Duchess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

Duchess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (4 December 1784 – 13 July 1840), was the first wife of King Christian VIII from 1806 until 1810, before he became King of Denmark. She was a daughter of Frederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Princess Louise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg, the seventh of the couple's surviving children born at Ludwigslust's court.

Duchess Charlotte Frederica
Hereditary Princess of Denmark
Painting by Breda
Born(1784-12-04)4 December 1784
Ludwigslust, Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Died13 July 1840(1840-07-13) (aged 55)
Rome, Papal States
Teutonic Cemetery, Rome (allegedly)
SpouseChristian, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
IssueFrederick VII of Denmark
Full name
German: Charlotte Friederike
Danish: Charlotte Frederikke
FatherFrederick Francis I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
MotherLouise of Saxe-Gotha-Altenburg
ReligionRoman Catholicism,
prev. Lutheranism


On a visit to Mecklenburg, Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark stayed at his uncle's court in Schwerin, where he fell in love with his cousin, Duchess Charlotte, and two years later he married her.


The young couple took residence first at Amalienborg royal complex, and partly at Sorgenfri, but married life was unhappy. Charlotte's character was thought to be capricious and frivolous. In 1808, she gave birth to her husband's only surviving son, the future King Frederick VII of Denmark.

Charlotte Frederica's alleged affair with her singing teacher, Swiss-born singer and composer Édouard Du Puy, led to her removal from the court. For this reason, her husband divorced her in 1810, sent her into internal exile in Horsens, and prohibited her from seeing her son again.

Later life

After her divorce, Charlotte Frederica spent the next years of her life in a palace in Horsens, in Jutland and partly in Aarhus, where she cultivated social circles among the local bourgeoisie and had affairs with officers. In 1829 she moved from Denmark to Karlsbad under the name "Mrs. von Gothen." In 1830 she traveled to Italy, finally settling in Rome and later converted to the Catholic faith.

Charlotte Frederica died in Rome in 1840. Her death was described as a relief to the court in Copenhagen as she dreamed of someday returning as the King's mother. Frederik VII, who was only one year old when she had to leave him, showed great reverence towards the memory of his late mother: he collected portraits of her in his rooms at Jægerspris Castle, and when he visited Horsens on Sept. 1857 he officially thanked the city "for the love and kindness that was shown to her."

She was allegedly buried in the Teutonic Cemetery in Vatican City. Her tomb was opened on 11 July 2019 due to investigations related to the disappearance of Emanuela Orlandi case, but was found to be empty.[1][2]



  1. Rodari, Paolo (11 July 2019). "Caso Orlandi, il fratello Pietro: "Tombe aperte e trovate vuote: incredibile"". La Repubblica (in Italian). Rome. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  2. Reynolds, James (11 July 2019). "Emanuela Orlandi search: Empty tombs fail to solve Vatican mystery". BBC News. Vatican City. Retrieved 11 July 2019.
  • Bramsen, Bo, "Ferdinand og Caroline", Politikens Förlag, Köpenhamn 1969

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