display | more...

Born 1786, died 1848. King of Denmark 1839-1848, Briefly King of Norway in 1814. Son of Prince Frederik (uncle of King Frederik VI of Denmark) and Princess Sophie Frederikke. Father of King Frederik VII of Denmark. Married to Charlotte Frederikke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and later to Queen Caroline Amalie.

Though born into the marriage of Prince Frederik and Princess Sophie Frederikke, it was commonly assumed that the real father was the prince's adjutant, Frederik von Blücher. Whoever his father was, young Prince Christian received an excellent education and displayed above-average intelligence. Not only did he receive the customary military training as an officer, his education also extended to the humanities, covering literature and history, at the level of the best the age could offer.

In 1806, the young prince married Charlotte Frederikke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and in 1808 the couple had a son (the later King Frederik VII). However, the marriage was dissolved two years later, following the discovery that the princess had committed adultery with the composer Édouard Du Puy.

During the Danish involvement in the Napoleonic Wars (1807-1814), Christian was critical of the King Frederik's policy of alliance with Napoleon, and he asked to be sent to Norway as viceroy, a wish that was accommodated in 1813. From his position in Norway, Christian hoped to work towards a rapprochement with Britain. Events overtook him, however, with Napoleon's defeat and the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, which mandated the cession of Norway to Sweden. Sympathetic to the Norwegian desires for independence in the face of this development, Christian let himself be crowned constitutional monarch of Norway, in May 1814. In the face of Swedish military action, however, Norwegian independence quickly became recognised as an impossibility, and Christian abdicated in October of the same year.

Upon his return to Denmark, Prince Christian married Caroline Amalie of Augustenborg, in 1815, simultaneously accepting a governorship of the island of Fyn. In 1831, he was appointed to the Privy Council (Danish: Gehejmestatsrådet), though he had little real political influence during Frederik VI's lifetime.

During these years, Christian's interest in classical archaeology led him to take several trips abroad, bringing home many Greek vases and coins for his own collections (now part of the collections of The National Museum of Denmark).

When Frederik VI died in 1839, the constitutionalist opposition in Denmark had great expectations for the new king, but Christian rejected any demands for a constitution, although he did undertake many administrative reforms. The escalating tension in Schleswig (which led to the First War for Schleswig-Holstein, in 1848) placed great strain on Christian's authority, a strain which was complicated by the debate over the succession (the conflict between the united monarchic succession, and the separate lines of succession in the Kingdom of Denmark proper and in the southern Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg, were part of the casus belli of the war). When Christian died in 1848, a constitution was in the process of being drawn up.

Despite his native intelligence and good education, Christian never seemed quite at home in the rôle of monarch, seeming to prefer the rôle of antiquarian. Likewise, he managed to satisfy neither the conservative nor the liberal forces in the kingdom, and failed to resolve the nationalist differences between Denmark's Danish and German nationalities.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.