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



Below: Caption on his portrait:

Portrait caption


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


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    Last modified: Thursday, 16 January 2020