Oskar II (1829-1907)

Oskar II, 1902. The image has been cropped. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.

Oskar II, 1902. The image has been cropped. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.

King from 1872 to 1907. The welfare of the brother peoples was Oskar II's motto as King of the Swedish-Norwegian Union. After the dissolution of the union in 1905, this was changed to The welfare of Sweden.

Oskar Fredrik was born in January 1829 at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. He was the son of Oskar (I) and Josefina of Leuchtenberg.

In 1857, he married Princess Sofia of Nassau in Biebrich, Germany. Four sons were born of their marriage, the oldest of whom became King Gustaf V.

During Oskar II's reign, Sweden underwent a period of industrialisation and rapid technological development. At the same time, the union between Sweden and Norway grew weaker, and was eventually dissolved. This period is sometimes known as the Oscarian Period.

Oskar was the third of four brothers, in a family of five siblings. Since the oldest brother, King Karl XV, had no heir and the next oldest brother, Prince Gustav, had died in 1852, Karl XV was succeeded on his death in 1872 by his brother Oskar.

Oskar was extremely talented and well educated, but was also temperamental and volatile. His appearance was distinguished and stately. Bitterly disappointed at the failure of the union and its dissolution in 1905, he died in December 1907.

Oskar II's 25th jubilee in Stockholm on 23 September 1897. The following has been written on the back of the photo: "HM King Oskar II, jubilee. Breakfast at Hasselbacken, 23 Sept." Handwritten on the front: "Seated from left: Hereditary Grand Duchess Hilda of Baden, Crown Princess Victoria, Grand Duchess Elisabeth of Russia, Crown Princess Louise of Denmark, Princess Batheldis of Waldeck and Pyrmont. Standing, from left: Hereditary Grand Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, Hereditary Grand Duke Wilhelm of Luxembourg, Prince Ruprecht of Bavaria, Prince Chira of Siam, Hereditary Grand Duke Fredrik of Baden, Princess Ingeborg, Crown Prince Gustaf, Crown Prince Fredrik of Denmark, Archduke Eugen of Austria, Prince Carl, King Oscar II, Sovereign Prince Fredrik of Waldeck and Pyrmont, Grand Duke Konstantin of Russia, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Princess Thyra of Denmark, Prince Eugen, the Duke of Aosta. Stockholm, September 1897 (King Oscar II's 25th jubilee)". Photographer: Klemming's Atelier. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.