Danish Royal Burial Sites: House of Oldenburg, 1448 – 1863

by Susan Flantzer

The House of Oldenburg reigned in Denmark from 1448 – 1863 and originated in northern Germany in the city of Oldenburg now in Lower Saxony, Germany. Oldenburg was the capital of the County of Oldenburg which later became a Duchy, Grand Duchy, and Republic. In 1448, Count Christian I of Oldenburg was elected King of Denmark. The Danish kings continued as Counts of Oldenburg until 1773 when Danish rule ended and Oldenburg became a duchy. The Danish kings were also Kings of Sweden from 1397-1523 and Kings of Norway from 1397-1814.

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Roskilde Cathedral; Photo Credit – Susan Flantzer

Roskilde Cathedral has been the main site for Danish royal burials since the 15th century and most kings from the House of Oldenburg are buried there. King Harald Bluetooth named Roskilde the capital of Denmark in 960 and a small wooden church dedicated to the Holy Trinity was built on the location of the current cathedral. The first stone cathedral, in the Romanesque style, was completed in 1080 and a monastery was completed soon afterward. In 1200, an expansion of the cathedral was begun. The new cathedral was in the Gothic style and was twice as high as the old one. Work on the interior of the cathedral started in 1439, but a fire in 1443 burned the cathedral and it had to be reconstructed. During the Reformation, in 1538, the cathedral ceased being a place of Catholic worship and became a house of Protestant worship. Today the Danish Royal Family are members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark sometimes called The Church of Denmark, the established, state-supported church in Denmark.

House of Oldenburg

  • Christian I, son of Count Dietrich of Oldenburg, reigned 1448 – 1481
  • Hans, son of Christian I, reigned 1481 – 1513
  • Christian II, son of Hans, reigned 1513 – 1523
  • Frederik I, son of Christian I, reigned 1523 – 1533
  • Christian III, son of Frederik I, reigned 1534 – 1559
  • Frederik II, son of Christian III, reigned 1559 – 1588
  • Christian IV, son of Frederik II, reigned 1588 – 1648
  • Frederik III, son of Christian IV, reigned 1648 – 1670
  • Christian V, son of Frederik III, reigned 1670 – 1699
  • Frederik IV, son of Christian V, reigned 1699 – 1730
  • Christian VI, son of Frederik IV, reigned 1730 – 1746
  • Frederik V, son of Christian VI, reigned 1746 – 1766
  • Christian VII, son of Frederik V, reigned 1766 – 1808
  • Frederik VI, son of Christian VII, reigned 1808 – 1839
  • Christian VIII, grandson of Frederik V, reigned 1839 – 1848
  • Frederik VII, son of Christian VIII, reigned 1848 – 1863

All photos of Roskilde Cathedral and the burial places in Roskilde Cathedral were taken by Susan Flantzer in August 2011 unless otherwise noted.  Please do not copy any photos that I have taken.  If you wish to use a photo please contact me.  Portraits and photos of monarchs and consorts are from Wikipedia.

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Christian I, King of Denmark (1448–1481), Norway (1450–1481) and Sweden (1457–1464)

King Christian I was born in February of 1426 in Oldenburg, now in Germany. His parents were Count Dietrich of Oldenburg and Hedwig of Schleswig and Holstein. Christian succeeded his father as Count of Oldenburg in 1440. When King Christopher of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway died childless in January of 1448, Christian was elected King of Denmark. On October 28, 1449, Christian married Dorothea of Brandenburg, the widow of King Christopher, in Copenhagen. Christian and Dorothea had five children including Hans I who succeeded his father, Frederik I who was a later king, and Margarete who married King James III of Scotland.

King Christian I died in Copenhagen on May 21, 1481, at the age of 55 and was buried in the Chapel of the Magi at Roskilde Cathedral. While the tombs of King Christian III, King Frederik II, and their queen consorts are in the Chapel of the Magi, the graves of King Christian I and Queen Dorothea are marked with simple stones because the chapel itself was to be considered their memorial monument.

