Frederik VIII

Frederik VIII became king in 1906, as the second monarch from the House of Glücksburg. In 1869 he married Princess Lovisa of Sweden-Norway with whom he had eight children, of whom the eldest sons, Prince Christian (X) and Prince Carl (Haakon VII) became the kings of Denmark and Norway respectively. Frederik VIII was the great-grandfather of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II.

Frederik VIII was to have just six years as monarch and is therefore a slightly overlooked figure in the Danish royal line. Some thought that he should have been made heir to the throne after Frederik VII (including Frederik VII himself) but this honour was given to his father, Prince Christian (IX). Christian IX’s son therefore lived for 43 years as Crown Prince while his father time and again cut him off from influence, amongst other things because Crown Prince Frederik was reformist and democratically minded, in contrast to his conservative father. He was thus reduced to cultivating his intellectual interests, and often took part in public life under a transparent pseudonym.

Frederik VIII almost always wore civilian clothes and placed importance on being at eye level with the populace. His few years as king were marked by, amongst other things, the Alberti scandal, but were otherwise relatively undramatic. He was the first king to hold a proper New Year Speech, at the New Year Banquet in 1907, which he concluded with the now obligatory “God bless Denmark!” Frederik VIII died of a heart attack in Hamburg on 14 May 1912 on his way home from a health cure. This happened near the city’s entertainment district, which gave rise to rumours which gave him an undeservedly tarnished reputation.