King Christian 4th
1577 - 1648               King 1588 - 1648
                             Norway 1588 - 1648

Danish Kings, from Gorm the Old to the present Queen Margrethe 2nd


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Åbenrå Municipality’s art-exhibition of Danish kings, at Museum Sønderjylland, Åbenrå

King Christian 4th

Queen Anna Cathrine of Brandenburg

Kirsten Munk

Christian was only 11 years old, when his father Frederik 2nd died. The first years until the crowning took place in 1596 the country was governed by a Council.
Christian’s appointment took place in July 1596 by The Council. The 17th August he signed an agreement of severe terms and few days later Zealand’s bishop placed the marvellous king-crown, which to day can be seen at Rosenborg, on the kings head.

Christian 4th got through his childhoot, of which a part was at his grandparents in Mecklenburg, a healthy and natural upbringing, but special good knowledge he did not acquired, but early his love for naval life and construction art developed.
When he had grown up and he himself took over the governing, he soon showed the quality, which made him Denmarks and Norways most popular king.
Ordinarily he was economical and fussy, but when it came to represent the kingdom, he was generous, often extravagant.
To the many ships and castles, he had build, he himself drawed several details.

In his politics he showed a formidable desire to act. He wanted to execute everything himself, and he harbored great plans to expand his kingdom and make it strong and rich. But in the crucial moments he judged totally wrong about his own and his enemies power.
As an army leader he was not significant, and his eager to interfere in the smallest trifles often resulted in the fact, that he lost the comprehensive view.

In the first part of his time of governing, many of his plans appeared to succeed, but when it became critical, it often showed, that his power lay on shaky ground, and he left behind a diminished and broken up country.
From appearance he was handy and powerful, he had an intense sensual nature, and like his father he was indulged in immoderate drinking.

Christian 4th participated in the Kalmar War 1611-13, in which Sweden became the loser and had to pay a large sum of money. When the war ended, it became the beginning of 200 years of conflicts and wars between Denmark and Sweden.

Denmarks part of The 30 Years War 1618-1648 was called The Emperor War. During this war Sweden declared Denmark war in 1643 and all Jutland became occupied. At the battle at Kolberger Hede 1st July 1644 the king was wounded and lost his left eye. It is from here the famous song “Kong Christian stod ved højen mast, i røg og damp” came. (King Christian standing by the tall mast, in smoke and steam).

Christian 4th founded Danish East-Indian Company, and by establishing Trankenbar in India, Denmark became a colonial-power.

Christian 4th had his own orchestra, which consisted of musicians from France, Germany, Italy and England. It was an invisible orchestra, which should play in the bacement below the winter-garden at Rosenborg, and through trapdoors in the ceiling the music entered beautifully into the kings parties.

Buildings were erected: Rosenborg Castle, the district of Christianshavn, Børsen (Stock Exchange) and Holmens Church, Trinitatis Church and Rundetårn (The Round Castle) were finished in 1642. The existing churches in the capital: Vor Frue Church, Helligånds Church and Nikalaj Church were embellished with spires. Frederiksborg Castle was rebuild and Kronborg, which had burned down in 1629 was rebuild.

Copenhagen 1611

The year after his crowning Christian 4th was married to the Brandenburg princess Anna Cathrine (1575-1612). She was daughter of prince Joachim Frederik of Brandenburg and countess Cathrine of Küstrin.
The queen had a quiet and solitary life, and historic sources of her life have not been found. She gave birth to six children, of which two were dead. The second eldest became the later Frederik 3rd.

Kirsten Munk became in 1615 Christian 4ths second wife. She was daughter of noblemand Ludvig Munk and Ellen Marsvin. No wedding took place, but the marriage was considered valid because of written agreements between the king, Ellen Marsvin and Kirsten Munk. She is described as an intelligent and independent person, but also greedy and nasty.

She gave birth to 12 children, of which 9 survived. The last child, she gave birth to, was born after, she was expelled from Rosenborg because of her love affair to a German count Otto Ludvig of Salm. After that she lived at her Jutlandic estates Boller and Rosenvold. Periodic she was baned to leave her estates and was imprisoned. Christian 4th accused her of breach of marriage. The fatherhood of her twelfth child was never determined. For some years she was delighted by the power, which among others her daughter Leonora Christina had. She was married to Corfitz Ulfeldt. Later he became steward of the kingdom, the highest position after the king, and achived a fortune, which exceeded the annual income of the state. But at the death of Christian 4th in 1648 the situation changed.

In 1657 Frederik 3rd took away Kirsten Munk’s titel as countess of Slesvig and Holsten. Her Jutlandic estates she was allowed to keep, and she died at Boller 19th April 1658.

His last years Christian 4th lived together with Vibeke Kruse. She had been working for Kirsten Munk at Rosenborg and later for her mother Ellen Marsvin at one of her estates. The relationship was arranged by Ellen Marsvin, who wanted to be on good terms with the king.
Vibeke Kruse influenced the king considerably, and he gave her an estate in Holsten.
After the kings death she was driven away from Rosenborg by Corfitz Ulfeldt and died the same year.
Christian 4th was buried in Roskinde Cathedral.

Christian 4th and Anna Cathrine had the children:

Frederik, born and died in 1599
Christian 1603-47, elected successor to the throne. Married in 1634 to Magdalene Sibylla of Sachsen
Sofie, born and died in 1605
Elisabeth 1606-08
Frederik 1609-70, later king
Ulrik 1611-33

Christian 4th and Kirsten Munk had the children:

Anna Cathrine 1618-33
Sofie Elisabeth 1619-57, married in 1634 to Christian Pentz
Leonora Christine 1621-98. In 1636 married to Corfitz Ulfeldt (1606-64), who later became steward of the kingdom. From 1663-85 she was prisoner in Blåtårn
Valdemar Christian 1622-56
Elisabeth Augusta 1623-77, narried in 1639 to Habs Lindenov
Frederik Christian 1625-27
Christiane 1626-70, married in 1642 to Hannibal Schested
Hedvig 1626-78, married in 1642 to Ebbe Ulfeldt
Marie Cathrine
Dorothea Elisabeth 1629-87

Christian 4th and his mistress Kirsten Madsdatter had the child:

Christian Ulrik Gyldenløve 1611-40, colonel, died in Spanish army-service

Christian 4th and his mistress Karen Andersdatter had the children:

Dorothea Elisabeth 1613-15
Hans Ulrik Gyldenløve 1615-45, married in 1641 to Regitze Grubbe (1618-89)

Christian 4th and his mistress Vibeke Kruse had the children:

Ulrik Christian Gyldenløve 1630-58
Elisabeth Sofie 1633-54, married in 1648 to Claus Ahlefeldt.






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