Facts and Events
Duke Charles Frederick of Holstein-Gottorp (30 April 1700 – 18 June 1739) was the son of Frederick IV of Holstein-Gottorp and his wife, Hedvig Sophia, daughter of King Charles XI of Sweden. He became reigning duke in infancy, upon his father's death in 1702, and all his life was a legitimate claimant to the throne of Sweden, as pro forma heir to Charles XII.
Duke Charles Frederick was under the regency of his mother, with whom he resided in Stockholm. Actual daily rule of the duchy was left to administrators.
Upon the death in 1718 of his maternal uncle and second cousin, Charles XII of Sweden, Duke Charles Frederick was presented as claimant to the throne. However, his aunt Ulrika Eleonora the Younger (1688–1741) managed to wrest the throne for herself, claiming that her elder sister had not "acquired the consent of the Parliamentary Estates" for her marriage to his father, according to laws of succession laid down in Norrköpings arvförening. The duke's party asserted that the absolute monarchy in Sweden, which his grandfather King Charles XI had created, made that marriage clause irrelevant.
Losing out on this, Charles Frederick withdrew from Sweden, eventually settling in Russia. Afterward, the so-called Holsteiner Party in Sweden continued to advance Charles Frederick's claims. The party made preparations and awaited the childless Ulrika Eleonora's death, but Charles Frederick died before his aunt and left his claims to his infant son. By that time Sweden had enacted new laws of succession, however, that specifically excluded Charles Frederick and his heirs due to their Russian politics. His first cousin Adolph Frederick, of his same Oldenburg dynasty, was elected Crown Prince of Sweden.
In 1720, Sweden and Denmark-Norway concluded the Treaty of Frederiksborg, in which Sweden pledged to cease its support of Holstein-Gottorp. Duke Charles Frederick opposed the treaty, made by a Swedish government which he regarded as rebellious against his own right to the Swedish succession; the treaty also made virtually impossible the regaining of the lost northern part of his duchy, its lands in Schleswig. (This was to be a motivation for his son Peter in 1762, upon his Russian accession, to start preparations for the use of Russian troops to reconquer the lost lands from Denmark.)
Duke Charles Frederick was married to Anna Petrovna, Tsesarevna of Russia and elder daughter of Tsar Peter I and his peasant wife, Marta Skavronskaya (who would later become Empress Catherine I of Russia).
Charles Frederick, then commander of the palace guard in St. Petersburg, attempted to secure his wife's succession to the Russian upon the death in 1727 of her mother, the Empress Catherine I of Russia. His attempt failed, but the son of Duke Charles Frederick and Duchess Anna Petrovna, Charles Peter Ulrich (who succeeded as Duke of Holstein-Gottorp in 1739), eventually became Russian tsar in 1762, as Peter III.
Before a member of the family of Holstein-Gottorp was to sit on either the Swedish or the Russian throne, Duke Charles Frederick died in 1739 in the Saxon village of Rolfshagen. His grave is in the Cloister Church at Bordesholm.