Louise of Hesse-Kassel

Louise of Hesse-Kassel

Infobox Danish Royalty|majesty|consort
name =Louise of Hesse-Kassel
title =Queen consort of Denmark

caption =
reign =November 15, 1863 - September 29, 1898
spouse =Christian IX
issue = Frederick VIII
Alexandra, Queen of the United Kingdom
George I of Greece
Dagmar, Empress of Russia
Thyra, Crown Princess of Hanover
Prince Valdemar
royal house =House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
House of Hesse
father =Prince William of Hesse
mother =Charlotte of Denmark
date of birth =birth date|1817|9|7|mf=y
place of birth =Kassel
date of death =death date and age|1898|9|29|1817|9|7|mf=y
place of death =Bernstorff|

Louise of Hesse ( _de. Luise Wilhelmine Friederike Caroline Auguste Julie von Hessen-Kassel, _da. Louise Wilhelmine Frederikke Caroline Auguste Julie) (7 September 1817, Kassel – 29 September 1898, Bernstorff) was a German noblewoman and (from November 15, 1863) the Queen Consort to King Christian IX of Denmark. [ A Royal Family by Anna Lerche and Marcus Mandal]

Early Life and Heritage

Louise of Hesse was a daughter of ancient German princely family, the Landgraves of Hesse, but lived in Denmark from the age of three and had Danish ancestry, which made her Danish for all practical purposes. In the political and dynastic conflicts during her lifetime she found herself, mainly because of her own hereditary position, in opposition to German nationalism and protective of Danish interests.

She was daughter of Prince William of Hesse and Charlotte of Denmark (1789-1864). Her mother, a Princess of Denmark, saw her become Hereditary Princess of Denmark and then Queen of Denmark. Louise's paternal grandparents were Prince Frederick of Hesse, youngest brother of William I, Elector of Hesse, and Princess Caroline of Nassau-Usingen; and her maternal grandparents were Sophie Frederikke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Hereditary Prince Frederick of Denmark and Norway, sometime Regent of Denmark and Norway, youngest son of King Frederick V of Denmark.

She was a niece of King Christian VIII, who ruled Denmark in 1839-48 and was briefly King of Norway in 1814. As such, she was very close to the succession after several individuals of the Royal House of Denmark who were elderly and childless. As children, her brother Frederik Wilhelm, sisters and she were the king's Christian VIII closest relatives who were likely to produce further generations. It was easy to see that the agnatic succession from King Frederik III of Denmark would probably become extinct within a generation. Louise was one of the females descended from Frederick III of Denmark and enjoyed the remainder provisions of the succession (according to the Semi-Salic Law), in the event that his male line became extinct.

However, she and her siblings were not agnatic descendants of the House of Oldenburg and the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein, and thus ineligible to inherit the twin duchies, since there existed a number of agnatic lines eligible to inherit those.

Royal Marriage to Her Cousin

She married in Amalienborg on 26 May 1842, to her second cousin Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg (who was soon selected as a hereditary prince of Denmark and who later ascended the throne of Denmark as King Christian IX of Denmark).

Through his father, Christian was member of a junior male branch of the House of Oldenburg (he was a direct male-line descendant of Christian III of Denmark) and was (albeit a junior) agnatic descendant of Hedwig of Schauenburg (countess of Oldenburg), mother of the first king Christian of Denmark, whose sons were the "Semi-Salic" heiress of her childless brother Count Adolf VIII of Holstein, who died in 1459, the last Schauenburg Duke of Schleswig and Count of Holstein. As such, Christian was eligible to succeed in the twin duchies of Schleswig-Holstein, but was not first in the line.

Christian was also a great-grandson of King Frederick V of Denmark, through his mother Louise Caroline, Duchess of Lyksborg, whose mother Luise (Landgravine of Hesse) was King Frederik's third daughter. Christian, orphaned young, grew up in the Danish Royal Household, under the tutelage of his maternal aunt Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke, wife of Frederick VI of Denmark.

