Birthday: January 21, 1829
Emperors & Kings
Died At Age: 78
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Also Known As: Oscar Fredrik
Born Country: Sweden
Born in: Stadsholmen, Stockholm, Sweden
Famous as: King
Spouse/Ex-: Sophia of Nassau (m. 1857)
father: Oscar I of Sweden
mother: Josephine of Leuchtenberg
siblings: Charles XV of Sweden
children: Duke of Närke, Duke of Västergötland, Gustaf V of Sweden, Prince Carl, Prince Eugen, Prince Oscar Bernadotte
Died on: December 8, 1907
place of death: Stadsholmen, Stockholm
education: Uppsala universitet
Oscar II of Sweden was the king of Sweden who ruled from 1872 until his death in 1907. He was also the king of Norway for a while but was deposed in 1905. A distinguished writer, he proved his writing talent by publishing a collection of poems that earned him a prize from the Swedish Academy. He was also a keen learner and distinguished himself in mathematics at Uppsala University. Before becoming the king, Oscar earned honorary membership of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. As a ruler, he proved to be conservative and supported Germany in a bid to strengthen Sweden against Russia. Oscar also tried to maintain harmony between Norway and Sweden. His reign, however, saw the decline of both the nations and resulted in his abdication as the king of Norway in 1905. He was eventually succeeded by his grandnephew Prince Carl of Denmark. Oscar’s personal life was fulfilling. He married Sophia of Nassau and had four sons with her. The king also had several illegitimate children.
Childhood & Early Life
Oscar Fredrik was born on 21 January 1829, in Stockholm, Sweden, to Crown Prince Oscar and his consort, Josephine of Leuchtenberg.
He earned the title of duke of Östergötland upon his birth. He was raised by Countess Christina Ulrika Taube, the royal governess at that time.
At the age of 11, he joined the Royal Swedish Navy and was made a junior lieutenant in 1845. Oscar then went on to attend Uppsala University.
On 13 December 1848, he earned an honorary membership to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
In 1858, Oscar got several of his poems published. One of them, titled ‘Memorials of the Swedish Fleet,’ earned him the Swedish Academy’s second prize.
Following his father’s death in 1859, he became the heir apparent to the thrones of Norway and Sweden while his elder brother, Karl XV, succeeded their father as the king.
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Accession & Reign
On September 18, 1872, Oscar became the king of Sweden and Norway upon his brother Karl XV’s death. After becoming the king, he spent the majority of his time in Norway rather than Sweden.
As a ruler, he had a hard time maintaining harmony between Norway and Sweden unlike his predecessors.
In Sweden, his reign saw the development of the office of the prime minister that was instituted in 1876. Among his powerful ministers were Louis De Geer and Erik Gustaf Boström, the latter of whom served as the prime minister from 1891 to 1900 and then from 1902 to 1905.
Oscar II of Sweden, who was one of the most enlightened monarchs, put great efforts into his artistic ventures. He focused on science, music and arts and developed a new theatre for the Royal Swedish Opera.
The king also opened the world’s first open-air museum in Oslo. As a writer, he wrote several memoirs, including some related to King Karl XII which was translated into English in 1879.
In 1885, he published his work ‘Address to the Academy of Music.’ He was a keen explorer and engaged in several explorations to the Russian Arctic as well as Greenland with Swedish millionaire Oscar Dickson.
He also joined Fridtjof Nansen for his polar journey on the Fram. Oscar II of Sweden also funded the famous Vega Expedition, the first Arctic voyage to traverse through the Northeast Passage.
In 1897, he acted as an arbitrator in the Anglo-American treaty that was suppressed by the American Senate.
Later, Oscar appointed the chief justice of Samoa after being encouraged by the United States, Great Britain, and Germany. He once again served as an arbitrator in Samoan affairs in the year 1899.
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Abdication & Succession
Oscar II of Sweden failed to maintain unity between Sweden and Norway. This resulted in the peaceful dissolution of the union of the two nations in 1905.
He was eventually dethroned in June 1905, and he renounced the Norwegian throne in October that year.
Oscar was subsequently succeeded by his grandnephew Prince Carl of Denmark aka Haakon VII. As the king of Sweden, he was succeeded by his eldest son, Gustaf V.
Family, Personal Life & Death
On 6 June 1857, Oscar II of Sweden married Princess Sophia Wilhelmina in Duchy of Nassau (present-day Rhineland-Palatinate in Germany). Wilhelmina was the daughter of Princess Pauline of Württemberg and Duke William of Nassau.
Oscar and Wilhelmina had four sons: Gustaf V; Prince Oscar, Duke of Gotland; Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland; and Prince Eugén, Duke of Närke.
While his eldest son, Gustaf V, became the king and married Princess Victoria of Baden, the second son lost his rights to succeed to the throne after he married a former lady-in-waiting.
Prince Carl married Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. His fourth son, Prince Eugén, remained a bachelor his entire life.
Oscar II of Sweden also had many illegitimate children, including Anna Hofman-Uddgren, Florence Stephens, and Elin Esping Smitz. None of them were officially recognized.
The king eventually died at Stockholm Palace on 8 December 1907, at the age of 78.