Louise Auguste of Denmark – La Petite Struensee

(public domain)

On 7 July 1771, Queen Caroline Matilda of Denmark gave birth to a daughter at Hirschholm Palace. By her side was the baby’s father Johann Friedrich Struensee, the King’s royal physician. He was stroking her hair and holding her hand as a male accoucheur delivered their daughter. On 22 July, the day of Louise Auguste’s christening, Johann Friedrich Struensee and his friends Enevold Brandt were both ennobled as counts. Caroline Matilda’s husband was King Christian VII of Denmark, and he recognised the child as his own. Christian was mentally ill and under the influence of both Struensee and his Queen. The young Princess received the name Louise for her paternal grandmother and Auguste for her maternal grandmother. Rumours of her paternity were already circling, and in an attempt to counter them, Caroline Matilda asked her husband, her brother-in-law and her husband’s stepmother to stand as sponsors.

The following year, Struensee and Queen Caroline Mathilda were overthrown by Count Schack Carl Rantzau and the Dowager Queen Juliana Maria. Struensee and Brandt were arrested and shortly after, Caroline Mathilda was arrested, though she protested with the words, “I am the Queen; I will obey no orders except from the King’s own lips!” She was to go to Kronborg Castle, but she did not want to leave without her children. A compromise was made; the Crown Prince would remain, but she could take Louise Auguste as she was nursing her herself. She held her daughter tight throughout the journey. It was to be a harsh imprisonment, she was given the same food as the common prisoners, and it was a bitter winter. Kronborg Castle was by the sea and winds, and waves bashed against the walls. She had no proper clothes as she had hurriedly been brought there.

Although she denied a relationship with Struensee in an attempt to save him, when he confessed to it, so did she. On 28 April 1772, Struensee and Brandt were executed. Their right hands were cut off before they were beheaded. Little Louise Auguste lingered with her mother in Kronborg. Even though her mother had confessed to adultery, the court had declared her legitimate with all honour due to a King’s daughter. This was probably done to not enrage Caroline Matilda’s brother, King George III of the United Kingdom, further. Found guilty, the Queen was now dead by law. By May, it was decided that Caroline Matilda was to be sent to Celle, in Hanover. On the day of her departure, a lady from the court arrived to take Louise Auguste away from her. She held onto her for a long time before finally giving her up with the words, “Let me go away, for I now possess nothing here!” On 10 May 1775, Caroline Matilda died of scarlet fever at the Ducal Palace of Celle. She was still only 23 years old. Though the Danish court did go into mourning, it was not for its Queen but for a relation of the King; she was after all a first cousin to the King. Her children did remain in mourning for longer.

Louise Auguste would grow up with her elder brother Frederick, and they were very close throughout their life. He ruled as Crown Prince Regent from 1784 until their father’s death in 1808. He then succeeded as King Frederick VI. Her brother persuaded her to marry The Hereditary Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, who was 21 years old to her 14 years. This would unite the House of Oldenburg with the House of Augustenborg. They were married on 27 May 1786. Her brother would marry Marie of Hesse-Kassel four years later.

On 28 September 1796, Louise Auguste gave birth to her first child, a daughter named Caroline Amalie, who would eventually become Queen of Denmark as the wife of King Christian VIII. It had been nearly ten years since she had married and she reportedly underwent fertility treatments. A son named Christian August was born on 19 July 1798, followed by another son named Frederik Emil August on 23 August 1800. Louise Auguste and her husband could not have been more different. She was known to be outgoing and enjoyed being the centre of attention, while her husband was interested in philosophy and politics.

Over the years, Louise Auguste’s support for her brother made the relationship with her husband quite tense in relation to his political ambitions. Louise Auguste was widowed on 14 June 1814. She moved into the Augustenborg Castle where she set up her own court. She died there on 13 January 1843, having outlived her brother and having seen her daughter become Queen of Denmark. 1

  1. Read more:

    A queen of tears, Caroline Matilde, Queen of Denmark and Norway and Princess of Great Britain and Ireland (Volume I & Volume II)

About Moniek Bloks 2198 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

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