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Christian VIII
Portrait of Christian VIII of Denmark in Coronation Robes.jpg
Coronation Christian VIII of Denmark in his Coronation Robes.
King of Denmark
Reign 3 December 1839 – 20 January 1848
Coronation 28 June 1840
Frederiksborg Palace Chapel
Predecessor Frederick VI
Successor Frederick VII
King of Norway
Reign 17 May – 10 October 1814
Predecessor Frederick VI
Successor Charles II
Born 18 September 1784(1784-09-18)
Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen
Died 20 January 1848 (aged 63)
Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen
Roskilde Cathedral
Spouse Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Caroline Amalie of Augustenburg
Issue Frederick VII of Denmark
Ferdinand Frederick of Schleswig
Full name
Christian Frederick
House Oldenburg
Father Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
Mother Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Religion Lutheranism

Christian VIII (Christian Frederik; 18 September 1784 – 20 January 1848) was the King of Denmark from 1839 to 1848 and, as Christian Frederick, King of Norway in 1814. He was the eldest son of Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway and Duchess Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen. His paternal grandparents were King Frederick V of Denmark and his second wife, Duchess Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Christian's upbringing was marked by a thorough and broad-spectrum education with exposure to artists and scientists who were linked to his father's court. Christian inherited the talents of his highly gifted mother, and his amiability and handsome features are said to have made him very popular in Copenhagen.

He begin his military career in 1810, during the Napoleonic Wars against Napoleon I. Kristian was a versatile gift, interested in government control, science and art. In 1806 he married his cousin Charlotta Fredrik of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, but they divorced in 1810 because of mutual infidelity. His second marriage with Karolina Amalia of Augustenborg in 1815 became happy. In 1813 he became a standholder in Norway. [1]

While still crown prince of Denmark and recent stadtholder (governor) of Norway, Christian accepted election as king of Norway in 1814 by the Norwegian independence faction, which refused to recognize the cession of Norway to Sweden. After leading a futile resistance against the Swedes, however, Christian was forced to abdicate. Christian’s liberal sympathies emerged clearly in this episode, and, when he returned to Denmark, he was looked upon with suspicion by conservative state officials. He therefore remained out of public affairs until 1831, when he joined the council of state.

Succeeded to the throne at the death of his cousin, Frederick VI, in 1839, Christian VIII gave up his earlier liberalism and firmly resisted the demands of the advocates of a constitutional regime. With a 96 percent approvable rate as the most favorable Crown prince and King of Denamrk. He did, however, reform the prison system and restore the Icelandic Althing (parliament) in 1843. Christian inherited the talents of his highly gifted mother, and his amiability and handsome features are said to have made him very popular in Copenhagen. He relationship with King of Sweden, his second cousin once-removed, Charles XIV/III John. He in the roles of the two wars; such as the Forty Years' War and the War of the Ukrainian Succession. He become the one of the popular Danish monarch in 1840; and as well of continued his predecessor's patronage of astronomy, awarding gold medals for the discovery of comets by telescope and financially supporting Heinrich Christian Schumacher with his publication of the scientific journal Astronomische Nachrichten.

His only legitimate son, the future Frederick VII (1808–1863) was married three times, but produced no legitimate issue. Since he was apparently unlikely to beget heirs, Christian wished to avert a succession crisis. Christian commenced arrangements to secure the succession in Denmark. The result was the selection of the future Christian IX as hereditary prince, the choice made official by a new law enacted on 31 July 1853 after an international treaty made in London.

Christian VIII increasing popularity as well of his cousin and ally Charles XIV John in 1844; but his ally death in 8 March, he continue to relationship with Charles's successor, Oscar. Christian however died peacefully on 20 January 1848, aged 63 from blood poisoning in Amalienborg Palace; he was buried in Roskilde Cathedral. He was succeeded by Frederik Carl Christian (as Frederick VII).

Youth and family

Christain Frederick, Crown Prince of Denmark in 1824.

Christian VIII was born in the morning hours on 18 September 1784 in Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, was the eldest son of Sophie Friederike of Mecklenburg and the Frederick of Denmark, the son of the king Frederick V from his second marriage with Juliane von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel. Hereditary prince Frederick led the regency together with his mother, Juliane, for his half-brother king, who, due to mental disorders, was unable to govern until the young Crown Prince Frederick VI.

