Defence for the full hereditary right, according to the Lex Regia of the kings and royal house of Denmark, especially Prince Christian and his spouse


In the "Morning Chronicle", for Nov. 11, 1852, appeared several large extracts from Wegener's "Manuscript", preceded by the following observations from the Copenhagen correspondent of that influential journal:

"I now proceed to state the present position of the succession question. The plan proposed by the Government, doing away at one blow with the ancient Danish law, that simple and natural right which has given this country her Queen Margaret, England her Elizabeth and Victoria, and so many other lands their distinguished female sovereigns, shocked at once all the feelings of the Danish people. But in addition to this came the injustice of the Russian renunciation, reserving all its own claims in case of a failure of issue in the family of Prince Christian, while the other branches who executed similar renunciations had not made any such condition. This act was so much the more glaring on the side of Nicholas, as the path to a future Sleswig-Holstein, and a consequent dismemberment of Denmark, or the not less fearful evil of the Danish kingdom becoming altogether an appendix to the duchies, and inevitably passing at once into a foreign dynasty, was at once laid open to the meanest capacity. The result of the whole was a reaction in the public mind. This has partly given rise to, and partly been immensely strengthened by, two remarkable documents. The first was an eloquent and indignant appeal from the venerable and influential pen of the Rev. N. F. S. Grundtvig, published a short time back in the columns of the Fædrelandet. The second was a pamphlet (privately printed) now before me, which bears the following title: - "Defence for the full Hereditary Right, according to the Lex Regia, of the Kings and Royal House of Denmark, especially Prince Christian and his Spouse."

This work is composed by Councilor C. F. Wegener, Keeper of the Privy Archives, a man of supreme reputation as a jurist, antiquary, historian, and publicist. It is dedicated to his Excellence P. C. von Stemann, a man crowned with honours, years, and reputation, who has entirely approved of the pages thus presented to him. Copies have been distributed by the author to the members of the Diet, and the effect it has already produced is electrical. It is in every respect a European document, equal in importance and authority to any of the State papers lately communicated; it will most probably carry such conviction to all parties and all Cabinets as entirely to re-adjust this great European question, which has already caused so much agitation, and for which so much blood and treasure have been lavished.

Immediately after the dedication, the work commences as follows."

All the extracts above mentioned have been here reprinted; the rest of the pamphlet has been translated by another hand. The English public is now therefore enabled to peruse the whole in an English dress.1

The Message of the 4th of October, drawn up by his Excellence the Premier, and laid before the United Parliament on Friday the 8th ult., contains two propositions, curiously enough confounded, although strikingly different from each other as to motives, contents, and consequences.

On calmly examining this paper, and at the same time, with the assistance of the treaties and documents to which it refers, separating the views founded on these from what is altogether extraneous and irrelevant, we shall find that it contains two distinct enunciations:

  1. That his Highness Prince Christian of Glücksburg shall, during his life, succeed to the rights of his consort, her Highness the Princess Louise, and their common children ascend the throne of Denmark as soon as their turn shall come, according to the order of succession laid down in the Lex Regia. This, however, shall be so understood as that the Prince and Princess's children and descendants at the death of the Prince shall succeed to their full hereditary rights, according to the succession order in the Lex Regia.

  2. That the Danish Royal House in general, and the descendants of Prince Christian and Princess Louise in particular, shall be .stripped and deprived of that full hereditary right which they have received from their ancestors according to the order in the Lex Regia, and shall especially lose just that right in virtue of which Prince Christian and his successors will now be called upon to mount the throne of Denmark, and to occupy the same to the latest generation.

The former plan is exactly based upon the acts and treaties laid before the parliament; it is so clear and simple that all will at once understand it, and it will everywhere be cheerfully accepted by every party. We shall therefore pass over it at once without any further remark.

The second plan is not grounded on the acts and documents in question; it is by no means so clear and simple that every one can perceive its consequences, and those patriots who are able to do so will be filled with lively alarm and indignation.

The author of the following lines has felt himself bound to submit the latter to severe examination. His office, his duty to the King, the Reigning House, and his country, his conscience, and his former position with regard to this question, have all induced him to take this step. He lays the result, in the shortest possible compass, first of all before those men who are called upon to decide upon it in the forum of the nation. He does so calmly, convinced that his cause is good, and with that readiness to suffer for it which every honest man should always bear about him.


