House of Glücksburg

The House of Glücksburg is a collateral branch of the German[1] House of Oldenburg. Its members have reigned at various times in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Greece, and several northern German states.

House of Glücksburg
Armoiries de Frédéric-Christian II de Schleswig-Holstein-Sondebourg-Augustenbourg.svg
Parent houseHouse of Oldenburg
Founded6 July 1825; 197 years ago (1825-07-06)
FounderFriedrich Wilhelm
Current headChristoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, Duke of Glücksburg
Connected familiesMountbatten-Windsor
Cadet branches

Current monarchs King Charles III of the United Kingdom, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, and King Harald V of Norway, as well as former queens consort Anne-Marie of Greece and Sofía of Spain, are patrilineal members of cadet branches of the House of Glücksburg.[2][3][4]

Glücksburg Castle, one of the most important Renaissance castles in northern Europe


The House of Glücksburg is also spelled Glücksborg or Lyksborg. It is a shortened name stemming from House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg—a collateral branch of the House of Oldenburg.

The family takes its name from Glücksburg, a town in Schleswig and the Holstein region.


2 rigsdaler - death of Frederik VII and accession of Christian IX marking the transfer of the throne to the Glucksburg branch of the House of Oldenburg[5]

Glücksburg is a small coastal town on the southern, German side of the fjord of Flensburg that divides Germany from Denmark.[3] In 1460, Glücksburg came, as part of the conjoined Dano-German duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, to Count Christian of Oldenburg whom, in 1448, the Danes had elected their king as Christian I, the Norwegians likewise taking him as their hereditary king in 1450.[3]

In 1564, Christian I's great-grandson, King Frederick II, in re-distributing Schleswig and Holstein's fiefs, retained some lands for his own senior royal line while allocating Glücksburg to his brother Duke John the Younger (1545–1622), along with Sønderborg, in appanage.[3] John's heirs further sub-divided their share and created, among other branches, a line of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg dukes at Beck (an estate near Minden bought by the family in 1605), who remained vassals of Denmark's kings.[3]

By 1825, the castle of Glücksburg had returned to the Danish crown (from another ducal branch called Glücksburg, extinct in 1779) and was given that year by King Frederick VI, along with a new ducal title, to his kinsman Frederick of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck.[6] Frederick suffixed the territorial designation to the ducal title he already held, in lieu of "Beck" (an estate the family had, in fact, sold in 1745).[3] Thus emerged the extant Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

The Danish line of Oldenburg kings died out in 1863, and the elder line of the Schleswig-Holstein family became extinct with the death of the last Augustenburg duke in 1931. Thereafter, the House of Glücksburg became the senior surviving line of the House of Oldenburg. Another cadet line of Oldenburgs, the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp, consisted of two branches which held onto sovereignty into the 20th century. But members of the Romanov line were executed in or exiled from their Russian Empire in 1917, while the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg was abolished in 1918, although its dynastic line survives.[3]

Neither the Dukes of Beck nor of Glücksburg had been sovereign rulers; they held their lands in fief from the ruling Dukes of Schleswig and Holstein, i.e. the Kings of Denmark and (until 1773) the Dukes of Holstein-Gottorp.

Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, the fourth son of Duke Friedrich of Glücksburg, was recognized in the London Protocol of 1852 as successor to the childless King Frederick VII of Denmark. He became King of Denmark as Christian IX on 15 November 1863.[3]

Prince Vilhelm, the second son of Crown Prince Christian and Crown Princess Luise, was elected King of the Hellenes on 30 March 1863, succeeding the ousted Wittelsbach Otto of Greece and reigning under the name George I.

Prince Carl, the second son of Frederick VIII of Denmark, Christian IX's eldest son, became King of Norway on 18 November 1905 as Haakon VII of Norway.

Christian IX's daughters, Alexandra and Dagmar (as Maria Feodorovna) became the consorts of, respectively, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom and Emperor Alexander III of Russia. As a result, by 1914 descendants of King Christian IX held the crowns of several European realms, and he became known as the "Father-in-law of Europe".

Christian IX's older brother inherited formal headship of the family as Karl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, followed by their brother Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. It is his descendants who now represent the senior line of the Schleswig-Holstein branch of the House of Oldenburg.

Patrilineal ancestry of Duke Friedrich WilhelmEdit

  1. Elimar I, Count of Oldenburg
  2. Elimar II, Count of Oldenburg
  3. Christian I, Count of Oldenburg (Christian the Quarrelsome)
  4. Maurice, Count of Oldenburg
  5. Christian II, Count of Oldenburg
  6. John I, Count of Oldenburg
  7. Christian III, Count of Oldenburg
  8. John II, Count of Oldenburg
  9. Conrad I, Count of Oldenburg
  10. Christian V, Count of Oldenburg
  11. Dietrich, Count of Oldenburg
  12. Christian I of Denmark
  13. Frederick I of Denmark
  14. Christian III of Denmark
  15. John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg
  16. Alexander, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg
  17. August Philipp, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  18. Frederick Louis, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  19. Peter August, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  20. Karl Anton August, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  21. Friedrich Karl Ludwig, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck
  22. Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg


Coat of arms of the Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein

The Dukes of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg constitute the senior male line of the branch. They hold the headship by primogeniture of the cadet house of Glücksburg. The headship by agnatic primogeniture of the entire House of Oldenburg is held by Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein.

