Odette, it was Karl XII who fought against Peter the Great, and I'll tell you all about Gustav III some day. Love the beer, Esther
much better than an apple
and of course,
for all of you, Esther, Odette, Clara and Zinzen.
Now it's time for Karl XI (1655-1697) requested by Rearden
He's too a famous king, Danes would probably say infamous, therefore, he is mainly remembered as a pedant and a deeply religious man, and also the many wars that was fought under his reign. He's also known as "Gråkappan", "the grey coat/the grey mantle" and there are many stories about him travelling throughout the country and anonymously controlling his priests, officers and other working for the authorities and punishing those who misbehaved. He often started working at three or four o’clock in the morning, and worked until nightfall, and expected everyone else to do the same.
During the battle of Lund
He lost his father early, therefore the nobility reigned until he was coroneted king in 1672. A peace, settled in 1679, left Sweden bankrupted and seeking money, the king attacked the nobility, accusing them for having wasted money during their reign, and also for having mismanaged the country during their rule. Also, the previous rulers, for example queen Christina, had been very generous with donating estates. Now, Karl XI took it all back, not even making exceptions for his fathers aunt, princess Maria Eufrosyne. The man she was married to, count Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie, was more or less left bankrupt (he did waste the money on his own too). He is known for being the first person in Sweden working with historic preservation, and is also buried in one of Sweden's oldest and well-known churches. At the end of his life, he became deeply religious and wrote hymns that still are sung today. His wife was also accused of being a witch by the group powerful children that spread such rumours and got several women executed. Accusing a princess, however, was a mistake, and this lead to end of the witch trials, with several of the children were executed instead.
Magnus Gabriels daughter was married to a man, Königsmarck, that was sent an invoice on ½ million Swedish crowns, for what his father had done. He answered with leaving Sweden, and eventually became the leader of the Venetian army. During his command, Athens was attacked and Akropolis, were the Turks kept their explosives, was hit by accident. Therefore, Akropolis is nowadays a ruin.
Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie
In 1672, Sweden's ally, France, attack Holland. Sweden joined the war, but lost a battle, which was a sign of weakness. Denmark saw their chance to recapture previously lost provinces, Blekinge, Halland, Skåne and Bohuslän, and in June 1676, a Danish army marched into Sweden from Norway, while another army landed on the coast of Scania. The Danish army and navy were very successful until the 4 December 1676, where the armies fought a battle outside the city Lund. 13 000 Danish soldiers met 8000 Swedish soldiers, the battle being chaotic, and Sweden won only thanks to luck and mere coincidences. When the battle was over, more than 50% of the soldiers, on both sides, had lost their lifes, and it's still the bloodiest battle ever fought in Northern Europe. In the city, the bishop had prepared a victory dinner for the winner, and since Scania had been Danish for hundreds of years and only recently captured by Sweden, the Danish bishop and his wife hoped to be visited by the Danish king. It's said, that when a maiden told the wife that the Swedish king was coming, she quickly removed the fine wine from the table, and replaced it with wine of poor quality.
The war ended in 1679, after much suffering for the civilians and the guerilla soldiers fighting the Swedish army. It was a nasty war, for example, Karl XI once ordered that everyone in one entire parish should be executed after having supported the guerilla. The people were warned and only a few was killed. After the war a campaign was launched to make the inhabitants Swedish, it was so successful, that the consequences can be seen even today. For this, he's regarded as a hard and insensitive man, but every year on the 4 December, for the rest of his life, he locked himself into his own room, and devoted himself to praying.
Karl XI:s wedding dinner at Skottorp castle when SVT recreated royal weddings, a tv show broadcasted before Vicky's wedding. Photo credit: Mediabruket
Before the war, Karl had been engaged to a Danish princess, and despite the wars, Ulrika Eleonora of Denmark refused to break her engagement. She was considered to be a beautiful and good hearted woman, and during the war, she sold her own jewellery and used the money to help Swedish prisoners of war. They met for the first time at their wedding, which was held in war torn Halland. It was supposed to be held in Halmstad, but was changed in the last minute and held in Skottorp castle earlier than planned, mainly to fool the French ambassador
Karl, being a shy, difficult, grumpy and harsh person with a temper, did show his wife some kindness too. After their first daughter was born, he kept himself busy in her room, trying to make her more comfortable and comforted her when she cried because she had given birth to a girl. In just six and a half year, the couple had seven children, of which only three survived. In 1685, they lost their sons Fredrik, Ulrik and Gustav.
He also wrote a diary, and after the loss of his third son he wrote "But as the divine ruler has pleased shortly after also this long-awaited child and little delight quickly from this transience was called into his Heavenly home, so is the joy soon disappeared and into new grief transformed."
He also wrote to a friend, " I had not thought that it would be so hard on ones soul, the sense of losing a child, like me, God better, this time has had to feel. "
The queen was weak and the many pregnancies and the lack of happiness at the court made her ill. When she was dying, Karl spent his days by her side, and was deep in mourning after her death. On his own deathbed some years later, he said that he had never had one happy day, after her death. At the end of his life, he suffered from severe pain and it was thought that he had been poisoned (the Danish ambassador wrote about the hateful atmosphere). After his death, it was found that he had hundreds of cancer tumors in his stomach.
His clothes, photo credits Livrustkammaren