Opportunities opening in the Danish succession

The Crown of Denmark was very much in interests of Louise from her early childhood. At the time of the accession of Christian VIII, 1839, the line of succession and chief cognatic heirs was as follows:

* Crown Prince Frederik, later Frederik VII of Denmark, only son of the king, born 1808, already once divorced and yet childless. He died 1863.

* Hereditary Prince Frederik Ferdinand of Denmark, youngest brother of the king, born 1792, married over 10 years and childless. He died also 1863, some months before his nephew the king.

The Crown Prince and the Hereditary Prince were the only surviving agnatic heirs. After them, provisions of the succession order (Lex Regia of 1655) promulgated by Frederik III allowed succession through female line, and the law presumably specified in favor of closest relative of the last monarch.

The female lines following are arranged according to the degree of proximity to the reigning monarch, King Christian VIII:

* king's elder surviving sister, Juliane of Denmark, Dowager Landgravine of Hesse-Philippsthal-Barchfeld, born 1788, widow and childless. She died childless in 1850. Soon after her death, Louise's family arranged the succession line in Louise's favor by renunciations and cedings.

* king's youngest sister, Charlotte of Denmark, Landgravine Wilhelm of Hesse, born 1789 (Luise's own mother). She had several children, of whom below.

* King's first cousin once removed, the elder daughter of the late king Frederik VI, Caroline of Denmark, born 1793, wife of Ferdinand of Denmark (see above), married over 10 years and childless. She died 1881, childless.

* King's first cousin once removed, the youngest daughter of the late king Frederik VI, Wilhelmine Marie of Denmark, born 1808, divorced wife of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (above), and married to Duke Charles of Lyksborg. She was childless, but at the age of 40, was not past child-bearing years, though believed to be barren. In 1840's, it became totally evident that she would never have children. She died 1891, childless.

* King's first cousin, legally the daughter of late King Christian VII and in any case, sister of late King Frederik VI, Louise Auguste of Denmark, Duchess of Augustenborg. born 1771, died 1843. She had several children, of whom below.

All other cognatic heirs were descendants of deceased Princesses of Denmark, themselves members of other dynasties, and rather alien to Denmark. Ancestresses of many of them had renounced their rights when marrying "abroad". Some of closest of those lines:

* Gustav, Prince of Vasa, former Crown Prince of Sweden, grandson of late Princess Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, who was eldest daughter of Frederick V and wife of late King Gustav III of Sweden, mother of late King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden. Queen Carola of Saxony, was his only surviving child and wife of King Albert I of Saxony, but died childless in 1907. Grand Duchess Sophie of Baden, the eldest daughter of Gustav IV Adolf. She was born Princess of Sweden and married Leopold I, Grand Duke of Baden and had produced children. Prince Gustav and Sophia and their issue were followed by their sister Grand Duchess Cecilia of Oldenburg.

* William II, Elector of Hesse, 1777-1847, son of Princess Caroline of Denmark, second daughter of Frederick V. He had numerous children and siblings.

* Prince Frederik of Hesse, born 1771 in Gottorp, eldest son of Princess Louise of Denmark, third and youngest daughter of Frederick V. A widower of a morganatic wife, he died without "ebenbuertig" legitimate children 1845.

* Marie Sophie Frederikke, Queen Dowager of Denmark, born 1767, née Princess of Hesse, eldest daughter of Princess Louise of Denmark, third and youngest daughter of Frederik V. She died 1852. Her children are listed above, as they both are Princesses of Denmark.

* Juliane Luise Amalie, Princess of Hesse, born 1773, daughter of Princess Louise of Denmark, third and youngest daughter of Frederick V. She was unmarried and died in 1860.

* Louise Caroline of Hesse, born 1789 in Gottorp. Dowager Duchess of Lyksborg, and widow of Duke William of Lyksborg, she was the youngest daughter of Princess Louise of Denmark, herself the third and youngest daughter of Frederik V. She had several children, of whom below.

