Marie of Hesse-Kassel

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Marie of Hesse-Kassel
Marie sophie frederikke.jpg
Queen Marie with the Order of Christian VII, by Jens Juel
Queen consort of Denmark
Tenure 13 March 1808–3 December 1839
Queen consort of Norway
Tenure 13 March 1808–14 January 1814
Spouse Frederick VI
among others...
Caroline, Hereditary Princess of Denmark
Vilhelmine, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
House House of Hesse
Father Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel
Mother Princess Louise of Denmark
Born (1767-10-28)28 October 1767
Died 22 March 1852(1852-03-22) (aged 84)
Frederiksberg Palace
Burial Roskilde Cathedral
Religion Lutheranism

Marie Sophie Frederikke of Hesse-Kassel ( 28 October 1767 – 21/22 March 1852) was queen consort of Denmark and Norway. She also served as regent of Denmark in 1814–1815.


Marie Sophie supposedly holding a portrait of her fiancée by Cornelius Høyer

Maria was the eldest child of Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Louise of Denmark, born in Hanau. Her paternal grandparents were Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Mary of Great Britain, a daughter of King George II and Caroline of Ansbach. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick V of Denmark and Louise of Great Britain, another daughter of George II and Caroline of Ansbach. Her father was the second son of the ruler of Hesse-Kassel, and as such, had no principality of his own. Thus he acted in such positions as were offered to cadet members of royal houses by their reigning relatives. Denmark offered more and better positions than the small Hesse-Kassel.

Marie Sophie grew up largely in Denmark, where her father held notable positions, such as the governorships of provinces. Her mother was the third and youngest daughter of King Frederick V of Denmark and his consort, Louise of Great Britain. As such, she was the niece of King Christian VII and the Prince Regent Frederick, as well as their first cousin.


On 31 July 1790 in Gottorp, she married her first cousin Frederick, then crown prince and regent of Denmark, who would later ascend as King Frederick VI. In the aftermath of the defeat of Denmark's ally, Emperor Napoleon I of the French, Denmark-Norway fell apart and the king and queen of Denmark ceased being king and queen of Norway in 1814. Queen Marie was regent of Denmark in 1814–1815 during her husband's absence abroad.

Marie was selected by her cousin as his spouse mainly as a way for him to demonstrate his independence from his Court, who wanted a more political match. The marriage was greeted with great enthusiasm by the public when she arrived in Copenhagen, as she was regarded as completely Danish and not as a foreigner. At the royal court, she was overshadowed by her husband's sister, who was the real First Lady of the court. She was pressed by the demand to produce a son, and when her last childbirth resulted in an injury which prevented further intercourse, she was forced to accept her spouse's adultery with Frederikke Dannemand. She managed the affairs of state very well in 1814–15. She was interested in politics and genealogy, and wrote and published the Exposé de la situation politique du Danemarc in 1807–14. In 1822–24 she published the genealogy Supplement-Tafeln zu Joh, which inspired her spouse to take the later Christian IX of Denmark into his family. She protected the charity organisation Det Kvindelige Velgørende Selskab from 1815. As a widow, she withdrew from public life, respected as a symbol of the old dynasty. She died at Amalienborg in 1852.


Frederik VI and Queen Marie with Princesses Caroline and Vilhelmine. Painted by C.W. Eckersberg, 1821.

Marie and Frederick VI had eight children. None of Frederick VI's sons survived infancy, however, and when he died in 1839, he was succeeded by his cousin, Christian VIII of Denmark. The only surviving children of King Frederick VI and Queen Marie were their two daughters:

Queen Marie lamented her lack of sons and grandchildren. When her youngest sister, Duchess Louise Caroline of Lyksborg, became a widow when most of her large brood of children were as yet very young, Queen Marie accepted some of the younger ones into her tutelage in the royal household. They were much younger than the queen's two surviving daughters. One such foster child of hers was the future Christian IX of Denmark, born in 1818.

Christian of Lyksborg and his wife Louise of Hesse named their second daughter, Marie Sophie Frederikke Dagmar of Lyksborg (born 1847), in the queen's honor as her namesake. After her death in 1852, that girl became Tsarina Maria Fedorovna of Russia, preserving there the queen's first name (Maria/Marie).

She became the 292nd Dame of the Royal Order of Queen Maria Luisa on 17 April 1834.


Her titles were:

  • 1767–90 Her Serene Highness Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel
  • 1790–1808 Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark and Norway
  • 1808–14 Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark and Norway
  • 1814–39 Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark
  • 1839–52 Her Majesty The Queen Dowager of Denmark



Marie of Hesse-Kassel
Cadet branch of the House of Hesse
Born: 28 October 1767 Died: 22 March 1852
Royal titles
Title last held by
Caroline Matilda of Great Britain
Queen consort of Norway
Succeeded by
Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp
Queen consort of Denmark
Succeeded by
Caroline Amalie of Augustenburg