Christian IX of Denmark
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Growing up as a prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior branch of the House of Oldenburg which had ruled Denmark since 1448, Christian was originally not in the immediate line of succession to the Danish throne. However, in 1852, Christian was chosen as heir to the Danish monarchy in light of the expected extinction of the senior line of the House of Oldenburg. Upon the death of King Frederick VII of Denmark in 1863, Christian acceded to the throne as the first Danish monarch of the House of Glücksburg.
Christian became known as "the father-in-law of Europe", as his six children married into other royal houses. Most current European monarchs are descended from him, including Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, King Albert II of Belgium, King Harald V of Norway, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg. The consorts Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and Queen Sofía of Spain are also agnatic descendants of Christian IX, as is Constantine II of Greece (the former and last King of the Hellenes).
Christian was born on 8 April 1818 at Gottorp Castle as Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, the fourth son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, and Princess Louise Caroline of Hesse. He was named after Prince Christian of Denmark, the later King Christian VIII, who was also his godfather.
Christian's father was the head of the ducal house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, a junior male branch of the House of Oldenburg. Through his father, Christian was thus a direct male-line descendant of King Christian III of Denmark and an (albeit junior) agnatic descendant of Helvig of Schauenburg (countess of Oldenburg), mother of King Christian I of Denmark, who was the "Semi-Salic" heiress of her brother Adolf of Schauenburg, last Schauenburg duke of Schleswig and count of Holstein. As such, Christian was eligible to succeed in the twin duchies of Schleswig-Holstein, but not first in line.
Christian's mother was a daughter of Landgrave Charles of Hesse, a Danish Field Marshal and Royal Governor of the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, and his wife Princess Louise of Denmark, a daughter of Frederick V of Denmark. Through his mother, Christian was thus a great-grandson of Frederick V, great-great-grandson of George II of Great Britain and a descendant of several other monarchs, but had no direct claim to any European throne.
On 6 June 1825, Duke Friedrich Wilhelm was appointed Duke of Glücksburg by his brother-in-law Frederick VI of Denmark, as the elder Glücksburg line had become extinct in 1779. He subsequently changed his title to Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and founded the younger Glücksburg line.
From an early age, Christian grew up in Denmark and was educated in the Military Academy of Copenhagen.
As a young man, Christian unsuccessfully sought the hand of his third cousin, Queen Victoria, in marriage.
In 1847, with the approval of the great powers of Europe, Christian was chosen by King Christian VIII to be heir presumptive after the extinction of the most senior line to the Danish throne, as the future Frederick VII seemed incapable of fathering children. A justification for this choice was his marriage to Louise of Hesse-Kassel, who—as a great-niece of Christian VII—was a closer heir to the throne than her husband.
Frederick VII's childlessness had presented a thorny dilemma and the question of succession to the Danish throne proved problematic. Denmark's adherence to the Salic Law and a burgeoning nationalism within the German-speaking parts of Schleswig-Holstein hindered all hopes of a peaceful solution. Proposed resolutions to keep the two Duchies together and part of Denmark proved unsatisfactory to both Danish and German interests. While Denmark had adopted the Salic Law, this only affected the descendants of Frederick III of Denmark, who was the first hereditary monarch of Denmark (before him, the kingdom was officially elective). Agnatic descent from Frederick III would end with the death of the childless King Frederick VII and his equally childless uncle, Prince Ferdinand. At that point, the law of succession promulgated by Frederick III provided for a Semi-Salic succession. There were, however, several ways to interpret to whom the crown could pass, since the provision was not entirely clear as to whether a claimant to the throne could be the closest female relative or not.
As the nations of Europe looked on, the numerous descendants of Helvig of Schauenburg began to vie for the Danish throne. Frederick VII belonged to the senior branch of Helvig's descendants. In 1863, Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1829–1880) (the future father-in-law of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany), proclaimed himself Frederick VIII of Schleswig-Holstein. Frederick of Augustenburg became the symbol of the nationalist German independence movement in Schleswig-Holstein after his father (in exchange for money) renounced his claims as first-in-line to inherit the twin-duchies of Schleswig and Holstein. Following the London protocol of 8 May 1852, which concluded the First War of Schleswig, and given his father's renunciation, Frederick was deemed ineligible to inherit.
The closest female relatives of Frederick VII were his paternal aunt, Princess Louise Charlotte of Denmark, who had married a scion of the cadet branch of the House of Hesse, and her daughters. However, they were not agnatic descendants of the royal family, thus not eligible to succeed in Schleswig-Holstein.
