Johann Friedrich Struensee

J.F. Struensee was born in Germany. He was educated in Halle and worked after that as a physician in Altona. In 1768, Struensee became physician to the mentally ill Christian VII, and after having travelled with the King, he moved to Copenhagen.

The King’s new physician entered a confident relationship with his patient and took part in Court life. In 1770 he began a love affair with Queen Caroline Mathilde, who the following year gave birth to Princess Louise Augusta, officially a daughter of the King. Struensee also gained political influence very quickly; in 1771 he was appointed Privy Cabinet minister and enjoyed practically unlimited powers. He carried out several reforms, for example freedom of the press, in accordance with the theories of the Enlightenment, by which he was strongly inspired.

In 1772 Struensee was arrested and condemned to death for lese-majeste, and together with his friend, Count Enevold Brandt, he was beheaded. His body was quartered and put on the wheel and spear. Most of his reforms were nullified after the execution.