King of Sweden and Norway. He was born in Paris, France, the only son of French marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, the future King Carl XIV John, and his wife, Désirée Clary. His designated godfather was Emperor Napoleon I. After his father was elected Crown Prince of Sweden in 1810, he was created Duke of Sudermania, and in 1824 and 1833 he served as Viceroy of Norway. He married Josephine, daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and granddaughter of Empress Josephine, and with her had five children. He developed progressive ideas on education, fiscal policy, freedom of the press, and penal reform, and between 1839 and 1841 wrote numerous anonymously published articles on the subjects, to the distress of his more conservative father. In 1844 he inherited the throne and worked with the Riksdag to further his reforms, including the institution of equal rights of inheritance for men and women, the abolition of the guild system, and the right of unmarried women to be considered of age at 25. A particular area of his interest and endeavors was prison reform. He was a believer in Scandinavianism, and worked toward strengthening bonds between the three northern kingdoms, such as supporting Denmark against Prussia in the First War over Schleswig. He broke with his father's pro-Russian foreign policy and formally declared equality between his two kingdoms by introducing new flags with a common union badge and a new coat of arms. His health deteriorated starting in 1856 due to a brain tumor and he died 3 years later, after a fifteen year reign, to be succeeded by his son, Carl XV, who by then was already acting head of state as regent. Besides Carl, he and Josephine had three more sons and a daughter, among them another future king, Oscar II. Oscar I also had several extramarital children and recognized two sons, by celebrated actress Emelie Högqvist, who were called the Princes of Lapland.
Bio by: Iola