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Grave of King Christian I and Queen Dorothea – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Dorothea of Brandenburg, Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden

Dorothea of Brandenburg was born in 1430 or 1431 in Brandenburg, Germany. Her parents were John, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach and Barbara of Saxe-Wittenberg. She was married to two Kings of Denmark. On September 12, 1445, Dorothea married Christopher of Bavaria, the King of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. After the death of King Christopher, she married the next king, Christian I.

Queen Dorothea died on November 25, 1495 in Kalundborg, Denmark at around age 65. She is buried next to her second husband in the Chapel of the Magi at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Hans, King of Denmark (1481–1513), Norway (1483–1513) and as John II of Sweden (1497–1501)

King Hans was born on February 2, 1455, at Aalborghus Castle in Aalborg, Denmark, the son of King Christian I of Denmark and Dorothea of Brandenburg. On September 6, 1478, Hans married Christina of Saxony. The couple had four children including King Christian II.

King Hans died February 20, 1513, at age 58 at Aalborghus Castle a few weeks after being thrown from his horse.  He was buried in the Gråbrødre Church of the Franciscan monastery in Odense, Denmark which his wife Queen Christina had chosen as the burial site for her husband and herself. Queen Christina commissioned the famous German sculptor Claus Berg to create a burial chapel in the church of the Franciscan monastery for her and her husband. Berg’s intricately carved and gilded altarpiece is a Danish national treasure. The altarpiece depicts the passion and the crucifixion of Jesus, and the crowning of the Virgin Mary. The base shows members of the royal family including King Christian II, King Hans, and his wife Queen Christina, dressed as a widow.

Claus Berg’s altarpiece; Credit – Wikipedia

Hans and Christina’s son King Christian II was also interred in the burial chapel in the church of the Franciscan monastery. In 1807, the former Franciscan church was demolished, and Berg’s altarpiece and the remains of King Hans, his wife Christina, and their son King Christian II were transferred to St. Canute’s Cathedral, also in Odense, Denmark.

St. Canute’s Cathedral; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

grave of King Hans; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Christina of Saxony, Queen of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden

Christina of Saxony was born in Torgau, Saxony (now in Germany) on December 25, 1461. She was the daughter of Ernest, Elector of Saxony and Elisabeth of Bavaria.

Queen Christina died December 8, 1521, at age 59 in Odense, Denmark, and was originally buried with her husband in the church of the Franciscan monastery in Odense, Denmark.  In 1807, when the former Franciscan church was demolished, her remains along with the remains of her husband and her son  Christian II were transferred to St. Canute’s Cathedral, also in Odense, Denmark.

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Grave of Christina of Saxony – photo from Wikipedia

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Christian II, King of Denmark, Norway (1513–23) and Sweden (1520–21)

King Christian II was born in Nyborg Castle, Denmark on July 1, 1481. His father was King Hans and his mother was Christina of Saxony. On August 12, 1515, Christian married Isabella of Austria. The couple had five children, but only their two daughters reached adulthood. Christian’s reputation is negative and he is remembered as “Christian the Tyrant.” In 1520, Christian invaded Sweden and caused the Stockholm Bloodbath when 80-90 members of the nobility and clergy were executed. Christian was deposed in 1523 when the crown was offered to his uncle Duke Frederick of Holstein who reigned as King Frederik I. He lived for a time in exile in Lier in the Netherlands. In 1531, Christian attempted to take control of his former kingdoms, but he failed and surrendered to King Frederik I. King Frederik reneged on his promise of safe conduct, and Christian was imprisoned for 27 years, first in Sønderborg Castle and then in Kalundborg Castle.

Christian died on January 25, 1559, aged 77, at Kalundborg Castle. King Frederik II ordered a royal funeral for Christian and he was buried with his parents in the church of the Franciscan monastery in Odense, Denmark. In 1807, when the former Franciscan church was demolished, Christian’s remains along with the remains of his parents were transferred to St. Canute’s Cathedral, also in Odense, Denmark.

Grave of Christian II; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Isabella of Austria, Queen of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway

Isabella of Austria was born July 18, 1501, in Brussels. Her father was Philip, Duke of Burgundy also known as Philip the Handsome. Isabella’s mother was Queen Juana of Castile, the daughter of King Ferdinand of Aragon and Queen Isabella of Castile and the sister of Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife. When her husband was deposed, Isabella went into exile with him even though King Frederik I offered her his protection if she stayed in Denmark.

