Early on there were plans for a possible marriage. In 1772 her brother, King Gustav III, who lived in a childless and unconsummated marriage, had the idea of letting his younger siblings provide an heir to the throne, and both Sophia Albertina and her brother Prince Charles was considered with this task. Among the marriage partners considered for Sophia Albertina were her cousin Prince Peter of Holstein-Gottorp, Prince-Bishop of Lübeck, but these plans were abandoned in 1780. King Stanisław August Poniatowski was also mentioned, but nothing came of the plans.
Sophia Albertina was sometimes called The Princess with the ice heart. However, there was a well known legend among the people of Stockholm which indicated that she was not excluded from having a love life. There were well known and persistent rumours that Sophia Albertina gave birth to a child sometime in 1785/86. The child has sometime been said to be a son, named Peter Niklas, or a daughter, named Sophia after herself. The place for the birth has been suggested as Allmänna Barnbördshuset, a public hospital, where women were allowed to give birth with their faces covered by a mask to preserve their anonymity. The daughter was allegedly brought up by foster parents and arranged to be married to a wealthy merchant as an adult. This rumour is unconfirmed and the truth of it is unknown. The father has been pointed out as Count Fredrik Vilhelm von Hessenstein, son of King Frederick I of Sweden and his mistress Hedvig Taube. Another suggested father was Gustav Badin, her African butler, but there is no mention that the child was of mixed race.
Fredrik Vilhelm von Hessenstein is often pointed out as the love of Sophia Albertina, and she is said to have wished to marry him, but Gustav III refused to grant his permission because the mother of Hessenstein had been a royal mistress. The intimate friend of Sophia Albertina, Caroline Rudenschöld, refers to these issues in a letter from 1792, were she mentions two love interests of Sophia Albertina. Rudenschöld mentioned that she was concerned about a confidence the Princess had given her, but that she was assured that Sophia Albertina would “do everything what is in her power to do to overcome this unfortunate passion” and to “use her sense to overpower it”, and she ads: “I can understand that this inclination of Yours is so much more unfortunate than the last one”.
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“As in private life one differentiates between what a man thinks and says of himself and what he really is and does, so in historical struggles one must still more distinguish the language and the imaginary aspirations of parties from their real organism and their real interests, their conception of themselves from their reality.”
—Karl Marx (18181883)
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