Portrait Name Life Reign
  Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1785–1831 1825–1831
  Karl, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1813–1878 1831–1878
  Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg 1814–1885 1878–1885
  Friedrich Ferdinand, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1855–1934 1885–1934
  Wilhelm Friedrich, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1891–1965 1934–1965
  Peter, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein 1922–1980 1965–1980
  Christoph, Prince of Schleswig-Holstein born 1949 1980–present

The heir apparent is Friedrich Ferdinand, Hereditary Prince of Schleswig-Holstein (born 1985).


In 1853, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg became heir to the Kingdom of Denmark, and in 1863, he ascended the throne. He was the fourth son of Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, whose elder brother (and male-line descendants) retained the Glücksburg dukedom. The Danish royal family call itself Glücksborg, using a slightly Danicized form of Glücksburg.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
  Christian IX 1818–1906 1863–1906 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
Prior to ascending the throne:
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
(Danish: Prins af Slesvig-Holsten-Sønderborg-Glückborg)
  Frederick VIII 1843–1912 1906–1912 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
  Christian X 1870–1947 1912–1947 King of Iceland (used 1918–1944)
King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
  Frederick IX 1899–1972 1947–1972 King of the Wends
King of the Goths
Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg
  Margrethe II born 1940 1972–present

The heir apparent is Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark (born 1968), who belongs agnatically to the Monpezat family. See the present line of succession. Although there are no more male members of the dynastic line of Glücksburgs domiciled in Denmark, there are descendants of Christian IX who married without the monarch's permission, thus forfeiting their royal status.[7]


Thirty-drachma coin of 1963, commemorating the centennial of the reign of the House of Glücksburg. Clockwise from the top: Paul, George II, Alexander, Constantine I and George I.

In 1863 and with the name George I, Prince Wilhelm of Denmark was elected King of the Hellenes on the recommendation of Europe's Great Powers. He was the second son of King Christian IX of Denmark.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
  George I 1845–1913 1863–1913
  Constantine I 1868–1923
  • 1913–1917
  • 1920–1922
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  Alexander 1893–1920 1917–1920
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  George II 1890–1947
  • 1922–1924
  • 1935–1947
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  Paul 1901–1964 1947–1964
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  Constantine II 1940–2023 1964–1973
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  Crown Prince Pavlos born 1967 Crown Prince of Greece from birth, until monarchy abolished
  • Prince of Denmark
  • Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

The Hellenic constitutional monarchy was usurped in a coup d'état by a military junta in 1967 and the royal family fled into exile. The monarchy was abolished in 1973. After the collapse of the military dictatorship in 1974, 69.18% of votes recorded in a republic referendum were against the return of the monarchy.


In 1905, Prince Carl of Denmark became Norway's first independent monarch in 518 years, taking the regnal name Haakon VII. His father was King Frederick VIII of Denmark, and one of his uncles was King George I of Greece.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
  Haakon VII 1872–1957 1905–1957 Prince of Denmark,
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg
  Olav V 1903–1991 1957–1991 Prince of Denmark,
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg,
Olympic Sailing Champion [8]
  Harald V born 1937 1991–present Prince of Denmark,
Prince of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg,
Sailing World Champion

The heir apparent is Crown Prince Haakon of Norway (born 1973). See the present line of succession.


In 1918, Iceland was elevated from an autonomous Danish province to a separate Kingdom of Iceland. Christian X of Denmark was henceforth King of Denmark and Iceland until 1944, when Iceland dissolved the personal union between the two countries.

Portrait Name Life Reign Additional titles
  Kristján 10 1870–1947 1918–1944
  • King of Denmark
  • King of the Wends
  • King of the Goths
  • Duke of Schleswig, Holstein, Stormarn, Dithmarschen, Lauenburg and Oldenburg

The heir apparent was his son, Frederick IX of Denmark (1899–1972).

Line of successionEdit

By agnatic primogeniture:


  1. ^ Wilson, Peter Hamish (2011). The Thirty Years War: Europe's Tragedy. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-06231-3.
  2. ^ "Prince Philip beats the record for longest-serving consort". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 18 April 2009. Archived from the original on 18 November 2015. Retrieved 11 March 2023.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Michel Huberty, Alain Giraud, F. and B. Magdelaine. L'Allemagne Dynastique, Volume VII. Laballery, 1994. pp. 7–8, 27–28, 30–31, 58, 144, 168, 181, 204, 213–214, 328, 344, 353–354, 356, 362, 367. ISBN 2-901138-07-1, ISBN 978-2-901138-07-5
  4. ^ Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. Burke's Royal Families of the World, Volume I: Europe & Latin America, 1977, pp. 325–326. ISBN 0-85011-023-8
  5. ^ Year: 1863; Quantity released: 101,000 coin; Weight: 28.893 gram; Composition: Silver 87.5%; Diameter: 39.5 mm -
  6. ^ Gothaisches Genealogisches Handbuch der Fürstlchen Häuser, Band I. Verlag des Deutschen Adelsarchivs. Marburg. 2015. p. 140 (German). ISBN 978-3-9817243-0-1.
  7. ^ Kongeloven, LOV nr 20001 af 14/11/1665 Gældende (Kongeloven) Offentliggørelsesdato: 28-01-2000 Statsministeriet. 1665. (English translation of the Kongelov). retrieved 25 April 2016.
  8. ^

External linksEdit

House of Glücksburg
Preceded by Ruling House of Duchy of Schleswig
Duchy Abolished
Preceded by Ruling House of Denmark
Preceded by Ruling House of Greece
Monarchy Abolished
Preceded by
Ruling House of Greece
Monarchy Abolished
Preceded by Ruling House of Norway