Charles I of Württemberg

Charles I
King of Württemberg
Reign 25 June 1864 – 6 October 1891
Predecessor William I
Successor William II
Born (1823-03-06)6 March 1823
Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg
Died 6 October 1891(1891-10-06) (aged 68)
Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg
Spouse Olga Nikolaevna of Russia
Full name
Karl Friedrich Alexander
House House of Württemberg
Father William I of Württemberg
Mother Pauline Therese of Württemberg
Religion Lutheranism

Charles (German: Karl Friedrich Alexander, König von Württemberg; 6 March 1823 in Stuttgart – 6 October 1891 in Stuttgart) was King of Württemberg, from 25 June 1864 until his death in 1891.

Early life

He was born on 6 March 1823 in Stuttgart, as HRH Charles Frederick Alexander, Crown Prince of Württemberg, the son of William I, King of Württemberg (1781–1864) and his third wife (and first cousin) Pauline Therese of Württemberg (1800–1873).

He studied in Berlin and Tübingen.

Marriage and King of Württemberg

On 13 July 1846 he married Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaievna of Russia, daughter of Tsar Nicholas I and Charlotte of Prussia. Charlotte was a daughter of Frederick William III of Prussia and Louise of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. She took the name Alexandra upon her marriage. Karl acceded to the throne upon his father's death in 1864.

The couple had no children, perhaps because of Karl's homosexuality.[1] Karl became the object of scandal several times for his closeness with various men. The most notorious of these was the American Charles Woodcock, a former chamberlain whom Karl elevated to Baron Savage in 1888.[2][3] Karl and Charles became inseparable, going so far as to appear together in public dressed identically. The resulting outcry forced Karl to renounce his favorite. Woodcock returned to America, and Karl found private consolation some years later with the technical director of the royal theater, Wilhelm George.[1]

In 1870, Olga and Karl adopted Olga's niece Vera Konstantinova, the daughter of her brother Grand Duke Konstantin.


He sided with Austria in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, but after the battle of Sadowa concluded a secret military treaty with Prussia, and took part on her side in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–'71, joining the new German Empire at the close of 1870.[4]

He died, childless, in Stuttgart on 6 October 1891, and was succeeded as King of Württemberg by his sister's son, William II. He is buried, together with his wife, in the Old Castle in Stuttgart.


Royal Monogram of King Charles I of Württemberg
Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Württemberg, 1817
Royal Monogram of King Charles I of Württemberg, Variant



For Karl's homosexuality and other familiar issues:


  1. 1 2 Sabine Thomsen. Die württembergischen Königinnen. Charlotte Mathilde, Katharina, Pauline, Olga, Charlotte – ihr Leben und Wirken [The Queens of Wuerttemberg: Charlotte Matilde, Katharina, Pauline, Olga, Charlotte – Their Lives and Legacies]. Silberburg-Verlag, 2006.
  2. Jette Sachs-Colignon. Königin Olga von Württemberg, Stieglitz, 2002.
  3. [Mann für Mann, Bernd-Ulrich Hergemöller, Pages 409, 410]
  4.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Charles I. (Würtemberg)". The American Cyclopædia.

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Charles I of Württemberg
Born: 6 March 1823 Died: 6 October 1891
Regnal titles
Preceded by
William I
King of Württemberg
Succeeded by
William II
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