Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Death of King Oscar II
December 8, 1907
"We declare upon oath that his Majesty King Oscar II, expired peacefully at 9:10 o'clock this morning in the castle at Stockholm, at the age of 78 years, 9 months and 17 days, as the result of calcification of the cerebral and cardiac blood vessels. Berg. Edgren, Flensberg."
King Oscar's eldest son, Crown Prince Gustav, has succeeded to the throne. He will be styled as King Gustav V.
The king's death "took place in the royal apartments of the palace, according to the New York Times, as members of the Swedish royal family assembled, including the Crown Prince, the elderly Queen Sophie and "high ministers of state."
The "great crowds waiting outside the palace," learned that the king had died "by the lowering of the palace flag to half-mast." Many began to cry at the loss of their "well-beloved" sovereign. All of Sweden is "stricken with grief," as King Oscar was more than a sovereign, "having endeared himself to them as an intimate and personal friend."
The king was unconscious for his final hours. His widow, Queen Sophie, "was grief-stricken, because he could not bid her farewell."
Government officials left the bedroom before the king died, leaving "Queen Sophie, surrounded by her children and grandchildren, knelt and prayed."
The new King Gustav V took the oath of office at 1 p.m. All of the "Princes of the blood" swore allegiance to the new king, who embraced and kissed them all, "giving his favorite brother, the giant Carl, a hearty slap on the back."
After the ceremony, the Cabinet resigned, but King Gustav V "begged the Ministers to remain at their posts and assist him as they so ably assisted his father."
Most of the Royal Family attended a memorial service later in the afternoon, with the exception of Queen Sophie and the new queen consort, Victoria, who will arrive in Stockholm tomorrow. The service was conducted by Lutheran clergymen, "consisted of Scripture reading, singing of Psalms, and the delivery of a sympathetic sermon."
King Oscar "had been in failing health for some years," and many of his duties were performed by his son, who was appointed as Regent on several occasions, most recently earlier this week.
He reigned for nearly thirty five years, and had never forgotten that he "had sprung from the people," as the grandson of Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, a common soldier, who had been elected King of Sweden. In 1872, Oscar succeeded his brother, Carl XV as King of Sweden and Norway.
King Oscar was the third son of King Oscar I and Princess Josephine of Leuchtenberg. He was born on January 21, 1829, and bore the title, Duke of Ostergötland. His father wanted him to have a naval career, and Oscar entered the navy at age 11. He also studied at Uppsala, where he showed an aptitude in mathematics. As his older brother, Carl, had no male heirs, and his second brother, Gustaf, had died in 1852 from typhoid fever, Oscar was the heir presumptive to the throne.
On June 6, 1857, Oscar married Princess Sophie of Nassau, the youngest daughter of Duke Wilhelm of Nassau. They had four sons, Gustav, Oscar, Carl, and Eugen. The new King Gustav V is married to Princess Victoria of Baden, and they have three sons, the new Crown Prince Gustav Adolf, Prince Vihelm and Prince Erik.
In 1888,Prince Oscar lost in rights and titles when he married a Swedish commoner, Ebba Munck. Prince Carl is married to Princess Ingeborg of Sweden, and they have three daughters, Margaretha, Märtha and Astrid. The youngest son, Prince Eugen, a noted artist, is not married.
Two years ago, the Prince Gustaf Adolf married Princess Margaret of Connaught. They have two sons, Gustaf Adolf and Sigvard.
The new Queen Victoria is a granddaughter of Princess Sofia of Sweden, daughter of King Gustaf IV Adolf, who was deposed in 1809. Thus, King Gustav's children have the blood of the last king of the house of Holstein-Gottorp.