The dynastic female heiress reckoned most eligible according to the original law of primogeniture of Frederick III was Caroline of Denmark (1793–1881), the childless eldest daughter of the late king Frederick VI. Along with another childless daughter, Wilhelmine of Denmark (1808–1891), Duchess of Glücksburg, and sister-in-law of Christian IX, the next heir was Louise, sister of Frederick VI, who had married the Duke of Augustenburg. The chief heir to that line was the selfsame Frederick of Augustenburg, but his turn would have come only after the death of two childless princesses who were very much alive in 1863.
The House of Glücksburg also held a significant interest in the succession to the throne. A more junior branch of the royal clan, they were also descendants of Frederick III through the daughter of King Frederick V of Denmark. Lastly, there was yet a more junior agnatic branch that was eligible to succeed in Schleswig-Holstein. There was Christian himself and his three older brothers, the eldest of whom, Karl, was childless, but the others had produced children, and male children at that.
Prince Christian had been a foster "grandson" of the "grandchildless" royal couple Frederick VI and his Queen consort Marie (Marie Sophie Friederike of Hesse). Familiar with the royal court and the traditions of the recent monarchs, their young ward Prince Christian was great-nephew of Queen Marie and descendant of a first cousin of Frederick VI. He was brought up as Danish, having lived in Danish-speaking lands of the royal dynasty and had not become a German nationalist, which made him a relatively good candidate from the Danish point of view. As junior agnatic descendant, he was eligible to inherit Schleswig-Holstein, but was not the first in line. As a descendant of Frederick III, he was eligible to succeed in Denmark, although here too, he was not first-in-line.
In 1842, Christian married Princess Louise of Hesse, daughter of the closest female relative of Frederick VII. Louise's mother and brother, and elder sister too, renounced their rights in favor of Louise and her husband. Prince Christian's wife was now the closest female heiress of Frederick VII.
In 1852, the thorny question of Denmark's succession was resolved by the London Protocol of 8 May 1852, through which Christian was chosen as next-in-line for the throne after Frederick VII and his uncle. The decision was implemented by the Danish Law of Succession of 31 July 1853—more precisely, the Royal Ordinance settling the Succession to the Crown on Prince Christian of Glücksburg1—which designated him as heir to the entire Danish monarchy following the extinction of the male line of Frederick III and granted him the title Prince of Denmark.
|Wikisource has original text related to this article:|
Upon the death of Frederick VII on 15 November 1863, Christian succeeded to the throne as Christian IX. Denmark was immediately plunged into a crisis over the possession and status of Schleswig and Holstein, two provinces to Denmark's south. In November 1863 Frederick of Augustenburg claimed the twin-duchies in succession after King Frederick. Under pressure, Christian signed the November Constitution, a treaty that made Schleswig part of Denmark. This resulted in the Second Schleswig War between Denmark and a Prussian/Austrian alliance in 1864. The Peace Conference broke up without having arrived at any conclusion; the outcome of the war was unfavorable to Denmark and led to the incorporation of Schleswig into Prussia in 1865. Holstein was likewise incorporated into in 1865, following further conflict between Austria and Prussia.
The defeat of 1864 cast a shadow over Christian IX's rule for many years and his attitude to the Danish case—probably without reason—was claimed to be half-hearted. This unpopularity was worsened as he sought unsuccessfully to prevent the spread of democracy throughout Denmark by supporting the authoritarian and conservative prime minister Estrup, whose rule 1875–94 was by many seen as a semi-dictatorship. However, he signed a treaty in 1874 which allowed Iceland, then a Danish possession, to have its own constitution, albeit one that still had Denmark ruling Iceland. In 1901, he reluctantly asked Johan Henrik Deuntzer to form a government and this resulted in the formation of the Cabinet of Deuntzer. The cabinet consisted of members of the Venstre Reform Party and was the first Danish government not to include the conservative party Højre, even though Højre never had a majority of the seats in the Folketing. This was the beginning of the Danish tradition of parliamentarism and clearly bettered his reputation for his last years.
Another reform occurred in 1866, when the Danish constitution was revised so that Denmark's upper chamber would have more power than the lower. Social security also took a few steps forward during his reign. Old age pensions were introduced in 1891 and unemployment and family benefits were introduced in 1892.