After a serious illness, Isabella died at age 24 on January 29, 1526, in Ghent, Spanish Netherlands, now in Belgium.  She was originally buried in St. Peter’s Abbey in Ghent. In 1883, thanks to the efforts of the Danish government, Isabella’s remains and those of her son Hans were transferred to St. Canute’s Cathedral where they were reburied next to the remains of King Christian II.

Grave of Isabella of Austria; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

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Frederik I, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1523 – 1533

King Frederik I was born on October 7, 1471, at Haderslevhus in Haderslev, Denmark, a castle that was destroyed by a fire in 1644. He was the youngest son of King Christian I and Dorthea of Brandenburg. Shortly after his father’s death, Frederik became co-Duke of Schleswig and Holstein along with his older brother King Hans. When King Hans died, a group of nobles offered Frederik the Danish throne, but he thought the throne rightly belonged to his nephew Christian II. When Christian II was deposed, Frederik became king. Frederik I was the last Roman Catholic monarch of Denmark.

Frederik married twice, first to Anna of Brandenburg with whom he had two children including King Christian III. Anna, who was Duchess Consort of Schleswig and Holstein, died before her husband became King of Denmark. Four years later, on October 9, 1518, Frederick married Sophie of Pomerania. The couple had six children.

King Frederik I died on April 10, 1533, at the age of 61 at Gottorf Castle in Schleswig, Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein, now in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. He was buried in the Cathedral of St. Peter at Schleswig.
Wikipedia: Cathedral of St. Peter at Schleswig

Tomb of Frederik I; Credit – Wikipedia

Sophie of Pomerania, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Sophie of Pomerania was born around 1498 in Stettin, now in Poland. Her parents were Bogislaw X, Duke of Pomerania-Wolgast and Anna Jagiellon of Poland. She married King Frederik I in 1518. At the time of her coronation in 1525, to provide for her income, Sophie was granted several castles and villages in Schleswig-Holstein, where her husband was also Duke. Sophie did not live in Denmark, but rather lived on these properties and wanted to rule them independently from her husband and this caused many disagreements.

Sophie died in her castle at Kiel on May 13, 1568 at around age 70. She was buried in the Cathedral of St. Peter at Schleswig.

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Christian III, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1534 – 1559

King Christian III was born on August 12, 1503, at Gottorf Castle in Schleswig, Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein, now in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. At the time of Christian’s birth, his father, the future Frederik I, was only Duke of Schleswig-Holstein. Christian’s mother was Anna of Brandenburg, his father’s first wife who died when Christian was 10 years old. Christian married Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg on October 29, 1525, at Lauenburg Castle, now in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. They were the parents of five children including King Frederik II. Christian was the first Lutheran monarch of Denmark and was a strong supporter of the Protestant Reformation.

King Christian III died at Koldinghus, a Danish royal castle on the Jutland peninsula, on January 1, 1559, at age 55. He was buried in the Chapel of the Magi at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Tomb of King Christian III and Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg was born on July 9, 1511, at Lauenburg Castle, now in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. She was the daughter of Magnus I, Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg and Catherine of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Dorothea married Christian III in 1525. After she was widowed, Dorothea wanted to re-marry but this was opposed by her son King Frederik II. Her relationship with her son continued to deteriorate over several issues until he finally exiled her to Sønderborg Castle, where she spent the rest of her life.

Queen Dorothea died on October 7, 1571, at age 60, and was buried next to her husband in the Chapel of the Magi at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Frederik II, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1559 – 1588

King Frederik II was born on July 1, 1534, at Haderslevhus Castle in Denmark. He was the son of King Christian III and Dorothea of Saxe-Lauenburg. Frederik wanted to marry his longtime mistress but was persuaded against it. At age 37, Frederik married the 14-year-old Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow on July 20, 1572, in Copenhagen. They were the parents of eight children including King Christian IV and Anne of Denmark who married King James VI of Scotland and later succeeded Queen Elizabeth I to the English throne as King James I. Frederik was a great supporter of Protestant powers in Europe and once tried to win the hand of Queen Elizabeth I of England. He was a patron of the famous Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.

