Louise of the Netherlands

Louise of the Netherlands
Queen consort of Sweden and Norway
Tenure 8 July 1859 – 30 March 1871
Spouse Charles XV
Louise, Queen of Denmark
Prince Carl Oscar, Duke of Södermanland
House House of Bernadotte
House of Orange-Nassau
Father Prince Frederick of the Netherlands
Mother Princess Louise of Prussia
Born 5 August 1828(1828-08-05)
Flag of the Netherlands.svg The Hague, United Kingdom of the Netherlands
Died 30 March 1871 (aged 42)
Norge-Sverige-Sildesalaten.svg Stockholm, Sweden
Burial Riddarholmen Church, Stockholm

Louise of the Netherlands (Wilhelmina Frederika Alexandrine Anna Louisa) (5 August 1828 – 30 March 1871) was the Queen of Sweden and Norway as spouse of King Charles XV of Sweden and IV of Norway.


Princess Louise was born on 5 August 1828 in The Hague. Her father was Prince Frederik of the Netherlands, the second child of King Willem I of the Netherlands and Wilhelmina of Prussia. Her mother was Princess Louise of the Netherlands (née Princess Louise of Prussia), the eighth child of King Friederich Wilhelm III of Prussia and Luise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.


Princess Louise married in Stockholm on 19 June 1850 Crown Prince Carl of Sweden and Norway, the son of King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway and Queen Josefina of Sweden and Norway (née Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg). Princess Wilhelmina Frederika Alexandrine Anna Louise then became Princess Vilhelmina Fredrika Alexandrine Anna Lovisa.

The marriage was arranged to provide the new Bernadotte dynasty with heirs and for the enormous dowry expected; although in reality, the dowry was very small. It was an unhappy union, since the Crown Prince found Lovisa unattractive and was unfaithful, although she quickly fell in love with him. The first decade of their marriage (1852-60) her husband had a relationship with her lady-in-waiting Josephine Sparre: Sparre made a scandal by following Charles around openly at court "like a patch". Among her husband's many mistresses were the actresses Hanna Styrell (1860-69) and Elise Hwasser (1858), the latter being the most celebrated Swedish actress of the era. From 1869, he had a relationship with the independent telegraphist Wilhelmine Schröder, who was interested in spiritism and with whom he discussed existential issues.

During her husband's reign as a prince regent (1857–59), she was described: A more loveable and talented woman would have entirely recreated the atmophere in this circle and also exerted a good influence upon the Prince, who, of a good nature, easily let himself be led by those he likes, especially women. Although good, dutiful and not one to plot, the crown princess lacks higher qualities. She is a good housewife but thinks only of her husband, herself and those closest to her and she has not the good influence on him which her good character gives her the right to have. Because of her inborn shyness, she lacks the courage to meddle in his affairs, and her only wish is to gain his love. With one word; she seems not mature enough for her great task.


She became Queen of Sweden at her father-in-law's death on 8 July 1859. Her husband became the new king as Carl XV in Sweden and as Carl IV in Norway. Princess Lovisa then became Queen Lovisa.

She was crowned both in Sweden and Norway; Norway had refused to crown the two previous queens because of their Roman Catholic religion, and Lovisa became the first queen to be crowned in Norway since the Middle Ages. She was very popular during her visit to Norway.

Lovisa was not a successful crown-princess and was not to be a successful queen, having a shy and quiet personality, the complete opposite of the king's. It was said that she lacked the ability to converse. However, the fact that she never had anything whatsoever to do with politics was considered to be a good contrast compared to the previous queens consort, such as her predecessor Josephine of Leuchtenberg. She was expected to do charity and founded several institutions, such as Kronprinsessan Lovisas vårdanstalt för sjuka barn (Crown Princess Lovisa's asylum for sick children), Drottning Lovisas understödsförening (Queen Lovisa's support organisation) and Dronning Lovisas asylum (Queen Lovisa's asylum) in Norway, she translated religious works and gave the income to charity.