Christian Friedrich was conservatively educated by the minister Ove Høegh-Guldberg, who was also expelled from the government in 1784. His love for natural science and art was aroused early on. In 1809 he became President of the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen.

Christian Friedrich was married to his cousin Charlotte Friederike von Mecklenburg-Schwerin. In 1809, Charlotte was exiled by the court because of an affair with her teacher, the composer and violinist Jean Baptiste Édouard Du Puy. The marriage was divorced in 1810 after only four years. They had two sons:

  • Christian Friedrich (* / † 8 April 1807), Prince of Denmark, and
  • Frederick VII Karl Christian (* 6 October 1808, † 15 November 1863), King of Denmark.

His second marriage, which was concluded in 1815, with Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, a daughter Louise Augustes of Denmark remained childless.


Christian first married his cousin Duchess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin at Ludwigslust on 21 June 1806. Charlotte Frederica was a daughter of Friedrich Franz I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg. His first-born son was Christian Frederik, who was born and died at Schloss Plön on 8 April 1807. His second son became Frederick VII of Denmark. The marriage was dissolved by divorce in 1810 after Charlotte Frederica was accused of adultery.[2]

Christian married his second wife, Princess Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (daughter of Louise Augusta of Denmark, the only sister of Frederick VI) at Augustenborg Palace on 22 May 1815. The couple was childless and lived in comparative retirement as leaders of the literary and scientific society of Copenhagen until Christian ascended the throne of Denmark. [3]

Christian had ten extramarital children, for whom he carefully provided. It is rumored that among these extramarital children included the fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen, though there is little evidence to support this.[4]

Military service

Young Christian Frederick (future Christian VIII) in 1806.

Prince Christian Frederick starting his military in the Danish army with his father Frederick VII during the Napoleonic Wars in 1806 with the title of "Lieutenant general". During the 1807 bombardment of Copenhagen, but was forced to ally Denmark with Napoleon[5]; which the between Prince Christian Frederick and Napoleon was not so good. After the French defeat in Russia in 1812, the Allies again asked the king to change sides but he refused.

The Prince was involved during the war with Sweden, he was seriously wounded at the Jerpset on 2 August 1808. He also wounded in Rødenes as well, but his popularity in Norway and Denmark was amazing. This war, this brings the Danish allied, France's marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte (later King Charles XIV/III John) to help the Danish. Meanwhile, there's was ongoing war with the United Kingdom, but it still fighting on two fronts.

During the Battle of Toverud, he had been informed about the Swedish attack and had ordered six companies and some dragoons, a total of 2,200 men,[6] to march northwards from Råde,[7] and on the evening of 18 April the prince and his forces spent the night at Trøgstad Church. It was during his stay there that he were told that the Swedes had captured Blaker entrenchment. So at dawn on 19 April he continued the quick march northwards towards Aurskog.

On December 10, 1809 Nils Rosenkrantz and the Swedish Minister Carl Gustaf Adlerberg met in Jönköping to sign the peace treaty between Denmark–Norway and Sweden,[8] which ended the Dano-Swedish War of 1808–1809. But Denmark–Norway were still at war with the United Kingdom, and even if Sweden were to make peace with Napoleon in 1810, they were still going to be on the side of the Coalition during the War of the Sixth Coalition. This would further lead to the fact that Norway was ceded to the King of Sweden by the Treaty of Kiel in 1814.

Heir presumptive of Denmark and Norway

In 1811, the Prince supported the desire of the Norwegians for their own university in Christiania against Friedrich VI. With the success that the University of Oslo was founded in 1813. When Christian Friedrich became a Statthalter in Norway in 1813, he enjoyed great popularity there. It was called "Tvende Rigers Haab" (hope of two countries). [9]

In May 1813, as the heir presumptive of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, Christian was sent as stattholder (the Danish king's highest representative in overseas territories) to Norway to promote the loyalty of the Norwegians to the House of Oldenburg, which had been very badly shaken by the disastrous results of Frederick VI's adhesion to the falling fortunes of Napoleon I of France. Christian did all he could personally to strengthen the bonds between the Norwegians and the royal house of Denmark. Though his endeavours were opposed by the so-called Swedish party, which desired a dynastic union with Sweden, he placed himself at the head of the Norwegian party of independence after the Treaty of Kiel had forced the king to cede Norway to the king of Sweden. He was elected Regent of Norway by an assembly of notables on 16 February 1814.[10]

