Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Hedvig Sophia of Sweden, Princess and Regent

Hedvig Sophia Augusta of Sweden, duchess of Holstein-Gottorp (born 25 June 1681)

Hedvig Sophia was the oldest child of Charles XI of Sweden and his queen, Ulrika Eleanor of Denmark. After her mother's death in 1693, Hedvia Sophia was raised by her influential grandmother, the dowager queen Hedvig Eleanora of Holstein-Gottorp, who had been regent of Sweden for her son, Charles XI, between 1660 and 1672, and who would again be regent of Sweden, this time for her grandson, Charles XII, in 1697.

Hedvig Sophia Augusta,
in a late seventeenth-century portrait
by David von Krafft
On 12 May 1698 Hedvig Sophia married her cousin, Frederick IV, duke of Holstein-Gottorp. This was not a marriage she had desired, and although she lived with her husband for a year, Hedvig Sophia returned to Sweden in 1699. 

Her brother and her husband were famous friends and fought together in "The Great Northern War"--Frederick was in Sweden in late 1699 and spent enough time with his wife that the two managed to have a child, a son, Charles Frederick, born on 30 April 1700.

After her husband's death in July 1702, the duchess Hedvig Sophia became regent of Holstein-Gottorp on 18 October of that year. Even then, she did not return to Holstein-Gottorp. She stayed in Sweden and left the day-to-day running of affairs to her late husband's uncle, but as regent she reserved the right to make the final decision on important matters. She continued as regent of Holstein-Gottorp until her death, as a result of smallpox, in 1708. 

By the way, Hedvig Sophia's younger sister, Ulrika Eleanora, was regent of Sweden from 1713 to 1718 while her brother, Charles XII, was at war in Norway. On his death in November 1718, Ulrika Eleanora became queen regnant of Sweden. 

Ultika Eleanora "the younger,"
Hedvig Sophia's sister,
who became queen of Sweden

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