26 Sep: The French King of Sweden

Jean Bernadotte’s dad, a local prosecutor in the southwestern French city of Pau, ​​intended for his son to follow in his footsteps as a lawyer. Instead, Jean became heir to the Swedish Crown on September 26th, 1810, and his descendants still sit on the Swedish throne to this day.

Shortly after he moved to Sweden, the new crown prince was joined by his wife, Désirée, and their 11-year-old son, Oscar. But it’s fair to say Désirée wasn’t exactly enamoured with the new land her husband was set to rule; she swiftly returned to France and didn’t come back for another 13 years.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly look into why Napoleon became an accidental Swedish kingmaker; explore why it is best to do all your conquering just before declaring yourself to be neutral; and ask why no one has yet made any of us the monarch of their country.

Further Reading:

• ‘Centenary of Sweden’s proud Bernadotte dynasty’ (The New York Times, 1910): https://www.nytimes.com/1910/05/15/archives/centenary-of-swedens-proud-bernadotte-dynasty-founded-one-hundred.html 

• ‘The French Army Officer Who Became a Scandinavian King’ (Real Scandinavia, 2019): http://realscandinavia.com/jean-bernadotte-the-french-soldier-who-became-king-of-sweden/ 

• ‘A Royal family keeping up with the times’ (The Swedish Royal Palace, 2019):