House of Glücksburg

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

House of Glücksburg
Parent houseHouse of Oldenburg
Founded6 July 1825; 198 years ago (1825-07-06)
(17 December 1633; 390 years ago (1633-12-17) as Beck)
FounderFriedrich Wilhelm
(August Philipp as Beck)
Current headFriedrich Ferdinand, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, Duke of Glücksburg
Connected families Mountbatten-Windsor
Cadet branches

The House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, better known as the House of Glücksburg, is a collateral branch of the German[1] House of Oldenburg. Its members have reigned at various times in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Greece, and several northern German states.

Current monarchs King Harald V of Norway and King Charles III of the United Kingdom,[a] as well as the former Queen of Denmark Margrethe II and former queens consort Anne-Marie of Greece and Sofía of Spain, are patrilineal members of cadet branches of the House of Glücksburg.[3][4][5]

The water-castle Glücksburg Castle—ancestral seat of the House of Glücksburg—is located in the "Schlossteich" (palace pond) in Glücksburg (Ostsee), a town located on the Anglia Peninsula in the (Southern) Schleswigian part of Schleswig-Holstein, in the very north of Germany, where the close-by Flensburg Firth (visible in the background) constitutes the border with Denmark.


"House of Glücksburg" is the shortened form of "House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg"—a collateral branch of the House of Oldenburg. The house derives its name from two regions and two towns on the Jutland Peninsula.

The two regions of Schleswig and Holstein are divided by the Eider River. While Schleswig for centuries constituted the southernmost region of Denmark, Holstein historically has been the northernmost area within the Holy Roman Empire. The northern border of Holstein along the Eider had already formed the northern border of Francia and the Carolingian Empire, after Emperor Charlemagne upon the Saxon Wars reached an agreement with King Hemming of Denmark in 811. The lands of Schleswig beyond the river remained a fief of the Danish Crown, while Holstein became an integral part of East Francia, the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. Even earlier, the Eider had already been the border river between Saxons and Polabian Slavs to the south, and Danes and North Frisians to the north. This is evidenced in the largely Slavic-derived toponomy in Holstein, as opposed to the many Danish-derived place names in Schleswig including Southern Schleswig. Since the 1920 Schleswig plebiscites, Schleswig has been divided between Denmark (Northern Schleswig), and Germany (Southern Schleswig).

The town of Sønderborg—the German name of which is "Sonderburg"—is located on the northern shores of the Flensburg Firth in Denmark (Northern Schleswig), while Glücksburg (Ostsee) lies on the southern shores of the firth in Germany (Southern Schleswig). The "Ostsee" suffix means "Baltic Sea" (East Sea).

Since Glücksburg Castle is the ancestral seat of the house, the house is mostly shortened to just "House of Glücksburg". It is also spelled "House of Glücksborg" (the name of Glücksburg in the local Low German dialect) or "House of Lyksborg" (the Danish name of Glücksburg).

The literal translation of "Glücksburg" is "Luck's Castle" (Glück = luck; Burg = castle). Glücksburg is officially bilingual and since 2016, there are German/Danish city limit signs in the town.


2 rigsdaler - death of Frederik VII and accession of Christian IX marking the transfer of the throne to the Glucksburg branch of the House of Oldenburg[6]

Glücksburg is a small coastal town on the German southern side of the fjord of Flensburg that divides Germany from Denmark.[4] In 1460, Glücksburg came, as part of the conjoined Dano-German duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, to Count Christian 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.[4]

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 Sønderborg, in appanage.[4] 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.[4]

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.[7] 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).[4] 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.[4]

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.[4]

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 and Dagmar (as Maria Feodorovna) became the consorts of, respectively, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Emperor 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, followed by their brother Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. It is his descendants who now represent the senior line of the Schleswig-Holstein branch of the House of Oldenburg, with Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, as its current head.

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 Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein

The Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg constitute the senior male line of the branch. They hold the headship by primogeniture of the cadet house of Glücksburg. The headship by agnatic primogeniture of the entire House of Oldenburg is held by Friedrich Ferdinand, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein.

Portrait Name Life Reign
Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1785–1831 1825–1831
Karl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1813–1878 1831–1878
Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1814–1885 1878–1885
Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1855–1934 1885–1934
Wilhelm Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1891–1965 1934–1965
Peter, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1922–1980 1965–1980
Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein 1949–2023 1980–2023
Friedrich Ferdinand, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein born 1985 2023–present

The heir apparent is Prince Alfred of Schleswig-Holstein (born 2019).