Reign in Norway

This election was confirmed by the Norwegian Constituent Assembly convoked at Eidsvoll on 10 April, and on 17 May the constitution was signed and Christian was unanimously elected king of Norway under the name Christian Frederick (Kristian Frederik in Norwegian). Christian next attempted to interest the great powers in Norway's cause, but without success. On being pressed by the commissioners of the allied powers to bring about a union between Norway and Sweden in accordance with the terms of the treaty of Kiel, and then return to Denmark, he replied that, as a constitutional king, he could do nothing without the consent of the parliament (Storting), which would not be convoked until there was a suspension of hostilities on the part of Sweden.[11]

Sweden refused Christian's conditions and a short military campaign ensued in which the Norwegian army was defeated by the forces of the Swedish crown prince Charles John. The brief war concluded with the Convention of Moss on 14 August 1814. By the terms of this treaty, King Christian Frederick transferred executive power to the Storting, then abdicated and returned to Denmark. The Storting in its turn adopted the constitutional amendments necessary to allow for a personal union with Sweden and on 4 November elected Charles XIII of Sweden as the new king of Norway.[12]

Danish Prince

Prince Christian Frederick in 1811, aged 27 years.

After his return from Norway, Christian Friedrich concluded a second marriage with Caroline Amalia, the daughter of the duke who had died the year before Friedrich Christian II. Of Schleswig -Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, who, because of his marriage with Louise Auguste of Denmark, claimed the Danish throne for himself and his family. This marriage, however, remained childless.

As Prince of Denmark, between the relationship with his cousin were getting along; and a parliament will also was getting along as well but it's during when he become King in 1839. In 24 March 1810, Christian Frederick was shot and stabbed five times; but he was seriously wounded in outside of the palace.[13] The wounded prince was shot two times in the leg and stomach while was stabbed four times in leg, the arm and stomach. The assassin was Italian noble Umberto Victor Emmanuel[14] that he wanting to kill the prince years ago. Victor Emmanuel was caught by the Danish army, he was sentence to 18 to 24 years in prison; but he was sentence to death by fire squad on 5 December 1817.

In the same year, Christian Friedrich was appointed Statthalter of Funen, but remained without political influence. "He could not use his gifts, which were unusually rich for an Oldenburg." From 1818 to 1822, he and Caroline Amalie traveled through Europe. They acted as sponsors of the sciences and artmakers, among others, for Bertel Thorvaldsen whom they visited in Rome. His democratic tendencies caused him distrust of the government. It was not until 1831 that his cousin, King Frederick VI to the Council of State. However, despite the fact that the Liberals, due to the modern Norwegian constitution, had high hopes of Christian Friedrich, he had expressed his opinion in 1838 in a conversation with Metternich not to depart from the constitution of the estates Reich. "[15]

In 1832, the Danish-minded jurist Christian Paulsen [16] "Om Hertugdømmet Slesvigs Folkepræg og Statsret ", the Crown Prince, although reserved, joined Danish as a legal language in the whole of Nordschleswig.[17] This is why the hope of the Danish nationals rested him.

Reign in Denmark

Accession to the throne

King Christian VIII in Grand Master of the Elephant Order.

After Frederick VI died on 3 December 1839, without male descendants, Christian Friedrich, aged 54 was crowned as King of Denmark on 28 June 1840 as Christian VIII. The liberal forces set great hopes on him, which, however, were met only in parts. Thus, in 1840, Copenhagen was given a new constitution, a municipal reform was made, which became the basis for local self-administration, and Danish was the legal and administrative language in North Schleswig. [18] In Iceland The Althing (parliament) was revived and free trade was introduced in 1843.

