Frederick VIII of Denmark

Last updated
Frederick VIII
Frederik IIX - Otto Bache.jpg
Painting by Otto Bache, 1910
King of Denmark
Reign29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912
Predecessor Christian IX
Successor Christian X
Prime Ministers
BornPrince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
(1843-06-03)3 June 1843
Yellow Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Died14 May 1912(1912-05-14) (aged 68)
Hamburg, German Empire
Burial
Spouse
Louise of Sweden (m. 1869)
Issue
Detail
Full name
Christian Frederik Vilhelm Carl
House Glücksburg
Father Christian IX of Denmark
Mother Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Religion Lutheran

Frederick VIII (Christian Frederik Vilhelm Carl) (3 June 1843 – 14 May 1912) was King of Denmark from 1906 to 1912. Before his accession to the throne at age 62, he served as crown prince for over 42 years. During the long reign of his father, King Christian IX, he was largely excluded from influence and political power. [1]

Contents

Early life

Frederick's birthplace, the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen Det Gule Palae Copenhagen.jpg
Frederick's birthplace, the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen
Crown Prince Frederick in military uniform ca. 1863-1868 Frederic8-(1863-1868).jpeg
Crown Prince Frederick in military uniform ca. 1863-1868
Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Louise of Sweden Fredrik og Lovisa.jpg
Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Louise of Sweden

Frederick was born on 3 June 1843 in the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen as Prince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior male line of the House of Oldenburg, which was descended from Christian III of Denmark and which had ruled as non-sovereign dukes in Schleswig-Holstein for eight generations, including Frederick's grandfather. Frederick's parents were Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Louise of Hesse-Kassel. [2] [3]

In 1853, his father was chosen as the heir presumptive to the Danish throne, because Frederick's mother, Louise of Hesse-Kassel, was a close relative of the last Danish king of the Oldenburg main line (the other heirs of the House of Hesse renounced their claims to the Danish throne in favour of Louise and her husband). Accordingly, Frederick became a Prince of Denmark in 1853. [4]

After his confirmation in 1860, Frederick was given a military education. In 1863, Prince Frederick was sent to do studies at the University of Oxford but when his father ascended the throne in November that year, he became Crown Prince and returned to Denmark. As Crown Prince of Denmark, he was given a seat in the State Council and subsequently assisted his father in the duties of government. In 1864, he formally took part in the Second Schleswig War against Prussia.

Marriage

Louise of Hesse wanted her eldest son to marry as well as had her two daughters; Alexandra and Dagmar. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom had two yet unmarried daughters, Princess Helena and Princess Louise, and Louise tried to marry Frederick to one of them. However, the British Queen didn't want her daughters to marry the heirs to foreign crowns, as this would force them to live abroad. She preferred German princes who could establish homes in the UK. In addition, Victoria had always been pro-German and another Danish alliance (Frederick's sister, Alexandra, had married Victoria's eldest son, Edward, Prince of Wales), would not have been in line with her German interests. [5] [6] [7]

In July 1868, Frederick became engaged to Princess Louise of Sweden, the 17-year-old only daughter of King Charles XV of Sweden and IV of Norway. Princess Louise belonged to the Bernadotte dynasty, which had ruled in Sweden since 1818, when the founder, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon Bonaparte's generals, was elected crown prince of Sweden in 1810 and later succeeded the throne as Charles XIV of Sweden in 1818. He married Désirée Clary, who had once been engaged to the French Emperor. Charles XIV's son, Oscar I of Sweden, married Josephine of Leuchtenberg, granddaughter of Napoleon's first wife, the Empress Josephine. King Oscar I and Queen Josephine were Princess Louise's paternal grandparents. [8]

The marriage was suggested as a way of creating friendship between Denmark and Sweden. The two countries were in a tense situation after Sweden had not assisted Denmark during the war with Prussia in 1864. Frederick and Louise had met for the first time in 1862, but in 1868 Frederick was invited to Sweden to get to know Louise, and their meeting was described as a success. They became engaged the same year. She was the first Swedish princess to be married into the Danish royal house since the Middle Ages, and the marriage was welcomed in all three Scandinavian countries as a symbol of the new Scandinavism.