King Frederik II died on April 4, 1588, at age 53 at Antvorskov Castle in Denmark, and was buried in the Chapel of the Magi at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Tomb of King Frederik II and Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Sophie of Mecklenburg-Güstrow was born in Wismar, now in the German state of in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern., on September 4, 1557. Her father was Ulrich III, Duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow and her mother was Elizabeth of Denmark, the eldest daughter of King Frederik I of Denmark. Sophie was only 14 when she married King Frederik II in 1572, but the marriage was mostly a happy one. After her husband died, Sophie tried to exert influence upon the Regency Council for her underage son and the Council of State. Eventually, the government exiled her to the Palace of Nykøbing Castle on the island of Falster. Sophie kept busy studying chemistry, astronomy, and other sciences. She managed her estates there so well that when she died, she was the richest woman in northern Europe.

Queen Sophie died at age 74 on October 14, 1631 at Nyköping Castle and was buried with her husband in the Chapel of the Magi at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Christian IV, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1588 – 1648

King Christian IV was born on April 12, 1577, at Frederiksborg Palace in Denmark. He was the son of King Frederik II and Sophie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Christian succeeded to the throne at the age of 11 upon the death of his father. On November 30, 1597, Christian married Anna Katharina of Brandenburg at Haderslevhus in South Jutland, Denmark. They were parents of six children including Frederik III who succeeded his father. Anna Katharina died in 1612 and three years later Christian made a morganatic marriage to Kirsten Munk. Kirsten was not Queen but was given the title Countess of Schleswig-Holstein. This marriage produced 12 children, none of them in the line of succession. King Christian IV is the longest-reigning Danish monarch (nearly 60 years), one of the most popular Danish monarchs, and is remembered for his many projects and reforms.

King Christian IV died on February 28, 1648, at Rosenborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark at the age of 70, and was buried in the Christian IV Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Sarcophagus of King Christian IV – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Anna Katharina of Brandenburg, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Anna Katharina of Brandenburg was born on June 26, 1575, at Halle upon Saale in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, now in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. She was the daughter of Joachim Frederick, Margrave of Brandenburg and Katharina of Brandenburg-Küstrin. Anna Katharina married King Christian IV in 1597.

Queen Anna Katharina died on April 8, 1612, in Copenhagen, Denmark at the age of 36, and was buried with her husband in the Christian IV Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Sarcophagus of Anna Katharina of Brandenburg in the foreground – Photo by Susan Flantzer

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Frederik III, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1648 – 1670

Born on March 18, 1609, King Frederik III was the second oldest son of King Christian IV and Anne Catherine of Brandenburg. In 1647, he became heir to the throne upon the death of his brother Christian. Frederik married Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg on October 1, 1643, in Castle Glücksburg, currently in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The couple had eight children including Christian V who succeeded his father, George who married Queen Anne of Great Britain, and Ulrika Eleonora who married King Charles XI of Sweden.

King Frederik III died at Copenhagen Castle, aged 60, and was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Christian IV Chapel.

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Sarcophagi of Frederik III (left front) and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg (right front) with the sarcophagus of Christian IV (in the middle) – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg was born on March 24, 1628, at Herzberg Castle in Herzberg am Harz, Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, in present-day Lower Saxony, Germany. She was the eldest surviving daughter of George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg and Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt. Sophia Amalie was nearly 20 years younger than her husband and survived him by 15 years. She was much more social than her husband and was the center of court life. The current royal palace in Copenhagen, Amalienborg, is named after her and sits upon the site where Sophia Amalie built a palace in 1669-1673.

Sophia Amalie, aged 56, died in the palace she had built on February 20, 1685, and is buried in the Christian IV Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Christian V, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1670 -1699

King Christian V was born on April 16, 1646. He was the eldest child of King Frederik III and Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg. On June 25, 1667, he married Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel. Christian and Charlotte Amalie had seven children including Frederik IV who succeeded his father.

King Christian V, aged 53, died in Copenhagen on August 25, 1699, due to severe injuries received in a hunting accident. He was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in The Chancel.

