Monday, October 13, 2008

Desideria Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary

Queen of Sweden

Désirée was born on November 8th, 1777 in Marseille, France. Her father was a prosperous silk maker and trader called François Clary and her mother was Françoise Rose Somis (second wife of Désirée’s father). Désirée had one sister called July Clary who married Joseph Bonoparte (brother of Napoleon). July became Queen of Naples and Spain while her husband became King during the rule of Napoloen. Nicholas Joseph Clary was Désirée’s brother, who married Anne Jeanne Rouyer. His daughter was named Zénaïde Françoise Clary. She married the son of Marshal Berthier, Napoléon Berthier de Wagram, 2nd Duc de Wagram. All in all Désirée was married into and came from a gracious family.
Désirée’s full name was Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary. It said that she was Napoleon’s first love but when he left for Paris he asked Joséphine Bonoparte to marry him instead of Désirée. After that Désirée travelled with her sister July and brother-in-law to their many houses in France and Europe. During 1796-1797 Désirée lived in Italy and when she finally returned to France she met the French general Marshal Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte. On the 16th of Augst, 1789 Désirée married him at Sceaux. Jean Baptiste became governor of Hanover in 1804 until 1805. In 1806, he was also made Prince of Pontecorvo and turned out to be one of the best generals of the french Napoleonic army. In 1810 Jean Bapiste became sucessor to the Swedish throne and also to the Norwegian throne in1814 after a sucessful battle. He became King in 1818 and ruled until 1844 when he died on March 8th. Jean Baptiste changed his name then from Marshal Jean Baptiste Jules Bernadotte to Charles XIV John (Karl Johan). During his reign Désirée became the Queen Consort with the name Desideria. Together they had only one son called Oscar who became King after his father’s death. His title was King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway.
Désirée first came to Sweden in 1810 but did not like for first of all it was too cold and she was also treated badly by the court. Mostly by the Queen Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp. The only friendly person was the very old dowager queen Sophia Magdalena of Denmark. It is said that Désirée acted “spoiled” and did not try to be liked. She soon left in 1811 with the name “Countess of Gotland” (Gotland is a small island in the Beltic Sea). Désirée got this name because of her health problems. With her departure she left her small son Oscar and Jean Baptiste alone in Sweden and went back to Paris. She resided in Paris for 12 years. Whenever someone would ask her about Sweden she would say,”Do not talk with me of Sweden, I get a cold as soon as I hear the word.” Even though Jean Baptiste begged for Désirée to come back she would not so he was forced to take a mistress called Mariana Koskull.
It was not until 1823 that she went back to Sweden. Along with Oscar’s (Désirée’s son’s) bride called Josephine of Leuchtenberg. In 1829 Désirée was crowned and during the 1830s she truly tried her best at being queen. It is said that there were more balls and parties than during the reign of the crazy King Gustav III of Sweden. But yet she could not become happy and soon gave up trying to act as the Queen. Before long Désirée desired to go home to France but Jean Baptiste would not allow it. Thus she never turned out to be liked nor did she try to learn Swedish. After the death of her husband it is said that Désirée became peculiar. She would get up when others slept and drive through the streets of Stockholm without any reason. Just before she died on December 17th, at the age of 83, Désirée entered a box at the opera reserved for her where the concert had just finished. In 1860 Bernardine Eugénie Désirée Clary died in Stockholm.

"Bernadotte." Britannica Student Encyclopedia. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. 12 Oct. 2008 <>.

"Joséphine." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online School Edition. 12 Oct. 2008 <>.

Désirée Clary (2008). Wikipedia, Retrieved October 10,2008.

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