In 1863 Christian IX succeeded the childless Frederik VII as king, and was the first monarch from the House of Glücksburg line of The Royal Family. In 1842 he married Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel, with whom he had six children, of which four later ascended European thrones. The Royal Couple, who were HM Queen Margrethe II’s great-great-grandparents, were therefore given the epithet “Europe’s in-laws”.
Christian IX became king due to an unlikely interplay of personal, familial, and political factors. He was from a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg and the son of the relatively poor Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderborg-Glücksburg, who was a friend of Frederik VI. Following his father’s early death in 1831, he was trained as an officer in Copenhagen under the guardianship of Frederik VI, and he took a decisive step on the path to the throne by marrying Princess Louise. It was also important for his appointment that he participated on the Danish side in the First Schleswig War 1848-50 and was a supporter of the unitary state (that is, a Danish monarchy which included Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg). The decision to make him heir to the throne was taken by a number of European powers in 1852.
Christian IX’s reign was marked by the defeat of 1864. Because he had a German background and spoke with a strong accent, Christian IX wasn’t popular with the Danish people during his first years as king, but this changed during the course of his long reign. Amongst other things it helped a great deal that the advantageous marriages of his children cast lustre over Denmark after the military defeat. Christian IX was of a conservative nature and for many years acted as the guarantor of the Højre (Right) party government. In the so-called provisory time in the 1870s and 80s, Højre’s governance bypassed the parliament thanks to the support of the king.
Hans Andersen’s Ruler
The ruler is made of wood and decorated with paper cut-outs by Hans Christian Andersen. The decoration is a silhouette cut-out which amongst other things represents female figures with parasols dancing around a swan, and Ole Lukøje, Andersen’s fairytale character also known as Mr Sandman, with an umbrella. The famous author had a particular talent for paper cut-outs and happily entertained large gatherings with his stories at the same time as visualising them using paper and scissors. After having finished the story, he unfolded the paper cut-out and revealed a little artwork. This ruler was further decorated with dried leaves, of which one is still preserved. On the back of the ruler Andersen has written the little rhyme, ‘In every leaf is magic. A living soul sits within it.’ The text is dated 1872 and completes the ruler as an example of the author’s multiple talents for creating a story with many layers. The ruler was presumably a present from the artist to Christian IX, who kept it in his study at Amalienborg.
Model of Amalienborg
Amalienborg is unique in many ways. The four palaces were originally built as homes for high-standing noble families, and not intended for the royalty at all. Nevertheless, the complex came to function optimally as a residence for the Royal Family, who moved in after the fire at Christiansborg Palace in 1794. That Amalienborg came to serve this purpose was first and foremost due to it being an unusually successful work of architecture, but the harmonious proportions and elegant rococo decoration are only one side of the story. Another lies in the very practical fact that the various generations of the Royal Family have been able to share the palaces among themselves, which in the international context is something quite unique for Amalienborg. In honour of this fantastic edifice, we have had made a large interactive model of Amalienborg, which can be seen in the Garden Room in Christian VIII’s Palace. The model, which was unveiled in 2013, is made of Corian. The palaces are reproduced to a high degree of detail, which takes into account the particular characteristics of of each of the four buildings, and the model is oriented in parallel to the palace complex itself. The equestrian statue of Frederik V is reproduced in particular detail on the basis of a 3D scan of the smaller bronze version of the sculpture, which is found in Christian VII’s Palace. Around the model there are iPads, on which one can explore the palace complex and read more about the palaces and the royal personages who have lived in them. The history of each palace is outlined along with its current use, with a large amount of accompanying visual material. The model is supplemented all the way around by a number of stories about Amalienborg, for example about the large columned structure, ‘The Colonnade’, which was built as a sort of bridge between Christian IX’s Palace and Christian VII’s Palace, and about the digging of the tunnel under Frederiksgade street, which was intended to make it possible for the Royal Family to flee from the occupying forces during World War II. The contemporary Danish Royal Family is presented at the other end of the Garden Room, where one can learn about their various royal duties. One can gain an overview of HM Queen Margrethe’s many state visits, and log on to the Royal Family’s calendar, as well as watch a film about the daily life of the Royal Family.
The museum in Christian VIII’s Palace is a recent addition to Rosenborg’s royal collections, which were founded by Frederik III in the 1660s. At the beginning of the 19th century the idea of opening Rosenborg to the public arose, and in 1812 the principle, which is still current, was established that the historical interiors chronologically follow the changing generations of the Royal Family. The Danish Royal Collections was founded in 1833, and Rosenborg was opened to the public in 1838. A tour of the palace thus became a journey through Danish history from the time of Christian IV to the present moment, since there at the opening was a room furnished for Frederik VI, who lived until the following year. In 1868 a room was furnished for Frederik VII, who had died five years previously, and Christian IX was also given a room at Rosenborg in 1910. The limited space at Rosenborg was now utilised to the full, and if later kings were to be added, it would have to be somewhere else. At first Christian IX’s Palace at Amalienborg presented itself as a possibility. The palace had been left as good as untouched since the death of Christian IX in 1906, and in the 1950s Christian IX’s study and Queen Louise’s salon were preserved on the initiative of Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid. Furthermore, it was ensured that Christian X’s study in Christian VIII’s Palace, which was packed away following Queen Alexandrine’s death in 1952, was preserved. In 1956 Frederik IX created by royal resolution the juridical basis for the establishment of The Royal Danish Collections at Amalienborg. Thus in 1977 a museum for the House of Glücksburg opened in part of the ground floor of Christian IX’s Palace, but it already closed again in 1982, as running a museum in the Royal Couple’s palace of residence proved in practice to be inexpedient. After an extensive restoration of Christian VIII’s Palace the opportunity arose to re-establish the museum on the ground floor of this palace, which more than doubled the previous exhibition space. In 1994 the museum was reopened here, and remained true to the original idea: to exhibit a series of historical interiors which trace the royal generations. At the opening the museum included Christian IX’s study, Queen Louise’s salon, Christian X’s study, as well as Christian X and Queen Alexandrine’s dining room. The large exhibition space also afforded the opportunity to reconstruct Frederik VIII’s study, and more rooms were made available to the museum, which are today known as The Garden Room, The Costume Gallery, and The Golden Cage. In the 1990s the museum was entrusted with Frederik IX’s study as it had looked on the king’s death in 1972. The room was opened to the public on the occasion of the King’s 100th birthday on 11 March 1999. Since its opening the museum has arranged guided tours on the palace’s piano nobile, where you can see Nicolai Abildgaard’s magnificent neoclassical interiors, which he created at the request of Hereditary Prince Frederik after the royal assumption of Amalienborg in 1794. Since July 2013 the piano nobile has been open to the museum’s visitors every Saturday.