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Tomb of King Christian V – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel was born on April 27, 1650, in Kassel, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel, now in the German state of Hesse. She was the eldest child of Wilhelm VI, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel and Hedwig Sophia of Brandenburg. Charlotte Amalie’s marriage to Christian V was not a love match. Her husband was repeatedly unfaithful, most notably with his mistress Sophie Amalie Moth with whom he had five children.

Charlotte Amalie died in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 27, 1714, at the age of 63. She was buried near her husband in The Chancel at Roskilde Cathedral. Charlotte Amalie, the capital of the United States Virgin Islands which formerly was a Danish possession, is named after her.

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Tomb of Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel – Photo by Susan Flantzer

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Frederik IV, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1699 – 1730

King Frederik IV, the eldest child of King Christian V and Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel, was born on October 11, 1671, at Copenhagen Castle. Frederik married Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow on December 5, 1695. The couple had five children, but only two survived childhood. Their eldest surviving son succeeded his father as King Christian VI. Without divorcing Louise, Frederik married again two times: in 1703 to Elisabeth Helene von Vieregg who died the following year in childbirth, and then in 1712 to Countess Anna Sophie Reventlow. On April 4, 1721, after had Louise died, Frederik remarried Anna Sophie and she was declared Queen. None of the four children from his bigamous marriages survived childhood.

King Frederik died on October 12, 1730, aged 59, at Odense Palace in Denmark. He was buried in The Chancel at Roskilde Cathedral near his first wife, Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow.

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Tomb of King Frederik IV – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow was born in Güstrow, Duchy of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, now in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany on August 28, 1667. Her parents were Duke Gustav Adolph of Mecklenburg-Güstrow and Magdalene Sibylle of Holstein-Gottorp. Throughout her marriage, Louise had to endure her husband’s infidelities and even worse, his two bigamous marriages.

Louise died in Copenhagen on March 15, 1721, at age 53. She was buried in The Chancel at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Tomb of Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Anna Sophie von Reventlow, Queen of Denmark and Norway (1721 – 1730)

 

Anna Sophie von Reventlow was born April 16, 1693, at Clausholm Castle in the Danish town of Randers. Her parents were Conrad von Reventlow, Count Reventlow, who served King Frederick IV as Chancellor from 1699–1708, and Anna Gabel. Anna Sophie met King Frederik IV at a masked ball, was enchanted by her, and wanted her to become his mistress. Anne Sophie was 18 at the time and her mother refused to allow her to become the king’s mistress. The following year, in 1712, Frederik married Anna Sophie morganatically and bigamously (as his first wife was still alive). After Frederik’s first wife died, he formally married Anna Sophie, declared her Queen, and had her crowned within the month. Anna Sophie was hated by Frederik’s children from his first marriage. Upon Frederik IV’s death, his son and successor King Christian VI banished Anne Sophie from the court and kept her under house arrest at Clausholm Castle, her family home.

Anna Sophie died on January 7, 1743, at the age of 49. King Christian VI allowed her to be buried at Roskilde Cathedral, but in the Trolle Chapel which is on the opposite side of the cathedral, far away from his parents’ tombs.

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Tomb of Anna Sophie Reventlow – Photo courtesy Findagrave.com

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Christian VI, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1730 – 1746

King Christian VI, the son of King Frederick IV and Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow, was born on November 30, 1699. On August 7, 1721, Christian married Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. Christian and Sophia Magdalene had two children, including King Frederik V who succeeded his father.

King Christian VI died on August 6, 1746, at the age of 46 at Hirschholm Palace north of Copenhagen, Denmark. He was buried in Frederik V’s Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Tomb of King Christian VI – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, the daughter of Christian Heinrich of Brandenburg-Bayreuth-Kulmbach and Countess Sophie Christiane of Wolfstein, was born on November 28, 1700. She survived her husband by 24 years and during her widowhood lived at Hirschholm Palace, a palace she and her husband had built.

Sophia Magdalene, aged 69, died at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen on May 27, 1770. She was buried in Frederik V’s Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral.

