Peder Schumacher, Count Griffenfeld (1635-99). Painting by Abraham Wuchters. Griffenfeld was the first man of bourgeois birth to exploit the new possibilities offered by the absolute monarchy. It was now the grace of the king alone that decided positions at court, and this gave the bourgeoisie the chance to gain influential positions. Griffenfeld rose to the post of High Chancellor of the Realm, before falling out of favour under Christian V, and spent the majority of the rest of his life in captivity.
Christian V with His Half-Brother, c. 1671
Christian V in conversation with his elder half-brother Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve, and with Count Anthon Aldenburg (1633-1680). Grisaille by Anton Steenwinkel. The Gyldenløve family, the king’s ‘natural’, which is to say illegitimate children, played an important role in the political machinations of 17th century Denmark. As children of the king, they had high status in the class-divided society. At the same time, however, they were excluded from line of succession, and thus had no dynastic ambitions, making them extremely loyal to the reigning king. Ulrik Frederik Gyldenløve was the issue of a relationship Frederik (III) had with Margrethe Pape, before he married Sophie Amalie in 1643.