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King Frederik VII (October 6, 1808 – November 15, 1863) was King of Denmark from 1848 to 1863. He was the last Danish monarch of the older Royal branch of the House of Oldenburg and the last king of Denmark to rule as an absolute monarch. During his reign, he signed a constitution that established a Danish parliament and made the country a constitutional monarchy.


King Frederik VII’s first two marriages both ended in scandal and divorce. He was first married in Copenhagen on November 1, 1828 to his second cousin Princess Wilhelmine Marie of Denmark, a daughter of King Frederik VI of Denmark by his wife and first cousin Princess Marie Sophie of Hesse-Cassel. Her father Frederik VI was the only son of King Christian VII of Denmark.

They separated in 1834 and divorced in 1837. On June 10, 1841 he married for a second time to Duchess Caroline Charlotte Mariane of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, the daughter of Georg, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and his consort Princess Marie of Hesse-Cassel.

King Frederik VII of Denmark

Very early on, the marriage proved to be a very unhappy one, due in large part to The Crown Prince (as Frederik VI was then) displayed a very bad temperament, excessive drinking and shameless womanizing. Princess Caroline Mariane, who was described as incurably shy and nervous, lacked the ability to serve as a calming influence over her consort. After a visit to her parents in Germany in 1844, Caroline Mariane refused to return to Denmark. The divorce was completed in 1846.

On August 7, 1850 in Frederiksborg Palace, he morganatically married Louise Christina Rasmussen, whom he created Landgravine Danner in 1850 a milliner and former ballet dancer who had for many years been his acquaintance or mistress, the natural daughter of Gotthilf L. Køppen and of Juliane Caroline Rasmussen. This marriage seems to have been happy, although it aroused great moral indignation among the nobility and the bourgeoisie.

After three marriages without any issue it created a succession crisis as there was no clear heir to succeed King Frederik VII.

Also at stake was the future of the duchies of Schleswig (a Danish fief) and of Holstein and Lauenburg (German fiefs) which were joined by personal union with the Kingdom of Denmark. However, since Frederik VII of Denmark was childless, a change in dynasty was imminent and the lines of succession for the duchies and Denmark diverged.

London Protocol.

On May 8, 1852, after the First War of Schleswig, an agreement called the London Protocol was signed. This international treaty was the revision of an earlier protocol, which had been ratified on August 2, 1850, by the major German powers of Austria and Prussia.

The second London Protocol was recognised by the five major European powers—Austria, France, Prussia, Russia, and the United Kingdom—as well as by the Baltic Sea powers of Denmark and Sweden. The aim of this Protocol was to determine the future of the Schleswig-Holstein duchies and find a suitable heir to the Danish throne.

The Protocol affirmed the integrity of the Danish federation as a “European necessity and standing principle”.

That meant that, contrary to the Protocol, the new king of Denmark would not also be the new Duke of Holstein and Lauenburg. So for this purpose, the line of succession to the duchies was modified. Further, it was affirmed that the duchies were to remain as independent entities, and that Schleswig would have no greater constitutional affinity to Denmark than Holstein did.

In 1851, Russian Emperor Nicholas I had recommended that Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (born 1818) should be advanced in the Danish succession.

Prince Christian was a younger son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Glücksburg.

Christian grew up in the Duchy of Schleswig as a Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior branch of the House of Oldenburg which had ruled Denmark since 1448. Following the early death of the father in 1831, Christian grew up in Denmark and was educated at the Military Academy of Copenhagen. After unsuccessfully seeking the hand of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom in marriage, he married his double second cousin, Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel, in 1842.

Prince Christian of Glücksburg had also been a foster grandson of the royal couple King Frederik VI and Queen Marie Sophie, and thus was well known at the royal court. Prince Christian was a nephew of Queen Marie Sophie and descended from a first cousin of Frederik VI. He was brought up as a Dane, having lived in Danish-speaking lands of the royal dynasty and never bore arms for German interests against Denmark, as had other princes of the House of Glücksburg and the House of Augustenburg.

King Christian IX of Denmark

A further justification for this choice was Christian’s marriage in 1842 to Louise of Hesse-Cassel, who was a daughter of the closest female relative of Frederik VII. Louise’s mother and elder siblings renounced their rights to the Danish throne in favor of Louise and her husband.

Being of the House of Glücksburg made him a relatively attractive royal candidate from the Danish viewpoint since, as a descendant of Frederik III, he was eligible to succeed in Denmark, although not first-in-line. He was also, but separately, eligible to inherit the dual duchies, but was not first-in-line

This proposal to have Prince Christian was confirmed by the London Protocol on 8 May 1852, when Prince Christian was chosen to follow Frederik VII’s aging uncle Ferdinand in the line of succession.

The decision of the London Protocol was implemented by the Danish Law of Succession of July 15, 1853 entitled Royal Ordinance settling the Succession to the Crown on Prince Christian of Glücksburg. This designated him as second-in-line to the Danish throne, following the elderly Prince Ferdinand. Consequently, Prince Christian and his family were granted the titles of Prince and Princess of Denmark and the style of Highness.

Frederick VII died in Glücksburg on November 15, 1863 following an attack of erysipelas and was interred in Roskilde Cathedral. Prince Christian took the throne as King Christian IX.

In November 1863, Friedrich of Augustenborg claimed the twin-duchies in succession to Frederik VII of Denmark, who also was the last king of Denmark who, by primogeniture, was also sovereign Duke of Schleswig and Holstein, but whose death extinguished the patriline of Denmark’s hereditary Oldenburg kings. The resulting divergence of hereditary claims to the duchies eventually developed into the Second War of Schleswig.

Christian IX’s six children with Louise married into other European royal families, earning him the sobriquet “the father-in-law of Europe”. Among his descendants are Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, King Philippe of Belgium, King Harald V of Norway, Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg, King Charles III of the United Kingdom, former King Constantine II of Greece, and King Felipe VI of Spain.