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Tomb of Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach – Photo by Susan Flantzer

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Frederik V, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1746 – 1766

King Frederik V was born on March 31, 1723, at Copenhagen Castle. He was the only son of King Christian VI and Sophia Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. On December 11, 1743, Frederik married Princess Louise of Great Britain and together they had five children including King Christian VII, who succeeded his father, and Sophia Magdalena, who married King Gustav III of Sweden. Eight years after the marriage, Louise died following a miscarriage. Less than a year later, on July 8, 1752, Frederik married Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel at Frederiksborg Palace. Frederik and Juliana Maria had one son, Frederik, who was the father of King Christian VIII.

King Frederik V died 14 January 14, 1766, aged 42, at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. He was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of King Frederik V – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Louise of Great Britain, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Louise of Great Britain was born on December 7, 1724, at Leicester House in London< England. She was the youngest child of King George II of Great Britain and Caroline of Ansbach. Louise was a popular queen and loved the theater, music, and dance.

While pregnant with her sixth child, Louise suffered a miscarriage and died on December 19, 1751, aged 27, at Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen. She was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of Louise of Great Britain – Photo by Susan Flantzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Born on September 4, 1729, Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel was one of the twelve children of Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and Antoinette of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel and was the second wife of King Frederik V. During the reign of her stepson King Christian VII, Juliana Maria played an important role in opposing the king especially after he became insane. Juliana Maria’s son became the Regent for his half-brother, but Juliana Maria really had the power.

Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel survived her husband by 30 years. She died on October 10, 1796, aged 67, at Fredensborg Palace in Denmark and was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel – Photo by Susan Flantzer

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Christian VII, King of Denmark and Norway, reigned 1766 – 1808

 

King Christian VII was born on January 29, 1749, at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. His parents were King Frederik V and his first wife, Louise of Great Britain. Christian became king in 1766 at the age of 17 upon the death of his father. Christian married his first cousin Princess Caroline Matilda of Great Britain, the youngest sister of King George III, at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark on November 8, 1766. The couple had two children, Frederik VI who succeeded his father, and a daughter Louise Auguste, who is believed to be the daughter of Johann Friedrich Struensee. (See Caroline Matilda’s entry below.) Christian suffered from mental illness, probably schizophrenia, and after 1772 was king in name only.

King Christian died on March 13, 1808, aged 59, from a brain aneurysm, at Rendsburg, Duchy of Schleswig, now in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein. He was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of King Christian VII – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Caroline Matilda of Wales, Queen of Denmark and Norway

Caroline Matilda of Wales was born on July 11, 1751, at Leicester House in London, England. Her parents were Frederick, Prince of Wales and Augusta of Saxe-Gotha. Her father, who was the eldest son and heir of King George II of Great Britain, died when Caroline Matilda was three months old and her eldest brother, the future King George III, became heir to the British throne. Caroline Matilda’s marriage to King Christian VII was not a happy one. She was 15 at the time of the marriage and neither Caroline Matilda nor her brother King George III was aware of King Christian’s mental illness. Caroline Matilda was neglected by her husband who turned to a mistress and prostitutes. King Christian’s personal physician, the German Johann Friedrich Struensee, was somewhat successful in controlling the king’s mental illness. King Christian began to trust his physician and Struensee encouraged the king to reconcile with the queen. The lonely Caroline Matilda was impressed with Struensee and her affection towards him steadily grew, resulting in the couple becoming lovers. It is almost a certain fact that Struensee was the father of Caroline Matilda’s second child, a daughter.

During the night of January 16 -17, 1772, both Struensee and Caroline Matilda were arrested and in April of 1772, Christian VII and Caroline Matilda were divorced. Struensee was brutally executed on April 28, 1772. Caroline Matilda was sent in exile to Celle Castle in Germany and never saw her children again. She died at age 23 on May 10, 1775, from scarlet fever and was buried in the Stadtkirche St. Marien in Celle, Germany.

Stadtkirche St. Marien in Celle, Germany; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

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Frederik VI, King of Denmark (reigned 1808 – 1839) and Norway (reigned 1808 – 1814)

King Frederik VI was born on January 28, 1768, at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. His parents, who were both teenagers at the time of his birth, were King Christian VII and Caroline Matilda of Great Britain. Due to his father’s mental illness, Frederik served as Regent from 1784 until his father’s death and his own accession to the throne in 1808. In 1814, during the Napoleonic Wars, Frederik agreed to cede Norway to Sweden to avoid the occupation of Jutland by troops allied with Napoleon. Frederik married his first cousin Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel and the couple had eight children. None of their sons survived infancy and only two daughters, whose marriages were childless, survived infancy.

