Frederick VIII of Denmark

Frederick VIII (Christian Frederik Vilhelm Carl) (3 June 1843 – 14 May 1912) was King of Denmark from 1906 to 1912. Before his accession to the throne at age 62, he served as crown prince for over 42 years. During the long reign of his father, King Christian IX, he was largely excluded from influence and political power.[1]

Frederick VIII
Painting by Otto Bache, 1910
King of Denmark
Reign29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912
PredecessorChristian IX
SuccessorChristian X
Prime Ministers
BornPrince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
(1843-06-03)3 June 1843
The Yellow Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Died14 May 1912(1912-05-14) (aged 68)
Hamburg, German Empire
Louise of Sweden
(m. 1869; died 1926)
Full name
Christian Frederik Vilhelm Carl
FatherChristian IX of Denmark
MotherLouise of Hesse-Kassel

Early life

Frederick was born on 3 June 1843 in the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen as Prince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, a junior male line of the House of Oldenburg, which was descended from Christian III of Denmark and which had ruled as non-sovereign dukes in Schleswig-Holstein for eight generations, including Frederick's grandfather. Frederick's parents were Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Louise of Hesse-Kassel.[2]

In 1853, his father was chosen as the heir presumptive to the Danish throne, because Frederick's mother, Louise of Hesse-Kassel, was a close relative of the last Danish king of the Oldenburg main line (the other heirs of the House of Hesse renounced their claims to the Danish throne in favour of Louise and her husband). Accordingly, Frederick became a Prince of Denmark in 1853.[3]

After his confirmation in 1860, Frederick was given a military education. In 1863, Prince Frederick was sent to do studies at the University of Oxford but when his father ascended the throne in November that year, he became Crown Prince and returned to Denmark. As Crown Prince of Denmark, he was given a seat in the State Council and subsequently assisted his father in the duties of government. In 1864, he formally took part in the Second Schleswig War against Prussia.


Louise of Hesse wanted her eldest son to marry as well as had her two daughters; Alexandra and Dagmar. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom had two yet unmarried daughters, Princess Helena and Princess Louise, and Louise tried to marry Frederick to one of them. However, the British Queen didn't want her daughters to marry the heirs to foreign crowns, as this would force them to live abroad. She preferred German princes who could establish homes in the UK. In addition, Victoria had always been pro-German and another Danish alliance (Frederick's sister, Alexandra, had married Victoria's eldest son, Edward, Prince of Wales), would not have been in line with her German interests.[4] [5]

In July 1868, Frederick became engaged to Princess Louise of Sweden, the 17-year-old only daughter of King Charles XV of Sweden and IV of Norway. Princess Louise belonged to the Bernadotte dynasty, which had ruled in Sweden since 1818, when the founder, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon Bonaparte's generals, was elected crown prince of Sweden in 1810 and later succeeded the throne as Charles XIV of Sweden in 1818. He married Désirée Clary, who had once been engaged to the French Emperor. Charles XIV's son, Oscar I of Sweden, married Josephine of Leuchtenberg, granddaughter of Napoleon's first wife, the Empress Josephine. King Oscar I and Queen Josephine were Princess Louise's paternal grandparents.[6]

The marriage was suggested as a way of creating friendship between Denmark and Sweden. The two countries were in a tense situation after Sweden had not assisted Denmark during the war with Prussia in 1864. Frederick and Louise had met for the first time in 1862, but in 1868 Frederick was invited to Sweden to get to know Louise, and their meeting was described as a success. They became engaged the same year. She was the first Swedish princess to be married into the Danish royal house since the Middle Ages, and the marriage was welcomed in all three Scandinavian countries as a symbol of the new Scandinavism.

Crown Prince Frederick and Louise of Sweden married at the Royal Palace in Stockholm on 28 July 1869. The couple resided at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen, spending the summers at Charlottenlund Palace north of the city. They had four sons and four daughters. The eldest sons, Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway became kings of Denmark and Norway respectively. [7] [8] [9]


Frederick became king of Denmark as Frederick VIII upon Christian IX's death on 29 January 1906. He was 62 years old at the time and had been Crown Prince for 43 years. In many ways Frederick VIII was a liberal ruler who was much more favorable to the new parliamentarian system than his father had been. He was reform-minded and democratically inclined. However, because of his very late accession to the throne he had only six years as regent and he was weakened by ill health.


On his return journey from a trip to Nice, King Frederick made a short stop in Hamburg, staying at the Hotel Hamburger Hof. The evening of his arrival on 14 May 1912, Frederick (incognito) took a walk on the Jungfernstieg. While walking he became faint and collapsed on a park bench and died. He was discovered by a police officer who took him to a Hafen hospital where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death was announced as a paralysis-attack. He was interred with other members of the Danish royal family in Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen.


