Frederick Christian II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg

Frederick Christian II

Portrait of Frederick Christian II, Duke of Augustenborg by Anton Graff
Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
Reign 13 November 1794–14 June 1814
Predecessor Frederick Christian I
Successor Christian August II
Born (1765-09-28)28 September 1765
Augustenborg Palace, Augustenborg, Denmark
Died 14 June 1814(1814-06-14) (aged 48)
Augustenborg Palace, Augustenborg, Denmark
Burial Sønderborg Castle
Spouse Princess Louise Auguste of Denmark
Issue Caroline Amalie, Queen of Denmark
Christian August II
Frederick, Prince of Noer
House Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
Father Frederick Christian I, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
Mother Charlotte Amalie Wilhelmine of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön
Religion Lutheranism

Frederick Christian II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (28 September 1765 in Augustenburg – 14 June 1814 in Augustenburg) was a Danish prince and feudal magnate. He held the island of Als and some other castles (such as Sonderborg) in Schleswig.


He was born the eldest son of Friedrich Christian I, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg (1721–1794), and his cousin Princess Charlotte of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön (1744–1770). Until his father's death, he was styled "Hereditary Prince of Augustenborg".

He was a prince with an exceptionally high dose of Danish blood in his ancestry, his maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, and paternal great-grandmother having been born, respectively, Countess of Reventlow, Countess of Danneskiold-Samsøe, and Countess of Ahlefeldt-Langeland. He was closely related to all important families of the Danish high nobility of the time. The negative side was that his ancestry was quite much "comital", instead of including royal princesses, and duchesses of petty German states, as was customary with the Oldenburg royal family. Their family was regarded as a bit lower than the Ebenbürtige small rulers of Germany thought to be the standard.

In 1786, however, the twenty-year-old hereditary prince married his distant cousin, the fourteen-year-old Louise Auguste of Denmark and Norway (1771–1843), daughter of the late Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark. Louise Auguste was born during queen's marriage with the insane King Christian VII of Denmark and Norway, but unofficially it was widely known that her natural father was Johann Friedrich Struensee, the king’s court physician and de facto regent of the country at the time of her birth. (Indeed, she was at times referred to as la petite Struensee.)

The story of antecedents of the prince's marriage goes as follows: In February 1779, the nation's foremost statesman, Chief Minister Count Andreas Peter Bernstorff, hatched an ingenious plan for the young princess, something that often has been customary with a royal child suspected of not being sired by its nominal father but in its mother's illicit liaison: to marry such a child to another member of the royal house. Since a male child of hers could inherit the throne some day, it would be advantageous to arrange a marriage early, and to marry the "half-royal" back into the extended royal house, to the Hereditary Prince of Augustenborg. This plan had the positive effect of more closely connecting the Danish royal house’s two lines, the ruling House of Oldenborg and the cadet House of Augustenborg, thus not only discouraging any breakup of the kingdom but also preventing Louise Auguste's marriage into the Swedish royal house (the latter danger was rather low, however: at that time, there were Swedish princes only twenty years or more her senior, and her first cousin, the future King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden, had just been born when she already was seven).

Binding agreements were made in 1780, and in the spring of 1785 the young Frederick Christian came to Copenhagen. The engagement was announced then, and a year later, on May 27, 1786, the wedding was celebrated at Christiansborg Palace.

The couple lived at the Castle for many years until the Christiansborg Palace fire of 1794 and the death of his father, the Duke of Augustenborg Frederick Christian I. The prince inherited the estate and the duchy.

After 1794, the couple lived during the summer on the island of Als and at Gråsten.

The couple had three children:

Over the years, conflict arose between Duke Frederick Christian II and Louise Auguste's brother, King Frederick VI of Denmark, especially over the relationship of the double-duchies of Schleswig-Holstein and the Duke's own small appanage around Sonderborg on the one hand and the Danish monarchy on the other. His wife remained loyal to the Danish royal house throughout these differences. The marriage eventually fell into acrimony and reproach, and Frederick Christian tried to legally limit Louise Auguste's influence over their children's futures.

In 1810, Frederik Christian's younger brother Charles August was chosen by the estates of the Swedish realm as that nation's crown prince, to succeed the elderly and childless King Charles XIII. Following Charles August's death in May 1810, Frederick Christian himself was the leading candidate to become the new heir to the Swedish throne. On August 8, 1810 he was elected crown prince by the estates. His election however, was reconsidered and withdrawn two weeks later and Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, Marshal of France and Prince of Ponte Corvo, was elected instead.

Frederick Charles died on June 14, 1814. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Christian August II, then but sixteen years old. Louise Auguste took control of the Augustenborg estates and the children’s upbringing. The estates were turned over to the son and heir on his return from an extended foreign tour in 1820.

Titles, styles, honours and arms

Titles and styles


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Frederick Christian II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
Born: 28 September 1765 Died: 14 June 1814
Preceded by
Frederick Christian I
Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
Succeeded by
Christian August II
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