She spent her life attending to domestic duties and the family's finances, trying to please her husband by becoming the ideal woman of the time and wearing the "Ornament of Silence". Her personality did represent this ideal, but it did not improve her relationship with the king, who treated her with condescending kindness and largely neglected her. Eventually, her health deteriorated. In 1854, her son died; the birth had made her infertile, and she offered her husband a divorce, but he declined.

On at least one occasion, during a picnic, she suffered some kind of a fit (possibly an epileptic seizure from contemporary descriptions), which was thought to have been a hysterical reaction to her husband's neglect. The court struggled to conceal her from the public until the fit was over. In this issue, it was noted that: Lovisa could at any time faint and in connection to this, she could have what is called nerv- or cramp-attacks. At one occasion, she had an attack during a boat trip on Mälaren; the king was present, and quickly took her below deck.

Lovisa did not care for ceremonial duties and preferred a quiet family life, although she was interested in fashion and often dressed very elegantly. She often avoided ceremonial duties by claiming to be sick, but was occasionally forced by her husband. He did not like to show himself without her at formal occasions, and once said that she would have to attend: The old women might think there is something wrong with you! In 1866, the king forced her to open the Stockholm exhibition in his place. Her husband was very fond of their daughter, so they did share some of the family life Louisa longed for. However, she was worried by his treatment of their daughter "as a son", which allowed her a very "unrestrained" childhood.

She employed Sweden's first female dentist, Rosalie Fougelberg, as her personal dentist in 1867. She was taught to swim by the professional swimmer Nancy Edberg.

In 1870, she visited her mother in Holland, who died the same year. On her return, her husband was sick, and she nursed him. She liked to take "walks by carriage", and on one of these, she caught pneumonia. Queen Lovisa died on 30 March 1871 in Stockholm. Her husband and his mother were unable to attend the funeral in the church because of their illnesses. Her father, prince Frederick of the Netherlands, survived her by ten years.


Together, Princess Louisa and Prince Karl had two children:

  1. Princess Louise of Sweden (31 October 1851 – 20 March 1926), later Queen Louise of Denmark.
  2. Prince Carl Oscar, Duke of Södermanland (14 December 1852 – 13 March 1854), who died in infancy.


  • Her Royal Highness Princess Louise of the Netherlands, Princess of Orange-Nassau (1828–1850)
  • Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Sweden and Norway (1850–1859)
  • Her Majesty The Queen of Sweden and Norway (1859–1871)


Notes and references

  • Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon (1906), Lovisa.
  • Nationalencyklopedin, Lovisa
  • Christer Engstrand and Ingmar Andersson. Historiska Personer: Lovisa av Nederländerna. Retrieved 3 October 2004.
  • Herman Lindquist, "Sveriges Drottningar", (Queens of Sweden).
  • Österberg, Carin et al., Svenska kvinnor: föregångare, nyskapare. Lund: Signum 1990. (ISBN 91-87896-03-6) ("Swedish Women; predecessors, pioneers") (source for Rosalie Fougelberg)
  • Lars Elgklou (1995) (in Swedish). Familjen Bernadotte, en kunglig släktkrönika. Skogs boktryckeri Trelleborg. ISBN 91 7054 755 6. 
  • Lars O. Lagerqvist (1979) (in Swedish). Bernadotternas drottningar. Albert Bonniers Förlag AB. ISBN 91-0-042916-3. 
  • Lars Elgklou (1978). Bernadotte. Historien - eller historier - om en familj.. Stockholm: Askild & Kärnekull Förlag AB.


Louise of the Netherlands
Born: 5 August 1828 Died: 30 March 1871
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Josephine of Leuchtenberg
Queen consort of Sweden
Title next held by
Sofia of Nassau
Norwegian royalty
Preceded by
Josephine of Leuchtenberg
Queen consort of Norway
Title next held by
Sofia of Nassau

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