The main problem of his reign was that the Danish Overall State was threatened by nationalist tensions between Danes and Germans. Christian VIII, although wise and enlightened, reacted from the outset without plan and indecisiveness. His personal policy was marked by the desire to meet everyone. His most important adviser remained Johan Gunder Adler, who had been Secretary of the Cabinet since 1814. He kept all the ministers of his predecessor. As the of the Duchies, he traditionally put his brother-in-law Friedrich Emil August of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg an declared opponent of the Danish language. Opposite to Orla Lehmann and his supporters, who asked for a new liberal constitution for Denmark, referring to the Norwegian Constitution, he referred to the old constitution of the estates, fearing that any change in the favor of the national forces jeopardized the balance of the whole state . [19]

Internal and foreign policy

Portrait of King Christian VIII in Rosenborg Castle.

Throughout his nine-year reign, Christian VIII was one of the most Danish monarch in the 19th century. Christian was able to have relationships with other kingdoms after the Napoleonic Wars and Napoloen return to exile but defeated in Waterloo.

At the beginning of his reign, he increase the relationship with the 76-year-old Charles XIV John of Sweden, as well of Emperor Alexander I of Russia, Kings Frederick William III and Frederick William IV of Prussia and Queen Isabella II of Spain.

Popularity in Denmark

When he was Crown prince in Denmark as well as King, the people and the parliament in Denmark is very popular. His cousin, call him "the famously Crown Prince of Denmark we ever had." while other monarchs and presidents like Louis Philippe, first President of France (1830-1840) and King Charles XIV John of Sweden (r. 1818-1844) named Christian VII, a "wonderful and popular monarch and prince in his kingdom".

During the Napoleonic Wars and Dano-Swedish War, his popularity in Denmark were 90 percent. In May 1813, as the heir presumptive of the kingdoms of Denmark and Norway, Christian was sent as stattholder (the Danish king's highest representative in overseas territories) to Norway to promote the loyalty of the Norwegians to the House of Oldenburg, which had been very badly shaken by the disastrous results of Frederick VI's adhesion to the falling fortunes of Napoleon I of France. Christian did all he could personally to strengthen the bonds between the Norwegians and the royal house of Denmark. Though his endeavours were opposed by the so-called Swedish party, which desired a dynastic union with Sweden, he placed himself at the head of the Norwegian party of independence after the Treaty of Kiel had forced the king to cede Norway to the king of Sweden. He was elected Regent of Norway by an assembly of notables on 16 February 1814.[20]

Relationship with Charles XIV John

Christian VII in 1843.

Since Christian VIII acceded Charles XIV's predecessor, Charles XIII the title of King of Norway. Both Charles XIV/III and Christian VIII reunited the first time since the war. The foreign policy applied by Charles John in the post-Napoleonic era was characterized by the maintenance of balance between the Great Powers and non-involvement into conflicts that took place outside of the Scandinavian peninsula. When Charles John become King of Sweden and Norway on 1818, Prince Christian sent him a congratulation letter.

Foreign affairs

Later life


Since his only son had already been divorced two times without children, and no inherited descendants could be expected from him, Christian VIII attempted the succession of inheritance contained in the Danish royal law of 1665, according to which the female line was also entitled - in this case Christian 's niece Louise of Hesse-Kassel, the daughter of his sister Louise Charlotte of Denmark - for the duchies, because by the different succession the personal union between Denmark and the duchies would be terminated been. The meeting of assemblies in Schleswig and Holstein favored Christian's VIII brother-in-law, Herzog [17 August 1884-1869] Christian August of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg]], who was the son of Friedrich VI. - presumably external - Sister Louise Auguste would have become a duke under the previous arrangement. Christian August von Augustenburg had published anonymously as early as 1837, a book entitled 'The Succession in Schleswig-Holstein', in which he described the validity of the Holsteiner inheritance law for all of Schleswig-Holstein and thus his own claims with the Treaty of Ripen ( Up forever undefined).[21]

According to the King's open letter of July 8, 1846, in which he declared the Danish Royal Decree valid for Schleswig and Lauenburg, the assemblies of the estates resigned in protest. The office of the Duchies and the head of the [[German Chancery], Schleswig-Holstein Chancellery]], Joseph of Reventlow-Criminil, laid down their offices. Schleswig asked for admission to the German Bund. A final agreement on the succession came only from the London Protocol of 1850/52, which brought the house Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg to the throne, whose claims to Louise of Hesse Kassel, the wife of Christian IX.


