Portrait of Christian V (1646-1699), King of Denmark and Norway (1670-1699)
Christian V (15 April 1646 – 25 August 1699) was king of Denmark and Norway from 1670 until his death in 1699. Well-regarded by the common people, he was the first king anointed at Frederiksborg Castle chapel as absolute monarch since the decree that institutionalized the supremacy of the king in Denmark-Norway, he fortified the absolutist system against the aristocracy by accelerating his father's practice of allowing Holstein nobles but also Danish and Norwegian commoners into state service. As king he wanted to show his power as absolute monarch through architecture, and dreamed of a Danish Versailles. He was the first to use the 1671 Throne Chair of Denmark, partly made for this purpose. Christian was elected successor to his father in June 1650. This was not a free choice, but de facto automatic hereditary succession. Escorted by his chamberlain Christoffer Parsberg, Christian went on a long trip abroad, to Holland, England, France, and home through Germany. On this trip, he saw absolutism in its most splendid achievement at the young Louis XIV's court, and heard about the theory of the divine right of kings. He returned to Denmark in August 1663. From 1664 he was allowed to attend proceedings of the State College. Hereditary succession was made official by Royal Law in 1665. Christian was hailed as heir in Copenhagen in August 1665, in Odense and Viborg in September, and in Christiania, Norway in July 1666. Only a short time before he became king, he was taken into the Council of the Realm and the Supreme Court. He became king upon his father's death on 9 February 1670, and was formally crowned in 1671. He was the first hereditary king of Denmark-Norway, and in honor of this, Denmark-Norway acquired costly new crown jewels and a magnificent new ceremonial sword. It is generally argued that Christian V's personal courage and affability made him popular among the common people, but his image was marred by his unsuccessful attempt to regain Scania for Denmark in the Scanian War. The war exhausted Denmark's economic resources without securing any gains. Part of Christian's appeal to the common people may be explained by the fact that he allowed Danish and Norwegian commoners into state service, but his attempts to curtail the influence of the nobility also meant continuing his father's drive toward absolutism. To accommodate non-aristocrats into state service, he created the new noble ranks of count and baron. One of the commoners elevated in this way by the king was Peder Schumacher, named Count of Griffenfeld by Christian V in 1670 and high councillor of Denmark in 1674.
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