Abdication, coup d'état, Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Exile, Frederica of Baden, Gustaf IV Adolf of Sweden, King Carl XIII of Sweden, Royal Divorce
On March 12, 1809, King Gustaf IV Adolf left her and the children at Haga Palace to deal with the rebellion of Georg Adlersparre. The day after he was captured at the royal palace in Stockholm in the Coup of 1809, imprisoned at Gripsholm Castle and deposed May 10 in favor of his uncle, who succeeded him as Carl XIII of Sweden on June 6. According to the terms deposition made on May 10, 1809, she was allowed to keep the title of queen even after the deposition of her spouse.
Frederica and her children were kept under guard at Haga Palace. The royal couple was initially kept separated because the coup leaders suspected her of planning a coup. During her house arrest, her dignified behavior reportedly earned her more sympathy than she had been given her entire tenure as queen.
Her successor, Queen Charlotte, who felt sympathy for her and often visited her, belonged to the Gustavians and wished to preserve the right to the throne for Frederica’s son, Gustaf.
Queen Charlotte was born as Hedwig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp (1759 – 1818) was also a famed diarist, memoirist and wit. She is known by her full pen name (above), though her official name as queen was Charlotte (Charlotta).
Queen Charlotte was the daughter of Duke Friedrich August I of Holstein-Gottorp and Princess Ulrike of Hesse-Cassel. She married her cousin Prince Carl, Duke of Södermanland, in Stockholm on July 7, 1774 when she was fifteen years old.
The marriage was arranged by King Gustaf III to provide the throne of Sweden with an heir. The King had not consummated his marriage at that time and had decided to give the task of providing an heir to the throne to his brother.
Frederica told Queen Charlotte that she was willing to separate from her son for the sake of succession, and requested to be reunited with her spouse. Her second request was granted her after intervention from Queen Charlotte, and Frederica and her children joined Gustaf Adolf at Gripsholm Castle after the coronation of the new monarch on June 6. The relationship between the former king and queen was reportedly well during their house arrest at Gripsholm.
During her house arrest at Gripsholm Castle, the question of her son crown prince Gustaf’s right to the throne was not yet settled and a matter of debate.
There was a plan by a Gustavian military fraction led by General Eberhard von Vegesack to free Frederica and her children from the arrest, have her son declared monarch and Frederica as regent of Sweden during his minority.
These plans were in fact presented to her, but she declined: “The Queen displayed a nobility in her feelings, which makes her worthy of a crown of honor and placed her above the pitiful earthly royalty. She did not listen to the secret proposals, made to her by a party, who wished to preserve the succession of the crown prince and wished, that she would remain in Sweden to become the regent during the minority of her son… she explained with firmness, that her duty as a wife and mother told her to share the exile with her husband and children.” The removal of her son from the succession order, however, she nevertheless regarded as a legally wrongful.
The family left Sweden on December 6, 1809, via three separate carriages. Gustaf Adolf and Frederica traveled in one carriage, escorted by general Skjöldebrand; their son Gustaf traveled in the second with colonel baron Posse; and their daughters and their governess von Panhuys traveled in the last carriage escorted by colonel von Otter.
Frederica was offered to be escorted with all honors due to being a member of the house of Baden if she traveled alone, but declined and brought no courtier with her, only her German chamber maid Elisabeth Freidlein. The family left for Germany by ship from Karlskrona on December 6.
After having been denied to travel to Great Britain, the former king and queen settled in the duchy of Baden, where they arrived February 10, 1810. After having become private persons, the incompatibility between Frederica and Gustaf Adolf immediately became known in their different view in how to live their lives.
Gustaf Adolf wished to live a simple family life in a congregation of the Moravian church in Christiansfeld in Slesvig or Switzerland, while Frederica wished to settle in the palace Meersburg at Bodensee, which was granted her by her family.
Their sexual differences was also brought to the surface, as Frederica refused sexual intercourse because she did not wish to give birth to exiled royalty. These differences caused Gustaf Adolf to leave alone for Basel in Switzerland in April 1810, from which he expressed complaints about their sexual incompatibility and demanded a divorce.
The couple made two attempts to reconcile in person: once in Switzerland in July, and a second time in Altenburg in Thüringen in September. The attempts of reconciliation was unsuccessful and in 1811, Gustaf Adolf issued divorce negotiations with her mother, stating that he wished to be able to marry again.
Frederica was not willing to divorce, and her mother suggested that Gustaf Adolf entered some kind of secret morganatic marriage on the side to avoid the scandal of divorce. Gustaf Adolf did agree to this suggestion, but as they could not figure out how such a thing should be arranged, a proper divorce was finally issued in February 1812.
In the divorce settlement, Gustaf Adolf renounced all his assets in both Sweden and abroad, as well as his future assets in the form of his inheritance rights after his mother, to his children; he also renounced the custody and guardianship of his children.
Two years later, Fredrica placed her children under the guardianship of her brother-in-law, the Russian Tsar Alexander. Frederica kept in contact through correspondence with Queen Charlotte of Sweden, whom she entrusted her economic interests in Sweden, as well as with her former mother-in-law, and while she did not contact Gustaf Adolf directly, she kept informed about his life and often contributed financially to his economy without his knowledge.
Frederica settled in the castle Bruchsal in Baden, but also acquired several other residences in Baden as well as a country villa, Villamont, outside Lausanne in Switzerland. In practice, she spent most of her time in the court of Karlsruhe from 1814 onward, and also traveled a lot around Germany, Switzerland and Italy, using the name Countess Itterburg after a ruin in Hesse, which she had acquired.
In accordance with the abdication terms, she kept her title of queen and had her own court, headed by the Swedish baron O. M. Munck af Fulkila, and kept in close contact with her many relatives and family in Germany. According to her ladies-in-waiting, she turned down proposals from her former brother-in-law Friedrich Wilhelm of Braunschweig-Oels, and King Friedrich Wilhelm III of Prussia.
She was rumoured to have secretly married her son’s tutor, the French-Swiss J.N.G. de Polier-Vernland, possibly in 1823.
In 1819, her daughter Sophia married the heir to the throne of Baden, Frederica’s paternal half-uncle, the future Grand Duke Leopold I of Baden.
Her last years were plagued by weakened health. She died in Lausanne of a heart disease. She was buried in Schloss and Stiftskirche in Pforzheim, Germany.