The proposition to abolish the order of succession enacted by the Lex Regia is not grounded on the acts and treaties now produced.

Every attentive reader, who is well acquainted with the proposal, laid before the United Parliament, for arranging the order of succession, will observe, that it in several points contains something different from the State-acts on which it is founded, and to which it appeals.

When these State-acts should settle the order of inheritance for the whole united Danish Monarchy, or the order of succession common to the two chief parts of the monarchy, namely the Danish kingdom with all that belongs to it on the one hand, and the former feoff the Duchy of Holstein on the other, they justly state, that the male descendants of Prince Christian and Princess Louise, all the females being excluded, enjoy the right of succession to the throne of the whole Danish monarchy or its two chief parts. But if these male descendants should become extinct, the above named State-acts have expressly reserved the claims of the Russian Gottorp House as well as the claims of the Danish Royal House according to the respective law of succession for these two Royal Houses, and they have in the 2nd article of the treaty of London shown the way the King of Denmark has to follow in order to preserve the integrity of the monarchy notwithstanding these different claims. As for the Kingdom of Denmark it simply follows from the said acts, that his Highness Prince Christian shall, during his life, succeed to the right of his Consort and their common children, but these Acts do not give the least right to alter the wise and secure order of succession laid down in the Lex Regia, which has existed for the Danish House during two centuries and is confirmed by the new Fundamental Law. As to Holstein, it follows from the acts that his Highness Prince Christian and his male successors by marriage with his present Consort shall succeed to the rights of the nearest Pretenders, but the acts do not in the least injure the now existing law of succession for the Gottorp House. Thus there is a perfect equality and reciprocity.

The message, laid before the Parliament, contains a proposal which does not at all agree with this representation of the State-acts. The aim of the proposal is to deprive the Danish Royal House, in the present and future generations, of the undoubted right of inheritance according to the Lex Regia and the Fundamental Law, so important for the independence and integrity of the monarchy, so that Denmark, in the event of Prince Christian failing male issue, would be entirely disinherited even without any legitimate Pretender. On the other side the message permits all the doubtful claims of the Gottorp House to Holstein, which some branches of this House extend even to Sleswig, to exist, so that Holstein or a future Sleswig-Holstein will in such case have a legitimate Pretender, who according to the principle of integrity proclaimed by the treaty of London will also have a claim to the crown of Denmark and can make such without having any legitimate rival in the Danish Royal House. It may therefore justly be said, that the proposal for abolishing the Succession by the Lex Regia, contained in or rather joined to the message, in fact annihilates the prerogative given to the King of Denmark in the treaty of London, which is a sort of choice between the Danish heir according to the Lex Regia and the foreign Pretender according to the Gottorp hereditary-statute; the last only is a legitimate Pretender and the crown of Denmark will be regarded as an appendix to Holstein, as the Secundogenitur of a foreign ruler.


What are the advantages expected to be obtained by abrogating the Succession Order of the Lex Regia.

The greatest advantages are without doubt supposed to be obtained by deviating thus boldly from the acts and treaties, and by totally sacrificing the hereditary rights of the Danish Royal House and those of Prince Christian, which form a palladium for the Danish kingdom. The parliamentary deputies have however not received any intelligence of a single advantage, nor have we, on reflecting honestly, discovered any, and we are far from wishing to attribute to statesmen the careless expressions we have heard, and in a few words will show how groundless they are.

Thus it is sometimes said, that an exclusive agnatic order of succession is in itself far preferable to that of the Lex Regia and that, by its introduction, the pretensions of many cognatic branches would be avoided. As for the comparison between the different orders of succession, we will not notice the observation, that it is an undecided question among learned statesmen, if an exclusive agnatic order of succession is to be preferred to an agnatic-cognatic, based on rational principles; but what we may especially observe is, that the order of inheritance laid down in the Lex Regia can not be called a cognatic and scarcely an agnatic-cognatic. Lex Regia represents an agnatic law of succession, which only admits the cognates in a subsidiary sense, when all the agnates of the House, even the remotest branches, who are entitled to inheritance, are extinct, just as the agnatic succession is arranged in most German states. First when this is the case, when not one agnate of the House is to be found, does the Lex Regia entitle to inheritance the cognate, male or female, who stands nearest to the late King, and who may be supposed to have been born here or to be perfectly acquainted with this country and people, having before hand foreseen his situation and formed himself thereto, instead of creating parties and anarchy by inviting foreign Princes to aspire to the vacant throne. Such is the succession by Lex Regia, which has hitherto been thought the most fortunate and natural that exists anywhere. For this law we have fought and conquered, and we should now make the revolt legal by its abolition. It is just this very law that has promoted the fortunate arrangement, according to which the descendants of her Highness, the Landgravine Charlotte, born and educated in our country, are called to ascend the throne. Or would the Danish people prefer to disown the sister of Christian VIII, or the daughters of Frederick VI, and give itself up to foreign rulers?

