Frederick VI of Denmark
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Danish Wikipedia. (December 2012)|
Frederick VI (Danish: Frederik den Sjette; 28 January 1768 – 3 December 1839) was king of Denmark from 13 March 1808 to 3 December 1839 and king of Norway from 13 March 1808 to 7 February 1814. From 1784 until his accession, he served as Crown Prince Regent during his father's mental illness.
For his motto he chose: God and the just cause (Danish: Gud og den retfærdige sag) and since the time of his reign, Danish monarchs have only used mottos in the Danish language instead of the usual Latin.
Early life Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen on 28 January 1768. His parents were King Christian VII and Caroline Matilda of Great Britain. He was born after 15 months of marriage, just a day before his father's 19th birthday, when his mother was 16. As the eldest son of the ruling king, he automatically became crown prince at birth.
On 30 January of the same year, he was baptised at Christiansborg Palace by Ludvig Harboe, Bishop of Zealand. His godparents were King Christian VII (his father), Dowager Queen Juliane Marie (his stepgrandmother) and Hereditary Prince Frederick (his half-uncle).
His father suffered from serious psychological problems, including suspected schizophrenia expressed by catatonic periods that resulted in his standing down from power for most of his reign. On 8 January 1772, his 18-year-old half-uncle Hereditary Prince Frederick (father of Christian VIII of Denmark) was made regent, although the real power was held by Queen Juliana Maria, who was aided by Ove Høegh-Guldberg. Finally, on 14 April 1784, the crown prince was declared of legal majority, and in a coup, took the regency from his half-uncle. He continued as regent of Denmark under his father's name until the latter's death in 1808.
Crown prince's regency 
During the regency, Frederick instituted widespread liberal reforms with the assistance of Chief Minister Andreas Peter Bernstorff, including the abolition of serfdom in 1788. Crises encountered during his reign include disagreement with the British over neutral shipping. This resulted in two British attacks on Copenhagen, the Battle of Copenhagen and the Battle of Copenhagen (1807). The conflict continued in the Gunboat War between Denmark-Norway and the United Kingdom, which lasted until the Treaty of Kiel in 1814.
There was speculation that he was to marry a Prussian princess, a choice supported by his step-mother Juliane Marie and her brother-in-law Frederick the Great. To show his independence from advisors, he personally selected his first-cousin Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel, a member of a German family with close marriage links with the royal families of both Denmark and Great Britain. They married in Gottorp on 31 July 1790 and had eight children. The youngest of them, Princess Wilhelmine, became the wife of the future Frederick VII of Denmark. None of Frederick VI's sons survived infancy, however, and when he died, he was succeeded by his cousin Christian.
King of Denmark and loss of Norway 
Frederick became King of Denmark on 13 March 1808. When the throne of Sweden seemed likely to become vacant in 1809, Frederick was interested in being elected there, too. Frederick actually was the first monarch of Denmark and Norway to descend from Gustav I of Sweden, who had secured Sweden's independence in 1520s after a period of union with other Scandinavian countries. However, Frederick's brother-in-law, Prince Christian Augustus of Augustenborg, was first elected to the throne of Sweden, then the French Marshal Bernadotte.
After his defeat in the Napoleonic Wars in 1814 and the loss of Norway, Frederick VI carried through an authoritarian and reactionary course, giving up the liberal ideas of his years as a prince regent. Censorship and suppression of all opposition together with the poor state of the country's economy made this period of his reign somewhat gloomy, though the king himself in general maintained his position of a "patriarch" and a well-meaning autocrat. From the 1830s the economic depression was eased a bit and from 1834 the king reluctantly accepted a small democratic innovation by the creation of the Assemblies of the Estate (purely consultative regional assemblies).
Later life 
Frederick VI was known as a patron of astronomy and in 1832 offered gold medal prizes to anyone who discovered a comet using a telescope. His successors continued this until 1850. The prize was terminated in the aftermath of the First War of Schleswig.
After the discovery of Haraldskær Woman in a peat bog in Jutland in the year 1835, Frederick VI ordered a royal interment in an elaborately carved sarcophagus for the Iron Age mummy, decreeing it to be the body of Queen Gunnhild. Later this identification proved incorrect, but the action suited his political agenda at the time.
Frederick reigned over Denmark for a total of 55 years - 24 as crown prince regent and 31 years as king.
The surviving children of King Frederick VI and Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke were their two daughters. Their children were: