Frederick VIII of Denmark

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Frederick VIII
Frederik IIX - Otto Bache.jpg
Painting by Otto Bache, 1910
King of Denmark
Reign29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912
PredecessorChristian IX
SuccessorChristian 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
(m. 1869)
Full name
Christian Frederik Vilhelm Carl
FatherChristian IX of Denmark
MotherLouise of Hesse-Kassel

Frederick VIII (Danish: 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]

Early life[edit]

Frederick's birthplace, the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen
Crown Prince Frederick in military uniform ca. 1863-1868
Crown Prince Frederick and Princess Louise of Sweden

Frederick was born on 3 June 1843 in the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen, as the eldest son and child of Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel-Rumpenheim.[2][3] His father's family was a cadet branch of the Danish royal House of Oldenburg, which was descended from Christian III and which had ruled as non-sovereign dukes in Schleswig-Holstein for eight generations. He had five younger siblings: Alexandra (1844-1925), William (1845-1913), Dagmar (1847-1928), Thyra (1853-1933) and Valdemar (1858-1939).

In 1853, it was clear that the main line of the Oldenburg dynasty would become extinct with King Frederick VII, who was elderly and childless. Frederick's mother was very close to the succession, as she was a niece of the previous Oldenburg king, Christian VIII, through his sister. With the other heirs from the House of Hesse-Kassel having renounced their claims to the Danish throne in favour of Louise, who in turn relinquished her own claim, his father was eventually chosen as the heir presumptive. Accordingly, Frederick was created a Prince of Denmark.[4]

After his confirmation in 1860, Prince Frederick was given an extensive military education, pursuing a career in the Royal Danish Navy alongside his brother William. In 1863, Frederick was sent to study political science at the University of Oxford, but returned to Denmark upon his father becoming king in November that year. As heir apparent to the throne, 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 and Austria.

The crown prince was a member of the Danish Order of Freemasons, serving as its Grand Master from 1871 until his death.[5]


Queen Louise 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 planned to have Frederick marry one of them. However, Victoria did not want her daughters to marry heirs to foreign thrones, as this would force them to live abroad, instead preferring German princes who could establish homes in England. 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.[6][7][8]

In July 1868, Crown Prince Frederick—then 25 years old—became engaged to Princess Louise, the 17-year-old only daughter of King Charles XV of Sweden. 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 King Charles XIV John in 1818. He married Désirée Clary, who had once been engaged to the French Emperor. Charles XIV's son, Oscar I, had married Josephine of Leuchtenberg, the granddaughter of Napoleon's first wife, the Empress Josephine. King Oscar I and Queen Josephine were Princess Louise's paternal grandparents.[9]

The marriage was suggested as a way of creating friendship between Denmark and Sweden. Relations between the two countries had been tense 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. A year later they were married in the chapel at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 28 July 1869. Louise 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.

Frederick and Louise resided at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, spending the summers at Charlottenlund Palace north of the city. They had four sons and four daughters; their eldest sons, Christian and Carl, would become kings of Denmark and Norway respectively.[10][11][12]


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 Algarves, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, 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

Frederick became king of Denmark upon his father's death on 29 January 1906. In many ways, Frederick VIII was a liberal monarch who was much more favorable to the new parliamentarian system than his father had been, being reform-minded and democratically inclined.

Due to his late accession to the throne, Frederick's reign would last only six years, throughout which he was plagued by ill health.


On 14 May 1912, while on his return journey from a trip to Nice with his wife and four of his children, the king made a short stop in Hamburg, staying at the Hotel Hamburger Hof under the pseudonym "Count Kronsberg". That evening, Frederick—while incognito—went out for a stroll on the Jungfernstieg, during which he became faint and collapsed on a park bench at Gänsemarkt. He was discovered by a police officer who took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead; his cause of death was announced as a heart attack. As Frederick was incognito at the time and had no papers on him, his body was brought to the local morgue, where he was identified by the hotel manager the next morning.

False rumors soon began to circulate about a possible scandal involving the king, as the place where he collapsed and died at was near a well-known brothel. The local police did not disclose details about the investigation, for fear of causing distress to the royal family.[13]

Frederick's body was transported via a special train to Travemünde, after which he was brought back to Denmark by the royal yacht Dannebrog. He was interred with other members of the Danish royal family in Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen.


The reigning families of Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from King Frederick VIII; Denmark's through his eldest son Christian X, and Norway's through his second son, Haakon VII. The royal family of Belgium and grand ducal family of Luxembourg are both descended from his daughter, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark.[14]

Titles, styles and honours[edit]

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

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 3 June 1843 – 31 July 1853: His Highness Prince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  • 31 July 1853 – 21 December 1858: His Highness Prince Frederick of Denmark
  • 21 December 1858 – 15 November 1863: His Royal Highness Prince Frederick of Denmark
  • 15 November 1863 – 29 January 1906: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Denmark
  • 29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912: His Majesty The King of Denmark

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


The Kronprins Frederiks Bro in Frederikssund and King Frederick VIII Land in Greenland are named after him.

National orders and decorations[15]

Foreign orders and decorations[16]

Honorary military appointments


Name Birth Death Spouse Children
Christian X of Denmark 26 September 1870 20 April 1947 Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Frederik IX of Denmark
Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
Haakon VII of Norway 3 August 1872 21 September 1957 Princess Maud of Wales Olav V of Norway
Princess Louise of Denmark 17 February 1875 4 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 1876 30 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 1878 12 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 1880 2 November 1945 unmarried none
Prince Gustav of Denmark 4 March 1887 5 October 1944 unmarried none
Princess Dagmar of Denmark 23 May 1890 11 October 1961 Jørgen Castenskiold Carl Castenskiold
Christian Castenskiold
Jørgen Castenskiold
Dagmar Castenskiold
Christian Frederik Castenskjold



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  2. ^ "The Yellow Palace and the Glücksborg Dynasty". Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  3. ^ "Louise Vilhelmine Frederikke Caroline Augusta Julie". Dansk Kvindebiografisk Leksikon. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Christian IX". Amalienborg. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  5. ^ Kjeldsen, Jørgen, ed. (1993). I Guld og Himmelblåt – Frimureriet i Danmark gennem 250 år, 1743-1993 (in Danish) (2 ed.). Copenhagen, Denmark: Den Danske Frimurerorden / Nyt Nordisk Forlag. pp. 161–174. ISBN 87-17-06379-5.
  6. ^ "Maria Feodorovna, Empress Consort of Russia". Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  7. ^ "Biography of Queen Alexandra". Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  8. ^ "Alexandra". Amalienborg. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  9. ^ "Lovisa - Lovisa Josephina Eugenia". Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  10. ^ "Louise, 1724 - 51 Frederik V's Dronning". Dansk biografisk Lexikon. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  11. ^ "Christian 10". Amalienborg. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Haakon 7". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  13. ^ Bernhard Röhl (10 March 2003). "Der Tod kam mit dem Sex". Die Tageszeitung (in German). p. 22.
  14. ^ "Ingeborg C C F L". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon. Retrieved 1 November 2019.
  15. ^ Bille-Hansen, A. C.; Holck, Harald, eds. (1906) [1st pub.:1801]. Statshaandbog for Kongeriget Danmark for Aaret 1906 [State Manual of the Kingdom of Denmark for the Year 1906] (PDF). Kongelig Dansk Hof- og Statskalender (in Danish). Copenhagen: J.H. Schultz A.-S. Universitetsbogtrykkeri. pp. 3, 6. Retrieved 30 April 2020 – via da:DIS Danmark.
  16. ^ Bille-Hansen, A. C.; Holck, Harald, eds. (1912) [1st pub.:1801]. Statshaandbog for Kongeriget Danmark for Aaret 1912 [State Manual of the Kingdom of Denmark for the Year 1912] (PDF). Kongelig Dansk Hof- og Statskalender (in Danish). Copenhagen: J.H. Schultz A.-S. Universitetsbogtrykkeri. p. 2. Retrieved 30 April 2020 – via da:DIS Danmark.
  17. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Herzogtum Anhalt (1867) "Herzoglicher Haus-orden Albrecht des Bären" p. 18
  18. ^ "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Baden (1896), "Großherzogliche Orden" pp. 62, 76
  20. ^ Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Hessen (1879), "Großherzogliche Orden und Ehrenzeichen" p. 12
  21. ^ Italia : Ministero dell'interno (1898). Calendario generale del Regno d'Italia. Unione tipografico-editrice. p. 54.
  22. ^ 刑部芳則 (2017). 明治時代の勲章外交儀礼 (PDF) (in Japanese). 明治聖徳記念学会紀要. p. 144.
  23. ^ Daniel Corston. "Unofficial website dedicated to the Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz".
  24. ^ Staatshandbuch für das Großherzogtum Sachsen / Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1900), "Großherzogliche Hausorden" p. 16
  25. ^ Royal Thai Government Gazette (19 March 1898). "พระราชทานเครื่องราชอิสริยาภรณ์ ที่ประเทศยุโรป" (PDF) (in Thai). Retrieved 2019-05-08. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  26. ^ "Caballeros de la insigne orden del toisón de oro". Guía Oficial de España (in Spanish). 1900. p. 167. Retrieved 21 March 2019.
  27. ^ Norges Statskalender (in Swedish), 1890, pp. 593–594, retrieved 2018-01-06 – via
  28. ^ Sveriges Statskalender (in Swedish), 1905, p. 440, retrieved 2018-01-06 – via
  29. ^ Anton Anjou (1900). "Utländske Riddare". Riddare af Konung Carl XIII:s orden: 1811–1900: biografiska anteckningar (in Swedish). p. 178.
  30. ^ Shaw, Wm. A. (1906) The Knights of England, I, London, p. 212
  31. ^ Shaw, p. 70
  32. ^ Shaw, p. 424
  33. ^ Shaw, p. 415
  34. ^ "The Buffs (East Kent Regiment)" (PDF). Kent Fallen. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  35. ^ Justus Perthes, Almanach de Gotha (1912) p. 33
  36. ^ Svensk rikskalender (in Swedish), 1909, p. 155, retrieved 2018-01-06 – via

Other sources[edit]

  • Birgitte Louise Peiter Rosenhegn (2018) Frederik VIII and Queen Lovisa: The Overlooked Royal Couple (Historika) ISBN 978-8793229839

External links[edit]

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
Succeeded by
Christian X