It was 100 years ago today that Denmark’s then-king, Frederik 8, unexpectedly collapsed and died on the street in Hamburg, stricken by acute cardiac arrest.
Frederik 8 was born in 1843, the eldest son of the later King Christian 9 and his queen, Louise. With his father’s accession to the throne in 1863, he became the successor and then received the title of crown prince. It was not until he was 63 years old, in 1906, that he succeeded his father on the throne, so he was king for only six years before death overtook him at the age of 69 in 1912.
The news about the king’s sudden death reached Copenhagen early on the morning of 15 May. And after a hastily-called Council of State, council president Klaus Berntsen, from the balcony of Christian VII’s Palace at Amalienborg, proclaimed the successor to the throne as the new king of Denmark, under the name of Christian 10.
At the time, Christian 10 was 41 years old. His reign lasted until 1947, when he died at the age of 76. His 35-year reign was a dramatic period in both Denmark’s and the rest of the world’s history. It began with a world war and it ended with yet another all-encompassing world war. And the inter-war period in the 1920s and 1930s was strongly marked by the large worldwide economic crisis, which turned many conventional notions upside down.
Published May 14, 2012