Christian III of Denmark

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Christian III (12 August 1503 – 1 January 1559), king of Denmark and Norway, was the eldest son of King Frederick I of Denmark, Duke of Schleswig and Holstein (1471–1533) and his queen consort Anna of Brandenburg (1487–1514).[1]



Christian was born in 1503 at Gottorf Castle which Frederick I had made a primary residence. In 1514, when he was just ten years old, Christian's mother died. Four years later, his father remarried to Sophie of Pomerania (1498–1568).

Frederick was elected king of Denmark in the place of his nephew, Christian II in 1523. The young prince Christian's first public service after his father became king was the reduction of Copenhagen, which stood firm for the fugitive Christian II. As stadtholder of the Duchies of Holstein and Schleswig in 1526, and as viceroy of Norway in 1529, Christian III displayed considerable administrative ability.

Religious Views

Christian's earliest teacher, Wolfgang von Utenhof, and his Lutheran tutor, Johann Rantzau, were both able and zealous reformers who had a profound influence on the young prince. At their urging, while traveling in Germany in 1521, he made himself present at the Diet of Worms to hear Martin Luther speak. Luther's arguments profoundly intrigued him. The prince made no secret of his Lutheran views, and his outspokenness brought him into conflict, not only with the Catholic Rigsraad, but also with his cautious and temporizing father. At his own court at Schleswig he did his best to introduce the Protestant Reformation, despite the opposition of the bishops.

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