After them, next cognatic heirs would have been descendants of daughters and younger sons of predecessors of Frederick V.

There were three thriving young families with chief potential to inherit the throne and who had children to continue the line of succession. These three families were, in order of proximity with the reigning monarch, the Hesse, the Augustenborg, and then the Lyksborg families. Only two of the families (Augustenborg, Hesse) had mothers who were Princesses of Denmark, but descendants bore non-Danish titles. Two of these, however, i.e. Augustenborg and Lyksborg, were agnatic descendants of ancient Kings of Denmark.


The Augustenborg family was the next senior agnatic branch of Schleswig-Holstein and of the Royal House of Oldenburg, immediately after the male line of the then King of Denmark. There was issue of Louise Auguste of Denmark, sister of Frederik VI:

1. Christian (aka Christian August), Duke of Augustenborg, born 1798 in Copenhagen (Christian Carl Frederik August). Had married 1820 Countess Lovisa-Sophie Danneskjold-Samsøe (1797-1867) who was a Danish noblewoman and relative of kings of Denmark, belonging to a bastard branch of House of Oldenburg. Duke Christian, who in 1848 became a rebel, later sold his rights to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein to Denmark in aftermath of Treaty of London (1851), but later renounced his rights to the Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein in favor of his son Frederik August. He was the brother-in-law of the King (Christian VIII). And nephew of late Frederik VI. Duke Christian August died 1869. Several children:
* Frederik August (Friedrich Christian August), Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, born 1829 in Augustenborg. He was nephew of Caroline Amalie, the incumbent Queen Consort of Denmark, and "nephew-in-law" of the king himself. As well as a great-nephew of Frederick VI. He was to claim in 1863 to succeed King Frederick VII of Denmark as Duke of Schleswig-Holstein. Died 1880. He became father of one surviving son and a number of daughters.
* Frederik Christian Carl August (1831-1917), later (1866) married Princess Helena of the United Kingdom; daughter of Queen Victoria, and settled in England.
* Louise Auguste (1823-1872)
* Caroline Amelie (1826-1901)
* Caroline Christiane Auguste Emilie Henriette Elisabeth (1833-1917)

2. Friedrich Emil August, born 1800 in Kiel. Had married 1829 Countess Henriette Danneskjold-Samsøe (1806-58) who was a Danish noblewoman and relative of kings of Denmark, belonging to a bastard branch of House of Oldenburg. Later he was created Prinz von Noer (1864) and died 1865. Children:
* Friedrich Christian Karl August (Gottorp 1830-Noer 1881)
* Luise Karoline Henriette Auguste Gräfin von Noer (Schleswig 1836-1866)

3. Caroline Amalie of Augustenborg, born 1796 in Copenhagen. had married 1815 King Christian VIII of Denmark, the monarch, who died 1848. She died childless 1881, as HM The Queen Dowager of Denmark.


The Glucksburg family was a younger agnatic branch of Schleswig-Holstein and of the Royal House of Oldenburg. There were children of Louise Caroline of Hesse, a granddaughter of Frederick V of Denmark:

1. (Karl, Carl) Charles, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, born 1813 in Gottorp 1813; had 1838 married in Copenhagen Princess Wilhelmine of Denmark (see above). He died childless in 1878 in Luisenlund.

2. Frederick (Friedrich), Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (Schleswig 1814-Schleswig 1885), then married Princess of Schaumburg-Lippe, later got plenty of descendants. The current Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein descend from him.

3. William (Wilhelm), (Gottorp 1816-Fredensborg 1893)

4. Christian (1818-1906), who in 1840's became Hereditary Prince of Denmark (though his brothers did not become such) and 1863 became King Christian IX of Denmark. He married 1842 Louise herself.

