Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein

For other princes named Christian, see Prince Christian (disambiguation).
Prince Christian
Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
Born (1831-01-22)22 January 1831
Augustenborg, Denmark
Died 28 October 1917(1917-10-28) (aged 86)
Schomberg House, London
Burial Frogmore, Windsor
Spouse Princess Helena of the United Kingdom
(m. 1866–1917; his death)
Issue Prince Christian Victor
Albert, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein
Princess Helena Victoria
Princess Marie Louise
Prince Harald
Unnamed stillborn son
Full name
Frederick Christian Charles Augustus
House Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg
Father Christian, Duke of Augustenborg
Mother Countess Louise Sophie of Danneskiold-Samsøe

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein KG GCVO PC ADC(P) (Frederick Christian Charles Augustus; 22 January 1831 28 October 1917) was a minor Danish-born German prince who became a member of the British Royal Family through his marriage to Princess Helena of the United Kingdom (25 May 1846 9 June 1923), the fifth child and third daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

Early life

Prince Christian was born in Augustenborg, Denmark. He was the second son of Christian August, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg and his wife, Countess Louise Sophie of Danneskiold-Samsøe.

Prince Christian was perhaps, by descent, the most Danish Prince of the Danish Royal Dynasty in his generation (which was the generation when Denmark came to its most recent succession crisis, cf details accounted at his cousin's article: Louise of Hesse). His family, of course, belonged to the House of Oldenburg, the royal house which numbered all medieval Scandinavian royal dynasties among its distant forefathers. Christian's paternal grandfather happened to have both grandfathers who were "Royal" dukes from the Oldenburg dynasty. What was different compared with ancestries of their rival relatives, was Christian's specific ancestry among current Danish high nobility. His mother was from an ancient Danish family (Danneskiold-Samsoe), and his paternal grandmother Louise Auguste of Denmark was its Royal Princess. His paternal grandfather Frederik Christian II, Duke of Augustenborg numbered two ladies of Danish high nobility as his grandmothers (Danneskiold-Samsoe and Reventlow), and one Danish Countess as paternal great-grandmother (Ahlefeldt-Langeland). Christian's parents had high hopes that in the then-rising era of nationalism, this ancestry would be viewed with favour by necessary supporters when Danish succession comes to be solved. The family groomed Christian's elder brother Frederick to become king of Denmark, however, the Danish succession crisis was resolved in favour of others.

In 1848, young Christian's father, Duke Christian August, placed himself at the head of a movement to resist by force the claims of Denmark upon the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, two personal possessions of the Kings of Denmark, of which Holstein also was a part of the German Confederation. A year earlier, King Frederick VII acceded to the Danish throne without any hope of producing a male heir. Unlike Denmark proper, where the Lex Regia of 1665 allowed the throne to pass through the female royal line, in Holstein Salic Law prevailed. The duchy would most likely revert to the Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg family, their cadet branch of the house of Holstein-Sonderburg. During the 1852 First War of Schleswig, Prince Christian briefly served with the newly constituted Schleswig-Holstein army before he and his family were forced to flee the advancing Danish forces (see history of Schleswig-Holstein). After the war, he attended the University of Bonn, where he befriended Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia (later the German Emperor Frederick III).


Royal styles of
Prince Christian
Reference style His Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Sir

In September 1865, while visiting Coburg, The Princess Helena met Prince Christian. The couple became engaged in December of that year. Queen Victoria gave her permission for the marriage with the proviso that the couple live in Great Britain. They married at the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on 5 July 1866. Seven days before the wedding, on 29 June 1866, the Queen granted her future son-in-law the style of Royal Highness by Royal Warrant.[1] This style was in effect in the United Kingdom, not Germany where Prince Christian, as a son of the Duke of Augustenborg, was only entitled to the style Serene Highness.[2]

Prince and Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, as they were known, made their home at Frogmore House in the grounds of Windsor Castle and later at Cumberland Lodge in Windsor Great Park. They had six children, known commonly as:[3]

Honours and offices

Prince Christian was made a Knight of the Garter (KG), a member of the Privy Council (PC) and a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO). He became a personal Aide-de-Camp to the Queen in 1897 and, later to King Edward VII. Prince Christian was given the rank of Major general in the British Army in July 1866 and received promotions to the ranks of Lieutenant general in August 1874 and General in October 1877. From 1869 until his death, he was honorary colonel of the 1st Volunteer Battalion, The Royal Berkshire Regiment. However, Prince Christian never held a major field command or staff position. He was High Steward[4] of Windsor, and Ranger of Windsor Great Park. He was awarded a Doctor of Civil Law degree by the University of Oxford. He received the freedom of the city of Carlisle on 7 July 1902, during a visit to the city for the Royal Agricultural Society′s Show.[5]

As a "Minor Royal", he officiated at many public functions. These included participation, with the Princess Helena, in the speech day of Malvern College in 1870.[6]

World War I

During World War I, rising anti-German sentiment forced the British Royal Family to sever its links to Germany and to discontinue the use of various German titles and styles. In July 1917, King George V changed the name of the British Royal House to the House of Windsor and discontinued for himself and all other descendants of Queen Victoria who were British subjects all "other German Degrees, Styles, Dignities, Titles, Honours and Appellations." Prince and Princess Christian and their two daughters dropped the territorial designation "of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg" and instead became known as Their Royal Highnesses Prince and Princess Christian, Her Highness Princess Marie Louise, and Her Highness Princess Helena Victoria, respectively.

Later life

Prince Christian died at Schomberg House, Pall Mall, in October 1917, in his eighty-seventh year. He is buried in the Royal Burial Ground, Frogmore in Windsor Great Park.

Titles and Honours

Titles from birth




  1. at p.3816; National Archives, HO 38/61, p.396-397
  2. The children of Prince and Princess Christian would have borne the titles of Prince or Princess of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderberg-Augustenburg with the style Serene Highness. This was in accordance with both the house laws of the Ducal House of Augustenburg and English common law, whereby children take the surname and rank of their father, not their mother. Queen Victoria granted the children of Prince and Princess Christian the style of Highness in May 1867. Nonetheless, they remained Princes and Princesses of Schleswig-Holstein and the style of Highness was only in effect in Great Britain..
  3. Charles Mosley, editor-in-chief, Burke’s peerage & baronetage, 106th ed. Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1999. ISBN 2-940085-02-1.
  4. " - Index to High Stewards". Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  5. "Court Circular". The Times (36814). London. 8 July 1902. p. 10.
  6. Cookson, R.T.C, ed. (1905), The Malvern Register 1865-1904, (Originally compiled by Laurence Sidney Milward & Edward Clifford Bullock) (2nd ed.), Malvern, UK: Malvern Advertiser, p. xvi, retrieved 29 August 2010 2009 reprint via Google books (Note: Google's authorship citation is inaccurate - see Internet Archive version for actual title page)
  7. The London Gazette: no. 27281. p. 765. 5 February 1901. Retrieved 11-10-2012.
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