Cecilias’s Album: Adèle Rudenschöld – Princess Eugénie’s Maid of Honor

There is a card in Cecilia’s album that is signed Adèle. On the card is a small watercolor painting of peaches, grapes, and a blue butterfly.


Adèle Rudenschöld

Of course, I don’t know if the girl who signed the card was in fact Adèle Rudenschöld. All I know is that Adèle Rudenschöld (Louise Rudenschöld’s little sister) attended Edgren’s school and was a friend of Cecilia and our Augusta.

Another girl in Edgren’s school, Ebba Almroth, writes about Edgren’s school in her autobiography and also writes that Miss Rudenschöld, who she met at the Royal Palace, was an old schoolfellow. That would indicate that Adèle Rudenschöld attended Edgren’s school.

“My father took great pleasure in the education of my sister and myself. We attended the school of Frau Edgren, a German lady, wife of an excellent Swedish clergyman.

My school days were very happy. The teachers in Frau Edgren’s school did all in their powers to instill the noble ambition into their pupils of a desire to excel in their studies.” Ebba Almroth’s autobiography

Later in life, Ebba visited Princess Eugénie of Sweden at the Royal Palace. When the princess died in 1889, Ebba wrote an obituary which was published in Sunday at Homes. In the obituary she writes about her surprise in meeting Adèle Rudenschöld in the palace:

I was interested to find an old schoolfellow, Miss Rudenschöld, living with her in the palace as a maid-of-honor to Her Royal Highness.

Adèle’s Childhood

Adèle was born at Tyresö castle on October 4, 1832. In 1838, when Adèle was 5 ½ years old, the family moved to Stockholm. Edgren’s school had opened in the fall of 1838. Might that have been a reason for the family to move from their castle in the country to an apartment in town? To make sure their 3 daughters, Louise, Emma, and Adèle got a good, Christian education? Who knows.

Princess Eugénie’s Maid of Honor

Princess Eugénie of Sweden was born to King Oscar I and Queen Josephine in 1830. She had three older brothers.

In 1866, at the age of 34, Adèle became Princess Eugénie’s maid of honor (Hovfröken) and moved into the Royal Palace. Princess Eugénie was two years older than Adèle. Neither was interested in marriage, and both were inspired by the revival movement within the Lutheran church. They also had common hobbies and interests.

Princess Eugénie spent considerable time at Fridhem, her villa built on the island of Gotland in 1861. There are a few photos of her and Adèle at Fridhem. Some pictures even include Adèle’s sister Emma and her father.

Animal Rights

Adèle and Princess Eugénie were both passionate about animal rights. In 1882, Princess Eugénie, Adèle, and 6 others met at the Royal Palace and created an organization to combat animal cruelty in science (The Nordic Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). Four days later, the association held its inaugural meeting at which Dr. Adolf L. Nordwall, bureau chief at the Department of Education, was chosen as the president of the organization. Adolf Nordwall was our Augusta’s husband (and our great-great-grandfather)!

When Adolf met Adèle on that day, did he know that Augusta and Adèle had been schoolmates? Likewise, did Adèle know that Adolf had been married to Augusta? Maybe not.

Adolf held the position of president of the organization until his death in 1892. In 1909, the organization changed its name to Djurens Rätt (The Association of Animal Rights). Today, it is the largest animal rights and animal welfare organization in Sweden.


Adèle and Princess Eugénie were also interested in art. In the 1860s, Princess Eugénie took sculpting lessons from Professor Johan Peter Molin (1814-1873). He is famous for having designed the bronze fountain sculpture in Kungsträdgården (the oldest functioning fountain in Stockholm) and the statue of King Karl XII, also in Kungsträdgården.

The sculptures that Adèle and Princess Eugénie created were made in Parian ware and the motives they chose  were very similar. They most likely made them under the tutelage of Professor Molin. Some were then manufactured commercially by Gustavsberg’s porcelain factory. Adèle made a sculpture of a dog and a boy:

Princess Eugénie also made a sculpture of a dog and a boy:

Adèle’s sculpture in Parian ware of a girl carrying a little boy, manufactured by Gustavsberg’s pordelain factory, recently sold at auction for 400 SEK (~$40)!:

Later Years

Princess Eugénie died in 1889 at the age of 59. Adèle, who had lived at the Royal Palace since 1866, now moved to an apartment on Artillerigatan 37 in Stockholm. In October of 1923, she moved in with her nephew, Ernst Stenhammar, and his family. She died two months later, on new years eve, at the high age of 91.

What happened to Emma?

I have already written about Adèle’s sister Louise. But what happened to the third sister, Emma? There is no card in Cecilia’s album that is signed by Emma.

Emma was born on August 4, 1830. She contracted tuberculosis (TB) and died in 1868 at the age of 38. The cause of death was TB which had also caused kidney disease.

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