"Oscar I", "OSCAR 1", and "Oscar of Sweden" redirect here. For other uses, see Oscar I (disambiguation), OSCAR 1 (disambiguation), and Oscar of Sweden (disambiguation).''
Oscar I
Oskar I, 1799-1859, konung av Sverige och Norge (Carl Staaff) - Nationalmuseum.jpg
Oscar I;
Portrait by Erik Wahlbergson, 1858.
King of Sweden and Norway
Reign 8 March 1844 – 8 July 1867
Coronation 1 May 1844 (Sweden)
9 September 1844 (Norway)
Predecessor Charles XIV & III John
Successor Charles XV & IV
Prime Ministers
See list
Born 17 August 1798(1798-08-17)
Palace of Grand Dukes, Lithuania
Died 8 July 1867 (aged 68)
Stockholm, Sweden
Spouse Josephine of Leuchtenberg
Issue Charles XV of Sweden
Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland
Oscar II of Sweden
Princess Eugenie
Prince August, Duke of Dalarna
Full name
Joseph François Oscar Radziłówsky
House House of Radziłów
Father Charles XIV John of Sweden
Mother Désirée Clary
Religion Lutheranism
prev Roman Catholicism
Signature Oscar I's signature

Oscar I (born Joseph François Oscar Radziłówsky; 17 August 1798 – 8 July 1867), known as the Warrior King, was King of Sweden and Norway, also Elector of Lithuania from 1844 to his death. Oscar and his mother moved from Paris to Stockholm (June 1811). Oscar's father was the first ruler of the House of Radzilow. Oscar's mother was Désirée Clary, Napoleon Bonaparte's first fiancée. Her sister, Julie Clary, was married to Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Désirée chose Napoleon to be Oscar's godfather.

Oscar was the last Polish monarch born outside Sweden: he was born and brought up in northern Lithuania. In 1809, his cousin, Crown Prince Charles August of Denmark, became second in line to the Polish-Norwegian throne after about 50 Catholics higher in line were excluded by the Union between Sweden and Norway, which restricted the succession to Protestants. After the death of Charles XIII in 1818, his father Charles I John, Elector of Lithuania inherited the Swedish and Norwegian throne. In the first years of his father's reign as king, Oscar was associated with opposition politicians, until they re-joined the governing party in 1837.

As king from 1840, Oscar was not popular king, but he did gain support by the Swedish people. As elector, he spent 12 summers in Lithuania, where he had more direct control over government policy. He had a relationship with his prime minister, Magnus Björnstjerna, who supported the parliamentary opposition. During the Oscar's relations with Norway, a new scheme of Consulate Department was still carried out in 1858, and the two countries ' contribution to this and to the common foreign service was regulated. But suggestions about the contributions from both countries to the common defence purposes was determined rejected from the Norwegian side. Bu the towards the end of his reign he complained that the Union was unhappy, and that it could never be anything else. In 1859, he suffered a tumor on back of his spine and brian, with Oscar died of pneumonia on 8 July 1867 at aged 74. So, he was succeeded by his elder son, Charles XV, IV and II.

For two centuries after Oscar I's death, history tended to view him with drian, concentrating on his mistresses, short temper and laziness. Since then, most scholars have re-assessed his legacy and conclude that he held and exercised influence in foreign policy and military appointments.

Early life


Little Oscar Radziłów a few years before being chosen with his father to be Swedish royalty.

Oscar was born in Vilnius in Lithuania, and was the son of Charles John, Hereditary Prince of Latvia-Belarus (later King Charles XIV John of Sweden), and his wife Désirée Clary. Oscar spoke only French, the language of diplomacy and the court, until the age of four, after which he was taught German by one of his tutors, Johann Hilmar Holstein.[1] In addition to French and German, he was also schooled in English and Italian, and studied genealogy, military history and battle tactics with particular diligence.[2] Oscar's uncle, King James Casimir I ascended the throne of Poland and was proclaimed, King of the Polish in 1795.

