Bohemian Revolt, Elector of Brandenburg, Johann Georg I of Saxony, King Christian IV of Denmark, Kingdom of Norway, Magdalene Sibylle of Saxony, Prince Christian of Denmark, The Thirty Years War
Christian (April 10, 1603 – June 2, 1647) was Prince-Elect of Denmark since 1610 and Heir Apparent to the Throne of the Kingdom of Norway since 1603. Dying in 1647, he Never became king and was succeeded by his younger brother, Prince Frederik.
Prince Christian was born at Copenhagen Castle to King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway (1577–1648) and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg (1575–1612), daughter of Joachim Friedrich, Margrave of Brandenburg and his first wife Catherine of Brandenburg-Küstrin. Christian was their second son and the oldest one living, as his elder brother Frederik had died in 1599, less than a year old. As such, his father saw him as the preferable heir to the Danish throne.
Prince Christian, Prince-Elect of Denmark
At this point in time Denmark was an elective monarchy, where elective power was held by the Council of the Realm. However, the King would usually choose an heir and have him hailed as such, thus limiting the Council’s freedom of choice. Whilst Norway was formally a hereditary monarchy, making Christian Crown Prince since his birth, it remains likely that the next King of Norway would not have been another person than the next King of Denmark.
In 1608, the Council and representatives of the Estates supported the King in naming Christian as heir apparent. He was publicly hailed in 1610, both in Denmark and Norway.
Career and marriage
In 1625, Denmark ventured into the Thirty Years’ War. The Danish Intervention saw the war entering its second main phase, after the end of the Bohemian Revolt. With King Christian IV commanding on the battlefield, Prince Christian was installed as acting head of government. Christian held this post to 1627, but not without entering the battlefield in the meantime. He was even hit by two gunshots in November 1626. In 1627 he was sent to Holstein near the frontier, where he took seat in Segeberg.
He later retreated when enemy troops overran South Denmark and Jutland, as the Danish Intervention failed. During this process he even broke a leg after a fall from a wagon. In 1626, his relationship with the noble Anne Lykke caused a conflict with his father and the Council of the Realm when his father arrested Lykke because of her influence on him and tried to have her charged with sorcery.
In 1633, Christian was engaged to Magdalene Sibylle of Saxony daughter of Elector Johann Georg I of Saxony and Magdalene Sibylle of Prussia. The marriage had been discussed as early as 1630. The wedding took place on October 5, 1634 in Copenhagen among great festivities.
Princess Magdalene Sibylle of Saxony
The marriage was childless, and they resided at Nykøbing Castle in Falster. Christian was not much involved on the political scene in this phase of his life, partly to his own dismay, but he did act as head of government in 1644, when the King was absent due to the Torstenson War. In the autumn of 1644, Prince Christian had a stay in the fortified Malmø, but Swedish forces threatened the city, and Christian retreated, first to Copenhagen due to illness, then to Falster.
Later life and legacy
Christian gained a reputation as lazy and as a drinker. He was heavily indebted; despite his father’s attempts to pay some of Christian’s debts, he still owed more than 215,000 rigsdaler in 1647. Among others, he took a loan from the Duke of Gottorp in 1646 in order to finance a stay in a Bohemian spa. He left Nykøbing for Bohemia on May 8, 1647. He reached Dresden on May 28, and continued on until June 1. Not long after leaving he was struck by a fit of illness. He was brought to a castle in Gorbitz near Dresden, where he died on the next day. He was buried on November 8, 1647 in the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen. In 1655, his remains were moved to the tombs at Roskilde Cathedral.