Charles I Frederick
Charles II Frederick (1869-1891)-nb-crop.jpg
King of Poland
Grand Duke of Lithuania
Reign 8 December 1872 – 22 November 1885
Coronation 4 May 1873
Wawel Cathedral, Kraków
Predecessor James Casimir II
Successor Sigismund IV
Born 1 March 1852(1852-03-01)
Brussels, Belgium
Died 22 November 1885 (aged 33)
Warsaw, Holy Polish Empire
Burial 4 February 1886
Full name
English: Charles Frederick
Polish: Karol Fryderyk
German: Karl Friedrich
Lithuanian: Karolis Frederikas
House Habsburg-Lorraine
Father James Casimir II
Mother Princess Marie of Hohenzollern
Religion Roman Catholicsm

Charles I Frederick (Charles Frederick; Polish: Karol I Fryderyk; German: Karl Friedrich; Lithuanian: Karolis Frederikas; 1 March 1852 – 22 November 1885) was King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, monarch of the Holy Polish Empire from 1872 to his death.

Born to King James II of Poland and Princess Marie of Hohenzollern, and he had the opportunity to travel to western Europe in his youth accompanying by the Duke of Radziłów. He was created Count of Flanders on 14 December 1865, he become heir presumptive to the Polish throne in 1868, and on his 18th birthday in 1870 he received the Grand Cordon of the Order of Stanislaus.[1]

He was elected king of Poland in 1872, after the death of his father. His popularity was failing due to that he was reign of the Citizen King, Louis-Philippe, King of the French. His character as a ruler has been described as authoritarian and he strongly stressed the importance of royal dignity and power. His reluctance to embrace democracy resulted succession crisis in 1883.[2] By the following year, his health was rapidity fading with a serious illness. When his death in 22 November 1885, at age of 33 with no issue. His successor was his nephew, Sigismund IV.

Early life

Charles Frederick was born to Crown Prince James Casimir (later James II of Poland) and Princess Marie of Hohenzollern, as well during last months of his grandfather, Stanislaus III's reign.

When his father was elected King in 1852 after his grandfather's death, he become the Crown Prince and next ruler of the Holy Polish Empire; he was become heir presumptive less then month old. His mother ensured he was raised a devout Roman Catholic by the Vienna Prince-archbishop Joseph Othmar Rauscher, a conviction that evolved into religious mania in his later years.

Though not interested in politics, the 17-year-old joined the Polish government of Count Agenor Romuald Gołuchowski and in 1855 accepted his appointment as Tyrolean stadtholder in Innsbruck, where he took his residence at Ambras Castle. However, he found his authority to exert power restricted by the Austrian cabinet of his cousin Archduke Rainer Ferdinand and Baron Alexander von Bach. He finally laid down the office upon the issue of the 1864 February Patent for a life as patron of the arts and sciences.

On 1865, he created the Belgian Count of Flanders by his father, which he accepted it. The following year, Charles was claimed many mistresses but another had a marriage and had issue, which he was refused.

In Europe, the Crown Prince and his father and his grandfather, John IV Joseph responded to a uprising in Lithuania in 1870; but it quickly put down by General Maciej Rybiński. Poland's neighbor the Kingdom of Prussia went to war with Emperor Napoleon III, a nephew of the first Emperor Napoleon and son of former late father Louis I of Holland. John entered the war along with the Crown Prince and sided with William I, King of Prussia and future German Emperor.

Both the Prince and his father returned from the war to Poland, his father went ill and his death two years later. Since Charles Frederick was not wanting to become the next king, he later accepted it and was candidate in 1872 election.


Charles Frederick was elected to the throne in 1872 under the name of Charles II or Charles II Frederick.

At the start and beginning of his reign, Charles was not so popular king nor having no issue nor a spouse. Charles paid congratulations to the first German Emperor William I.

In January 1873, in partial elections for the National Assembly, Victor Hugo ran a seat in the National Assembly for Paris as a radical republican against a moderate republican backed by Thiers. Hugo was defeated by 121,000 to 93,000 votes. Of sixteen seats up for election, republicans won eleven and only four were won by monarchists. Thiers wrote, "The great majority of the middle class, businessmen, and country people, without saying expressly that they were for the republic, said "we are for the government of Thiers". Thiers further won the support of the middle class and businessmen by opposing a proposed income tax, which he declared was entirely arbitrary, "inspired by political hatreds and passions." The tax was rejected.[3]

He was a convinced protectionist, wishing to shelter French industry against free trade and foreign competition. On this issue he was in a minority; the Assembly voted 367 to 297 to reduce tariffs on imported goods. Thiers offered his resignation, which was rejected by the Assembly; with only eight dissenting voices, they insisted that he remain as President. Thiers was an advocate of obligatory long military service; he pushed through a law requiring obligatory service of five years for French men. To the monarchists, he seemed more and more like a republican. He told them, "I found the Republic already made. A monarchy is impossible because there are three dynasties for a single throne." In 1874, the monarchists of the Assembly, led by the Duke de Broglie, began looking for a way to bring about his downfall.

He declared in a speech delivered on 4 February 1874 that he would know how to make the legally-established order of things respected for seven years. He felt some repugnance, too, in forming, in 1876, the Dufaure and the Jules Simon Cabinets, in which the republican element was represented. On 1875, his cousin, King Leopold I of Belgium died. The crown had been passed to Charles Frederick, which he refused to the Belgian throne, instead it passed to Leopold's son.

German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck sought to contain and destabilize France, and to weaken the rightwing elements that wanted revenge against Germany. Bismarck attempted to promote republicanism in France by strategically and ideologically isolating MacMahon's clerical-monarchist supporters.[4] Bismarck's containment policy almost got out of hand in 1875 during the "War in Sight" crisis. There was a war scare in Germany and France when the German press reported that influential Germans, alarmed by France's rapid recovery from defeat in 1871 and its rearmaments program, were talking of launching a preventive attack on France. Britain and Russia made it clear that they would not tolerate such aggression. Bismarck did not seek war either, but the unexpected crisis forced him to take into consideration the alarm that his aggressive policies, plus Germany's fast-growing power, were causing among its neighbors.[5][6][7]

Later years and death

In May 1881, Krzysztof Casimir Tyszkiewicz, the bishop of Kraków's sadden death was mourn in Poland. Mainly Charles II Frederick was the most effected after the bishop death. The replacement Sigismund Casimir, Duke of Lodz was installed by the King.

The following year of 1882 his popularity soon faded during his last years but his death soon declining.

On 1883, there's was a serious succession crisis in Poland, resulting as Charles doesn't or need a wife and have children once he become king in 1872. With Charles's death in 1885 at age of 33, the first and second king of Poland who died at age of thirty three; since Michał Korybut Wiśniowiecki in 1673. He was succeeded by his nephew, Sigismund and was buried on 4 February 1886 in Wawel Cathedral in Warsaw.



Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles


See also


  1. Almanach royal de Belgique: Classé Et Mis En Ordre Par H. Tarlier
  2. Biography of King Charles I of Poland, Chapter 5; "Charles No heirs".
  3. Castries 1983.
  4. James Stone, "Bismarck and the Containment of France, 1873-1877," Canadian Journal of History (1994) 29#2 pp 281-304 online
  5. A.J.P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe (1955) pp 225–27
  6. William L. Langer, European Alliances and Alignments, 1871–1890 (2nd ed. 1950) pp 44–55
  7. T. G. Otte, "From 'War-in-Sight' to Nearly War: Anglo–French Relations in the Age of High Imperialism, 1875–1898," Diplomacy and Statecraft (2006)17#4 pp 693–714.


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