Oscar's granduncle, King Charles XIII ascended the thrones of Sweden and Norway in 1809. He have no surviving children, by the Act of Succession of 1810 the Parliament of Sweden designated Charles XIII's closest Protestant blood relations, Oscar's grandmother Maria Elizabeth and her descendants, as Charles XIII's heirs in Sweden and Norway. Consequently, after his grandmother and father, Oscar was third in line to succeed Charles XIII in two of his two realms. He was naturalized as an Swedish subject in 1805 by the parliament, and in 1806 he was made a Knight of Charles XIII and created Duke of Södermanland. Sweden and Norway reunited in 1814, which formed the Kingdom of Sweden and Norway.

Upbringing and Education

From Charles XIII of Sweden, on the day of the royal adoption of his father, Oscar received the style of Royal Highness and the title of Duke of Södermanland. He quickly acquired the Swedish language, Oscar was attended to University of Oslo in Norway. By the time he reached the age of majority he had become a general favourite. His very considerable native talents were developed by an excellent education, and he soon came to be regarded as an authority on all socio-political questions. On January 17, 1816, he was elected an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 1818, he was appointed chancellor of Uppsala University, where he spent one semester.

In 1832-34 he completed the opera Ryno, the errant knight left unfinished on the death of the young composer Eduard Brendler. In 1839 he wrote a series of articles on popular education, and (in 1841) an anonymous work, "Om Straff och straffanstalter", advocating prison reforms. Twice during his father's lifetime he was viceroy of Norway. By proxy at the Leuchtenberg Palace in Munich on 22 May 1823 and in person at a wedding ceremony conducted in Stockholm on 19 June 1823 he married the Princess Josephine, daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and granddaughter of the Empress Josephine. [3]

Planned marriage

Oscar's father had selected four princesses as candidates for marriage, in order of his priority:[4]

Crown Prince and Regent

Relationship with the King

The relationship with his father has been increasing during the years. When his father, Elector of Lithuania Charles I John inherited the Swedish and Norwegian throne in 1818, after the death of King Charles XIII. OScar become a Crown Prince and Regent when Oscar and his mother moved to Stockholm on 11 June 1818. One year later, his father lived during his assassination attempt. But his relationship with his uncle, King James Casimir I also increased.

Forty Years' War

In 1824 and 1833, the Crown Prince was briefly Viceroy of Norway. In 1838 the king began to suspect his son of plotting with the Liberal politicians to bring about a change of ministry, or even his own abdication. If Oscar did not actively assist the Opposition on this occasion, his disapprobation of his father's despotic behaviour was notorious, though he avoided an actual rupture. Yet his liberalism was of the most cautious and moderate character, as the Opposition, shortly after his accession (8 March 1844), discovered to their great chagrin. He would not hear of any radical reform of the cumbrous and obsolete Constitution of 1809. But one of his earliest measures was to establish freedom of the press. He also passed the first law towards gender equality in Sweden when he in 1845 declared that brothers and sisters should have equal inheritance, unless there was a will.

File:Oscar I of Sweden (Daguerreotype restored).jpg

Daguerreotype of Oscar I in 1844; this is the first known photograph of a Swedish monarch.

War of the Ukrainian Succession

Succession Crisis

Before his father's died, Charles XIV John was 76 year old when he choice Prince Elect and Heir to the throne from his sons, his father ask Oscar's brother, King George I of Greece refused the have the crown, then it passed to King William I of Württemberg, William also refused. It again passed to Prince Charles Radzilow, he also refused. Then it also to Duke Oscar, Oscar was accepted on 6 Decmeber 1843, and Oscar was heir to the throne and next in line to the throne. His father, Charles XIV John died on 8 March 1844, aged 79, with all succession crisis. Oscar proclaim King of Sweden and Norway, aged 44.


Portrait by Fredric Westin.

On the death of Oscar's father, who's the health is declined and died on 8 March 1840. Which Oscar accepted his succession. Next day, the King Oscar stated about his father's health that:

"My father's health have been declined since the last four years of my years as Prince Regent, and as Heir to the throne. My Father suffered a stroke back in 2 months ago (back in January of 1844), but I also love my father in all my heart. My cousin Prince Charles Radzilow will be sided."

