Kings & Queens of Denmark

The land and sea borders of Denmark have frequently been disputed, with the German provinces to the south, and Sweden across the water, and territorial control fluctuated. It was an elective monarchy, although election of the previous king’s eldest son was the norm. In 1397 Denmark was united with Sweden and Norway by the Treaty of Kalmar, under a single King. In fact, the first ruler was Margaret, daughter of Valdemar of Denmark. In theory, Margaret was Regent of the three countries, rather than Queen. The union was destabilised under her successor, Erik of Pomerania, but reinstated in 1440, under Christopher of Bavaria.

Denmark struggled to keep Sweden under its control, losing the battle in 1521. Denmark also lost territory to Scotland with the marriage of Margaret, daughter of Christian I, in 1469, when the Orkney Islands were pledged against payment of her dowry.

In 1523, the King of Denmark and Norway, Christian II, was forced to resign, and his uncle, Frederik, elected. The deposed Christian II never regained his throne, and claims by his daughters later did not succeed. Frederik was tolerant in religious matters, and permitted translation of the Bible into the vernacular, whilst beginning to curb the power of the Catholic Church. His son, Christian III, was brought up as a Lutheran and implemented religious change in Norway and Denmark with Lutheranism adopted in 1536.

An unsuccessful intervention on the Protestant side in the Thirty Years’ War, hastened Danish decline.

Monarch Dates of Reign Spouse(s)
John (or Hans)
(King of Norway)
(King of Sweden)
21 May 1481 - 20 February 1513 Christina of Savoy
Christian II
(King of Norway)
(King of Sweden)
22 July 1513 - 20 January 1523 Isabella of Austria
Frederik I
(King of Norway)
20 January 1523 - 10 April 1533 Anna of Brandenburg
Sophia of Pomerania
Christian III
(King of Norway)
10 April 1533 - 1 January 1559 Dprothea of Saxe-Lauenburg
Frederik II
(King of Norway)
1 January 1559 - 4 April 1588 Sophia of Mecklenburg-Gustrow
Christian IV
(King of Norway)
4 April 1588 - 29 February 1648 Anne-Catherine of Brandenburg
Kirsten Munk (morganatic)