Frederik the Heir Presumptive

Frederik, the Danish Heir Presumptive, was the son of Frederik V and Juliane Marie. He was married to Sophie Frederikke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who gave birth to Christian VIII. Whether Frederik was the father is contested.

At the beginning of the 1770’s, Frederik was a central figure in the opposition against the reign of J.F. Struensee. The Heir Presumptive was nevertheless a weak and incompetent politician. He became the leader of government instead of his mentally ill half-brother, Christian VII. However, real political power after the fall of Struensee in 1772 lay first and foremost with the Queen Dowager Juliane Marie and the Heir Presumptive’s former teacher, Ove Høegh-Guldberg.

After 1784, when Crown Prince Frederik (VI) took power from Høegh-Guldberg in a coup, Frederik’s political life was over. From that time he lived as a private person, first in Christiansborg Palace, and, after that burned down, in the palaces of Amalienborg and Sorgenfri.