5. Julius (Gottorp 1824-Itzehoe 1903)

6. Johann (Hans) (Gottorp 1825-Copenhagen 1911)

7. Nikolaus (Gottorp 1828-Berlin 1849)

8. Louise Marie Frederikke (Gottorp 1810-1869), had 1837 married a Mr von Lasperg.

9. Frederikke Caroline Juliane (Gottorp 1811-1902), had 1834 married Prince of Anhalt-Bernburg.

10. Luise (Gottorp 1820-Itzehoe 1894)


There was the issue of Charlotte of Denmark, sister of Christian VIII, siblings of Louise herself:

1. an only son Frederik (Friedrich Wilhelm Georg Adolf, Landgrave of Hesse), who was born 1820 in Kassel. In 1851, he renounced his rights to Denmark in favor of Louise. He later married, twice, and with his second wife Anna of Prussia produced several children, beginning in 1850's. He died 1884. His one son was Frederick Charles, Elected King of Finland

2. Marie Louise Charlotte, born 1814 in Copenhagen. Had 1832 married a Prince of Anhalt-Dessau. She died 1895 and left children and grandchildren. She is said to have renounced her rights of Denmark to Louise in 1851 at latest.

3. Louise Wilhelmine Frederikke Caroline Auguste Julie, i.e. Louise herself.

4. Auguste Sophie Frederikke Marie Caroline Julie, who was born 1823 in Copenhagen. She later married a Scandinavian nobleman, Baron Blixen-Fineke. She died 1873.

Louise's brother Frederik of Hesse renounced in 1851 his rights to Danish succession in favor of Louise, (as put by Danish historians:) "after lengthy negotiations where their father William took active part". Frederik succeeded in 1875 as the Head of House of Hesse, when the senior branch of Hesse-Kassel went extinct by the death of the former monarch Frederick William, Elector of Hesse - they assumed the historical name "of Hesse and Brabant". Landgrave Frederik's third son Prince Frederick Charles of Hesse was in 1918 elected as King of Finland.

Converging the succession rights

As Louise and Christian had married, Louise's mother and brother and elder sister, princes and princesses of Hesse, renounced their rights in favor of Louise and her husband. Prince Christian's wife was now the closest female heiress of Christian VIII and then of Frederick VII.

Landgrave Frederick, a Danish military officer, had been one (and perhaps the foremost) of candidates of Christian VIII of Denmark in 1840's to succeed on the Danish throne if the latter's male line dies out. Landgrave Frederick was of practically Danish upbringing, having lived all his life in Denmark.

In 1847, Prince Christian was, under the blessing from the great powers of Europe, chosen to be a future successor to the Danish throne by Christian VIII, as Christian VIII did not expect his only surviving son, the future Frederik VII to have any sons. A justification for this choice of heir, was through Christian's wife Louise of Hesse-Kassel. (She was, as a niece of Christian VIII closer heir to the throne than her husband.)

Because of Salic Law, which also operated differently in Denmark and in Schlesweig-Holstein, the succession after childless Frederick VII was a question very thorny to arrange, and it did not go smoothly, but caused a war (Second war of Schleswig).

Denmark was also under Salic Law, but only among descendants of Frederick III of Denmark (who was the first hereditary monarch of Denmark - before him the kingdom was officially elective). Agnatic descendance of Frederick III went extinct when Frederick VII died, and at that point, the succession law promulgated by Frederick III provided a Semi-Salic succession. There were however several alternative ways to interpret to whom the crown passes then, since the provision was not entirely clear on whether it be the closest female relative or what and who to inherit. The question was solved by an election and a separate law to confirm the new successor.

Some rights belonged also to the line of Glucksburg, a more junior branch of the royal clan. They were also heirs of Frederick III, through their one ancestress who was daughter of King Frederick V of Denmark, and they were a more junior agnatic heirs eligible to succeed in Schleswig- Holstein. There were Christian himself and his brothers, eldest of whom was childless, but the second eldest had produced children, also male children.

