Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Denmark

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Hereditary Prince of Denmark and Norway
Arveprins Frederik (Juel).JPG
Portrait by Jens Juel, 1785.
Regency 1772-1784
Spouse Duchess Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Issue Christian VIII of Denmark
Juliane Sophie, Landgravine of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld
Charlotte, Landgravine of Hesse-Kassel
Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
House House of Oldenburg
Father Frederick V of Denmark
Mother Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
Born (1753-10-11)11 October 1753
Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Died 7 December 1805(1805-12-07) (aged 52)
Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark
Burial Roskilde Cathedral
Religion Lutheranism
Danish Royalty
House of Oldenburg
Main Line
Royal Arms of Norway & Denmark (1699-1819).svg
Frederick V
   Prince Christian
   Sophia Magdalena, Queen of Sweden
   Wilhelmina Caroline, Electress of Hesse
   Christian VII
   Princess Louise
   Hereditary Prince Frederick
   Princess Juliana Marie
   Christian VIII
   Princess Juliana Sophie
   Princess Louise Charlotte
   Hereditary Prince Ferdinand

Frederick, Hereditary Prince of Denmark (Danish: Frederik; 11 October 1753 – 7 December 1805) was heir presumptive to the thrones of Denmark and Norway. He was the surviving son of King Frederick V by his second wife, Juliana Maria of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel.

Hereditary Prince Frederick acted as regent on behalf of his half-brother King Christian VII from 1772 to 1784.

Background and early life[edit]

Frederick was born at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen on 11 October 1753. To provide for his future position, at the age of 3 he was elected coadjutor in the Prince-Bishopric of Lübeck. This meant that in time he would succeed the Prince-Bishop then in office, Frederick August. This plan had to be abandoned, however, and Frederick stayed in Denmark as a junior member of the royal family.


He married Duchess Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1758–1794) in Copenhagen on 21 October 1774. She was a daughter of Duke Louis of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Princess Charlotte Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld.

Regent of the kingdom[edit]

Hereditary Prince Frederick, Regent of the Kingdom by Vigilius Eriksen.

His elder half-brother, King Christian VII, suffering from a severe mental illness (believed to have been schizophrenia), and having been divorced from his wife, Caroline Matilda of Great Britain (who was then exiled), Prince Frederick was designated as regent of Denmark in 1772, when 18 years old. His regency was mostly nominal, the power being held by his mother, Queen Juliane Marie, and minister Ove Høegh-Guldberg.

He acted as regent until the coup of 1784, when his 16-year-old half-nephew Frederick (the future King Frederick VI), took power and regency.

Later life[edit]

Hereditary Prince Frederick in 1790.

After the coup, Frederick was left without much influence at the court. As his half-nephew did not have any surviving sons, Hereditary Prince Frederick again became heir presumptive to the throne on the death of his half-brother and accession of his half-nephew. Eventually, his son Christian Frederick would succeed Frederick VI as king.

After Christiansborg Palace was destroyed by fire in 1794, Hereditary Prince Frederick moved with his family to Amalienborg Palace. Sophia Frederica died the same year, shortly after the move. Hereditary Prince Frederick outlived his wife by 11 years and died at Amalienborg Palace on 7 December 1805.

In Literature[edit]

Prince Frederick is an important character in Norah Lofts' historical novel The Lost Queen (1969), chronicling the tragic marriage of King Christian VII and Queen Caroline Matilda. The book suggests that Frederick was himself in love with the Queen and jealous of her lover Johann Friedrich Struensee - which is not firmly attested in historical sources.




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