Ulrika Eleonora or Ulrica Eleanor (23 January 1688 – 24 November 1741), also known as Ulrika Eleonora the Younger, was Queen regnant of Sweden from 5 December 1718 to 29 February 1720, and then Queen consort until her death.
She was the youngest child of King Charles XI and Queen Ulrika Eleonora the Elder and named after her mother. After the death of her brother King Charles XII in 1718, she claimed the throne. Her late older sister, Princess Hedvig Sophia had left a son, Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp, who had the better claim by primogeniture. But Ulrika Eleonora asserted that she was the closest surviving relative of the late king (the idea of proximity of blood) and cited the precedent of Queen Christina. She was recognized as successor by the Riksdag after she had agreed to renounce the powers of absolute monarchy established by her father Charles XI. She abdicated in 1720 in favor of her consort, Landgrave Frederick I of Hesse-Kassel.
Princess and regent
Ulrika Eleonora lived most of her life under the shadow of others, outshone by her brother the king, and by her beautiful sister, who was her brother's informal heir. In 1700, there were negotiations about a marriage to Frederick William I of Prussia, but nothing came of it. She was later made the god-mother of Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, who was given the name Ulrika after her. A princess and spinster, she took care of her dominating grandmother, Hedwig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp, during her brother's absence in the Great Northern War. Her older sister, Hedvig Sophia, was then the heir to the throne.
Her situation began to change after the death of her older sister in 1708. As her brother refused to marry, and as she was the only royal representative in Sweden, she was in 1713 named as regent during the king's absence by the government and by her grandmother, and thus became a pawn of the many powers struggling for influence in a country without a real heir. The choice now stood between Ulrika Eleonora and her nephew. Her accession as regent and president of the parliament was treated with great enthusiasm. The Riksdag had opposed her brother as they wanted to abolish the absolute monarchy and reinstate their own power.
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