CHARLES XV. (1826-1872), king of Sweden and Norway, eldest son of Oscar I., king of Sweden and Norway, and Josephine Beauharnais of Leuchtenberg, was born on the 3rd of May 1826. On the 19th of June 1850 he married Louisa, daughter of Prince Frederick of the Netherlands. He became regent on the 25th of September 1857, and king on the death of his father (8th of July 1859). As crown-prince, Charles's brusque and downright manners had led many to regard his future accession with some apprehension, yet he proved to be one of the most popular of Scandinavian kings and a constitutional ruler in the best sense of the word. His reign was remarkable for its manifold and far-reaching reforms. Sweden's existing communal law (1862), ecclesiastical law (1863) and criminal law (1864) were enacted appropriately enough under the direction of a king whose motto was: "Build up the land upon the laws!" Charles XV. also materially assisted De Geer (q.v.) to carry through his memorable reform of the constitution in 1863. Charles was a warm advocate of "Scandinavianism" and the political solidarity of the three northern kingdoms, and his warm friendship for Frederick VII., it is said, led him to give half promises of help to Denmark on the eve of the war of 1864, which, in the circumstances, were perhaps misleading and unjustifiable. In view, however, of the unpreparedness of the Swedish army and the difficulties of the situation, Charles was forced to observe a strict neutrality. He died at Malmö on the 18th of September 1872. Charles XV. was highly gifted in many directions. He attained to some eminence as a painter, and his Digte show him to have been a true poet. He left but one child, a daughter, Louisa Josephina Eugenia, who in 1869 married the crown-prince Frederick of Denmark.
See Cecilia Bååth-Holmberg, Carl XV., som enskild man, konung och konstnär (Stockholm, 1891); Yngvar Nielsen, Det norske og svenske Kongehus fra 1818 (Christiania, 1883).
(R. N. B.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)