Charles XIII of Sweden

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Charles XIII & II also Carl, Swedish: Karl XIII (Stockholm, 7 October 1748 – Stockholm, 5 February 1818), was King of Sweden (as Charles XIII) from 1809 and King of Norway (as Charles II) from 1814 until his death. He was the second son of King Adolf Frederick of Sweden and Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, sister of Frederick the Great.[1]

Though known as King Charles XIII in Sweden, he was actually the seventh Swedish king by that name, as his predecessor Charles IX (reigned 1604–1611) had adopted a numeral after studying a fictitious history of Sweden.[2]


Life and politics

Prince Charles was appointed grand admiral when he was but few days old. He was described as a good dancer at the amateur theatre of the royal court. Reportedly he was not very close to his mother; the Queen preferred her younger children, Sophie Albertine and Frederick Adolf, but he and his elder brother Gustav were described as close. In 1772 he cooperated in the revolutionary plans of his elder brother, King Gustav III of Sweden and as a sign of recognition, was appointed Duke of Södermanland.

He was described as dependent of others, easily influenced, weak and pleasure loving. He was very interested in the supernatural, secret societies and mysticism. It is said that he was one of the best clients of the celebrated fortune teller Ulrica Arfvidsson and even asked her for political advice, and he also favored the medium Henrik Gustaf Ulfvenklou, who made a great success as a medium in the city's aristocracy during the season 1783–84 and had great influence over the duke. He was also a member of the Freemasons.

Charles was given several official tasks during his period as duke. In 1777, he served as regent during Gustav III:s stay in Russia, in 1780 he served as formal chief commander during the King's stay in Spa. On the outbreak of the Russo-Swedish War of 1788 he served with distinction as admiral of the fleet, especially at the battles of Hogland (7 June 1788) and Öland ( 26 July 1789). On the latter occasion he would have won a signal victory but for the unaccountable remissness of his second-in-command, Admiral Liljehorn.

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