King Frederik died December 3, 1839, aged 71, at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. He was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel. Upon Frederik’s death, his cousin succeeded him as King Christian VIII.

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Tomb of King Frederik VI – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel, Queen of Denmark and Norway

The eldest child of Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Louise of Denmark (daughter of King Frederik V), Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel was born on October 28, 1767, in Hanau in Hesse, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel now in Hesse, Germany. Marie Sophie was raised mostly in Denmark where her father held several government positions. She was popular in Denmark and the Danish people regarded her as Danish, not German. Injuries from her last childbirth prevented her from having any further marital relations and she was forced to accept her husband’s adultery. Marie Sophie greatly lamented the fact that she had no sons and no grandchildren and retired from public life after the death of her husband.

Marie Sophie died on March 22, 1852, aged 84, at Frederiksberg Palace in Denmark. She was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel – Photo by Susan Flantzer

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Christian VIII, King of Denmark (reigned 1839 -1848) and Norway (1814)

 

King Christian VIII was born on September 18, 1786, at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. His parents were Hereditary Prince Frederik of Denmark and Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Hereditary Prince Frederick was the son of King Frederik V and his second wife, Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Christian succeeded his cousin, Frederik VI. Christian married twice. His first marriage, before his accession to the throne, was to his cousin Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on June 21, 1806. The couple had two sons, but only King Frederik VII, who would succeed his father, survived to adulthood. Charlotte Frederica was accused of adultery and the marriage was dissolved in 1810. On May 22, 1815, Christian married Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg at the Augustenborg Palace. Christian and Caroline Amalie were childless.

King Christian died on January 20, 1848, aged 61, from blood poisoning at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. He was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of King Christian VIII – Photo by Susan Flantzer

Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, Queen of Denmark

Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg was born in Copenhagen on June 28, 1796. She was the daughter of Frederick Christian II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, and Louise Auguste of Denmark, the only daughter of King Christian VII of Denmark and Caroline Matilda of Great Britain. There is strong evidence that Louise Auguste’s father was her mother’s lover Johann Friedrich Struensee. Caroline Amalie was a composer of piano music and founded and supported a number of orphanages.

Caroline Amalie survived her husband by 33 years. She died on March 9, 1881, at age 84. She was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg – Photo by Susan Flantzer

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Frederik VII, King of Denmark, reigned 1848 – 1863

 

King Frederik VII was born on October 6, 1808, in Copenhagen. His parents, who divorced when he was two years old, were King Christian VIII and his first wife, Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Frederik married three times and his first two marriages ended in divorce. On November 1, 1828, Frederik married his second cousin Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark, a daughter of King Frederick VI of Denmark. The couple separated in 1834 and divorced in 1837. He married Caroline Charlotte Mariane of Mecklenburg-Strelitz on June 10, 1841, and divorced her in 1846. Both these marriages occurred before his accession to the throne in 1848.

Frederik’s third marriage was a morganatic marriage, a marriage between people of unequal social rank, which prevents the wife and the children of the marriage from enjoying any of the husband’s titles and privileges. On August 7, 1850, at Frederiksborg Palace, Frederik married Lovisa Christina Rasmussen, a hat maker and former dancer, who had been his mistress. She was not Queen Consort but instead was created Countess Danner. The marriage appears to have been a happy one but had much opposition and Countess Danner was treated poorly in social circles. All three of Frederik’s marriages were childless and therefore, there was a succession crisis. Prince Christian of Glücksburg, a descendant of a cousin of King Frederick VI, was chosen as the heir-presumptive in 1852. Upon Frederik’s death, Prince Christian acceded to the throne as King Christian IX.

King Frederik died on November 15, 1863, aged 55, at Glücksburg, Schleswig-Holstein (Germany). He was buried at Roskilde Cathedral in the Frederik V Chapel.

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Tomb of King Frederik VII – Photo by Susan Flantzer

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