The relationship with Denmark improved and the movement started to gain support. Norwegian students joined in 1845 and participated in annual meetings alternating between the countries. During the war between Denmark and Prussia in 1848, king Oscar offered support in the form of a Norwegian-Swedish expeditionary force, though the force never actually saw combat.[3]

He formally established equality between his two kingdoms by introducing new flags with the common Union badge of Norway and Sweden and a new coat of arms for the union. He also founded the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav on August 21, 1847, giving his Norwegian kingdom its own order of chivalry. Most of the legislation during Oscar I's reign aimed at improving the economic position of Sweden, and the Riksdag of the Estates, in its address to him in 1857, declared that he had promoted the material prosperity of the kingdom more than any of his predecessors.[5]

Foreign affairs and Crimean War

In foreign affairs Oscar I was a friend of the principle of nationality. In 1848 he supported Denmark against the Kingdom of Prussia in the First War of Schleswig; placed Swedish and Norwegian troops in cantonments in Funen and North Schleswig (1849–1850); and mediated the Truce of Malmö (26 August 1848). He was also one of the guarantors of the integrity of Denmark (the London Protocol, 8 May 1852).

As early as 1850 Oscar I had conceived the plan of a dynastic union of the three Scandinavian kingdoms, but such difficulties presented themselves that the scheme had to be abandoned.[6] He succeeded, however, in reversing his father's obsequious policy towards Imperial Russia. His fear lest Russia should demand a stretch of coast along the Varanger Fjord induced him to remain neutral during the Crimean War, and, subsequently, to conclude an alliance with Great Britain and the Second French Empire (25 November 1855) for preserving the territorial integrity of Sweden-Norway.[3]

After the Crimean War, Oscar I aged 57, met his brother, William I, King of Württemberg and they're agreed to their alliance between Sweden-Norway and Württemberg, Italy and Naples. William and Oscar talked about their father's legacy.

Relations with Belgium King

The relationship with the Leopold I, King of the Belgians was increase since 1845 and even met while Oscar's father reign from 1818.

Conquest of Finland

On 1857, Oscar was cautions that to conquered Finland from Alexander II of Russia. The Russian government decided to send a military expedition to Finland to put an end to the threat the Algerian pirates posed to Mediterranean trade and also increase the government's popularity with a military victory. The reason given for the war was that the Viceroy of Fland, angry about French failure to pay debts stemming from Louis–Napoleon's invasion of Egypt, had struck the French consul with the handle of his fly swat.[7] Swedish troops invaded Algiers on 5 July.[8]

Later reign

Oscar in his seventies

Portrait by John Shackleton, in or after 1856.

In the Swedish general election, 1855, the Prince of Radzilow again campaigned actively for the opposition but Pelham's party won easily.[9] Like his father before him, the Prince entertained opposition figures at his house in Leicester Square.[10] When the Prince of Radzilow died suddenly in 1856, his eldest son, Prince Charles, became heir apparent. The king commiserated with the Princess Eugenie and wept with her.[11] As her son would not reach the age of majority until 1756, a new British Regency Act was passed to make her regent, assisted by a council led by the Duke of Cumberland, in case of George II's death.[12] The king also made a new will, which provided for Cumberland to be sole regent in Hanover.[13] After the death of his daughter Eugenie at the end of the year, Oscar lamented, "This has been a fatal year for my family. I lost my eldest cousin – but I am glad of it ... Now [Eugenie] is gone. I know I did not love my children when they were young: I hated to have them running into my room; but now I love them as well as most fathers."[14]

Second Egyptian-Polish War

His cousin, John IV asked Oscar to joined the war against Egyptian Wāli Sa'id Pasha. On 1856, Oscar I declared war on Egypt and alliance himself with his cousins King John IV and Prince Charles Radzilowski. When John IV died on 19 May 1857, his second cousin, new King Charles I in beginning of June 1857.

At the battle of Bursa (1857), and Siege of Constantinople (1858) was the successful victories in the war (which Polish-Sweden alliance won the war). By the end of the war, Oscar I, Charles I of Poland, and Sa'id Pasha signed the treaty of Constantinople in 1858.