As for the pretensions of the cognatic branches, they do not in the least create any difficulties, nor can they do so in future, unless the fundamental law were to be abolished. The King of Denmark has according to the 4th section of the said law, the legal means and right to take necessary steps against agnates as well as cognates without treating or acting with them, as soon as the integrity of the monarchy, confirmed by the international law of Europe, can not exist under the prentensions [sic!] of cognates to the one part of the monarchy i. e. the kingdom of Denmark. But the King has also the same right whenever it is necessary for the attainment of any aim, that in another case would be unattainable. It would perhaps still be necessary to maintain the law of succession in Lex Regia, until it, according to the 100th section of the fundamental law, should be abolished. Thus no danger for the integrity of the monarchy with respect to the future can be mentioned, as a consequence of maintaining the law of succession in Lex Regia.

I[t] is also said, that the abolition of the succession by the Lex Regia for the kingdom of Denmark would prevent controversies among the Pretenders to the throne. This opinion has the same value as the preceding ones, just as if history did not tell us about controversies among agnates! But we will only show of how little value it is by one simple question. If in a few years, which God forbid, Prince Christian and his sons should die without male successors, who is then the undoubted heir to the whole monarchy? No one is able to answer this question. The kingdom of Denmark would be disinherited by the abolition of succession according to the Lex Regia, and Holstein would invite a crowd of Pretenders, Augustenburg, Glücksburg, Imperial-Russian and Oldenburg Princes, - for countless opinions, as every man knows, prevail among Princes as well as the learned in the law about the order of succession in Holstein. The necessary steps for arranging the order of succession would be still to be taken before the forum of the Great Powers, while every claimant, as the Augustenburg Princes have lately done, would act for himself, and the Danish kingdom and its Royal House would be of very little importance before that forum, because there would by the abolition of the succession-law in Lex Regia be no legitimate supporter of its interests, and Denmark for itself would be a loser, because there would be no legitimate leader, who could assemble the forces of the nation to defend the country. This very case may happen, when the law of succession according to the Lex Regia is abolished, even if centuries have passed before the male branches of Prince Christian's family become extinct. On the contrary if this law of succession continues to exist, the Danish kingdom will always have a legitimate heir, whereby the King will be supported against foreign usurpation so as to avail himself of the right he enjoys according to the 4th section of the Constitution, to take the necessary steps for the preservation of the integrity of the monarchy.

Matters would have quite another aspect if the Gottorp-House, in short all the agnates and the Oldenburg-House, had also renounced their presumed pretensions to Holstein, so that this duchy, in case of a failure of issue in Prince Christian's family, would be disinherited, and if then, according to the principle of integrity of the monarchy, a united Parliament of deputies from the kingdom of Denmark and Holstein had to give their consent to the choice of the successor, whom the King had appointed. There would then be equality and reciprocity. This way is now blocked up by the reservations of the Gottorp-House.

Thus it is evident that the above named objections against the maintenance of the law of succession in Lex Regia are of no moment; we have not heard of any others, but we believe we are able satisfactorily to show the groundlessness of what may be adduced in favour of the abolition of the said law.


The Proposal for abolishing the Succession in the Lex Regia considered in its relationship to the King and his Dynasty.

We venture to make this declaration as we are convinced, that it is impossible to justify a proposal which unnecessarily and hurtfully affects the rights of Denmark's King and those of the Royal House, the integrity and independence of the Danish monarchy and the sacredness of the treaties concluded by Denmark.

