House of Glücksburg

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House of Glücksburg
Coat of arms of the House of Glücksburg.png
Country Denmark Kingdom of Denmark
Kingdom of Greece Kingdom of Greece
Iceland Kingdom of Iceland
Norway Kingdom of Norway
Schleswig-Holstein Schleswig-Holstein (claimed)
Parent house House of Oldenburg
Founded 6 July 1825
Founder Friedrich Wilhelm
Current head Christoph

The House of Glücksburg (also spelled Glücksborg), shortened from House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, is a Dano-German dynasty and the senior surviving branch of the House of Oldenburg, members of which have reigned at various times in Denmark, Norway, Greece and several northern German states.

Margrethe II of Denmark, Harald V of Norway, Constantine II of Greece, Queen Sofía of Spain and Charles, Prince of Wales are patrilineal members of cadet branches of the Glücksburg dynasty.[1][2][3]

Glücksburg Castle, one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe


The family takes its ducal name from Glücksburg, a small coastal town in Schleswig, on the southern, German side of the fjord of Flensburg that divides Germany from Denmark.[2] In 1460, Glücksburg came, as part of the conjoined Dano-German duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, to Count Christian VII of Oldenburg whom, in 1448, the Danes had elected their king as Christian I, the Norwegians likewise taking him as their hereditary king in 1450.[2]

In 1564, Christian I's great-grandson, King Frederick II, in re-distributing Schleswig and Holstein's fiefs, retained some lands for his own senior royal line while allocating Glücksburg to his brother Duke John the Younger (1545-1622), along with Sonderburg, in appanage.[2] John's heirs further sub-divided their share and created, among other branches, a line of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg dukes at Beck (an estate near Minden bought by the family in 1605), who remained vassals of Denmark's kings.[2]

By 1825, the castle of Glücksburg had returned to the Danish crown (from another ducal branch called Glücksburg, extinct in 1779) and was given that year by King Frederick VI, along with a new ducal title, to his kinsman Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck.[4] Frederick suffixed the territorial designation to the ducal title he already held, in lieu of "Beck" (an estate the family had, in fact, sold in 1745).[2] Thus emerged the extant Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

The Danish line of Oldenburg kings died out in 1863, and the elder line of the Schleswig-Holstein family became extinct with the death of the last Augustenburg duke in 1931. Thereafter, the House of Glücksburg became the senior surviving line of the House of Oldenburg. Another cadet line of Oldenburgs, the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp, consisted of two branches which held onto sovereignty into the 20th century. But members of the Romanov line were executed in or exiled from their Russian Empire in 1917, while the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg was abolished in 1918, although its dynastic line survives.[2]

Neither the Dukes of Beck nor of Glücksburg had been sovereign rulers; they held their lands in fief from the ruling Dukes of Schleswig and Holstein, i.e. the Kings of Denmark and (until 1773) the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp.

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the fourth son of Duke Friedrich of Glücksburg, was recognized in the London Protocol of 1852 as successor to the childless King Frederick VII of Denmark. He became King of Denmark as Christian IX on 15 November 1863.[2]

Prince Vilhelm, the second son of Crown Prince Christian and Crown Princess Luise, was elected King of the Hellenes on 30 March 1863, succeeding the ousted Wittelsbach Otto of Greece and reigning under the name George I.

Prince Carl, the second son of Frederick VIII of Denmark, Christian IX's eldest son, became King of Norway on 18 November 1905 as Haakon VII of Norway.

Christian IX's daughters, Alexandra of Denmark and Dagmar of Denmark (as Maria Feodorovna) became the consorts of, respectively, Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Alexander III of Russia. As a result, by 1914 descendants of King Christian IX held the crowns of several European realms, and he became known as the "Father-in-law of Europe".

Christian IX's older brother inherited formal headship of the family as Karl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. It is his descendants who now represent the senior line of both the Schleswig-Holstein branch and of the entire House of Oldenburg.

Patrilineal ancestry of Duke Friedrich Wilhelm[edit]

  1. Elimar I, Count of Oldenburg
  2. Elimar II, Count of Oldenburg
  3. Christian I, Count of Oldenburg (Christian the Quarrelsome)
  4. Maurice, Count of Oldenburg
  5. Christian II, Count of Oldenburg
  6. John I, Count of Oldenburg
  7. Christian III, Count of Oldenburg
  8. John II, Count of Oldenburg
  9. Conrad I, Count of Oldenburg
  10. Christian V, Count of Oldenburg
  11. Dietrich, Count of Oldenburg
  12. Christian I of Denmark
  13. Frederick I of Denmark
  14. Christian III of Denmark
  15. John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg
  16. Alexander, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg
  17. August Philipp, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  18. Frederick Louis, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  19. Peter August, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  20. Karl Anton August, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  21. Friedrich Karl Ludwig, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  22. Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg


Coat of arms of the Prince of Schleswig-Holstein

The Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg constitute the senior male line of the family. They hold the headship by primogeniture of both the House of Glücksburg and the entire House of Oldenburg.

Portrait Name Life Reign
Prins Vilhelm 1785-1831.jpg Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1785–1831 1825–1831
1813 Carl von Glucksburg.jpg Karl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1813–1878 1831–1878
Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (1841).jpg Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1814–1885 1878–1885
DukeFRIEDRICHFERDINAND.jpg Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1855–1934 1885–1934
PrinceFriedrich2.jpg Wilhelm Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1891–1965 1934–1965
Peter, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1922–1980 1965–1980
Christoph of Schleswig-Holstein 2010 crop.jpg Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein 1949– 1980–

The heir apparent is Friedrich Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of Schleswig-Holstein (b. 1985).


