Frederick VIII of Denmark

Frederik VIII

The king in 1910
King of Denmark (more...)
Reign 29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912
Predecessor Christian IX
Successor Christian X
Prime Ministers
Born (1843-06-03)3 June 1843
The Yellow Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Died 14 May 1912(1912-05-14) (aged 68)
Hamburg, Germany
Burial Roskilde Cathedral
Spouse Louise of Sweden
Christian X, King of Denmark
Haakon VII, King of Norway
Louise, Princess Friedrich of Schaumburg-Lippe
Prince Harald
Princess Ingeborg, Duchess of Västergötland
Princess Thyra
Prince Gustav
Princess Dagmar
House Glücksburg
Father Christian IX of Denmark
Mother Louise of Hesse-Kassel
Religion Lutheran

Frederik 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 43 years. During the long reign of his father, King Christian IX, he was largely excluded from influence and political power.

Early life

Frederik's birthplace: the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen

Frederik was born on 3 June 1843 in the Yellow Palace in Copenhagen as Prince Frederik 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 Frederik's grandfather. Frederik's parents were Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and Louise of Hesse-Kassel.

In 1853, his father was chosen as the heir presumptive to the Danish throne, because Frederik'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, Frederik became a Prince of Denmark in 1853.

Crown Prince Frederik

After his confirmation in 1860, Frederik was given a military education. In 1863, Prince Frederik 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 her two daughters, Alexandra and Dagmar, had. Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom had two yet unmarried daughters, Princess Helena and Princess Louise, and Louise tried to marry Frederik 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 (Frederik's sister, Alexandra, had married Victoria's eldest son, the Prince of Wales), would not have been in line with her German interests.

Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Louise of Sweden

In July 1868, Frederik 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's family was related by marriage to Napoleon Bonaparte. She belonged to the Bernadotte dynasty, which had ruled in Sweden since 1818, when the founder, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon'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.

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. Frederik and Louise had met for the first time in 1862, but in 1868 Frederik 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 Frederik 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 marriage was not a happy one, nor did it have any effect on the relationship between the two countries.


Frederik VIII in 1909

Frederik became king of Denmark as Frederik VIII on 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 Frederik VIII was a liberal ruler who was much more favorable to the new parliamentarian system than his father had been. Because of his very late accession to the throne he had only a few years to show his ability and he was weakened by ill health.


On his return journey from a trip to Nice, King Frederik made a short stop in Hamburg, staying at the Hotel Hamburger Hof. The evening of his arrival on 14 May 1912, Frederik (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 Frederik VIII. Denmark comes naturally, Norway's family goes through the line of his son, Prince Carl, and the families of Belgium and Luxembourg are descended from his daughter, Princess Ingeborg of Denmark.

Titles, styles and honours

Styles of
Frederik VIII of Denmark
Reference style His Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty

Titles and styles

His full style was Frederik 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 Frederik VIII Land in Greenland is named after him.

Frederik VIII was the 1,065th Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain, the 806th Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1896, Colonel-in-Chief of The Buffs (Royal East Kent Regiment) and the 152nd Grand Cross of the Order of the Tower and Sword.

Ancestry and descent



Christian X of Denmark18701947Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-SchwerinFrederik IX of Denmark
Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
Haakon VII of Norway18721957Princess Maud of WalesOlav V of Norway
Princess Louise of Denmark18751906Prince 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 Denmark18761949Princess 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 Denmark18781958Prince 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 Denmark18801945unmarriednone
Prince Gustav of Denmark18871944unmarriednone
Princess Dagmar of Denmark18901961Jørgen CastenskioldCarl Castenskiold
Christian Castenskiold
Jørgen Castenskiold
Dagmar Castenskiold
Christian Frederik Castenskjold


  1. The London Gazette: no. 27292. p. 1647. 8 March 1901. Retrieved 16-10-2012.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Frederik VIII of Denmark.
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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