In the first place, the change in the law of succession proposed would appear to handle very roughly the high prerogatives of the King and the Crown. It cannot be doubted that the second article of the treaty of London, which proclaims the perpetual integrity of the Danish monarchy, has very well foreseen the possible chance that a cognate of the royal House of Denmark, in consequence of the succession by the royal law, might possibly stand opposed to one or more foreign claimants to Holstein or part thereof, and it has in this case given the Kings of Denmark the initiative in that choice among the several pretenders, which shall afterwards be submitted to the council of the Great Powers. But this high and important prerogative signifies little or nothing if every claimant on behalf of the Danish House has been already excluded, while the Gottorp House has expressly reserved its pretensions to Holstein. Should the supposed eventuality occur, and the King of Denmark use the prerogative attributed to him, there will always exist one claimant to whom the chief of the Gottorp House will transfer his pretensions to Holstein; but this Gottorp claimant will stand alone, for there will be no rival entitled to advance any claim on behalf of the disinherited Denmark. Under such circumstances as these, the initiative in the King of Denmark's hand will be lighter than a feather - a foreign "Dixi" will determine the choice of a successor to the Danish throne.

In the next place, the proposal shows slight esteem for the rights of every member of the Danish House separately. All of them, princesses as well as princes, enjoy a right of succession, inherited from their common founder, which is as strong and efficient for the last link in the chain as for that which is for the moment nearest to the throne, as strong and efficient for the princesses as for the princes, within the order prescribed by the Lex Regia. The Sister of King Christian VIII., or the daughter of King Frederick VI., will assume the Crown of Denmark, when their turn comes, with as much right as the first-born son of a king at the death of his father. It is, therefore, astonishing to see the above plan permit the descent of the royal law to subsist as long as male agnates remain of King Frederick III.'s stem, while it treats the equally solid rights of the cognates so contemptuously as, without any such necessity as is contemplated in the 4th section of the Constitution, beforehand and immediately to abolish every such right for all now living and all future races. For the moment, this contempt for the hereditary rights of the royal House falls directly upon the Princess Louise, her consort Prince Christian, and their children. This princess is the great-granddaughter (the son's daughter's daughter) of King Frederick V., and, next to his Royal Highness the Hereditary Prince Ferdinand, in consequence of the renunciations of his mother, his brother, and his elder sister, is clearly the next heir to the kingdom of Denmark and the several acquirements of the Danish Royal House, according to the Lex Regia; then come her sons and daughters, with their male and female successors from branch to branch. The permission for the princess's consort to reign during his life is but a small favour, which has no sort of proportion to the price unnecessarily paid for it - the sacrifice of the well-grounded rights of the daughters, Alexandra and Dagmar, and of possible granddaughters, great-granddaughters, &c., in succession. This sacrifice not being required on any side, the Princess Louise will justly regard so causeless an employment of section 4 in the ground-law to be both injurious and disrespectful.

Prince Christian is a great-grandson (daughter's daughter's son) of King Frederick V., and under the circumstances is, by the Lex Regia, not so far removed from the throne. This is often overlooked. As descended from the elected Kings, Christian I. or Frederick I., the prince has no hereditary claim; but as descended from King Frederick III., he belongs to the inheriting Danish royal House, and as descended from King Christian V. (the son of Frederick III.) he even belongs to the "paternal stem" of the Danish dynasty, to use the expression of section 28 in the royal law. This is often still more overlooked, but cannot be gainsaid. His Highness Prince Christian belongs by birth to the paternal stem of the Danish royal House; her Highness the Princess Louise has the same distinction; consequently, their children and descendants also, male and female; and the prince can never acknowledge the justice or equity of his children and descendants of the "paternal stem" of the kingdom being unnecessarily deprived of all their full hereditary rights down to the latest generation. As we have before observed, it would be another thing if motives of high State requirement compelled the use of section 4 in the Fundamental Law. But this is not case. Treaties and State acts do not demand it. Neither will the Danish Parliament insist upon it. On both sides the prince has open to him a sure prospect of royal dignity, without any attack upon the hereditary rights of his successors. It is just this attack which the Message ventures to make.


The Proposition for abolishing the Succession in the Lex Regia, considered in reference to the Honour, Independence, and Integrity of the Danish Kingdom.

