Monarchy of Finland

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The nation of Finland has never been an independent sovereign monarchy: no attempt to establish one was crowned with success. When it finally became established as a modern independent nation-state, it was – despite a very brief flirtation with monarchy – in the form of a republic.

The only royal person buried in Finland is the wife of king Eric XIV, queen Karin Månsdotter.[1]

Early developments[edit]

No record has survived about ancient kings of Finland, but Finland has been part of monarchical states as a sub-unit of a monarchy based outside Finland proper. After the 13th century Swedish conquest, Finland was a part of the Kingdom of Sweden and occasionally a usually nominal Duchy, with some brief feudalistic characteristics in the 16th century. Elevation of status to Grand Duchy in 1581 had no effect on the stately position.

King Charles IX of Sweden briefly used "King of Finns" (Roughly, alla finnars konung) as part of his official titulary during 1607-1611. The change in the title had no impact on the official status of Finns or Finland.

Duke Peter of Holstein-Gottorp[edit]

In 1742, following the Russian occupation of Finland in the Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743) and vague promises of making the country independent, the four estates gathered in Turku and decided to ask Empress Elizabeth of Russia if the then Duke Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, great-nephew of the late king Charles XII of Sweden, could be proclaimed as the King of Finland. However, the political situation had soon outgrown the idea of Finnish independence, and it quickly evaporated.

Autonomous Grand Principality[edit]

Following the capture of Finland from Sweden by Russia in 1809, Finland kept the Swedish constitution formally intact and became an autonomous region within the Russian Empire under the title of Grand Principality of Finland. The Russian Emperor wielded the powers formerly reserved for the King of Sweden as the Grand Prince of Finland, creatively applying the autocratic Swedish constitution of 1772 and 1789. Interestingly, the first Grand Prince, Alexander I of Russia, was the grandson of Duke Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, who had held the imperial throne for just 6 months in 1762 as Peter III of Russia.

Monarchy and early independence[edit]

In December 1917, Finland declared her independence from Russia, as a reaction to the October Revolution in Russia. The internal unrest in the country soon descended into an open civil war, won by the White side, i.e. the non-socialist parties. During the war, the White side was supported by Germany. In an effort to cement the alliance with Germany, the Finnish parliament, purged of socialist members, elected Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse as the King of Finland and Karelia, Grand Prince of Lapland, Duke of Åland, Lord of Kaleva and the North. Before Frederick Charles could move to Finland, the collapse of the Central Powers made the idea of German-born Finnish king untenable and he renounced the throne. After new elections, the Parliament, now with representatives of all parties, adopted a republican constitution in 1919 which has been in effect ever since, with major modifications in 1999.

Monarchy today[edit]

Today, there are no known monarchist movements in Finland nor any pretenders to any of the earlier planned or actual positions of Dukes, Grand Dukes or Kings of Finland.

However there is a potential pretender: Prince Philipp of Hesse, who, nonetheless, sees the idea of his pretension as ridiculous and refrains from making any claim to the Finnish "throne."[2] He is, however, a second son, and inclusively contracted a morganatic marriage and, according to certain family documents and correspondence, the successor of Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse as King of Finland would have been his second surviving son Prince Wolfgang of Hesse (1896–1989), apparently because Wolfgang was with his parents in 1918 and ready to travel to Finland, where a wedding to a Finnish lady was already in preparation for the coming Crown Prince. Philipp was in the military and unable to be contacted at the time. This choice of the younger of these two twins at that time, however is no precedent that in next generations, the kingship would have been succeeded in secundogeniture, putting the eldest son always to the Hesse title (according to Dr. Vesa Vares). On the contrary, it is practically inconceivable that succession of a kingdom would depend on secondary consideration.There are also indigious ethnic groups in the region which may also have their own royalty. These people are known as Lapps or Sameh. This Scandinavian ethnic group is known as reindeer hearders. These hearding families are organized into siida, groups of families made up of about 90 people. Many of these siida were autocratic with one accepted leader.[3]

In June 2014 there was a suggestion for reinstituting monarchy by some members of the Finnish National Coalition Party for the party's general assembly. It got some national media coverage.[4]


  1. ^ Kaarina Maununtytär (1550-1612) Bibliografiakeskus, Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Retrieved 5-11-2012 (Finnish)
  2. ^ Tervetuloa, Teidän majesteettinne Suomen kuningas. Helsingin Sanomat. Kuukausiliite. 8/2002. Retrieved 4-3-2008. (Finnish)
  3. ^ Crane, Russack (1978). The Lapps. Canada: Crane,Russack&Company Inc. p. 160. ISBN 0-8448-1263-3. 
  4. ^

Coordinates: 60°10′12″N 24°55′59″E / 60.1700°N 24.9330°E / 60.1700; 24.9330