Portrait of Charles of Baden (1786-1818), Grand Duke of Baden (1811-1818), Crown Prince of Baden (1801-1811), 1811
Charles (German: Karl Ludwig Friedrich; 8 July 1786 – 8 December 1818) became ruler of the Grand Duchy of Baden as its grand duke on 11 June 1811 and reigned until his death in 1818. He was born in Karlsruhe. His father was Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden, the heir to the Margraviate of Baden, which was raised to a grand duchy after the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806. His mother was Amalie of Hesse-Darmstadt, the daughter of Louis IX, Landgrave of Hesse-Darmstadt. He was the brother-in-law of the rulers of Bavaria, Russia, and Sweden. His sister Caroline was the queen consort of Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria, his sister Louise was the empress consort of Alexander I of Russia and his sister Frederica was the queen consort of Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden. At the age of 15, Charles went on a journey to visit his sisters in their courts in St. Petersburg and Stockholm. He was on his way home with his father, when his father died in a fall from his coach on 15 December 1801. Charles was a witness to this accident. Due to the strong influence of France on the court of Baden, Charles was forced to marry Emperor Napoléon I's adopted daughter, Stéphanie de Beauharnais, in Paris on 8 April 1806, this despite his own protests and those of his mother and sisters. Charles apparently preferred the hand of his cousin Princess Augusta of Bavaria. It would be five years before the couple would produce an heir. Charles went to war in 1807 as head of the Baden contingent under Marshal Lefebvre. There he took part in the siege of Danzig. In 1808, Charles returned to the side of his grandfather. His grandfather's age was beginning to show and Charles became co-regent. Charles was 25 years old when he succeeded his grandfather Charles Frederick upon the latter's death on 11 June 1811. On 4 October 1817, as neither he nor the other sons from his grandfather's first marriage had surviving male descendants, Charles confirmed the succession rights of his half-uncles from the Hochberg morganatic line, granting each the title, Prince and Margrave of Baden, and the style of Highness. He asked the princely congress in Aachen on 20 November 1818, just weeks before his death, to confirm the succession rights of the sons of Louise Caroline, Countess of Hochberg, morganatic second wife of Grand Duke Charles Frederick. But this proclamation of Baden's succession evoked international challenges. The Congress of Vienna had, in 1815, recognised the eventual claims of Austria and Bavaria to parts of Baden which it allocated to Charles Frederick in the Upper Palatinate and the Breisgau, anticipating that upon his imminent demise those lands would cease to be part of the Grand Duchy. The disputes were resolved by the Treaty of Frankfurt, 1819, under which Baden ceded a portion of Wertheim, already enclaved within Bavaria, to that Kingdom, whereupon the succession as settled in 1817 was recognized by Bavaria and Austria.
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