1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Christian IX.

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CHRISTIAN IX. (1818–1906), king of Denmark, was a younger son of William, duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg (d. 1831), a direct descendant of the Danish king Christian III. by his wife Louise, a daughter of Charles, prince of Hesse-Cassel (d. 1836), and grand-daughter of King Frederick V. Born at Gottorp on the 8th of April 1818, Christian entered the army, and alone among the members of his family served with the Danish troops in Schleswig during the insurrection of 1848; but he was a personage of little importance until about 1852, ten years after his marriage with Louise (1817–1898), daughter of William, prince of Hesse-Cassel (d. 1867), and cousin of King Frederick VII. At this time it became imperative that satisfactory provision should be made for the succession to the Danish throne. The reigning king, Frederick VII., was childless, and the representatives of the great powers met in London and settled the crown on Prince Christian and his wife (May 1852), an arrangement which became part of the law of Denmark in 1853. The “protocol king,” as Christian was sometimes called, ascended the throne on Frederick’s death in November 1863, and was at once faced by formidable difficulties. Reluctantly he assented to the policy which led to war with the combined power of Austria and Prussia, and to the separation of the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg from Denmark (see Schleswig-Holstein Question). Within the narrowed limits of his kingdom Christian’s difficulties were more protracted and hardly less serious. During almost the whole of his reign the Danes were engaged in a political struggle between the “Right” and the “Left,” the party of order and the party of progress, the former being supported in general by the Landsting, and the latter by the Folketing. The king’s sympathies lay with the more conservative section of his subjects, and for many years he was successful in preventing the Radicals from coming into office. The march of events, however, was too strong for him, and in 1901 he assented in a dignified manner to the formation of a “cabinet of the Left” (see Denmark: History). In spite of these political disturbances Christian’s popularity with his people grew steadily, and was enhanced by the patriarchal and unique position which in his later years he occupied in Europe. With his wife, often called “the aunt of all Europe,” he was related to nearly all the European sovereigns. His eldest son Frederick had married a daughter of Charles XV. of Sweden; his second son George had been king of the Hellenes since 1863; and his youngest son Waldemar (b. 1858) was married to Marie d’Orléans, daughter of Robert, duc de Chartres. Of his three daughters, Alexandra married Edward VII. of Great Britain; Dagmar (Marie), the tsar Alexander III.; and Thyra, Ernest Augustus, duke of Cumberland. One of his grandsons, Charles, became king of Norway as Haakon VII. in 1905, and another, Constantine, crown prince of Greece, married a sister of the German emperor William II. Christian was also the ruler of Iceland, where he was received with great enthusiasm when he visited the island in 1874. He died at Copenhagen on the 29th of January 1906, and was buried at Roskilde.

See Barfod, Kong Kristian IX.’s Regerings-Dagbog (Copenhagen, 1876); and Hans Majestet Kong Kristian IX. (Copenhagen, 1888).