The mistresses are the darker side of the royals – they weren’t perfect, the mistresses are proof that they did not stick to their marriage vows. And as the book by Henning Dehn-Nielsen shows, it also happened in the Danish royal history. Repeatedly.
The book goes from King Hans to the last Oldenburger, King Frederik VII. But, it’s mostly a book about the women behind the men.
There is the story of King Hans (John), who once went to a meeting in Kiel with a mistress in each hand, while still being married to Christine of Sachsen, but he also had one especially favoured mistress, Edele.
Christian II met Dyveke, the daughter of a Dutch tradesman’s widow in Norway, and installed her and her mother, Sigbrit, in Denmark. He married the 14 year old Isabella of Austria, and continued the relationship with Dyveke. Isabella’s aunt, in the Netherlands, demanded Dyveke’s banishment from Denmark, or to play her a nasty trick. Dyveke died suddenly and without warning in 1517, and the mother cried murder. Sigbrit would continue her high position in the Danish court, and was put in charge of the upbringing of the King’s oldest son, Prince Hans. Until the King lost his power in an uprising, the mother of his former mistress was easily the most powerful woman in Denmark.
The story of Christian II and Dyveke is just one of many in this book, which ends with Frederik VII and Louise Rasmussen, the ballet dancer who later became Countess Danner.
The Danish kings also had their official maitresses, as the French Kings did, but this practice ended with Frederik VI, whose mistress Frederikke Dannemand was the last official royal maitresse. She bore him four children, all of whom were given ennobled in 1830.
The book is easy to read, and contains much interesting information about some of the “sordid” aspects of royal Danish history.
Danske kongers friller og elskerinder, Henning Dehn-Nielsen