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Fri, 12.11.1750

Adolf Gustaf Badin, Royal Servant born

Adilf Gustav Badin

*The birth of Adolf Gustaf Badin is celebrated on this date, c1750. He was an Afro Swedish (Black Swede) court, servant, and chronicler.

He was born in Africa or the Danish island Saint Croix and enslaved at birth. He said the only thing he remembered about his past was burning his parents' hut. It is known that he lived in Saint Croix during his childhood. He was taken to Europe from where he was bought by a Danish captain, who gave him to statesman Anders von Reiser, who, in turn, gave him as a present to the Queen of Sweden, Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, in 1757. His original name was Couchi, but he was commonly known as Badin ('mischief-maker' or 'trickster'). His full name was Adolf Ludvig Gustav Fredrik Albert Badin.

On December 11, 1768, he was baptized in the chapel of Drottningholm Palace with the entire royal family, except Prince Charles, as his godparents. Badin was the foster son and servant of Queen Louisa Ulrika of Sweden and a servant to his foster sister Princess Sophia Albertine of Sweden. He was described as an intelligent and reliable person with self-confidence. Though he was informed about many of the secrets of the royal family and the court, he never revealed anything and was very loyal to the royal house throughout his entire life. Badin sometimes helped the court poet Bellman compose verses for special occasions, some of which were published in his name.

Badin participated in plays at the French Theatre in Bollhuset; he is listed as a dancer in ballet in the 1769–70 season and played the main part in Arlequin Sauvage in the 1770–71 season, a play in which a "savage" meets civilization, and an erotic play by Marivaux. In 1782, when the queen lay on her deathbed in her country residence, she sent Badin to Stockholm with the key to her files. After her death, Badin acquired the files and handed them in the custody of prince Fredrick Adolf and princess Sophia Albertina, who burnt them. The young king, Gustav III of Sweden, became enraged. They argued, and the king said, "Do you not know, you black person, that such things may cost your head?" He replied: "My head is in the power of your Majesty, but I could not act differently."  

Upon the death of his patron, the Queen, he was handed over to King Gustav III, who was eventually murdered in his castle in 1792. He also had a presence during the regimes of the next two Swedish monarchs, Gustav IV Adolf and Karl XIII, though his role in their Courts is unclear. Adolf Gustaf Badin died in 1822.

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