King Charles XII

King Charles XI’s Message to His Teacher

The picture above shows the note the future king Charles XI gave to his teacher, Edmund Gripenhielm, on 20 August 1664. Charles was then all of nine years old.
The text reads:

Professor, today is Saturday – I grant Thee leave for both the morning and afternoon. Farewell!

By all accounts, Charles XI met with little success in his academic studies. He had a hard time concentrating during his lessons and seems to have been dyslexic, with both reading and writing disabilities. Many of his writings show this to have been the case.

In the Parliament of 1668, even Chancellor of the Realm Magnus Gabriel De la Gardie felt compelled to admit that Charles’s studies had not succeeded to the extent desired, but emphasized instead the King’s virtue, good sense, and respect for mother and guardians.

King Charles XII’s Composition and Arithmetic Exercises

Responde ut intelligam – Answer so that I understand.

The composition and arithmetic exercises of Crown Prince Charles (later King Charles XII, then barely seven years of age) under the tutelage of his teacher, Andreas Nordenhielm. Charles’s schoolwork on 16 February 1689 included Latin and mathematics. The manuscript also contains diary entries and written dialogs between teacher and pupil – all part of the prince’s instruction in the years of 1688-1692.

King Charles XII’s Diary

The picture above shows a page out of King Charles XII’s diary from the year 1689, when he was only seven years old. He had been asked by his teacher Andreas Nordenhielm to write down his fondest wish.
The text in its entirety reads:

I wish that I would once have the happiness of following my Father onto the field.
Carlberg, the 10th of June Anno 1689.

The book was created when Charles wrote down his thoughts on loose sheets of paper, which were later collected and bound into a volume, probably by Nordenhielm. Thereafter, the volume was kept at Drottningholm Palace. It came to the National Library along with the rest of the Drottningholm collection in 1854.

Last updated: 2016-02-09
Contact person: Patrik Granholm, e-mail:
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