Christian V (April 15, 1646 – August 26 1699) was King of Denmark and Norway from 1670 until his death in 1699.
King Christian V of Denmark and Norway was born the eldest son of King Frederik III of Denmark and Norway and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, the daughter of Georg, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt.
Christian V, King of Denmark and Norway
King Frederik III instituted absolute monarchy in Denmark-Norway in 1660, confirmed by law in 1665 as the first in Western historiography. He also ordered the creation of the Throne Chair of Denmark.
Christian was elected successor to his father in June 1650. This was not a free choice, but de facto automatic hereditary succession. Escorted by his chamberlain Christoffer Parsberg, Christian went on a long trip abroad, to Holland, England, France, and home through Germany. On this trip, he saw absolutism in its most splendid achievement at the young Louis XIV’s court, and heard about the theory of the divine right of kings. He returned to Denmark in August 1663. From 1664 he was allowed to attend proceedings of the State College. Hereditary succession was made official by Royal Law in 1665. Christian was hailed as heir in Copenhagen in August 1665.
Well-regarded by the common people, he was the first king anointed at Frederiksborg Castle chapel as absolute monarch since the decree that institutionalized the supremacy of the king in Denmark-Norway, he fortified the absolutist system against the aristocracy by accelerating his father’s practice of allowing Holstein nobles but also Danish and Norwegian commoners into state service.
He became King Christian V of Denmark and Norway upon his father’s death on February 9, 1670, and was formally crowned in 1671. He was the first hereditary king of Denmark-Norway, and in honor of this, Denmark-Norway acquired costly new crown jewels and a magnificent new ceremonial sword.
Crown of Christian V of Denmark and Norway
It is generally argued that Christian V’s personal courage and affability made him popular among the common people. Part of Christian’s appeal to the common people may be explained by the fact that he allowed Danish and Norwegian commoners into state service, but his attempts to curtail the influence of the nobility also meant continuing his father’s drive toward absolutism.
King Christian V was marred by his unsuccessful attempt to regain Scania for Denmark in the Scanian War. Christian V initiated the Scanian War (1675-1679) against Sweden in an attempt to reconquer Scania which Denmark the lost under the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658. The failed war exhausted Denmark’s economic resources without securing any gains.
After the Scanian War, his sister, Princess Ulrike Eleonora of Denmark, married Swedish King Carl XI, whose mother was a stout supporter of the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. In spite of the family ties, war between the brothers-in-law was close again in 1689, when Carl XI of Sweden nearly provoked confrontation with Denmark-Norway by his support of the exiled Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp in his claims to the Duchy of Holstein-Gottorp in Schleswig-Holstein.
Like Carl XI of Sweden, who had never been outside Sweden, Christian V spoke only German and Danish and was therefore often considered poorly educated due to his inability to communicate with visiting foreign diplomats.
King Christian’s future spouse, Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Cassel, was born in Cassel, Hesse, in the Holy Roman Empire. Her parents were Landgrave Wilhelm VI of Hesse-Cassel and his consort Hedwig Sophia of Brandenburg.
Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Cassel
On June 15, 1667 in Nykøbing Slot, Charlotte Amalie married Crown Prince Christian of Denmark and Norway. The marriage was arranged by Christian’s mother, Queen Sophie Amalie of Denmark and Norway, who desired a daughter-in-law that she could control and expected this to be the case for a princess of Hesse elevated to the status of queen, and a member of the reformed church, who would be religiously isolated in Lutheran Denmark.
Christian was sent to meet her in Hesse already in 1665, but the negotiations were drawn out because of religious concerns. Charlotte Amalie was raised in the Reformed faith, Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice set down by John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians.
In the marriage contract, she was not required to convert and she secured the right to keep her faith after her wedding to Christian, who as ruler of Denmark would become the head of the state Lutheran Church, a term which was contested and met some resistance before it was accepted. Charlotte Amalie did keep her faith after wedding.
King Christian V did not wish his wife to play a political role in government similar to his domineering mothers role during his father’s reign, and further more Christian disliked his mothers Pro-Brandenburg sympathies, and therefore took care to remove Charlotte Amalie from exerting any influence in state affairs.
The relationship between Charlotte Amalie and Christian V are described as a mutually respectful friendship, and while not a love affair, they enjoyed each others company and seemingly coexisted harmoniously. Christian V had eight children by his wife and six by his Maîtresse-en-titre, Sophie Amalie Moth (1654–1719), whom he took up with when she was sixteen in 1672, the year in which Christian publicly introduced Sophie at court.
Sophie was the daughter of his former tutor Poul Moth. After the fall of Minister Peder Griffenfeld Christian made Sophie Amalie Moth the official mistress in Denmark, a move which insulted his wife, and made her countess of Samsø on December 31, 1677. This public adultery caused an embarrassing situation for Queen Charlotte Amalie. Nevertheless, “no mistress could deprive her of her position as queen, and she understood to defend it”.
Sophie Amalie Moth
As mention Christian V and his mistress Sophie Amalie Moth Together they had five acknowledged illegitimate children, all of whom bore the surname Gyldenløve. The still-existing Danish noble family of Danneskiold-Samsøe is descended from her. Their son, Christian Gyldenløve (1674-1703) became the Danish Count Danneskiold-Samsøe and all members of the Danneskiold-Samsøe noble family descend from his second marriage to Dorothea Krag. One descendent of the Danneskiold-Samsøe family was Princess Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, German Empress, consort of German Emperor Wilhelm II.
During his reign, science witnessed a golden age due to the work of the astronomer Ole Rømer in spite of the king’s personal lack of scientific knowledge and interest. King Christian V died from the after-effects of a hunting accident at aged 53 and was interred in Roskilde Cathedral. Christian V’s eldest son succeeded him as King Frederik IV of Denmark and Norway.