Portrait of Frederick of Denmark (1808-1863), Crown Prince of Denmark (1839-1848), King of Denmark, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein and Saxe-Lauenburg (Frederick VII) from 1848 to 1863
Frederick VII (Frederik Carl Christian) (6 October 1808 – 15 November 1863) was King of Denmark from 1848 to 1863. He was the last Danish monarch of the older Royal branch of the House of Oldenburg and also the last king of Denmark to rule as an absolute monarch. During his reign, he signed a constitution that established a Danish parliament and made the country a constitutional monarchy. Frederick was born at Amalienborg Palace to Christian VIII of Denmark and Duchess Charlotte Frederica of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. His maternal grandparents were Friedrich Franz I, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and Luise, Duchess of Saxe-Gotha. Frederick, who was the last king of the older branch of the Oldenburg dynasty, had a rather neglected childhood after the divorce of his parents. His youth was marked by private scandals and for many years he appeared as the problem child of the royal family. When he succeeded to the throne in January 1848, he was almost at once met by the demands for a constitution. The Schleswig-Holsteiners wanted an independent state while the Danes wished to maintain South Jutland as a Danish area. The king soon yielded to the Danish demands, and in March he accepted the end of absolutism, which resulted in the June Constitution of 1849. During the First War of Schleswig against the German powers in 1848–51, Frederick appeared as ”the national leader” and was regarded almost as a war hero, despite having never taken any active part in the struggles. During his reign, Frederick on the whole behaved as a constitutional monarch. He did not, however, quite give up interfering in politics. In 1854, he contributed to the fall of the strongly conservative Ørsted cabinet. Those minor crises created frictions and maintained some permanent insecurity, but did not damage his general popularity. In some of these affairs, he overstepped the mark beyond any doubt; on the other hand, the first Danish constitution was somewhat vague as regards to the limits of royal power.
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