Rumours of descent from Carl XV of Sweden

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Carl Ludvig Eugen Bernadotte (1826-1872) was king of Sweden and Norway - Carl XV in Sweden and Carl IV in Norway. Even in his lifetime he was known as a ladies' man. He had several known mistresses, among them maids-of-honor Sigrid Sparre and Josefine Sparre and actresses Laura Bergnér aka Signora Farali, and Johanna Styrell aka Hanna Stjernblad. It was also said that he had fathered many illegitimate children, although he did not have any with the abovementioned mistresses.

There are many rumours and family myths about descent from an illegitimate child of king Carl XV but so far research has not found any proven, or even credible, case. There are discussions at length in Anbytarforum of many cases. WikiTree has in time accumulated a small number of profiles with claims. Sources are on the profiles.


Carl Johan Bolander

Carl Johan Bolander (1854-1903) was the second and last son of Anders Magnus Bolander and his wife Anna Greta Lindqvist, farmers in Barkeryd parish in Småland. The family had a somewhat unusual history in that the father and the elder son went to America in 1867-68 (and never came back), while the mother and younger son moved to Stockholm a few years later. Carl Johan Bolander studied at the music conservatory - there was a great demand for cantors in the Swedish "folk schools". However, Carl Johan was gifted enough to make a career as an organist in Västerås Cathedral. His youngest son, Nils Fredrik Bolander (1902-1959) eventually became a bishop (in 1958, a year before his death).

The source for the claim of Carl Johan Bolander's royal paternity is an unsubstantiated statement in passing in the biography of Nils Bolander. Nils was one year old when his father died and none of Carl Johan's children were even born when their grandmother died - so she can not have been the one telling stories.

Josef Wilhelm Malkus Åberg

Josef Wilhelm Malkus Oberg (1863-1932) was born to unwed Antonia Åberg 23 january 1863. He grew up in fosterage with the parents of his mother in Borgholm on Öland, became a sailor and ended up in Australia in time to marry and have a first child in Victoria in June 1891. He never formally emigrated from Sweden. The family story about his background told by Malcus Oberg in Australia was that his mother had been a maid in the royal household, possibly at the summer residence near Borgholm, and his unknown father was a member of the royal house. At some point in time the rumour settled for king Carl XV.

However, when the family started looking into Antonia's background in the records, they found out that at the time of Malkus Oberg's conception, Antonia was employed in the household of a well-to-do family in Stockholm (and never anywhere near the royal household).

Carl Johan Blomgren

Carl Johan Blomgren (1863-1944) was the first child of Inga Helena Johansdotter in Hjorted, Småland. He was born out of wedlock, but there is a note in the household record naming the father, the hussar Johannes Eliasson (later Blomgren). Eliasson married another woman, whom he abandoned while she was pregnant. Carl johan's mother married another man, with whom she had a daughter who died in infancy. Her husband abandoned Inga Helena after just a few years, and she got back together with Johannes Blomgren. They had two children together, while on the road, using false names, which was revealed when Blomgren was tried and sentenced for theft in 1871.

Carl Johan Blomgren moved north, became a confectioner, and had ten children in two marriages. The story that Carl Johan was an illegitimate child of Carl XV probably originated with him - if it was not invented by his mother. The story has been believed among Carl Johan's descendants, leading to their participation in the 2010 documentary Blått blod - where a DNA comparison with the also participating Bernadotte Black Sheep gave an "it's possible" result. Following this apparent confirmation, one of Carl Johan's descendants wrote a fictionalized account of Inga Helena's adventure with the king, Flickorna i Småland, Paul Blom (2015). This story does not hold up well when compared with contemporary records, as extensively presented in the profiles for the family.

Carl Rudolf Bernadotte Nordenstam

The birth of Carl Rudolf Bernadotte (Seelig) Nordenstam (1863-1942) is a bit of a mystery. He was the son of widow Josefina Charlotta Selig, neé Wickman (1824-1901) and an unknown father. He lived with his mother in Göteborg - but he had not been included in her credentials when she moved in ther in 1867. The information about his date and place of birth seems to have been provided by himself at the time of his confirmation.

Carl Rudolf Bernadotte Selig became a stage magician in Norway, adopting the surname Nordenstam, and claiming to be an illegitimate son of Carl XV. This was resoundingly refuted when a male descendant participated in the 2010 documentary Blått blod. The DNA test yielded the answer "not possible".

Ellen Maria Hammar neé Svensson

Ellen Maria (Svensson) Hammar (1865-1931) was the daughter of the successful furniture manufacturer Carl Peter Svensson and his wife Theresia Wilhelmina Gustafsson, fourth in a flock of seven siblings. Her mother was the half sister of Hanna Styrell (1842-1904), one time mistress of Carl XV.

So the story about Ellen claims that she was the love child of Hanna Styrell and the king. This is completely unsupported by the contemporary documentation; her record of birth and baptism, for example, is perfectly ordinary - and she fits so snugly into the sibling flock. Nevertheless, her story about being the illegitimate child of king Carl is among the most widespread, having gained an aura of credibility by being included in works by a reputable specialist on the literatry and cultural history of the 19th century. His informant in the matter was someone who had been a childhood friend of Ellen's sons.

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Categories: Sweden, Royalty