1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Adolphus Frederick

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ADOLPHUS FREDERICK (1710–1771), king of Sweden, was born at Gottorp on the 14th of May 1710. His father was Christian Augustus (1673–1726), duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorp, bishop of Lübeck, and administrator, during the war of 1700–1721, of the duchies of Holstein-Gottorp for his nephew Charles Frederick; his mother was Albertina Frederica of Baden-Durlach. From 1727 to 1750 he was bishop of Lübeck, and administrator of Holstein-Kiel during the minority of Duke Charles Peter Ulrich, afterwards Peter III. of Russia. In 1743 he was elected heir to the throne of Sweden by the “Hat” faction in order that they might obtain better conditions of peace from the empress Elizabeth, whose fondness for the house of Holstein was notorious (see Sweden, History). During his whole reign (1751–1771) Adolphus Frederick was little more than a state decoration, the real power being lodged in the hands of an omnipotent riksdag, distracted by fierce party strife. Twice he endeavoured to free himself from the intolerable tutelage of the estates. The first occasion was in 1755 when, stimulated by his imperious consort Louisa Ulrica, sister of Frederick the Great, he tried to regain a portion of the attenuated prerogative, and nearly lost his throne in consequence. On the second occasion, under the guidance of his eldest son, the crown prince Gustavus, afterwards Gustavus III., he succeeded in overthrowing the tyrannous "Cap" senate, but was unable to make any use of his victory. He died of surfeit at Stockholm on the 12th of February 1771.

See R. Nisbet Bain, Gustavus III. and his Contemporaries, vol. i. (London, 1895).