Hedwig Eleanor of Schleswig-Holst


Hedwig Eleanor of Schleswig-Holst Famous memorial

Death 5 Dec 1715 (aged 79)
Burial Riddarholmen, Stockholms kommun, Stockholms län, Sweden
Memorial ID 9482066 View Source

Sweden Monarch. An Oldenburg Dynasty princess, she was the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, her mother being originally a princess of Saxony. In 1654 she was married to King Carl X Gustav of Sweden, who died six years later. She then became a member of the regency for their little son, Carl XI. She has been widely criticized for neglecting his education, leading to his dyslexia and severely inhibited personality. On the other hand, as a result of that neglect, he eventually learned on his own how to work very hard and check everything himself meticulously. His unannounced flying visits (when called the "Greycloak") all over the country to do so, once he came of age, made Carl XI one of the few kings who really knew his kingdom and the conditions of its people well on a grass roots level. His mother lived to see her son (her only child) and most of her 7 grandchildren die. She was also briefly a member of the regency for her teenage grandson King Carl XII of Sweden and later helped run things together with his little sister Princess Ulrica Eleanor during his many years abroad. The first major event of that reign was the disastrous fire of 1697 where their royal residence, the ancient Three Crowns Castle of Stockholm, burned to the ground and Sweden lost most of her national archives and medieval art. The “Dowager Queen of the Realm", as she was called, barely escaped it with her life. Her son's body, still lying in state, and Crown of the King and the Silver Throne were three of the last items saved by scrambling courtiers. Wealthy enough to do so, she bought the Drottningholm property west of Stockholm and erected the World Heritage palace which is the residence of the royal family today. The fine arts were her great interest and she invested considerably of her own funds to support Swedish artisans. In Denmark she is known as the great looter of Danish royal palaces following her husband's and her son's successful wars between Denmark and Sweden in the 1650-70's. Hedwig Eleanor was unusually old for her day at 79 when she died in Stockholm.

Bio by: Benny Chordt Hansen


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