Prince Christian had been a foster "grandson" of the sonless royal couple Frederick VI and his queen consort Marie (Marie Sophie Frederikke of Hesse), thus familiar with the royal court and the traditions of the recent monarchs. Their young ward, prince Christian was great-nephew of queen Marie, and descendant of a first cousin of Frederick VI. He was brought up as Danish, having lived in Danish-speaking lands of the royal dynasty, and was not attached to German nationalism. Although these did not mean anything legally, they made him a relatively good candidate from the Danish viewpoint. As junior agnatic descendant, he was eligible to inherit Schleswig-Holstein, but not the first in line. As descendant of Frederick III, he was eligible to succeed in Denmark, but not first in line, however that line was not very clear.

When Christian married Louise, eldest daughter of the closest female relative of Frederick VII, this combined two potential claimants.

When Frederick died in 1863, Christian took the throne as Christian IX

Children and Louise becoming "Grandmother of Europe"

Louise had six, remarkable and successful children with her husband Christian:

*Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, later Frederick VIII of Denmark (June 3, 1843 - May 14, 1912). Married Princess Lovisa of Sweden. Had issue
*Princess Alexandra of Denmark, later the Queen consort of Edward VII of the United Kingdom (December 1, 1844 - November 20, 1925). Had issue
*Prince Vilhelm (December 24, 1845 - March 18, 1913), later King George I of Greece. Married Olga Konstantinovna, Grand Duchess of Russia. Had issue
*Princess Dagmar of Denmark, later Empress "Maria Feodorovna", the consort of Tsar Alexander III of Russia (November 26, 1847 - October 13, 1928). Had issue.
*Princess Thyra of Denmark, later consort of Ernst August of Hanover, 3rd Duke of Cumberland (September 29, 1853 - February 26, 1933). Had issue.
*Prince Valdemar of Denmark, (October 27, 1858 - January 14, 1939). Married Princess Marie de Orleáns-Bourbon (1865-1909). Had issue.

The great dynastical success of the six children, was to a great extent not the accomplishment of Christian IX himself, but due to Louise's dynastic ambitions. Some have compared her dynastic capabilities with the ones of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom

On her passing in 1898, she was interred in Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen.

Her nephew Frederick Charles of Hesse, married to a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and of German Emperor Wilhelm I, was elected as King Charles of Finland in 1918. He never took up the position.


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boxstyle_3=background-color: #ffc;
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1= 1. Louise of Hesse-Kassel
2= 2. William X, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
3= 3. Louise Charlotte, Princess of Denmark
4= 4. Frederick III, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
5= 5. Caroline of Nassau-Usingen
6= 6. Frederick, Prince of Denmark
7= 7. Sophia Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
8= 8. Frederick II, Landgrave of Hesse
9= 9. Mary, Princess of Great Britain
10= 10. Karl Wilhelm, Prince of Nassau-Usingen
11= 11. Karoline Felizitas von Leiningen-Dagsburg
12= 12. Frederick V of Denmark
13= 13. Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel
14= 14. Louis of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
15= 15. Charlotte Sophie of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
16= 16. William VIII, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel
17= 17. Dorothea Wilhelmine of Saxe-Zeitz
18= 18. George II of Great Britain
19= 19. Caroline of Ansbach
20= 20. Karl, Prince of Nassau-Usingen
21= 21. Christiane Wilhelmine of Saxe-Eisenach
22= 22. Christian Karl Reinhard, Count of Leiningen-Dagsburg-Falkenburg
23= 23. Katharina Polyxena zu Solms-Rödelheim und Assenheim
24= 24. Christian VI of Denmark
25= 25. Sophia Magdalen of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
26= 26. Ferdinand Albert II, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
27= 27. Antoinette Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
28= 28. Christian Ludwig II, Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
29= 29. Gustave Caroline of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
30= 30. Francis Josias, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
31= 31. Princess Anna Sophie of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt


External links

* [http://guide2womenleaders.com/act_of_acceptance_and_assurance.htm How Christian IX received the succession to the throne of Denmark]

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