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Four generations. Photo: Torkild Jensen

Christian IX

The father-in-law of Europe

No one expected Christian to become king, but when Frederick VII, the last king of the House of Oldenburg, died he had no son to inherit the throne. Instead, the family looked for an heir within the family, and the man they chose was Frederick VI’s favourite nephew Christian. Christian had plenty of blue blood running through his veins. His mother was the sister of Frederick VI’s queen, Marie Sophie Frederikke and his father was a German prince.

The impoverished prince

Christian spent his childhood years in Germany, leading a life devoid of luxury. His parents struggled to make ends meet with the ten children they had to feed. At the age of 13, Christian lost his father, and his mother sent him to Copenhagen to live with his uncle, Frederick VI. The years passed, Christian was trained in the army, became an officer and married Louise of Hesse-Kassel. The moved into the Yellow Palace at Amalienborg and had six children. 

In 1852, the family's fortunes changed forever. Christian was made heir to the throne, and his six children were given titles of princes and princesses. In time, Christian IX was given another title – the father-in-law of Europe. All his children married into the most powerful and prestigious royal families of Europe.