Little Oscar Bernadotte a few years before being chosen with his father to be Swedish royalty.
Oscar I (born Joseph François Oscar Bernadotte; 4 July 1799 – 8 July 1859) was King of Sweden and Norwayfrom 1844 to his death. When, in August 1810, his fatherJean-Baptiste Bernadotte was elected Crown Prince of Sweden, Oscar and his mother moved from Paris toStockholm (June 1811). Oscar's father was the first ruler of the current House of Bernadotte. Oscar's mother wasDésirée Clary, Napoleon Bonaparte's first fiancée. Her sister,Julie Clary, was married to Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Désirée chose Napoleon to be Oscar's godfather.
UpbringingFrom Charles XIII of Sweden, Oscar received the title of Duke of Södermanland. He quickly acquired the Swedish language. By the time he reached the age of majority he had become a general favourite. His very considerable native talents were developed by an excellent education, and he soon came to be regarded as an authority on all socio-political questions. On January 17, 1816, he was elected an honorary member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and in 1818, he was appointed chancellor ofUppsala University, where he spent one semester.
In 1839, he wrote a series of articles on popular education, and (in 1841) an anonymous work, "Om Straff och straffanstalter", advocating prison reforms. Twice during his father's lifetime he was viceroy of Norway. By proxy at the Leuchtenberg Palace in Munich on 22 May 1823 and in person at a wedding ceremony conducted in Stockholm on 19 June 1823 he married the Princess Josephine, daughter of Eugène de Beauharnais, Duke of Leuchtenberg, and granddaughter of the Empress Josephine.
Planned marriageOscar's father had selected four princesses as candidates for marriage, in order of his priority:
- Vilhelmina of Denmark (born 18 January 1808), daughter of Frederick VI of Denmark and Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) (ultimately she married firstly Frederick VII of Denmark and secondlyKarl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg)
- Josephine of Leuchtenberg (born 14 March 1807), daughter of Eugene, 1st Duke of Leuchtenberg andAugusta of Bavaria
- Marie of Hesse-Kassel (born 6 September 1804), daughter of William II, Elector of Hesse and Augusta of Prussia (ultimately she married Bernard II of Saxe-Meiningen)
- Princess Marie of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach (born 3 February 1808), daughter of Charles Frederick I of Saxe-Weimar and Maria Pavlovna of Russia (ultimately she married Prince Charles of Prussia)