Tuesday, 7 April 2009

The Bernadotte bicentenary

In 2010 Sweden will celebrate not only the wedding of Crown Princess Victoria and Daniel Westling, but also the bicentenary of the Bernadotte dynasty. Although it did not actually come to the throne until 1818, it was at the meeting of the four estates in Örebro on 21 August 1810 that the French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Prince of Pontecorvo, was elected Crown Prince of Sweden. When adopted by King Carl XIII in November, the Crown Prince changed his name to Carl Johan, and the new heir to the throne soon became the real ruler of Sweden. In 1818 he succeeded as King Carl XIV Johan.
An exhibition in Örebro is being planned for next year and possibly the Musée Bernadotte in Pau, located in the house where Bernadotte was born in 1763, will also mark the bicentenary with an exhibition. An exhibition on Carl Johan, Emperor Napoléon I of France and Emperor Alexander I of Russia is also being planned – it will be shown at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Stockholm and at the Winter Palace in St Petersburg next year.
The journalist Herman Lindqvist, the author of many bestselling but not very reliable history books, has announced that he is writing a biography of King Carl Johan. Lindqvist will give a lecture in connection with the book at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 3 October this year.
The Polish-born, Emmy-winning documentary maker Gregor Nowinski is currently at work on a documentary series on the Bernadotte dynasty. It will consist of three hour-long episodes and be broadcast on TV4 next winter. Nowinski has earlier made the much-acclaimed documentary on the powerful, secretive Wallenberg family and this spring TV4 will air his new documentary on the publishing family Bonnier. Information on the Bernadotte documentary and an interview with Nowinski can be found at TV4’s website:



On a more scholarly level, the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation is funding an interdisciplinary research project called The Making of a Dynasty. Information about the project can be found at the following links:



So far the project has published one book: Scripts of Kingship: Essays on Bernadotte and Dynastic Formation in an Age of Revolution (2008), edited by Mikael Alm and Britt-Inger Johansson, distributed by Swedish Science Press in Uppsala.



An article summarising the history of the Bernadotte dynasty was published by the magazine Populär Historia last year and can also be found online (in Swedish):


The picture above shows Brynjulf Bergslien's equestrian statue of King Carl XIV Johan outside the Royal Palace in Oslo.

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