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From the Emperor’s Desk: The post examines Christian August II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg a grandson of Princess Caroline Matilda of Great Britain and his claim to the Danish throne that was tainted by his alleged descent from Caroline Matilda and Johann Friedrich Struensee.

Christian August II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (July 19, 1798 – March 11, 1869, Christian Charles Frederik August), commonly known as Christian, Duke of Augustenborg, was a German prince and statesman.

During the 1850s and 1860s, he was a claimant to be Duke of the whole provinces of Schleswig and Holstein, and a candidate to become king of Denmark following the death of King Frederik VII.

He was the father-in-law of Princess Helena of the United Kingdom (daughter of Queen Victoria) and the paternal grandfather of Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, German Empress, Queen of Prussia and wife of German Emperor Wilhelm II.

Family and lineage

He was closely related to Kings Christian VII, Frederik VI and Christian VIII of Denmark through his mother and was a claimant for the Danish throne in the 1860s.

Born a prince of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and scion of a cadet-line descendant of the Danish royal House of Oldenburg, Christian August was the fiefholder of Augustenborg and Sønderborg.

He was also a claimant to the rulership of the provinces of Schleswig and Holstein, and he was also a candidate to become king of Denmark during the succession crisis caused by the childlessness of King Frederik VII of Denmark. He lost the chance to ascend the throne to his distant kinsman, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, the future King Christian IX of Denmark.

Christian August was the eldest son and heir of Frederik Christian II, Duke of Augustenborg and his wife Princess Louise Auguste of Denmark.

His father was the head of the senior cadet branch of the ruling house of Denmark, and thus the nearest agnatic kin of the kings of Denmark. Furthermore, his mother Louisa Auguste was (officially) the daughter of King Christian VII of Denmark and his wife Princess Caroline Matilda of Great Britain. Louisa Auguste was the sister of King Frederik VI and the first cousin of King Christian VIII.

Due to all this, Christian August was high in the line of succession to the Danish throne. He also enjoyed additional influence in the Danish court because his sister, Caroline Amalie, was the beloved second wife of King Christian VIII of Denm (his mother’s cousin).

Christian August’s family lost out in the competition for the throne of Denmark mainly because of the widely accepted belief that his mother, Louisa Augusteof Denmar, was actually fathered by Johann Friedrich Struensee, Christian VII’s royal physician, who had an affair with Christian VII’s wife Caroline Matilda of Great Britain.

If true, this would mean Christian August was not a true legitimate descendant of King Frederik III of Denmark and Norway, the first hereditary monarch of Denmark. His claim was further weakened by having married for love to Countess Louise Sophie Danneskiold-Samsøe, a woman of unequal rank.

Countess Louise Sophie of Danneskiold-Samsøe was born on September 22, 1796 in Gisselfeld, Denmark to Christian Conrad, Count af Danneskiold-Samsøe (1774–1823) and his wife Johanne Henriette Valentine Kaas (1776–1843), daughter of the Danish Admiral Frederik Christian Kaas and a descendant of the war hero Jørgen Kaas.

The House of Danneskiold-Samsøe is a non-dynastic branch of the House of Oldenburg, descended from Christian Gyldenløve, Count of Samsø, an illegitimate son of Christian V of Denmark by his mistress Sophie Amalie Moth.