Victoria of Baden

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Victoria of Baden
Queen of Sweden
Crown princess Victoria and crown prince Gustav in in the 1880s.jpg
Crown Prince Gustaf of Sweden and his wife Victoria of Baden
Spouse Gustaf V
Issue Gustaf VI Adolf, Vilhelm, Erik
House House of Zähringen
Father Friedrich I of Baden
Mother Louise of Prussia

Princess Viktoria of Baden (Sophie Marie Viktoria) (August 7, 1862April 4, 1930), later Queen Victoria of Sweden, was a member of the Badish Grand Ducal Family, who became the Queen Consort of King Gustav V of Sweden.

Birth

Princess Viktoria was born on August 7, 1862 at the castle in Karlsruhe, Germany. Her father was Grand Duke Friedrich I of Baden, the fourth child of Grand Duke Leopold I of Baden and Grand Duchess Sophie of Baden (née Princess Sofia of Sweden). Her mother was Princess Luise of Baden (née Princess Luise of Prussia), the second child of Emperor Wilhelm I of Germany and Empress Augusta of Germany (née Princess Augusta of Saxe-Weimar). Victoria was also great-granddaughter (by her paternal grandmother) of King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden and Queen Fredrika of Sweden (née Princess Frederika of Baden).

Marriage

Princess Viktoria married on September 20, 1881 Crown Prince Gustaf of Sweden and Norway, the son of King Oscar II of Sweden and Norway and Queen Sofia of Sweden and Norway (née Princess Sophia of Nassau). Princess Viktoria then became Princess Victoria.

Children

Together, Princess Victoria and Prince Gustaf had three children:

  1. King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden (November 11, 1882September 15, 1973).
  2. Prince Vilhelm of Sweden, Duke of Södermanland (June 17, 1884June 5, 1965).
  3. Prince Erik of Sweden, Duke of Västmanland (April 20, 1889September 20, 1918).

Life as a Queen

She became Queen of Sweden at her father-in-law's death on September 8, 1907. Gustaf became the new King as Gustaf V. Princess Victoria then became Queen Victoria.

Queen Victoria had substantial political influence over her husband, who was often considered Pro-German. She and her husband were brought together by their royal families, and their marriage are reported not to have been such a happy one (although is said to have been improved towards the end of their lives). They both had affairs outside of the marriage, but the marriage produced three children.

Queen Victoria suffered from a very poor health (much due to mistreatment from several doctors in her youth), and she often went abroad on trips to make her health better (she suffered from bronchitis and possibly tuberculosis). As Crown Princess these trips were very common, but became much less so once she became Queen Consort.

From 1892 until her death, Axel Munthe was her personal physician and recommended for health reasons that she spend winters on the Italian island of Capri. While initially hesitant, in the autumn of 1910 she traveled to Capri, arriving to an official welcome and a crowd which escorted her from the Marina Grand to the Hotel Paradise. From then on, except during the first world war and for the last two years of her life, she spent several months a year on Capri. After some time, she decided to purchase her own residence on Capri, an intimate rustic two-story farmhouse she named Casa Caprile, which she had extensively landscaped, surrounding it with a dense park. In the 1950s, some years after her death, this property became a hotel.

The Queen went to Munthe's residence, the Villa San Michele, most mornings in order to join Munthe for walks around the island. Munthe and the Queen also arranged evening concerts at San Michele, at which the Queen played piano. They also shared a love of animals, with the Queen frequently being seen with a leashed dog, and she was known to support Munthe's (eventually successful) efforts to purchase Mount Barbarossa for use as a bird sanctuary. Perhaps inevitably given the small local population and their close friendship, it was rumored that Munthe and the Queen were lovers, but this has not been substantiated.

Victoria and Gustaf of Sweden

Although Queen Victoria lost a lot of popularity among the Swedes for her often notable Pro-German attitude (particularly politically during World War I when she is said to have influenced her husband to large extents) she was respected and admired for her strong female personality. She has also by Swedish historians in later years been somewhat revalued considering her horrendously strict Prussian upbring and constant painful health problems that haunted her all her life (during her difficult pregnancies for example, she was treated with mercury/quicksilver and undue heavy medications - people think that this is the reason for her main health problems). She is regarded as probably the most talented of the Swedish queens ever: she was an incredibly accomplished amateure photographer and painter. On her travels in Egypt and Italy she both photographed and painted extensively, and experimented with all kinds of photo developing techniques, producing very high quality photographic work. She was also an excellent pianist and, for example, could play through the complete Ring of the Nibelung by Wagner without notes (she had had a phenomenal music education and in her youth she had turned the notes on court concerts for Franz Liszt). Her favourite composers were Schubert and Beethoven.

She was also devoted to various kinds of charity, both in Sweden, Germany and Italy.

Dynastic Significance

At the death of her childless brother, Grand Duke Frederick II of Baden in 1928, Victoria became the heir to her great-grandfather King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, who had been deposed in 1809. The unrelated House of Bernadotte had been elected to the Swedish throne in 1810, and had reigned ever since. Victoria's son, King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, could therefore claim to be the direct heir to Gustav IV of the House of Holstein-Gottorp (Swedish line) and the House of Vasa as well as the Bernadotte kings of Sweden.

Death

Towards the end of her life, with her health declining, Munthe recommended she no longer spend time in Capri, and she returned to Sweden for some time, building a Capri-styled villa there. She then moved to Rome.

Her final visit to Sweden was on her husband's 70th birthday in 1928, and Queen Victoria died on April 4, 1930 in her home Villa Svezia in Rome at age 67.

Ancestry

Styles

  • Her Grand Ducal Highness Princess Viktoria of Baden (18621881)
  • Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Sweden and Norway (18811905)
  • Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Sweden (19051907)
  • Her Majesty The Queen of Sweden (19071930)

Photographic work

References

Victoria of Baden
Born: 7 August 1862 Died: 4 April 1930
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Sofia of Nassau
(Queen consort)
Royal Consort of Sweden
(Queen consort)
1907 - 1930
Succeeded by
Louise Mountbatten
(Queen consort)

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