Henrika Juliana von Liewen was a royal lady-in-waiting. She also hosted a salon and was actively politically engaged during Sweden’s ‘age of liberty’. She was married to the architect Carl Hårleman.
Henrika Juliana von Liewen was born in 1709. She was the daughter of the ‘riksråd’ (privy councillor) Hans Henrik von Liewen the elder and Magdalena Juliana von Tiesenhausen. Her brother was Hans Henrik von Liewen the younger, later a riksråd and marshal of the realm. Henrika Juliana von Liewen married the architect and ‘överintendent’ (chief of royal building works) Carl Hårleman in 1748, although her husband died not long after their wedding, in 1753.
Henrika Juliana von Liewen was appointed royal lady-in-waiting in 1729. She was an early champion of what would become known as the ‘hattparti’ (a political opposition group known as the hat party), and this may have motivated the written expressions of criticism regarding her personal life published in various journals. One of the things she was accused of was that she had been the lover of William VIII of Hessen-Cassel – the brother of King Fredrik I of Sweden – during the former’s visit to Sweden in 1732. The truth of the matter appears to be that William VIII’s travelling companion, Johann Caspar von Dörnberg (a ‘Regierungspräsident’ (local government president) in Cassel), fell in love with her and they then entered into a relationship. Although he was already married he proposed to Henrika Juliana von Liewen and then returned to Cassel in order to obtain a divorce from his wife. Although he successfully obtained a divorce he unfortunately died whilst returning to Sweden. After his death Henrika Juliana von Liewen gave birth to their daughter.
Following the arrival of Lovisa Ulrika (soon to be queen) in Sweden in 1744 Henrika Juliana von Liewen became her political confidante. Lovisa Ulrika hatched plans for a coup d'état in 1748 and presumably confided in Henrika Juliana von Liewen. The latter appears to have revealed these plans to the Danish, French, and Russian ambassadors which thus prevented the plan from being enacted.
Henrika Juliana von Liewen was involved in the political journal called En Ärlig Swensk, published by Nicholas von Oelrich 1755–1756. It was said that the covert editors of this pro-hat party journal undertook their editorial work at Henrika Juliana von Liewen’s salon. A contemporary news reporter revealed that 10-12 high-ranking people gathered at her place in order to produce the journal.
Henrika Juliana von Liewen’s political efforts were appreciated by her contemporaries, as revealed by the parliament’s decision in 1755 to award her an annual pension. Following the accession of the ‘mössparti’ (cap party) to power in 1765 she, like other politically active women, was about to lose her pension. She was, however, allowed to keep it after donating her husband’s engravings and drawings to Kungliga biblioteket (the royal library). The value of these donations was said to far exceed her annual pension.
Henrika Juliana von Liewen died in Stockholm in 1779.