Christian and Louise had six children:
|Frederick VIII of Denmark||3 June 1843||14 May 1912||Princess Lovisa of Sweden||Christian X of Denmark
Haakon VII of Norway
Louise, Princess Frederick of Schaumburg-Lippe
Prince Harald of Denmark
Princess Ingeborg, Duchess of Västergötland
Princess Thyra of Denmark
Prince Gustav of Denmark
Princess Dagmar, Mrs. Jørgen Castenskiold
|Alexandra of Denmark||1 December 1844||20 November 1925||Edward VII of the United Kingdom||Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale
George V of the United Kingdom
Louise, Princess Royal and Duchess of Fife
Princess Victoria of the United Kingdom
Maud, Queen of Norway
Prince Alexander John of Wales
|George I of Greece||24 December 1845||18 March 1913||Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia||Constantine I of Greece
Prince George of Greece and Denmark
Grand Duchess Alexandra Georgievna of Russia
Prince Nicholas of Greece and Denmark
Grand Duchess Maria Georgievna of Russia
Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark
Prince Andrew of Greece and Denmark
Prince Christopher of Greece and Denmark
|Dagmar of Denmark||26 November 1847||13 October 1928||Tsar Alexander III of Russia||Tsar Nicholas II of Russia
Grand Duke Alexander Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duke George Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia
Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich of Russia
Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia
|Thyra of Denmark||29 September 1853||26 February 1933||Ernst August of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland||Marie Louise, Princess Maximilian of Baden
Prince George William of Hanover and Cumberland
Alexandra, Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Princess Olga of Hanover and Cumberland
Prince Christian of Hanover and Cumberland
Ernest Augustus, Duke of Brunswick
|Prince Valdemar of Denmark||27 October 1858||14 January 1939||Princess Marie of Orléans||Aage, Count of Rosenborg
Prince Axel of Denmark
Erik, Count of Rosenborg
Viggo, Count of Rosenborg
Margaret, Princess René of Bourbon-Parma
Four of Christian's children sat on the thrones (either as monarchs or as consorts) of Denmark, the United Kingdom, Russia, and Greece. His daughter Thyra would have become Queen of Hanover had her husband's throne not been abolished before his reign began.citation needed His youngest son, Valdemar, was offered the crowns of Bulgaria and Norway, but had to decline both under international pressure.citation needed The great dynastic success of the six children was to a great extent not attributable to Christian himself, but the result of the ambitions of his wife Louise of Hesse-Kassel. Some have compared her dynastical capabilities to those of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.citation needed An additional factor was that Denmark was not one of the Great Powers, so the other powers did not fear that the balance of power in Europe would be upset by a marriage of one of its royalty to another royal house.
Christian's grandsons included Nicholas II of Russia, Constantine I of Greece, George V of the United Kingdom, Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway. He was, in the last years of his life, often referred to as Europe's "father-in-law". Today, most of Europe's reigning and ex-reigning royal families are direct descendants of Christian IX.
Queen Louise died on 29 September 1898 at Bernstorff Palace near Copenhagen. Christian himself died peacefully of old age at 87 at the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen and was buried in Christian IX's Chapel in Roskilde Cathedral.
He was succeeded as king by his eldest son, Frederick VIII.
|Monarchical styles of
King Christian IX of Denmark
|Reference style||His Majesty|
|Spoken style||Your Majesty|
Christian IX, 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
- 8 April 1818 – 6 June 1825: His Serene Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
- 6 June 1825 – 31 July 1853: His Serene Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
- 31 July 1853 – 21 December 1858: His Highness Prince Christian of Denmark
- 21 December 1858 – 15 November 1863: His Royal Highness Prince Christian of Denmark
- 15 November 1863 – 29 January 1906: His Majesty The King of Denmark
|Ancestors of Christian IX of Denmark|
- Royal Ordinance settling the Succession to the Crown on Prince Christian of Glücksburg. from Hoelseth's Royal Corner. Retrieved 7 November 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Christian IX of Denmark|
- Royal House of Denmark
- Ducal House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
- Landgravial House of Hesse-Kassel
- The Danish Monarchy's official site
- A detailed listing of his descendants
- An ancestor chart of him ; not necessarily reliable
Cadet branch of the House of OldenburgBorn: 8 April 1818 Died: 29 January 1906
|King of the Kingdom of Denmark
|Duke of Schleswig and
|Duke of Saxe-Lauenburg
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