Karl XV, King of Sweden and Norway

King Karl XV

Karl XV's father, Oskar I, had long been troubled by attacks of paralysis, and in the summer of 1857 it became clear that he was not in a position to rule. The Swedish Riksdag and the Norwegian Parliament therefore decided that Crown Prince Karl should take control. Two years later, Oscar I died and Karl XV became king.

The reform that led to a bicameral parliament was introduced during Karl XV's reign. During this period, municipal votes for women were also introduced and freedoms were increased in terms of religion, law and politics.

Karl XV was a very popular king, but he failed to assert personal royal power. During his reign, he lost so much of the power wielded by his father and grandfather that it could never be regained by his successors.

Karl XV had artistic inclinations, and his art collection included about 500 paintings which he donated to the state.

Karl XV photographed by Mathias Hansen in the mid-1860s. Photo from the Bernadotte Library's archive.

karl xv

Born 3 May 1826, died 18 September 1872
Reign 1859–1872, King of Sweden and Norway

royal motto

By law the land shall be built


1860 Stockholm Cathedral


1872 Riddarholmen Church


Oskar I


Oskar II


Lovisa of the Netherlands


Lovisa (1851–1926), Queen of Denmark 1906–1912
Karl Oskar (1852–1854)

The Bernadotte