Marie Sophie of Hesse

Marie Sophie of Hesse-Kassel

Marie Sophie Frederikke (Marie Sophie Friederike von Hessen-Kassel; 28 October 176722 March 1852) was Queen Consort of Denmark and Norway.


She was the eldest child of Prince Charles of Hesse-Kassel (or Hesse-Cassel) and Luise, Princess of Denmark and Norway. Her paternal grandparents were Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel and Princess Mary of Great Britain. Mary was a daughter of King George II and Caroline of Ansbach. Her maternal grandparents were Frederick V of Denmark and Louise, another daughter of George II of Great Britain and Caroline of Ansbach. Her father was the second son of the Landgrave, the sovereign prince of Hesse-Kassel, and as such, had no principality of his own. Thus he acted in such positions as were offered to cadet members of royal houses by their reigning relatives. Denmark was offering more and better positions than the small Hesse-Kassel.

She grew up largely in Denmark, where her father held notable positions, such as the governorship of provinces. Her mother was the third and youngest daughter of King Frederick V of Denmark and his consort, Louise of Great Britain. As such, she was the niece of King Christian VII and of Prince Regent Frederik, as well as the first cousin of Regent and Crown Prince Frederik, the Danish rulers of that period.

On 31 July 1790 she married her first cousin, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark (1768-1839), then Regent of the Realm, the future King Frederick VI of Denmark. Her husband had been since 1784 (when he was just 16 years old) the Regent on behalf of his insane father Christian VII of Denmark, who would die in 1808. The Royal couple assumed the throne officially only upon King Christian's death, having acted as de facto monarchs already for over two decades. In the aftermath of the defeat of Denmark's ally, Emperor Napoleon I of the French, Denmark lost its dominion Norway; the Royal couple ceased to be Norway's King and Queen in 1814. Queen Marie was Regent of Denmark in 1814-1815 during her husband's absence abroad.


They had eight children. However, none of Frederick VI's sons survived infancy and when he died in 1839, he was succeeded by his cousin, Christian VIII of Denmark. The surviving children of King Frederick VI and Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke were their two daughters:

Queen Marie Sophie Frederikke lamented the total lack of sons and of grandchildren of her own. When her youngest sister, Duchess Louise Caroline of Lyksborg became widow when most of her large brood of children were as yet very young, Queen Marie accepted some of the younger ones into her tutelage in the Royal Household. They were much younger than the Queen's own two surviving daughters, and one may speculate that the Queen felt like a grandmother. One such foster child of hers was Prince Christian of Lyksborg, born 1818, the future Christian IX of Denmark.

Christian of Lyksborg and his wife Louise of Hesse named their second daughter, Marie Sophie Frederikke Dagmar of Lyksborg (born 1847), in the Queen's honor as her namesake. After her death (1852), that girl became Tsarina Maria Fedorovna of Russia, preserving there the Queen's first name (Maria/Marie).


Her titles were:

  • 1767-90 Her Serene Highness Princess Marie of Hesse-Kassel
  • 1790-1808 Her Royal Highness The Crown Princess of Denmark and Norway
  • 1808-14 Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark and Norway
  • 1814-39 Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark
  • 1839-52 Her Majesty The Queen Dowager of Denmark


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