Christian IV was the King of Denmark and Norway from 1588; crowned in 1596. Son of Frederik II and Sophie of Mecklenburg. He was married to Anna Cathrine of Brandenburg who died in 1612. He later married Kirsten Munk, in 1615. He was the father of more than 20 children, Frederik III and Leonora Christine among them.
Christian IV had received a thorough education by the time he was crowned. He sought to strengthen his kingdom, for example by giving good conditions for trade. He tried through military means to make Denmark the leading Baltic power but his intervention in the Thirty Years War in 1625-1626 misfired badly. After that, Sweden gradually became the leading power among the Nordic countries. In a naval battle against a Swedish fleet in 1644, the King lost his right eye.
Christian IV was one of the most colourful and popular kings in Danish history. He was very interested in culture, not least music. He was a very active builder too; during his reign several new towns were founded and many important buildings were erected, for example the Børsen, the Round Tower and Rosenborg, where he died.
Corfitz Ulfeldt married Christian IV’s daughter Leonora Christina in 1636. He became the governor of Copenhagen Castle in 1637, ‘rigshofmester’ (the highest standing civil servant) in 1643, and quickly became the privy council’s leading figure. His relationship with Christian IV soured towards the end of the king’s reign. The situation only got worse once Frederik III had ascended the throne, and in 1651 Ulfeldt fled together with Leonora Christina. He entered Swedish service and was one of the chief negotiators on the Swedish side in 1658, when Scania, Halland, and Blekinge were ceded to Sweden in the Treaty of Roskilde. Ulfeldt was arrested by the Swedes in 1659, accused of treason. He and Leonora Christina succeeded in fleeing back to Denmark, where they were held captive at Hammershus castle until the king released them on strict conditions. Ulfeldt soon went abroad again; he offered the Danish throne to the Elector of Brandenburg, and in 1663 he was accused of high treason. A doll of Corfitz was ‘executed’ and a monument of infamy erected in Copenhagen. He died on the run in a boat on the Rhine.