Thursday, June 30, 2011

Frederiksborg - Kronborg. Christian IV and Mistress: Vibeka Kruse

Kronborg and Frederiksborg
Two Castles, One Christian IV

Kronborg, at Helsingor; and Frederiksborg, at Hillerod, are some of a number of castles, royal residences, other structures built or rebuilt in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Add Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen.  Frederick and his son, Christian IV, were builders. This section sorts them out, and adds details about Christian IV's relationships, as we cobble them together from various sites.

Frederick and Christian are in the line of Oldenborg kings. Christian became King at age 11, in 1588, and was crowned at age 19.

1.  Frederiksborg is baroque and elegant, a place for state occasions, show, carriages on the cobbles, elegance. 

  • Compare that to the earlier Kronborg nearby, more massive, its defense designs still apparent in fortifications, ramparts. Kronborg had been built by Christian's father, Frederick.  It was more functional than show-residential, and is on the Oresund waterway between Denmark and Sweden.  It started as a place to collect shipping fees and defend against Sweden (only 2.5 miles away across this narrowest part). It is massive, heavy-looking, deep mazes of tunnels beneath, royal apartments and galleries around its central and cavernous courtyard. Fire. 1629. 
  • Christian IV's father, Frederick, used the earlier site and made it into magnificent castle, and it was destroyed except for outer walls. Enter son Christian IV and the rebuilding, see

2.  Christian IV was born at Frederiksborg in 1577 and lived there until he built and moved to Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen in 1610.  He lived at Frederiksborg with his first Queen, Anna Catherine of Brandenburg, and they had six legitimate children with her (the designation is specific at

The first Queen, Anna Catherine, died in 1612.

Note that the King is to have moved before then, in 1610, to Rosenborg in Copenhagen (with his mistress Vibeka Kruse? built for her?).  Watch the dates.  The puzzles of people and overlaps have to be cobbled from different sites.

3.  How to keep the castles straight.

The sites often overlap because reference to Christian IV, who did much building and restoring, will show them all.  A fine overview with photos and details and chronologies for Christian IV's work focuses on his Copenhagen castle, Rosenborg, but offers information as well for Frederiksborg, see 

  • Details of his Rosenberg Castle at Copenhagen are useful as corroboration for what we found as to Frederiksborg:  It lays out clues of a lifestyle of opulence and indulgence as to Christian IV that is echoed elsewhere, and this in no way detracts from King Christian's many accomplishments militarily and as sovereign. At Rosenborg, for example, dinner banquets with 16-20 dishes, and 38 different courses, and wine and beer without limit, see copenhagenet.Frederiksborg is clearly a place of state, a royal residence, and was used as Christian's residence until he moved into Rosenborg at Copenhagen in 1610, according to Copenhagenet.

Did Christian IV ever live at old Kronborg? Perhaps not much? He did its extensive repairs after a disaster fire. See

Potpourri of Castles

Built by Christian IV, used as his residence after 1610, and he died here 1648. Buried with Queen Anna Cathrine of Brandenburg (first Queen) at Roskilde Cathedral

Kronborg:  built by Christian's father, King Frederick

Frederiksborg, near Kronborg: Christian was born here

Amalienborg:  Current royal residence, Copenhagen

4.  Life at Frederiksborg

Christian IV was fun-loving. Amorous themes at Frederiksborg are not subtle.  And they are indulgent.  One feast, it is said, began at 11 in the morning and lasted until late evening.  There were 35 toasts, all drunk well up, and more as well. They finally carried King Christian to bed while still in his chair. A scheduled envoy arrived for an appointment the next day. The King was indisposed, and they were told he was off hunting, and had been since dawn. See The carriage access road is cobbled, with quarters for soldiers, retainers, other, flanking. It is a long walk from the parking area past the old fortifications, into the castle, and from there into the interior courtyard.

Renaissance luxury, Frederiksborg.

The castle burned in 1859;  this tower and some other wings survived. See,

Fun in the chambers. The alternatehistory site is not clear whether its accounts refer to life at Frederiksborg or where, but Frederiksborg makes sense. If we find later that these are Kronborg and not Frederiksborg, we will fix.  At this point, we believe from our own logs and the sequence of photos on the card that these are Frederiksborg. On the other hand, if Christian resided mostly at Rosenborg in Copenhagen after 1610, he would have wanted a recreational spot out of town, and would Kronborg provide the same elegance?

The photo at shows this as Frederiksborg, so Frederiksborg it is. Scroll down for it.

See the hearts and flowers on the wrought iron gate top, whimsical little brass-toned figures in fake joust, and the number 4 for Christian IV inside the C and holding up the crown.

The crown is particularly symbolic because a special one was made for Christian IV, gold and pearls, very heavy, now on display at Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen. See
King Christian himself was a military man, however, and engaged in battles himself, even losing an eye to flying shards.

Here he is, in the chambre a coucher,  dressed like a Roman, about to Conquest. Note the clusters of grapes, and hunting horns for the chase? The horns could refer to the 1639 discovery of the Golden Horn at Gallehus.

Lots of little cupids, lots of little watchers.
Now we know what this little carriage entrance was for.

Or do we?

Back to Rosenborg in Copenhagen:  this site notes that the Queen had her quarters at the south end, and the King had his at the north.  We had thought that Christian built Rosenborg for Vibeka Kruse.  Was the Queen also in residence there?  When did the first Queen die? Scandinavian soaps.

Look closely at the details on the wood carvings of this clock, we think it is, and the bright paints. Midway down: the two profiles facing out, not handsome people at all -- homely, real folks.

More important: They even look pregnant. Who is that in the center, looking out?  Is that Vibeka Kruse, the King's Favorite?  See FN 1.  We see, however, that there were others.  He had 23 children and "numerous lovers," see

Now back to Kronborg:  are there themes here that suggest Christian IV's interests

More figures looking pregnant.  Why, Kronborg, why? Is that why?  Note the lions -- a family name that meant Golden Lion was given to the King's off-road children. But these are blue lions

More fun on the way out. 

Right this way, my little poppet. Don't let a bad camera color mechanism deter you, my dear. Down we go!  Whoop!


FN 1  Vibeka Kruse.

The favorite mistress of Christian IV was a woman named Vibeka Kruse, a waiting-maid to the second wife of Christian IV,  Kirsten Munk. The first wife had been Anna Cathrin of Brandenburg. See  She also served Kirsten's mother, later, one Ellen Marsvin.

The King began his amorous affair with Vibeka in 1629 - the year of the big Kronborg other fire -- with the encouragement of the mother.  The King's relationship with Kirsten had soured.

Vibeka had a son with Christian IV, a boy named Ulrik Christian Gyldenlove. That name means Golden Lion, and is a family name -- all the children of the sheets were given that surname. And they have done well:  a noble lineage, with many accomplished personages.

Vibeka Kruse was influential, and the King gave her a Holstein estate, and a house in Copenhagen, a modest palace called Rosenborg.

But then the King died.

Queen Kirsten (she was still the queen?) had had a daughter who then married, and her son in law expelled Vibeka from Rosenborg, even though Vibeka was sick herself at the time.  She died a few months later, in 1648.  See

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