Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel

Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel
Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel
Queen consort of Denmark and Norway
Queen Marie Sophie of Denmark,
with the Order of Christian VII
portrait 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
Caroline, Hereditary Princess of Denmark
Vilhelmine, Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
House House of Oldenburg
House of Hesse
Father Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel
Mother Princess Louise of Denmark
Born 28 October 1767(1767-10-28)
Died 22 March 1852(1852-03-22) (aged 84)
Frederiksberg Palace
Burial Roskilde Cathedral
Religion Lutheranism
Queen Marie Sophie portrayed by Cornelius Høyer

Marie Sophie Frederikke of Hesse-Kassel (German: Marie Sophie Friederike von Hessen-Kassel; Hanau, 28 October 1767 – Amalienborg, 21 March/22 March 1852) was Queen Consort of Denmark and Norway. She served as Regent of Denmark in 1814–1815.



She was the eldest child of Landgrave Charles of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Louise of Denmark. Her paternal grandparents were Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Mary of Great Britain. Mary was a daughter of King George II and Caroline of Ansbach. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick V of Denmark and Louise, another daughter of George II of Great Britain and Caroline of Ansbach. Her father was the second son of the Landgrave, the Sovereign Prince 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 was offering more and better positions than the small Hesse-Kassel.

She 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 of Prince Regent Frederik, as well as the first cousin of Regent and Crown Prince Frederik, the Danish rulers of that period.


Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke painted by Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg

On 31 July 1790 in Gottorp, she married her first cousin, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (1768–1839), then Regent of the Realm, the future King Frederick VI of Denmark. Her husband had been Regent since 1784 (when he was just 16 years old), on behalf of his insane father Christian VII of Denmark, who would die in 1808. The Royal Couple assumed the throne upon King Christian's death, having already acted as de facto monarchs for over two decades. In the aftermath of the defeat of Denmark's ally, Emperor Napoleon I of the French, Denmark lost its dominion Norway; the Royal Couple ceased to be Norway's King and Queen 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 greated with great enthusiasm by the public, as she was regarded as completely Danish and not as a foreigner, and she was given an enthusiastic welcome when she arrived at Copenhagen. 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 Exposé de la situation politique du Danemarc in 1807–14, and 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.


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

Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke lamented the total lack of sons and of grandchildren of her own. 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 own two surviving daughters, and one may speculate that the Queen felt like a grandmother. One such foster child of hers was Prince Christian of Lyksborg, born 1818, the future Christian IX of Denmark.

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 (1852), that girl became Tsarina Maria Fedorovna of Russia, preserving there the Queen's first name (Maria/Marie).

She was 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



External links

Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel
House 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 Wales
Queen consort of Norway
Succeeded by
Hedvig Elisabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp
Queen consort of Denmark
Succeeded by
Caroline Amalie of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
varying occupations in the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1814)
Title last held by
Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Duchess consort of Saxe-Lauenburg

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