This group portrait shows Karl XI, King of Sweden, surrounded by his family and relatives from the duchy Holstein-Gottorp, who were his guests in Stockholm in 1691. To the left, in a red armchair, is the King’s mother Queen Dowager Hedvig Eleonora, dressed in yellow and gray with an ermine cloak, and next to her, the King himself, Karl XI, dressed in a richly embroidered costume. His son, the successor to the throne, Karl (XII), is standing between him and his mother, Queen Ulrika Eleonora the Elder, who is holding their youngest child, the three-year old Princess Ulrika Eleonora. Behind them is the young Duke, Fredrik IV of Holstein-Gottorp. His mother, Fredrika Amalia of Holstein-Gottorp, is sitting in front of him with a red cloak around her legs and next to her is the 10 year old Princess Hedvig Sofia, oldest daughter of Karl XI and Ulrika Eleonora the Elder. The Princess is carrying a little dog in her arms, while two other dogs are playing on the oriental carpet in the corner.
There were many family ties between Sweden and the little duchy of Holstein. Karl X had in 1654 married the Princess Hedvig Eleonora of Holstein-Gottorp. Ulrika Eleonora the Elder and Fredrika Amalia of Holstein-Gottorp were sisters and the family reunion of 1691 must have much been longed for, especially since Ulrika Eleonora the Elder never had returned to her native country of Denmark after marrying Karl XI in 1680. The young people in the painting were consequently cousins. Princess Hedvig Sofia and Duke Fredrik IV of Holstein-Gottorp were married in 1698.