I know it’s the International Women’s Day today… and yet this week’s photo is for the 165th anniversary of my favourite Swedish king‘s day of death. Yes. I have a favourite Swedish king. Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte – the French marshal who became king in 1818.
I was reminded of him last weekend which I spent in Sweden – at an antiques shop when I saw this old print of the proud republican:
Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte was born in 1763 in Pau, France. During the French revolution he was a member of the pro-revolution Jacobin Club and after a glorious career in the French army he was made Minister of War in 1799. In 1804 Napoleon made him one of the 26 Marshals of France. Bernadotte and Napoleon didn’t have a very happy relationship but Bernadotte’s qualities were apparently so superior that Napoleon kept him as close as that.
In 1810 by a trick of fate the Swedes who needed a strong fist against the Russians appointed him Crown Prince of Sweden. In 1818 when the old king Karl XIII died he was crowned as Karl XIV Johan. The royal family in Sweden are ancestors to Monsieur B. and still carry that name.
Rumour has it that after his death a tattoo was discovered on Bernadotte’s body, which said: Mort aux Rois!
I said it – favourite Swedish king of mine…