Online Encyclopedia

CHRISTIAN VII

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V06, Page 278 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CHRISTIAN VII. (1749-1808), king of Denmark and Norway, was the son of Frederick V., king of Denmark, and his first consort Louisa, daughter of George II. of Great Britain. He became king on his father's death on the 14th of January 1766. All the earlier accounts agree that he had a winning personality and considerable talent, but he was badly educated, systematic-ally terrorized by a brutal governor and hopelessly debauched by corrupt pages, and grew up a semi-idiot. After his marriage in 1766 with Caroline Matilda (1751–1775), daughter of Frederick, prince of Wales, he abandoned himself to the worst excesses. He ultimately sank into a condition of mental stupor, and became the obedient slave of the upstart Struensee (q.v.). After the fall of Struensee (the warrant for whose arrest he signed with indifference), for the last six-and-twenty years of his reign, he was only nominally king. He died on the'3th of March '808. In 1772 the king's marriage with Caroline Matilda, who had been seized and had confessed to criminal familiarity with Struensee, was dissolved, and the queen, retaining her title, passed her remaining days at Celle, where she died on the 11th of May 1775. See E. S. F. Reverdil, Struensee et la tour de Copenhague, 1760-.1772 (Paris, 1858) ; Danmarks Riges Historie, vol. v. (Copenhagen, 1897–1905) ; and for Caroline Matilda, Sir F. C. L. Wraxall, Life and Times of Queen Caroline Matilda (1864), and W. H. Wilkins, A Queen of Tears (1904).
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