Louise of Hesse-Cassel (1817–1898)

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Louise of Hesse-Cassel (1817–1898)

Queen of Denmark. Born Louise Wilhelmina on September 7, 1817, in Cassel; died on September 29, 1898, in Bernstorff; daughter of William, landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, and Charlotte Oldenburg (1789–1864); married Christian IX (1818–1906), king of Denmark (r. 1863–1906), on May 26, 1842; children: Frederick VIII (1843–1912), king of Denmark (r. 1906–1912); Alexandra of Denmark (1844–1925); Dagmar (1847–1928, also known as Marie Feodorovna); Waldemar (b. 1858); Thyra Oldenburg (1853–1933); William of Denmark, who was elected king of Hellenes as George I (r. 1863–1913).

When Princess Louise of Hesse-Cassel married Prince Christian (IX) of Denmark, it was not certain her husband would become king. Because the male line of Frederick III was to end with the death of Frederick VII, Christian was designated crown prince in 1852, and assumed the throne in 1863 at the time of Frederick's death. But the succession was contested. Soon the withdrawal of Schleswig and Holstein from Danish authority led to war with Prussia and Austria. In the end, after five and a half months of conflict, the duchies were lost, and Denmark became one of Europe's smallest nations.

The country soon recovered, however. At times, Fredensborg in North Zealand, the summer palace of the Danish Royal family, was the center of European court life. The children of Louise and Christian led remarkable careers: Frederick was Frederick VIII, king of Denmark; Alexandra of Denmark married Edward VII and became queen of England; Dagmar married Alexander III and became empress of Russia as Marie Feodorovna ; Waldemar married Marie d'Orleans , daughter of Robert duc de Chartres; and Thyra Oldenburg married Ernest Augustus, duke of Cumberland. William of Denmark was elected king of Hellenes (Greece) as George I and reigned from 1863 until his assassination in Salonica in 1913.