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Who was King Karl IX of Sweden?

A not so well known Swedish monarch got international attention last Tuesday when two crowns and one orb from the Swedish royal regalia was stolen from Strängnäs Cathedral. The crown and the orb were the funeral regalia to King Karl IX and his wife, Queen Kristina. So, who was King Karl IX?

Karl IX was born on 4 October 1550 as the youngest son of King Gustav I and his second wife, Margaret Leijonhufvud. As Prince, Karl received from his father the rights to the Duchy of Södermanland, which included the provinces of Närke and Värmland. Nevertheless, significant disagreements inside the family lead to Karl having to go to war with his own brothers to secure himself a future.

Karl’s brothers, both Eric XIV and John III, reigned as kings of Sweden in short periods. Karl was a driven military officer when he had already commanded the Swedish artillery for several years as part of the great Nordic war.

Queen Kristina together with her husband Karl IX. Photo: Fel via Wikimedia Commons.

He came to the throne by championing the Protestant cause during the tense times of religious strife between competing sects of Christianity. This would break out as the Thirty Years’ War. These conflicts had already caused the dynastic squabble rooted in religious freedom that deposed his nephew and brought him to rule as King of Sweden.

Karl reconstructed Council 1602 in accordance with the national law regarding the number of members and their duties. Some of the old eateries took place in the new council but also several new ones. In addition, six councillors were appointed during the Chancellor’s Office. Even the new council came to advocate the nobility’s interests in relation to the King’s power, and it also opposed the King’s war in the East, which they considered prevented Sweden from concentrating fully on the dangers of the Danes.

The two crowns and the orb that were stolen. Photo: Swedish police.

King Karl IX married two times. His first wife was Maria of Pfalz. They had six children. The second marriage was with Kristina of Holstein-Gottorp, and they went on to have four children together. The King also had a son with the servant woman Karin Nilsdotter.

King Karl IX in died Nyköping on 30 October in 1611. A short-time government was appointed, before Karl IXs, son, Gustav, became King. Gustav II Adolf became King of Sweden at the age of 17 years. He was crowned in Uppsala only on 12 October 1617 by Archbishop Peter Kenicius.

Both Karl IX and his second wife, Queen Kristina, was buried in the royal crypt in the Strängnäs Cathedral.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.