Count Vilhelm Archibald Douglas

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Vilhelm Chief of the Army Archibald Douglas (1883–1960)  



Count Vilhelm Archibald Douglas (19 July 1883 – 5 July 1960), was a Swedish nobleman and Inspector and Supreme Commander of the Swedish Army from 1944 to 1948. Born in Stjärnorp Castle, Sweden, he was the second son of Count Ludvig Douglas, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, and Countess Anna Ehrensvärd.

Archibald's elder brother Robert, a nobleman in Germany, married dowager Queen Augusta Victoria of Portugal, widow of King Manoel II.

Following his family's traditions, he was educated in the military and he took part also voluntarily in many intriguing developments. Sweden did not wage any wars during his lifetime, so an actual combat and war situation had to be experienced elsewhere. As a relatively young man, Archibald Douglas participated as a volunteer in the Civil War of 1918 in Finland, and received in that country the rank of Lieutenant-General. After the Finnish adventure, he continued a steady career in Swedish land forces, despite Sweden being neutral all his career. His tasks were more like guard duties and maintaining defence capabilities.

In 1930s and 1940s, Archibald held commands over large military districts, and ultimately over all Swedish land forces (1944-48).

Beside his military career, Douglas was a member of the Stockholm City Council from 1921 to 1923 and served as aide-de-camp to King Gustaf V from 1920 to 1930 and as chief aide-de-camp (överadjutant) to King Gustaf V from 1931 to 1950.

Douglas wrote biographical literature and biographies of Marshal of Finland Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (his Finnish contemporary), and Swedish Field Marshal Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge, his ancestor.

In 1907 he married Astri Henschen (1883–1976) in Ronneby. She was the daughter of Professor Salomon Eberhard Henschen and Gerda (née Sandell).Douglas lived in Villa Parkudden in Djurgården, and also owned Stjärnorp Castle in Östergötland County from 1947.

His eldest of four sons, Count Carl Ludvig Douglas (1908–1961), was a diplomat and Royal Swedish Ambassador. Another was company executive Gösta Archibald Douglas (1910–1992) .

Through his eldest son, Carl Ludvig, he is the grandfather of Princess Elisabeth, Duchess in Bavaria, wife of Prince Max, Duke in Bavaria. He is also the grandfather of Rosita Spencer-Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, the third wife of John Spencer-Churchill, 11th Duke of Marlborough, they divorced in 2008, and also and grandfather of financier Gustaf Douglas.

The ancestral Stjärnorp Castle, which his father had purchased back to the family some years before Archibald's birth, was designated as Archibald's family seat.

Vilhelm Archibald Douglas died as a result of a car accident near Linköping.



Sources for this article include:
  • Douglas, Archibald (1951). Mannerheim (in Swedish)

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    Last modified: Friday, 17 May 2024