Louise of Sweden – The awkwardness of Queen Lovisa

Louise of Sweden
(public domain)

This article was written by Michelle.

Queen Lovisa[1] married the Danish Crown Prince Frederik (VIII) in 1869, and for 37 years they waited to ascend the throne. Queen Lovisa had all this time to prepare for her roles and duties as queen consort, but somehow she was not ready when it finally happened. In some way, she was not able to grasp the meanings of her actions in public, where she took part in representing not only the royal family but also the constitutional monarchy, which in turn should be consistent with the public’s expectations in order to be successful.

Queen Lovisa succeeded the much loved Queen Louise (Louise of Hesse-Kassel), who had been able to turn the public opinion from not liking her German origin to loving her as a modern and philanthropic fulcrum in the royal family with ties all over Europe. Queen Lovisa was much more reserved as a person, and it has been argued that being unusually tall and clumsy her looks was inhibiting for the way the general public saw her.[2]

Queen Lovisa had an unsociable air about her, and the Danish newspapers could not figure her out. On the occasion of Christian IX’s funeral in 1906, the Danish newspaper Politiken wrote:

”Queen Louise [Lovisa] was not here as much as in the Church; she was not feeling well. About an hour later, 10 minutes before the train departed, the Queen arrived and stepped out of her carriage, cumbersomely supporting herself to her cane.”[3]

Queen Lovisa did not meet the public expectations to her being present for her father-in-law’s funeral, and this was due to illness. But later she arrived at the train station, and that was not beneficial for the public view of her because she was not expected to be present. Queen Lovisa presumably thought that she needed to show Christian IX her last respects, but instead, she appeared not to have been that unwell in the first place.

A similar thing happened in 1907 at a ball, where Queen Lovisa ”according to rumours should have been ill” but arrived at the ball ”seemingly quite well”.[4] Queen Lovisa’s spontaneity in relation to familial events destroyed the public view on her because she did not meet their expectations. She seemed unreliable due to her spontaneity.

Queen Lovisa’s other great challenge was her looks. In 1907 she went with her husband to France to visit the French president Armand Falliéres and his wife. It was Queen Lovisa’s responsibility as queen consort to be sociable with the president’s wife, which in the Danish newspapers seemed very comical:

”Next to the petite figure of the French President’s wife, our Queen seems even taller than usual, and ”the stately figure of the Danish Queen” is one of the most recurring expressions in the French summaries.”[5]

Along with the article came a caricature line drawing of Queen Lovisa sitting next to the President’s wife.

The newspapers were mostly interested in what she did wrong, and they were able to pinpoint this because of it lacked compliance with the general view on women’s beauty at the time. Queen Lovisa did not manage to successfully imprint on the roles of queens consort in her time. She was not able to act in ways that appeased to public opinion of her and her looks and spontaneity made her a misunderstood and awkward queen.[6]

[1] I am using her Swedish name, Lovisa, instead of her Danish name, Louise, in order to distinguish her from her predecessor. She was born Louise of Sweden.

[2] Bjørn 2001: 157; Møller 2013: 129.

[3] Politiken 17/2 1906. 4. “Paa Banegaarden.”

[4] Politiken 16/3 1907. 4. “Kongens Bal.”

[5] Politiken 23/6 1907. 5. “Fra Besøget i Frankrig.”

[6] For further reading on this subject see: Kristensen, Michelle Jørsing. Skørtepolitik. Gemalindedronningers roller i Danmark i perioden 1863 til 1947. Master thesis, The University of Copenhagen, 2017; Bjørn, Claus. Blot til pynt? Monarkiet i Danmark – i går, i dag og i morgen. Fredmad, 2001; Møller, Jes Fabricius. Dynastiet Glücksborg. Gad, 2013; Olden-Jørgensen, Sebastian. Prinsessen og det hele kongerige, Christian IX og det glücksborgske kongehus. 1st edition. Gad, 2003.

About Moniek Bloks 2196 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.


  1. I read somewhere that Queen Louise–her mother-in-law and Dagmar-Tsarina of Russia and Queen Alexandra of England-both sister-in-laws, made fun of her all the time and were very unkind to her.

  2. I think she and her family were mocked as the “Swans” I believe she had a long neck and Princess Maud( Latter Queen of Norway) rather dislikes her Danish cousins. Thus calling them the Swans. This was odd because they Queen Lovisa was her Grandmother and future husband Charles/Carl were first cousins. I find it fascinating and a bit sad since all that intermarring starring with Queen Victoria’s marriage to P.Albert were first cousins The Hanovers already had poryrhia then hemophilia plus inter marrining with almost all the Royal families of Europe led to a lot of pain to Victoria’s own son Leopold and a few of her granddaughters whom became Queens in Spain,Romania,Greece,Noway and the Russian Empire. Both the Bourbons and Romanovs had male heirs whom were hemopliacs.Sophie lost her Crown twice and lost her Son AlexanderI her others son George II had a horrible marriage to Queen Marie daughter Eliabetha and lost his Crown also. Very sad indeed. Just finished rereading “Born To Rule” byJulia P. Gelardi. Fasinating book of five of Q.Victoria’s granddaughters and their turmoils as Queen Consists in five European countries. I recomend this book very highly.

  3. Your article is presenting Louise as the one with the problem, that she was unready to be queen and, basically, didn’t do a good job. And yet, other things I’ve read about her said that the public DID like her and that she spent many years doing charity that was much appreciated. None of what I read here suggests that she was unready or did something wrong. It sounds more like people around her were nasty just for the sake of being nasty. She couldn’t help being tall and unpretty. These nasty comments/views say much more about the people saying them and they do about Louise. From what I’ve read, I think she did the best she could being surrounded by a bunch of unwelcoming, sometimes hateful (especially her mother-in-law) people who never gave her a chance.

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