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Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark


Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark

Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark
Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

Painting by Christian Albrecht Jensen
Spouse Prince Frederick of Denmark
Karl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
House of Oldenburg
Father Frederick VI of Denmark
Mother Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel
Born (1808-01-18)18 January 1808
Kiel, Duchy of Schleswig
Died 30 May 1891(1891-05-30) (aged 83)
Glücksburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Prussia
Religion Lutheranism

Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark and Norway (German: Wilhelmine Marie) (18 January 1808 in Kiel, Duchy of Schleswig – 30 May 1891 in Glücksburg, Schleswig-Holstein, Prussia) was the youngest daughter of Frederick VI of Denmark and his wife and first cousin Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel. Her paternal grandfather, Christian VII of Denmark, had major psychological problems and as result, her father had been acting as Regent since 1784. Within two months of her birth, Vilhelmine Marie's grandfather died of a cerebral aneurysm and her father ascended as king.

First marriage

Since her father had no surviving sons, Vilhelmine Marie was a very desirable bride. Among her suitors was the future Oscar I of Sweden of the then newly established Bernadotte dynasty. On 1 November 1828 in Copenhagen, she married Prince Frederick of Denmark, the future King Frederick VII. The engagement had been made official in 1826. Prince Frederick was a direct male-line descendant of King Frederick V by his second queen Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. The marriage united the two lines of the Royal House, which had been in a strained relationship since 1814, and was very popular: the public celebrations was unusually vivid, with illuminations, poems, public festivities and a foundation, Vilhelmine-Stiftelsen, for the benefit of providing brides with a suitable equipment. The marriage soon turned out to be an unhappy one. That was not least because of Frederick's debauched lifestyle with infidelity and heavy drinking. It was said that Vilhelmine, although good hearted and mild, lacked character and was unable to gain any influence on Frederick, and that Frederick deeply hurt her "female feelings". Her unhappy marriage was also a cause of concern for her parents, who felt sorry for her. The couple were separated in 1834, and divorced in 1837.

Second marriage

In Amalienborg Palace on 19 May 1838 she married second Karl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, eldest brother of the future King Christian IX of Denmark, and took residence in Kiel. Her second marriage was said to have been very happy. Both her marriages were childless. Many believe that she was barren as there are no records of her having any miscarriages or stillbirths.

During the First Schleswig War (1848–1851), her spouse actively sided against Denmark. That caused Vilhelmine's relations with the Danish Royal family to be severed for some time. During the war, she resided in Dresden. In 1852 there was a reconciliation and she again enjoyed a close relationship with her family in Copenhagen, returning to Denmark with Karl, often living at Louisenlund Castle. Her status as the daughter of a well-loved King and abused Queen of a vilified King helped her to regain her popularity among the Danish people. Her consort never did. In 1870, she took residence in Glücksburg castle, where she lived the rest of her life. Karl died in 1878. Vilhelmine spent her old age isolated, as she had difficulty communicating in social life after she lost her hearing, but she spent a lot of time on charity and became popular in Glücksburg because of this. She was reportedly sorry for Denmark's loss of the duchies in 1864 and happy over the new royal dynasty in Denmark.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles

  • 18 January 1808 – 1 November 1828: Her Royal Highness Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark and Norway
  • 1 November 1828 – 4 September 1837: Her Royal Highness Princess Frederick of Denmark
  • 4 September 1837 – 19 May 1838: Her Royal Highness Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark and Norway
  • 19 May 1838 – 24 October 1878: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  • 24 October 1878 – 30 May 1891: Her Royal Highness The Dowager Duchess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg



  • (in Danish)
Princess Vilhelmine Marie of Denmark
Born: 18 January 1808 Died: 30 May 1891
German nobility
Preceded by
Louise Caroline of Hesse-Kassel
Duchess consort of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
19 May 1838 – 24 October 1878
Succeeded by
Adelheid of Schaumburg-Lippe
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