Queen of Sweden and Norway. Born as Princess of Italy, later limited to Princess of Bologna. Duchess of Galliera. French name: Joséphine Maximilienne Eugénie Napoléone de Beauharnais. Belonging to the new Beauharnais Dynasty, she was the daughter of Prince Eugène, Duke of Leuchtenberg and Viceroy of Italy, and Princess-Duchess Augusta Amalia, who belonged to the illustrious Wittelsbach Dynasty of Bavaria. The paternal grandmother of the young Leuchtenberg princess was Empress Josephine of the French, who was a Creole, and with this princess, Vasa-Dynasty and even earlier regal blood reentered the Swedish royal family, and American blood entered it for the first time. In 1822 she was betrothed to Crown Prince Oscar of Sweden and Norway, later King Oscar I. The following year she traveled to Stockholm for the wedding together with her mother-in-law Queen Desideria (coming from Paris), who was a friend of her grandmother's and had held her ceremonial handkerchief on a cushion at the fantastic coronation of Napoleon I. Josephine the younger became Duchess of Sudermania as well as Crown Princess for the Scandinavian peninsula when the marriage took place. As queen, she founded Josefinahemmet for the nursing of the poor and handicapped through the Catholic Church in Sweden. Though Kings of Sweden and their children had to be Lutherans according to the constitution of 1809 (and still do), there was a loophole which permitted Josephine and Desideria to remain Catholics. They had their own little semi-secret chapel in an attic room of Stockholm Palace (though mom-in-law's general religious fervor was lukewarm at best). Josephine gave Oscar 5 children: the future kings Carl XV and Oscar II, Prince-songwriter Gustav, Princess Eugenia and Prince August. Though the public and several writers of royal fiction would have it that her marriage to Oscar was stormy due to his admitted extramarital affairs and children, there was no such problem in real life (why? - see her successor Queen Sofia). Josephine was widowed in 1859 and lived quietly for another 17 years surrounded by the love of her family, including many grandchildren, ever highly respected among the Swedes.
Bio by: Benny Chordt Hansen
1799–1859 (m. 1822)