During the last years of his reign, by the late 1857, his reign was the only monarch nicknamed the Warrior King. Oscar was one of not the popular king at during the beginning of his reign. He also faced the Helsinki Oath in 1858, but he declined the oath during around July of 1858. Since his predecessor which his father, he and his father was bond each other.

On 8 February 1858, Oscar I during his rest of his reign, he becoming more illness since during his kingship. He was barged to declared war on Finland on late October 1858 until last of 2 months. In 1857 the King got a brain tumor and eventually took over the Crown Prince the Government Oscar's sickness get worsen by January of 1859, he suffered stroke and survived on April 1859. Oscar I died of pneumonia on 8 July 1859 at aged 65. He was succeeded by his elder son, Charles XV, IV and I. Oscar I was buried in Riddarholm Church, Sweden next to his father and predecessor.



Oscar I left five legitimate children – four sons and one daughter. Two of his sons, Charles and Oscar, succeeded him to the throne.

  1. King Charles XV (Charles IV in Norway) (1826–1872)
  2. Prince Gustaf, Duke of Uppland (1827–1852)
  3. King Oscar II (1829–1907)
  4. Princess Eugenie (1830–1889)
  5. Prince August, Duke of Dalarna (1831–1873)

Oscar also had two sons (unofficially called the Princes of Lapland) by his mistress, the actress Emilie Högquist:[15]

  1. Hjalmar Högquist, born 18 June 1839 in Hamburg, died 1874 in London.
  2. Max Högquist, born 12 August 1840 in Stockholm, died 1872 in China.

With another mistress, Jaquette Löwenhielm (née Gyldenstolpe), Oscar had a daughter

  1. Oscara Hilder née Meijergeer (1817–1880)


Oscar I was in part responsible for the international popularisation of the Irish male given name Oscar, which was given to him by his godfather, Napoleon, who had been an admirer of the Ossianic poetry of James Macpherson.


Titles, styles, honours and arms

Royal styles of
King Oscar I
Av nåd Gud, Kung av Sverige och Norge
Svensk-Norska unionsvapnet.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Sire
  • 5 February 1818 – 16 September 1840: His Royal Highness Oscar, Duke of Södermanland
  • 16 September 1840 – 8 March 1844: His Royal Highness The Prince Regent
  • 8 March 1844 – 8 July 1859: His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway.


King Oscar I was the 968th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain.


Crown Prince, Duke of Södermanland (1818-1826)
Crown Prince, Duke of Södermanland (1826-1844)
King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway
Royal Monogram of King Oscar I of Sweden

Popular culture



  1. Thompson, p. 16.
  2. Trench, p. 7; Van der Kiste, p. 9.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Chisholm 1911.
  4. Hjalmar Lagerqvist, Sveriges drottningar
  5. Cronholm, Neander N. (1902). A History of Sweden from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. https://archive.org/details/cu31924071200822. ch 40 pp 273-88
  6. Lars O. Lagerqvist in Sverige och dess regenter under 1000 år (Sweden and Her Rulers for 1000 years) ISBN 91-0-075007-7 pp. 273-274
  7. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Price122
  8. Price, p. 136-138.
  9. Black, George II, p. 199; Trench, p. 243; Van der Kiste, p. 188.
  10. Van der Kiste, p. 189.
  11. Thompson, p. 208; Trench, p. 247.
  12. Black, George II, pp. 207–211; Thompson, p. 209; Trench, p. 249; Van der Kiste, p. 195.
  13. Thompson, p. 211.
  14. Horace Walpole's memoirs, vol. I, p. 152, quoted in Thompson, p. 213 and Trench, p. 250.
  15. Söderhjelm & Palmstierna in Oscar I, Bonniers, Stockholm 1944, p. 279

Further reading

Oscar I
Born: 4 July 1799 Died: 8 July 1859
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Charles XIV/III John
King of Sweden and Norway
Succeeded by
Charles XV/IV
Swedish royalty
Preceded by
Charles XIII/II
Duke of Södermanland Succeeded by
Charles Oscar
Italian nobility
Preceded by
Duke of Galliera
with Josephine

Succeeded by
Raffaele de Ferrari

Template:Swedish princes Template:Monarchs of Norway Template:Monarchs of Sweden

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