The proposition for abolishing the succession in the Lex Regia, laid before the Diet, places or may easily place the honour, independence and integrity of Denmark in the greatest jeopardy. The continuation of the said succession on the contrary does not endanger the kingdom.

The royal law shows what a blessing it is for this realm, that it never will be without a King, that the little Danish nation, living on separated isles and peninsulas, surrounded by powerful neighbours, whose inimical disposition and whose violent interference in its international affairs is well known and lately proved, will always have a legitimate leader, who in the council of the Princes may be a defence in case of danger. But if it be a blessing for every monarchy, that "the King never dies", it is particularly so for Denmark and a necessary condition for its independence and integrity, on account of the relation which Holstein and Sleswig have towards it.

As regards the relation between Holstein and Denmark, the Danish Kingdom has, in consequence of the Warsaw protocol and the treaty of London, become the first part of a monarchy, to the second part of which (Holstein) the most powerful dynasty in Europe has reserved its right of inheritance. If now this first part, the Danish kingdom, in case of a failure of male issue in Prince Christian's family, should be disinherited by the proposal, while it depends upon the chief of the Russian Gottorp House to propose a legitimate Pretender to the other part, and the Great Powers be called to decide upon it according to the principle of the integrity of the monarchy, no one, who is not perfectly ignorant of the political history of States, can deny, that the disinherited Danish kingdom will very likely be adjudged to the only legitimate claimant, proposed by the chief of the Russian Gottorp House. And if this powerful chief proposed one of those agnates who contrary to State right estimate themselves entitled to the inheritance of Sleswig, he would certainly proclaim a Sleswig-Holstein and the Danish Kingdom would be annihilated. The rights of dynasties have always prevailed much in the council of Princes, they would dispose of the disinherited Danish kingdom at pleasure. Should the Danish law of succession be abolished according to the proposal, the Danish kingdom would in reality be made an appendix to Holstein, a secundogenitur in the Russian Gottorp House - a foreign dynasty. Such a result may be called dangerous to the honour and independence of the Danish kingdom.

But if Denmark is oppressed and humbled in its relation towards Holstein, its condition with regard to Sleswig will be quite desperate, should the proposition be accepted. It is well known, that King Frederick IV and his people during 11 years maintained a sanguinary war in order to preserve the ancient land of Sleswig, and that he by a solemn act incorporated this land with his monarchy by introducing the succession according to the royal law. The incorporation-act was not carried through consistently, the succession of the royal law and the homage secunduni tenorem Legis Regiæ being estimated as a sufficiently strong tie. The dynastic bond was thought stronger than that of the State-right.

The law of succession secunduni tenorem Legis Regiæ is a chief point in the Sleswig State-right, it is acknowle[d]ged by the chief of the Russian Gottorp House, it is, if we may so say, the only firm point which the German political rioters have been unable to dispute, those rioters who from the rostrum educate, the future functionaries through whom they exercise the influence which has lately, by the farce played in St. Paul[']s church in Frankfort, extended its sanguinary traces from the Neckar to the Eyder. The law of succession secundum tenorem Legis Regiæ is the tie between Jutland, Sleswig and the Danish isles. This law it is now proposed to abolish in a Diet in which the deputies from Sleswig are not present. The moment the Parliament has consented to this proposal it has dissolved the tie between Sleswig and Denmark. Dare an assembly of Danes venture to do so?

We have heard that the government would prevent this calamity by abolishing the law of succession according to Lex Regia in Sleswig, at the same time it does so in Jutland and the Danish isles. But every one who is satisfied with this, betrays a want of political tact and an insufficient knowledge of public affairs. For first, it must be observed that an intention is but an intention and no reality, and that there yet will come a time, near or distant, when the tie between Denmark and Sleswig will be thoughtlessly dissolved. Secondly, it must be remarked that the learned in the law will scarcely allow the government undisputed to change by a decree the basis of the Sleswig State-right and will again call forth the Gottorp pretentions to Sleswig at the moment Denmark is without a legitimate heir to the crown, because the acts of renunciation are drawn up in the name of Denmark's King and in that of the Royal heirs to the crown. But the abolition of succession by the royal law will sooner or later lead to the result that there will be no heir to the crown.