In 1853, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg became heir to the Kingdom of Denmark, and in 1863, he ascended the throne. He was the third son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, whose elder brother (and male-line descendants) retained the Glücksburg dukedom.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
Christian IX af Henrik Olrik.jpg Christian IX 1818–1906 1863–1906 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
Prior to ascending the throne:
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
(Danish: Prins af Slesvig-Holsten-Sønderborg-Glückborg)
Frederik IIX - Otto Bache.jpg Frederick VIII 1843–1912 1906–1912 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
King Christian X of Denmark.jpg Christian X 1870–1947 1912–1947 King of Iceland (used 1918–1944)
King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
Frederick IX of Denmark.jpg Frederick IX 1899–1972 1947–1972 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
Drottning Margrethe av Danmark.jpg Margrethe II 1940– 1972–

The heir apparent is Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark (b. 1968), who belongs agnatically to the Monpezat family. See the present line of succession. Although there are no more male members of the dynastic line of Glũcksburgs domiciled in Denmark, there are descendants of Christian IX who married without the monarch's permission, thus forfeiting their royal status.[5] They bear the Danish noble title "Count of Rosenborg" (and the style of Excellency), heritable by their descendants in the legitimate male line.


Thirty-drachma coin of 1963, commemorating the centennial of the reign of the House of Glücksburg. Clockwise from the top: Paul, George II, Alexander, Constantine I and George I.

In 1863 and with the name George I, Prince Wilhelm of Denmark was elected King of the Hellenes on the recommendation of Europe's Great Powers. He was a younger son of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
King George of Hellenes.jpg George I 1845–1913 1863–1913 Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Constantine I of Greece.jpg Constantine I 1868–1923 1913–1917
Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
King Alexander of Greece.jpg Alexander 1893–1920 1917–1920 Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Georgeiiofgreece.jpg George II 1890–1947 1922–1924
Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Paul I of Greece.jpg Paul 1901–1964 1947–1964 Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
King Constantine.jpg Constantine II 1940– 1964–1973 Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

The Hellenic constitutional monarchy was usurped in a coup d'état by a military junta in 1968 and the royal family fled into exile. In a 1974 referendum, 69.18% of the voters decided against the return of the monarchy.


In 1905 and with the name Haakon VII, Prince Carl of Denmark became King of Norway. His father was King Frederick VIII of Denmark, and one of his uncles was King George I of Greece.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
Haakon7.jpg Haakon VII 1872–1957 1905–1957 Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Olav V of Norway.jpg Olav V 1903–1991 1957–1991 Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Medvedev harald guards (crop).jpg Harald V 1937– 1991– Prince of Denmark
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

The heir apparent is Crown Prince Haakon of Norway (b. 1973). See the present line of succession.


In 1918, Iceland was elevated from an autonomous Danish province to a separate Kingdom of Iceland. Christian X of Denmark was henceforth King of Denmark and Iceland until 1944, when Iceland dissolved the union between the two countries.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
King Christian X of Denmark.jpg Christian X 1870–1947 1918–1944 King of Denmark
King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg

The heir apparent was his son Frederick IX of Denmark (1899–1972).

Duke of Edinburgh[edit]

Coat of arms of the Duke of Edinburgh

In 1947, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (who relinquished his princely titles and adopted the surname of Mountbatten upon becoming a British subject prior to his wedding) was created Duke of Edinburgh by his father-in-law, George VI. Descendants in the male-line of his marriage to Queen Elizabeth II belong, by decree, to the House of Windsor and use "Mountbatten-Windsor" as a surname, when one is needed. The first seventeen places in the line of succession to the British throne are held by the Duke's descendants.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
Prince Philip NASA cropped.jpg Philip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh[2] 1921– 1947– Earl of Merioneth
Baron Greenwich

The heir-apparent is Charles, Prince of Wales (born 1948).[a]

Family tree[edit]

Family Tree of house of Oldenborg and its cadet branch the house of Glucksborg and its branches

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Whilst the letters patent state that the dukedom and two attached peerages are to be inherited by the heirs male of the original duke, i.e. by the current Prince of Wales as Philip's eldest son, it was announced in 1999 that Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, i.e. a younger brother of the Prince of Wales, would follow their father as Duke of Edinburgh. Pending changes to that effect, the Prince of Wales legally remains the ducal heir.


  1. ^ "Prince Philip beats the record for longest-serving consort". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 18 April 2009. Retrieved 6 September 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Michel Huberty, Alain Giraud, F. and B. Magdelaine. L'Allemagne Dynastique, Volume VII. Laballery, 1994. pp. 7-8, 27-28, 30-31, 58, 144, 168, 181, 204, 213-214, 328, 344, 353-354, 356, 362, 367. ISBN 2-901138-07-1, ISBN 978-2-901138-07-5
  3. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. "Burke’s Royal Families of the World: Volume I Europe & Latin America, 1977, pp. 325-326. ISBN 0-85011-023-8
  4. ^ Gothaisches Genealogisches Handbuch der Fürstlchen Häuser, Band I. Verlag des Deutschen Adelsarchivs. Marburg. 2015. p. 140 (German). ISBN 978-3-9817243-0-1.
  5. ^ Kongeloven, LOV nr 20001 af 14/11/1665 Gældende (Kongeloven) Offentliggørelsesdato: 28-01-2000 Statsministeriet. 1665. (English translation of the Kongelov). retrieved 25 April 2016.

External links[edit]