Coat of arms of Denmark from 1972

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 fourth son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, whose elder brother (and male-line descendants) retained the Glücksburg dukedom. The Danish royal family still calls itself Glücksborg, using a slightly Danicized form of Glücksburg.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
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 VIII 1843–1912 1906–1912 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
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
Frederik IX 1899–1972 1947–1972 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
Margrethe II born 1940 1972–2024


Coat of arms of the King of the Hellenes
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 the second son of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
George I 1845–1913 1863–1913
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Constantine I 1868–1923
  • 1913–1917
  • 1920–1922
  • Prince of Denmark
Alexander 1893–1920 1917–1920
  • Prince of Denmark
George II 1890–1947
  • 1922–1924
  • 1935–1947
  • Prince of Denmark
Paul 1901–1964 1947–1964
  • Prince of Denmark
Constantine II 1940–2023 1964–1973
  • Prince of Denmark

The Hellenic constitutional monarchy was usurped in a coup d'état by a military junta in 1967 and the royal family fled into exile. The monarchy was abolished in 1973. After the collapse of the military dictatorship in 1974, 69.18% of votes recorded in a republic referendum were against the return of the monarchy.


Coat of arms of the King of Norway

In 1905, Prince Carl of Denmark became Norway's first independent monarch in 518 years, taking the regnal name Haakon VII. 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
Haakon VII 1872–1957 1905–1957 Prince of Denmark,
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
Olav V 1903–1991 1957–1991 Prince of Denmark,
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg,
Olympic Sailing Champion [8]
Harald V born 1937 1991–present Prince of Denmark,
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg,
Sailing World Champion

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


Kingdom of Iceland

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 personal union between the two countries and became a republic.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
Kristjàn X Kristján 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, Frederik IX of Denmark (1899–1972).

United Kingdom[edit]

Arms of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh
Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom

In 1947, Philip Mountbatten married Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II). Born into the house of Glücksburg as a prince of Denmark and Greece, he later relinquished these titles and was created Duke of Edinburgh by his father-in-law, King George VI of the United Kingdom.

Portrait Name Life Tenure Additional titles
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh[4] 1921–2021 1947–2021
Titles until 1947:
Prince of Greece
Prince of Denmark
Titles from 1947:
Earl of Merioneth
Baron Greenwich
Charles III[a] Born 1948 2021–2022 (as Prince of Wales)
2022–present (as monarch)
As Prince of Wales:
Duke of Cornwall
Earl of Chester
Duke of Rothesay
Earl of Carrick
Baron of Renfrew
Lord of the Isles
Prince and Great Steward of Scotland
Duke of Edinburgh
Earl of Merioneth
Baron Greenwich
As Monarch:
King of Antigua and Barbuda,

King of Australia,
King of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas,
King of Belize,
King of Canada,
King of Grenada,
King of Jamaica,
King of New Zealand,
King of Papua New Guinea,
King of Saint Kitts and Nevis,
King of Saint Lucia,
King of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines,
King of the Solomon Islands,
King of Tuvalu,
Head of the Commonwealth

The heir apparent is Charles's elder son William, Prince of Wales (born 1982). See the present line of succession.

Line of succession[edit]

By agnatic primogeniture:


  1. ^ Wilson, Peter Hamish (2011). The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-06231-3.
  2. ^ "The Royal Family name". Official website of the British monarchy. Retrieved 25 January 2024.
  3. ^ "Prince Philip beats the record for longest-serving consort". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 18 April 2009. Archived from the original on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume I: Europe & Latin America, 1977, pp. 325–326. ISBN 0-85011-023-8
  6. ^ Year: 1863; Quantity released: 101,000 coin; Weight: 28.893 gram; Composition: Silver 87.5%; Diameter: 39.5 mm -
  7. ^ Gothaisches Genealogisches Handbuch der Fürstlchen Häuser, Band I. Verlag des Deutschen Adelsarchivs. Marburg. 2015. p. 140 (German). ISBN 978-3-9817243-0-1.
  8. ^ "Kongelige olympiere".
  1. ^ a b Charles is agnatically descended from the House of Glücksburg via his father. However, he reigns as a member of the House of Windsor.[2]

External links[edit]

House of Glücksburg
Preceded by Ruling House of Duchy of Schleswig
Duchy Abolished
Preceded by Ruling House of Denmark (agnatic)
Succeeded by
Preceded by Ruling House of Greece
Monarchy Abolished
Preceded by
Ruling House of Greece
Monarchy Abolished
Preceded by Ruling House of Norway
Preceded by Ruling House of the United Kingdom (agnatic)