It is therefore indisputable that the overthrow of the Royal-law succession may expose to incalculable jeopardy the honour, independence, and integrity of the Danish kingdom, while the continuation of this succession will preserve the realm against all dangers, and will be, as it has been, a palladium against them. It is, then, impossible for the Danish Parliament to venture upon a policy which may lead to the loss of everything, while no real benefit can in any case be obtained.


Proposal for abolishing the Order of Succession according to the Lex Regia, considered in relation to European State-right and Policy.

The plan now before the Diet cannot be supposed to establish a Danish State-right and policy such as the Great Powers were entitled to expect, when they executed the treaty of London. The note by which the Danish cabinet invited the European Powers to take certain steps in London, one of the documents now in the hands of the Parliament, openly pronounces the views of the Danish Government on the order of succession in the several parts of the monarchy; it distinctly declares the succession according to Lex Regia in force in the kingdom of Denmark and all belonging thereto, and at the same time reserves for the Danish dynasty all its rights according to the same succession, in opposition to the pretensions of the Russian-Gottorp House. The several acts of renunciation entirely agree herewith. Now, the contracting Powers in London must necessarily have placed dependence on this explanation from the Danish Cabinet; they could not but regard this "note" as a necessary condition for, and element in, the proper understanding of the treaty of London; they must have been convinced that the order of succession, according to the Lex Regia, would continue to avail for the royal House of the Danish kingdom, just as the Gottorp hereditary statute would remain in force for the claimants to Holstein; in one word, that the Danish dynasty would eventually propose a legitimate heir to the Danish kingdom, as at the same time a legitimate claimant of the whole monarchy, in the same way as the Russian - Gottorp House would propose a legitimate claimant of Holstein as a candidate for the whole monarchy. The King of Denmark has then the initiative in electing a successor for the whole monarchy, and the Great Powers have promised to assist him in his efforts to preserve the integrity of the monarchy. The Great Powers and Sweden have drawn up and signed the treaty of London, with the acts forwarded by the Danish Cabinet, but especially the initiatory "note", before their eyes. Neither this London treaty nor the Warsaw protocol, however little we may admire the pen of the publicist who excogitated the latter, really contains anything which compels the Government to throw up the succession for the kingdom of Denmark according to Lex Regia. The contracting Powers undoubtedly executed these treaties under the supposition that this law of succession would remain as before, only the person of Prince Christian being temporarily, and for the nonce, inserted. They could never dream of the Danish Government, in direct contradiction to the "note" laid before them, wishing to sacrifice the hereditary right of the Danish dynasty, and thereby transfer all legitimate claims into the hands of the Russian-Gottorp house. The contracting Powers are, therefore, justified in complaining that the unexpected plan now laid before the Parliament constitutes a new Danish State-right, one which they were by no means prepared to support when they concluded the treaty in question.

And that these Cabinets will view the matter in this light is so much the more to be expected, as the succession-law for the Danish kingdom is of great moment in higher European policy. For this abrogation of the succession by Lex Regia not only makes the house of Gottorp the sole legitimate Pretender to Holstein; in consequence of the principle for the indivisibility of the monarchy, this same Pretender will also extend his claims to the whole of the Danish kingdom. It is not at all likely that the Great Powers would so cheerfully have agreed to the treaty of London, if they could have suspected that it would afterwards be employed as an instrument for changing first principles, for making out of the Danish monarchy a Russian-Gottorp secundogenitur. Denmark would hereby expose herself to the just displeasure of these Powers. The dwarf and the giant should never keep company, or share weal and woe in periods of political storm. Denmark has many a bitter remembrance of what this must lead to.

But this plan is, perhaps, only the method adopted by the Danish Government for showing their gratitude to the firmest and noblest friend of Denmark during days of the severest trial. Should this be the case, we are persuaded that the means are very ill chosen, and cannot gain the end proposed. The high-minded ruler of Russia has not demanded so immense a reward for his efforts in favour of the peace and balance of Europe. He will reject such high pay for a certain long-meditated act of amends - if we may be pardoned the expression - to a nearly allied royal house for former injustice. The Emperor Nicholas will never meanly pilfer an advantage, which a few years back he might doubtless have openly claimed, and easily obtained - he will never insist upon the Danish royal house disinheriting its own members, at the very moment when he so carefully guards and reserves the pretensions of his own Imperial dynasty. Conscious of the whole greatness of his character, the Emperor of Russia will take care not to lose a single leaf in those historical chronicles which will perpetuate his name as that of a protector of European peace and law, at once powerful and fortunate, noble and disinterested.

