Portrait of Christian VII (1749-1808), King of Denmark and Norway, Duke of Schleswig, Duke of Holstein (1766-1808), Regency (1772-1808)
Christian VII (29 January 1749 - 13 March 1808) was a monarch of the House of Oldenburg who was King of Denmark-Norway and Duke of Schleswig and Holstein from 1766 until his death. Christian VII's reign was marked by mental illness and for the most part of his reign. His half-brother Frederick was designated as regent of Denmark in 1772. From 1784 until Christian VII's death in 1808, Christian's son, later Frederick VI, acted as unofficial regent. Christian was the son of King Frederick V and his first wife Louise of Great Britain. He was born in the Queen's Bedchamber at Christiansborg Palace, the royal residence in Copenhagen. His mother Queen Louise died in 1751, two years after his birth. The following year his father married Juliane Marie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. After a long period of infirmity, Frederick V died 14 January 1766, just 42 years old. Later the same day, Christian was proclaimed king from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace, weeks before his 17th birthday. Christian's reign was marked by mental illness, which affected government decisions, and for most of his reign Christian was only nominally king. His royal advisers changed depending on who won power struggles around the throne. In the late 1760s, he came under the influence of his personal physician Johann Friedrich Struensee, who rose steadily in power. From 1770 to 1772, Struensee was de facto regent of the country, and introduced progressive reforms signed into law by Christian VII. Struensee was deposed by a coup in 1772 after which the country was ruled by Christian's stepmother, Juliane Marie of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, his half-brother Frederick and the Danish politician Ove Høegh-Guldberg. From 1784, his son Frederick VI ruled permanently as prince regent. This regency was marked by liberal and agricultural reforms, but also by the beginning of the disasters of the Napoleonic Wars.
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