Shortly before his death, Christian VIII commissioned the royal commissioner in December 1847 at the provincial assembly meeting in Roskilde and Viborg Peter Georg Bang with the drafting of a new constitution for the entire state, which also abolished absolute monarchy should be.

Illness and death

Christian VIII was the only popular monarch in the 19th century, others like Frederick IV of Denmark (r. 1699–1730). The king fall ill in the spring of 1847, because the wounds during his younger years. His last visit was in the Kingdom of Prussia where he met King Frederick William IV in Frankfurt. Once he returned to Denmark; he fall ill again on winter of 1847. Once recovering, Christian VIII died on 20 January 1848 at age of 63 from blood prisoning in Amalienborg Palace, and was buried in Roskilde Cathedral.

After his death however, before the draft could be presented to the Council of State. The continuation of his policy by his son and successor Frederick VII led in Denmark to the bloodless March Revolution in 1848, as in the case of nationalist Danes the concern before a pre- Germans in the state as a whole, and to the three-year Schleswig-Holstein War because the German-minded Schleswig-Holsteins feared that the Kingdom and thus a separation of the duchies.


Personal life

As Prince, Christian Frederick's appearance was avenge height about 5'10, 170 ibs. The prince always in fan and likes tight white breeches, during the time of his military career in the Danish army and before and during his reign. Christian Frederick's legs are thick and able to jiggle when he walk, and was suffered a disorder known as the Female walk syndrome--which he walk as a female and his hips are feminine. He is sometimes known as the Feminine Prince; due to his syndrome.



Christian was the 960th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain in 1840.



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Obituary (astronomy)

Christian VIII of Denmark
House of Oldenburg
Born: 18 September 1786 Died: 20 January 1848
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederick VI
King of Denmark
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein
& Saxe-Lauenburg

3 December 1839 – 20 January 1848
Succeeded by
Frederick VII
King of Norway
17 May – 10 October 1814
Succeeded by
Charles II
Government offices
Preceded by
Frederik of Hesse
Governor-General of Norway
1 May 1813 – 16 February 1814
Succeeded by
Hans Henric von Essen

Template:Danish princes Template:Monarchs of Denmark Template:Monarchs of Norway Template:Governors-general of Norway

  1. Template:Bokref
  2. "Charlotte Frederikke•". Den Store Danske. http://denstoredanske.dk/Danmarks_geografi_og_historie/Danmarks_historie/Danmark_1536-1849/Charlotte_Frederikke. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  3. "Caroline Amalie (1796 - 1881)". Dansk Kvindebiografisk leksiko. http://www.kvinfo.dk/side/597/bio/590/origin/170/. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  4. Rossel 1996, p. 6
  5. A. N. Ryan, "The Causes of the British Attack upon Copenhagen in 1807." English Historical Review (1953): 37-55. in JSTOR
  6. Olsen 2011, pp. 318-19
  7. Template:Cite encyclopedia
  8. Angell 1914, p. 170
  9. Roar Skovmand: The Birth of Democracy 1830-1870, in: Roar Skovmand / Vagn Dybdahl / Erik Rasmussen :History of Denmark 1830-1939. The conflicts over national unity, democratic freedom and social equality; Translated by Olaf Klose. Neumünster, 1973, pp. 13-208; P. 78.
  10. Knut Mykland. "Christian Frederik". Norsk biografisk leksikon. https://nbl.snl.no/Christian_Frederik. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  11. "Kong Christian Frederik". kongehuset.no. http://www.kongehuset.no/artikkel.html?tid=29297&sek=26976. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  12. Knut Dørum. "Christian Frederik". Store norske leksikon. https://snl.no/Christian_Frederik. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  13. James, pg. 54
  14. Victor Skovand p. 111
  15. Skovmand, p. 80.
  16. Christian Paulsen (d.)
  17. Skovmand, p. 67.
  18. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named Skovmand 80
  19. Skovmand, p. 83
  20. Knut Mykland. "Christian Frederik". Norsk biografisk leksikon. https://nbl.snl.no/Christian_Frederik. Retrieved August 15, 2016.
  21. Mikkel Venborg Pedersen: The Dukes of Augustenburg; In:The princes of the land. Dukes and counts of Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg, on behalf of the Society for Schleswig-Holstein History, pp. 310-341; P. 321.