It would, therefore, appear to be beyond all doubt that the proposal for abolishing the succession in the Royal Law by no means harmonises with the circumstances under which the treaty of London was concluded, and that Europe in general, and the Great Powers and Sweden in particular, would be thereby justified in regarding a treaty now become a part of the great European code as practically trodden under foot. This would bring Denmark into a state-legal and political situation which these Powers could not approve. But our King and country are ill-served by unnecessarily drawing down upon them the suspicious and ill-will of all Europe.

When we after these historical considerations take the message before us, we shall without doubt be able to predict, what answer will be given by enlightened and patriotic Danes who are attached to their Royal House and native land.

Against that part of the message, which in agreement with the treaties and acts of renunciation laid before the Diet for its consent, proposes that Prince Christian shall, during his life, succeed to the rights of his Consort, and their common children ascend the throne as soon as their turn shall come according to the order of succession laid down in Lex Regia, and in the manner prescribed and solemnly confirmed by those State-acts, against this part of the message not a single voice will be heard. The deputies of Denmark will unanimously give their vote for the noble Prince, and consider themselves happy that it has been their lot to contribute to the security of their native land now and in the future. They will all declare themselves ready, when the time comes, to do homage to the Prince as Denmark's King and to all his successors by marriage with her Highness the Princess Louise according to the order of succession in Lex Regia, with the reservation of the right of the King and the Parliament according to the 4th section of the Constitution.

On the contrary, the good genius of Denmark will through patriotic and conscientious deputies, if they be men of forethought and attached to the Royal House, reject that part of the message which, without any necessity founded on treaties and acts of renunciation, requests the Diet's consent to deprive the members of the Royal House in general, and the descendants of Prince Christian in particular, of their full rights, which they according to the order of succession laid down in Lex Regia have inherited from their forefathers, and which the common parent of the Prince and the Princess, the founder of the royal law, King Frederick III. has so seriously ordered and commanded all his successors to defend and maintain.

The Danish Parliament will prevent the execution of a plan so little in union with the preservation of his Majesty's high prerogatives, the independence and integrity of the Danish kingdom, and the real meaning of the treaties and state acts lately concluded.

[Not included in the English version, but only in the Danish original, is a genealogical survey of how Prince Christian of Glücksburg descended from Frederik III.]


1 The "Observation" is written by Professor of English at the University of Copenhagen, George Stephens (1813-1895), who also served as Copenhagen correspondent to the Morning Chronicle for a period.


Councilor C.F. Wegener, Keeper of the Privy Archives. Defence for the full hereditary right, according to the Lex Regia of the kings and royal house of Denmark, especially Prince Christian and his spouse , Copenhagen: Bianco Luno, 1853. Translated from the Danish original.

Original title: C.F. Wegener. Forsvar for Danmarks kongers og kongehuses, navnlig Prinds Christians og gemalindes fulde arveret efter Lex Regia . Et manuskript angaaende det for den forenede Rigsdag om arvefølgen fremlagte budskab, tilegnet Deres Excellence Herr Poul Christian von Stemann, Hs. Maj. Overkammerherre, Ordenskansler, Ridder af Elephanten, Storkors af Danebrog og Danebrogsmand, Kjøbenhavn: C.A. Reitzel (trykt i Bianco Lunos Bogtrykkeri), 1852.

Wegener's article is included in a collection of articles and commentaries on the royal succession question and other matters, "Smaaskrifter, vedkommende det danske Arvefølgespørgsmaal 1852-3" (on the back of the book is printed "C.F. Wegener. Forsvar for Danmarks Kongers og Kongehusets Fulde Arveret, m.fl.".). A survey of the contents will be added here later.


The Lex Regia was repealed by the Constitution of 1849 with the exception of articles 27-40 (concerning the succession) and articles 21 and 25 (concerning the Royal princes and princesses). Articles 27-40 were repealed by the Act of Succession (Royal Ordinance settling the Succession to the Crown on Prince Christian of Glücksburg ) of 31 July 1853.

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(first time published at on Thursday 20 April 2006).

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