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Robert Douglas

Robert Douglas (17 March 1611, Standingstone Estate, by Traprain Law, Haddingtonshire[1] – 28 May 1662, Stockholm[1]), Count of Skenninge,[2] Baron of Skalby,[2] was a Scottish Field Marshal (1657–1662) in the Swedish army, during the Thirty Years' War and the Swedish-Polish wars.[3][4] He was a commander in the later stages of the Thirty Years' War.[2]

His father, Patrick Douglas, was the second son of William Douglas of Whittinghame.[2]


Scotland's numerous clans were often mounted warriors by tradition, training and capability. Sons of noble Scots families — particularly younger sons who had little expectation of adequate inheritance — often emigrated to serve in the armies of monarchs abroad. Young Robert Douglas was one such cadet of the Scottish gentry. In 1627 he was received as a page in the Swedish service under John Casimir, Count Palatine of Kleeburg, castellan of Stegeborg Castle, brother-in-law of King Gustav II.


In 1630 when Sweden joined the Thirty Years' War, he joined the king and started serving in German battlefields. He rose in the officer ranks and in the later stages of the war he served as a commander: in 1635 a colonel, in 1643 a major-general. He participated in some of the most memorable battles of that war, at Leipzig in 1642 and Jankowitz in 1645.

Queen Christina of Sweden ennobled him as a baron in 1651, and on 28 May 1654, created him a count. In 1652, she made him the kingdom's Lord Master of the Horse.

In King Charles X Gustav's Polish war, he was with the king at the battle of Warsaw in 1656. On 13 May 1657, the king promoted him to field marshal.

He served between 1658-1661 as military governor of Estonia and Livonia. In 1660, he and the Swedes took Jacob, Duke of Courland as their prisoner. He also led the Swedish forces in the conquests of Valmiera and Mitau.

Douglas was rewarded with numerous properties and fiefs in Sweden, such as Skänninge, Skälby, Zewen and Sannegården near Göteborg.


In 1646 Douglas married Hedvig Mörner,[5] who bore him six sons (of whom four lived to adulthood) and a daughter. Three sons became officers and died without issue. The daughter married an Oxenstierna.

The remaining son, Gustaf, was first of the Swedish-born noble line of Douglas. He became a colonel and governor of Västerbotten. 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.

Robert Douglas is buried in the Douglas chapel in the church of Vreta Abbey.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Douglas, Robert - Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon at Project Runeberg
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 William Douglas of Whittinghame
  3. Robert Douglas
  4. List of Swedish Field Marshals
  5. (Swedish) (1754) Matrikel öfwer Swea rikes ridderskap och adel ...p.19

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