The royal families of Denmark, Norway, Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from King Frederick VIII. Denmark through his eldest son Christian X of Denmark, Norway's family goes through the line of his son, Haakon VII of Norway, and the families of Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from his daughter, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark.[10]

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
Frederick VIII of Denmark
Reference styleHis Majesty
Spoken styleYour Majesty

Titles and styles

  • 3 June 1843 – 31 July 1853: His Highness Prince Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  • 31 July 1853 – 21 December 1858: His Highness Prince Frederick of Denmark
  • 21 December 1858 – 15 November 1863: His Royal Highness Prince Frederick of Denmark
  • 15 November 1863 – 29 January 1906: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince of Denmark
  • 29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912: His Majesty The King of Denmark

His full style was Frederick VIII, 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


King Frederick VIII Land in Greenland is named after him.

National honours[11]
Foreign honours[13]
Honorary military appointments



Christian X of Denmark26 September 187020 April 1947Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-SchwerinFrederik IX of Denmark
Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
Haakon VII of Norway3 August 187221 September 1957Princess Maud of WalesOlav V of Norway
Princess Louise of Denmark17 February 18754 April 1906Prince Frederick of Schaumburg-LippeMarie Louise, Princess Friedrich Sigismund of Prussia
Prince Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe
Stephanie, Princess Viktor Adolf of Bentheim and Steinfurt
Prince Harald of Denmark8 October 187630 March 1949Princess Helena Adelaide of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-GlücksburgFeodora, Princess Christian of Schaumburg-Lippe
Caroline-Mathilde, Hereditary Princess of Denmark
Alexandrine-Louise, Countess Luitpold of Castell-Castell
Prince Gorm of Denmark
Count Oluf of Rosenborg
Princess Ingeborg of Denmark2 August 187812 March 1958Prince Carl, Duke of VästergötlandMargaretha, Princess Axel of Denmark
Märtha Louise, Crown Princess of Norway
Astrid, Queen of the Belgians
Prince Carl, Duke of Östergötland
Princess Thyra of Denmark4 March 18802 November 1945unmarriednone
Prince Gustav of Denmark4 March 18875 October 1944unmarriednone
Princess Dagmar of Denmark23 May 189011 October 1961Jørgen CastenskioldCarl Castenskiold
Christian Castenskiold
Jørgen Castenskiold
Dagmar Castenskiold
Christian Frederik Castenskjold


  1. "Frederik (Christian F. Vilhelm Carl), f. 1843, Kronprins". Dansk biografisk Lexikon. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  2. "Louise Vilhelmine Frederikke Caroline Augusta Julie". Dansk Kvindebiografisk Leksikon. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  3. "Christian IX". Amalienborg. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  4. "Maria Feodorovna, Empress Consort of Russia". Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  5. "Alexandra". Amalienborg. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  6. "Lovisa - Lovisa Josephina Eugenia". Svenskt biografiskt handlexikon. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  7. "Louise, 1724 - 51 Frederik V's Dronning". Dansk biografisk Lexikon. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  8. "Christian 10". Amalienborg. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  9. "Haakon 7". Store norske leksikon. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  10. "Ingeborg C C F L". Svenskt biografiskt lexikon. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  11. Kongelig Dansk Hof-og Statskalendar (1900) (in Danish), "De Kongelig Danske Ridderordener", pp. 4, 6
  12. Justus Perthes, Almanach de Gotha 1912 (1912) page 33
  13. Kongelig ... Statskalendar (1912) (in Danish), "De Kongelig Danske Ridderordener", p. 3
  14. "A Szent István Rend tagjai" Archived 22 December 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  15. Hof- und Staats-Handbuch des Großherzogtum Hessen (1879), "Großherzogliche Orden und Ehrenzeichen" p. 12
  16. Corston, Daniel "Unofficial website dedicated to the Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz"
  17. Boettger, T. F. "Chevaliers de la Toisón d'Or - Knights of the Golden Fleece". La Confrérie Amicale. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  18. "Norges Statskalender (1890) pp. 593-594" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06 via
  19. "Sveriges Statskalender (1909) p. 613" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06 via
  20. "Sveriges Statskalender (1905) p. 605" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06 via
  21. Shaw, Wm. A. (1906) The Knights of England, I, London, p. 212
  22. Shaw, p. 70
  23. Shaw, p. 424
  24. "No. 27292". The London Gazette. 8 March 1901. p. 1647.
  25. Shaw, p. 415
  26. "155 (Svensk rikskalender / 1909)". (in Swedish). Retrieved 2018-01-06.
Frederik VIII
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 3 June 1843 Died: 14 May 1912
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Christian IX
King of Denmark
Succeeded by
Christian X
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