Danish Language Blog

The King, the Queen and the Doctor Posted by on May 30, 2012 in Uncategorized

What do you do when the king supposed to rule the country has gone mad? That question was haunting the court of Christian the 7th. The young king was obsessed by childish fears and lunacies, and displayed anything but a leader’s cool sense of judgement – to the great embarrasment of princess Caroline Mathilde, who had just been brought in from England to be the king’s wife. In reality, Denmark was ruled by a council and the king’s mother, Juliane Marie. Christian was just required to jot his signature on law papers.
Then one day in 1769 he got a new personal physician – the German Johann Friedrich Struensee. This Struensee was a bit of a personality and had a hidden agenda of his own: Reforming the country according to the political ideals of the movement called the Enlightenment (education, freedom of speech, liberty and better conditions for the farmers). Soon he had positioned himself as the king’s best friend and the queen’s secret lover.
In a surprise move, Christian dissolved the Council and installed Struensee as his co-ruler. As the clever cookie he was, the doc knew just what made the king tick, and during a couple of years he was the de facto ruler of Denmark.
But then suddenly his mistress the Queen told him she was gravid [graVEETH] (pregnant)…

One of the most colourful episodes in Danish history, the Struensee affair has caught the imagination of many writers. Most recently, it was made into a movie by director Nikolaj Arcel. The lead role is played by Mads Mikkelsen, who was awarded the prestigious prize as best male actor in Cannes, 2012. The film is a beautiful and exciting historical drama, and if you’re interested in Danish history – or just want to be entertained the ”Jane Austen meets Shakespeare” way – you should definitively give it a go.

Here you can watch the YouTube trailer.

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About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.