General Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge

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Robert Douglas (1611-1661) was one of the many children of Patrick Douglas of Standingstone, the younger son of William Douglas, laird of Wittingham. Wittingham was a collateral line to Douglas of Dalkeith. The mother was a Leslie, probably of the same family as Field Marshal Alexander Leslie (Earl of Leven).

Robert Douglas was born in 1611 at Standingstone, and came to Sweden with an enlisted troop in 1627 with three elder brothers, all of whom died young. When the men were mustered in Sweden, Robert was thought to be somewhat too young for military action and was employed as a page by Gustavus Adolphus’ brother-in-law, the Count Palatine Johan Kasimir. In 1634 he was given his first commission, and after only a few years of service with the regiments of Alexander Leslie and Alexander Hamilton he was made Lt.Colonel in 1634, and in the following year was given a regiment. In 1643 he was made Major-general in 1651 General and Baron Skalby; and in 1654 Count of Skanninge. He took part in the battle of Warsaw, and was made Field Marshal in 1657. In the years 1658-60 he was commander-in-chief in Livonia, taking e.g. Wolmar and Mitau.


Both as general and administrator Robert Douglas played an important role in the building up of Sweden to a great power. Many of his descendants have also been prominent men. His grandson entered Russian service and in 1717 was made Peter the Great’s Governor General over Finland. In the 1890’s the then head of the family, Count Ludvig Douglas, was a distinguished Swedish Foreign Minister. The latter’s son was Commander in Chief of the Swedish Army during World War II.

In 1646 Robert Douglas married Hedvig Mörner, who bore him six sons and a daughter. Two of the sons died in their infancy, and three became officers, and died without issue. The daughter married an Oxenstierna. The remaining son, Gustaf Douglas (d.1705), first of the Swedish noble line of Douglas, became a Colonel, and Governor of Västerbotten (1692-1705). The Swedish noble family of Douglas descends from him.


His grandson, Count Gustav Otto Douglas, was captured by the Russians during the Battle of Poltava, entered Russian service, and in 1717 was made Peter the Great’s Governor General over Finland. In the 1890s the then head of the family, Count Ludvig Douglas, was a distinguished Swedish foreign minister and High Marshal of Sweden. The latter’s son, General Archibald Douglas-Stjernorp, was Commander in Chief of the Swedish Army during World War II.


He built the manor of Stjarnorp in Ostergotland. 

He died in Stockholm in 1661. He and 20 members of his family were buried in Vreta Abbey, Linkopings, Sweden


Field Marshal Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge.

Robert was born in East Lothian in 1611. He became a soldier and, like many Scottish soldiers, fought in Europe during the 30 Years War. In 1627 he was appointed as a page in the Swedish military under John Casimir, Count Palatine of Kleeburg, Castellan of Stegeborg Castle, and brother-in-law of King Gustav II Adolf.

In 1635, as a Lieutenant Colonel, Robert was responsible for the defence of Egeln in Saxony, surrounded by territories of the newly hostile Elector Johan Georg who had changed sides in the war. Douglas managed to break out rather than change sides and return with most of his men through hostile lines to Swedish controlled territory.

 Perhaps influenced by his marriage to Hedvig Mörner in 1646, Robert opted to remain in the Swedish Army, rather than returning to Scotland and participated in many battles over his career. Robert and Hedvig had six sons, of whom four lived to adulthood, and a daughter. Three of their sons became officers and died without having children. Their daughter married into a Swedish noble family. Their son, Gustaf, was first of the Swedish-born noble line of Douglas.

Robert was created a baron by Queen Christina in 1651, and a count in 1654. In 1652, she made him the kingdom's Lord Master of the Horse. During the Polish Wars, he was in the service of King Charles X, and was with the king at the battle of Warsaw in 1656. On 13 May 1657, the king promoted him to field marshal. Between 1658 and 1661 he was the military governor of Estonia and Livonia. He also led the Swedish forces in the conquests of Valmiera and Mitau.

Robert Douglas died in 1662(?) and is buried in the Douglas chapel in the church of Vreta Abbey. His descendants, the Swedish Douglas family, is one of Sweden's most prominent noble families since the mid 17th century and has included numerous prominent individuals, such as Foreign Minister Ludvig Douglas.

Below: Caption on his portrait:

Portrait caption

See also:
•  The Legacy of Count Douglas [pdf 188kb]


Not to be confused with:

Major-General Robert Douglas (of Garlston, NB) Born c1744, died 7th June 1798
Lt General Robert Douglas  abt 1745 - 1827
Major General Robert Douglas Death: Aug. 20. 1828 At Great Baddow, Essex,
Major General Robert Douglas 1727-1809
General Robert Douglas, C.B. died at Claygate, Surrey on February 10, 1871
Major General Sir Robert Percy Douglas died on 30 September 1891 aged 87
Major General Robert Wilkins Douglass Jr. born in 1900 in Memphis, Tenn



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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024