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Charles XIII of Sweden

Carl II
ReignFrom June 6, 1809 in Sweden
From November 4, 1814 in Norway
Until February 5, 1818
Royal motto "Folkets väl min högsta lag"
("The welfare of the people
my highest law"
¹ )
QueenHedwig Elizabeth Charlotte
Royal HouseHolstein-Gottorp
Predecessors Gustav IV Adolf in Sweden
Frederick VI in Norway
SuccessorCharles XIV, as the Swedish title and
Carl III Johan, as the Norwegian title.
Date of BirthOctober 7, 1748
Place of BirthStockholm
Date of DeathFebruary 5, 1818
Place of DeathStockholm
Place of BurialRiddarholmskyrkan, Stockholm
¹ Compare with the U.S. state of Missouri (1821):
"Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law".

Charles XIII, Karl XIII, or Carl II, (1748-1818), king of Sweden and Norway, the second son of king Adolf Frederick of Sweden, and Louisa Ulrica of Prussia, sister of Frederick the Great, was born at Stockholm on October 7, 1748.

Table of contents
1 Life and politics
2 Children
3 References

Life and politics

In 1772 he co-operated in the revolutionary plans of his brother Gustav III of Sweden. 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 (June 7, 1788) and Öland (July 26, 1789). On the latter occasion he would have won a signal victory but for the unaccountable remissness of his second-in-command, Admiral Liljehorn. On the death of Gustavus III, Charles, now duke of Sudermannia, acted as regent of Sweden till 1796; but the real ruler of the country was the narrow-minded and vindictive Gustaf Adolf Reuterholm, whose mischievous influence over him was supreme. These four years were perhaps the most miserable and degrading in Swedish history (an age of lead succeeding an age of gold, as it has well been called) and may be briefly described as alternations of fantastic jacobinism and ruthless despotism. On the accession of Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden (November 1796), the duke became a mere cipher in politics till the March 13, 1809, when those who had dethroned Gustav IV Adolf appointed him regent, and finally elected king by Riksdag of the Estates. But by this time he was prematurely decrepit, and Jean-Baptist Bernadotte took over the government as soon as he landed in Sweden, 1810. By the union of Sweden and Norway 1814 Charles became king of Norway under the name Carl II of Norway. After eight years as king only by title, Charles died on February 5, 1818.


He had married his cousin Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp (1759-1818), on July 7, 1774 but both of their children would die in infancy.

  1. Louisa Hedvig (1797)
  2. Carl Adolf, Duke of Wermelandia (1798)


Preceded by:
Gustav IV Adolf
List of Swedish monarchs Succeeded by:
Charles XIV of Sweden, Carl III Johan of Norway
Preceded by:
Frederick VI
List of Norwegian monarchs