Crown Prince Frederick and Louise of Sweden married at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 28 July 1869. The couple resided at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, spending the summers at Charlottenlund Palace north of the city. They had four sons and four daughters. The eldest sons, Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway became kings of Denmark and Norway respectively. [9] [10] [11]

Reign

The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII, photographed on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, King George I of the Hellenes and King Albert I of the Belgians. Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark. The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII.jpg
The Nine Sovereigns at Windsor for the funeral of King Edward VII, photographed on 20 May 1910. Standing, from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, Tsar Ferdinand of the Bulgarians, King Manuel II of Portugal and the Algarve, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and Prussia, King George I of the Hellenes and King Albert I of the Belgians. Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King George V of the United Kingdom and King Frederick VIII of Denmark.
Frederick VIII in 1909 Frederik VIII of Denmark 1909.jpg
Frederick VIII in 1909

Frederick became king of Denmark as Frederick VIII upon Christian IX's death on 29 January 1906. He was 62 years old at the time and had been Crown Prince for 43 years. In many ways Frederick VIII was a liberal ruler who was much more favorable to the new parliamentarian system than his father had been. He was reform-minded and democratically inclined. However, because of his very late accession to the throne he had only six years as king and he was weakened by ill health.

Death

On his return journey from a trip to Nice, King Frederick made a short stop in Hamburg, staying at the Hotel Hamburger Hof. The evening of his arrival on 14 May 1912, Frederick (incognito) took a walk on the Jungfernstieg. While walking he became faint and collapsed on a park bench and died. He was discovered by a police officer who took him to a Hafen hospital where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death was announced as a paralysis-attack. He was interred with other members of the Danish royal family in Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen.

Legacy

The royal families of Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from King Frederick VIII. Denmark through his eldest son Christian X of Denmark, Norway's family goes through the line of his son, Haakon VII of Norway, and the families of Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from his daughter, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark. [12]

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
Frederick VIII of Denmark
Royal Monogram of King Frederik VIII of Denmark.svg
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty

Titles and styles

His full style was Frederick VIII, By the Grace of God, King of Denmark, of the Wends and of the Goths; Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, the Ditmarsh, Lauenburg and Oldenburg

Honours

King Frederick VIII Land in Greenland is named after him.

National honours [13]

Foreign honours [14]

Honorary military appointments

Ancestry

Issue

NameBirthDeathSpouseChildren
Christian X of Denmark 26 September 187020 April 1947 Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Frederik IX of Denmark
Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
Haakon VII of Norway 3 August 187221 September 1957 Princess Maud of Wales Olav V of Norway
Princess Louise of Denmark 17 February 18754 April 1906 Prince Frederick of Schaumburg-Lippe Marie Louise, Princess Friedrich Sigismund of Prussia
Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe
Stephanie, Princess Viktor Adolf of Bentheim and Steinfurt
Prince Harald of Denmark 8 October 187630 March 1949 Princess Helena Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg Feodora, Princess Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe
Caroline-Mathilde, Hereditary Princess of Denmark
Alexandrine-Louise, Countess Luitpold of Castell-Castell
Prince Gorm of Denmark
Count Oluf of Rosenborg
Princess Ingeborg of Denmark 2 August 187812 March 1958 Prince Carl, Duke of Västergötland Margaretha, Princess Axel of Denmark
Märtha, Crown Princess of Norway
Astrid, Queen of the Belgians
Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland
Princess Thyra of Denmark 4 March 18802 November 1945unmarriednone
Prince Gustav of Denmark 4 March 18875 October 1944unmarriednone
Princess Dagmar of Denmark 23 May 189011 October 1961Jørgen CastenskioldCarl Castenskiold
Christian Castenskiold
Jørgen Castenskiold
Dagmar Castenskiold
Christian Frederik Castenskjold

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Other sources

Frederik VIII
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 3 June 1843 Died: 14 May 1912
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Christian IX
King of Denmark
1906–1912
Succeeded by
Christian X