Royal Ordinance settling the Succession to the Crown on Prince Christian of Glücksburg


31 July 1853.

We, by the Grace of God, King of Denmark, of the Wenns and the Goths, Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Ditmarsh, Lauenburg, and Oldenburg;

Make known,

By our ancestors on the throne, it has been considered a fundamental principle of the Government, that the countries which are subject to the Danish sceptre must not be disunited or separated from each other. In accordance therewith, our well- beloved father, His Majesty the late King Christian VIII, of glorious memory, when he found himself constrained to make some declaration respecting the state of the Succession to the Danish Monarchy, gave to all his faithful subjects, in the Letter-Patent of 8 July 1846,* signed by us as Crown Prince at that time, the assurance that his constant efforts had been and should be directed to cause the integrity of the Danish Monarchy to be fully recognized so that the different parts of the country united under his sceptre should never be separated.

During the convulsions which, soon after Divine Providence had called us to the throne of our ancestors, threatened in several European States to overthrow the foundation of civil Society, and which subsequently, penetrating within the boundaries of our Monarchy, placed its integrity in the greatest danger, we trust that we maintained it with unshaken constancy, as an object, the attainment and preservation of which had been transmitted to us by our ancestors on the throne, as the chief aim of the Government of the Danish King.

But as the perpetual maintenance of the Monarchy depends upon one common Succession Law for all its parts, and as the efforts of our late beloved father and our own to enlarge the Succession valid in our Kingdom of Denmark, in our Duchy of Schleswig, indissolubly united with the Danish Crown, and also undoubtedly so in other parts of the Monarchy; and to cause to be recognized as binding on the whole Monarchy the female Succession established by the Royal Law for the eventuality, in which, by the inscrutable will of Providence, the male line of the late King Frederik III, now reigning over the whole Monarchy, should become extinct, did not lead to the attainment of our intended object; we must acknowledge that the most suitable means to prevent the dissolution of the Monarchy will be to promulgate for the above-mentioned eventuality a new Law of Succession valid for the whole extent of the Monarchy which shall repeal the provisions for the Succession in the Royal Law, and to cause the same to be recognized in public law.

After the way to this object was paved, partly by the friendly goodwill with which His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, in his quality of head of the eldest line of the House of Holstein-Gottorp, renounced in favour of His Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, and his male descendants the hereditary claims on a part of our hereditary dominions, which His Imperial Majesty assumed to belong in the above-mentioned eventuality to the aforesaid line; and partly by the magnanimous readiness with which our relatives standing nearest the Throne have, in order to promote the attainment of this object, relinquished their right of Succession to the same, we have determined, with the concurrence of our well-beloved uncle His Royal Highness the Hereditary Prince Frederik Ferdinand, in case the male line of Succession from King Frederik III should become extinct, to abrogate all rights of Succession according to the Royal Law, and, excluding the female line, to call to the Succession to the Throne of all the countries subject to our sceptre, our well-beloved kinsman His Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg and his male offspring of his wife, our well-beloved cousin Her Highness Princess Louisa Wilhelmina Frederica Caroline Augusta Julia, of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, born Princess of Hesse.

Whereas, also, by the Treaty concluded on the 8th May, 1852, and afterwards ratified, between His Majesty the Emperor of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia, the (at that time) Prince President of the French Republic and now Emperor of the French, Her Majesty the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland; His Majesty the King of Prussia, His Majesty the Emperor of Russia, and His Majesty the King of Sweden and Norway; and by the adhesion to the same of most of the European Powers, obtained in consequence of the invitation made to them by the communication of Article IV of the Treaty, - we have succeeded in procuring the acknowledg[e]ment of the indivisibility of the Danish Monarchy as a perpetual maxim of European public law, and also the recognition of the order of Succession established by us; and whereas, finally, the United Danish Diet, in accordance with paragraph 4 of the Fundamental Law of the Kingdom of Denmark, of the 5th of June, 1849, has, by its decision of the 24th of June, 1853, assented, as far as it is concerned, to our proposal addressed to it with respect to the Succession contemplated by us, we are now enabled by the publication of a Law of Succession, applicable to our whole Monarchy and valid for all its parts, to complete this work which has so long been the object of our sovereign efforts.

We ordain and make known hereby the following:

Art. I. In case the male offspring descending from King Frederik III by the male line which, in accordance with the Royal Law [in Danish] issued by the same King on the 14th of November, 1665, has a right of Succession to the Danish Throne, should by God's inscrutable will become extinct, all rights of Succession, according to Articles XXVII to XL of the above-mentioned Royal Law, shall be abrogated, and only male from male, with the exclusion of females, shall have a right of Succession over the countries united under our sceptre. The right of Succession to the Throne shall then pass in all these countries to our well-beloved kinsman, His Highness Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, to whom we from this time have granted the title of Prince of Denmark, and to his male offspring by his Consort our well-beloved cousin Her Highness Princess Louisa Wilhelmina Frederica Caroline Augusta Julia of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, now Princess of Denmark, born Princess of Hesse.

Art. II. In this offspring male after male and male from male, begot in lawful wedlock, the Crown shall descend according to the right of primogeniture and lineal agnatic Succession.

Art. III. In case (which God forbid) imminent danger should arise that the Princely male line called in this manner to the Succession to the Throne should become extinct, our successor on the Danish Throne reigning at the time shall be bound to provide for the further settlement of the Succession to the Throne by means which shall best secure the independence and integrity of the Monarchy, together with the rights of the Crown, and which shall obtain an European recognition of such settlement in conformity with Article II of the above-mentioned Treaty, concluded at London on the 8th of May, 1852.

This law respecting the Succession to the Throne for the whole Danish Monarchy, which we have had drawn up in the Danish and German languages and paraphé by our well-beloved uncle His Royal Highness the Hereditary Prince Frederik Ferdinand, and by all the Superior members of our Privy Council of State, we have hereby promulgated and completed. And it is our will that the original shall be deposited for preservation in our secret archives.

After which, all and every one have to conform themselves submissively.

Given at the Palace of the Hermitage, the 31st July, 1853, under the hand and seal of the King.

Frederik Ferdinand. Frederik R.
Oersted. C.A. Bluhme.
Reventlow-Criminil. W.C.E. Sponneck.
C. Moltke. Steen-Bille.
C.T. Hansen A.W. Scheel.

(*) See British and foreign state papers, Vol. XL, page 1261.


British and foreign state papers, 1852-1853, Vol. 42, London: Foreign Office, 1864, pp. 1184-1186

The only change I have made to the translation of the above-mentioned Royal Resolution is the use of Danish personal names.

This page was last updated on 4 February 2011
(first published at
some time during the spring of 1999).

© 1999-2011 Dag Trygsland Hoelseth