Friday, January 29, 2010
Christian IX dead at 87
King Christian IX of Denmark is dead. He was 87 years old. His death has "plunged had the Courts of Europe into deepest mourning and has brought a sense of personal loss, as well as of sincere grief, to everyone throughout Denmark, reports the New York Times.
He died with "startling suddenness" at the Amalienborg Palace.
The King "appeared to be in his usual health this morning." After having breakfast, he held a "public audience," which he did every Monday morning. This reception was "largely attended" and the king was eager to converse "freely and affably." The reception was followed by a luncheon, and although Christian "appeared slightly fatigued," he remained for the meal with members of his family, including the Dowager Empress of Russia and his brother, Prince Johann.
During the meal, King Christian claimed of feeling unwell, and he was assisted to his room by his daughter, Dagmar, and Prince Johann. His doctor was called, but by the time he arrived, the king had collapsed. His doctor tried to revive him, but his "efforts were useless," and King Christian, without "uttering a word," died in the arms of the Dowager Empress. The court physician and Prince Johann were also present.
Crown Prince Frederik, who had been summoned, arrived just as the king "breathed his last." Other members of the family, many of whom had come to Denmark for Christian's 88th birthday celebrations, "arrived shortly afterward."
Crown Prince Frederik, 61, will be declared as king tomorrow. He "bears the weight of his years lightly," and is popular in Denmark, as was his father. It was Frederik's "curious fate" to see his brother, Wilhelm, to be elected king of Greece inn 1863, shortly before Christian succeeded to the Danish throne. Frederik's son, Carl, is King Haakon VII of Norway.
The new Crown Prince is Frederik's eldest son, Christian, who is married to Duchess Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, and they have two sons, Frederik and Knud.
King Christian IX is survived by his children, Frederik, Queen Alexandra, the consort of Edward VII of Great Britain, Dagmar, the Dowager Empress of Russia, King George I of the Hellenes, Prince Valdemar and Princess Thyra, the Duchess of Cumberland. He is also survived by his brother, Prince Johann, known as Hans, and numerous grandchildren, including the future kings of Great Britain, Greece and Norway, and the present Emperor of Russia.
Christian, as a Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, was elected as heir to the Danish throne, when he was 34 years old. He was a "poor infantry officer in the Danish army," and he eked out a "meagre salary by teaching drawing." His claim to the Danish throne was helped by his marriage to Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel, whose claim to to the throne superceded Christians, but she ceded her rights so her husband could become the heir.
The marriages of his children "served to compensate the King for the loss of Schleswig-Holstein" in the early years of his reign. Christian was also able to overcome the "lack of harmony between the Court party and the people of Denmark." His views were "narrowly conservative," but King Christian was "personally simple and kindly, and possessed the since affection of his people." He was the "representative of the older order among the royal group in Europe, and his role is not likely to be assumed by any survivor."
Christian's wife, Louise, died in 1898.