Swedish visitor Fritz von Dardel that her mother-in-law tried to place her in the shadow even at ceremonial situations when her presence was required: at one occasion, the Queen had turned down the request from the Uppsala University Students to sing for the Crown Princess. When Dardel asked why, she whispered: "Out of jealousy, of course".
The family lived a discreet life at Amalienborg Palace during the winter and Charlottenlund Palace during the summer. During the first years of her marriage, Louise often visited Sweden. She was present at the death of her mother in March 1871. At that time, she was given comfort by her uncle's spouse, Sophie of Nassau, who became her confidante and personal friend. During the summers at Charlottenlund Palace by Öresund, Louise was able to visit her Swedish family at their summer residence Sofiero on the other side of Öresund and receive visits from them, which was described as a relief and comfort for her. However, her mother-in-law disliked them and insisted that she be informed and was asked for permission first. Fredrick's life style and adultery damaged his popularity and pained Louise. In 1879, she visited her aunt, Queen Sophia of Sweden in Stockholm to ask for her advice: she was at this point described as distraught. Queen Sophia, then introduced her to the preachers Lord Radstock and Gustaf Emanuel Beskow. After this point on, Louise reportedly found comfort in religion. She learned Greek, engaged herself in Bible studies and met Lord Radstock in Copenhagen in 1884. She made friends with the Danish lady-in-waiting Wanda Oxholm, with whom she engaged in bible studies. She was also interested in handcrafts such as leather works and painting.
Louise was described as a "good housewife" and as a strict but caring parent, who gave her children a childhood dominated by religion and duty. Because of her inheritance from her maternal grandparents, the family had a good economy. It was long known that she wished to see her daughter married in to the Swedish royal house, which was achieved when her daughter Ingeborg married Prince Carl of Sweden in 1897.
As Crown Princess, Louise engaged in charity and religion: she founded several charity organisation, among them the home «Bethania» and the «Kronprinsesse L.s Asyl» (Asylum of Crown Princess Louise), and formed a lifelong interest in the The Church Association for the Inner Mission in Denmark. She is described as intelligent and with an ability to perform natural, easy and friendly at representational occasions, and was seen as dignified and impressive. In 1875, she received her aunt and uncle, the King and Queen of Sweden, at their official visit to Denmark.
In 1905, Norway became independent from Sweden with Danish support, which caused tension between Denmark and Sweden, and she was saddened when this made it difficult for her to visit Sweden.
Queen of Denmark
Louise eventually became Queen of Denmark in 1906. As a Queen, she is mainly known for her many charity projects, an interest which she shared with her spouse. She did not care for ceremonial duties and public events, and lived a discreet life dedicated to her children and her interests in art, literature and charity.
Louise was widowed in 1912. She was the last widow of a Danish monarch to use the title of Queen Dowager. From 1915 to 1917 she built herself Egelund Castle between Hillerød and Fredensborg where she lived for the rest of her life. Queen Louise died at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen in 1926 and is interred next to her husband in Roskilde Cathedral.
Titles and Styles
Ancestry and descent
Constitutionally, Louise was unable to inherit the thrones of Sweden and Norway. Her father Charles XV & IV was succeeded by his brother Oscar II. By a twist of fate, Louise's son, Prince Carl, did, in fact, eventually become King of Norway. He was elected to succeed her uncle to the Norwegian throne as a result of Norway's independence from Sweden in 1905.