Thursday, 9 April 2009

Book news: Biography of Frederik VI

On 20 September this year, Politikens Forlag will publish Frederik 6. - En biografi by Jens Engberg, retired professor of history at the University of Aarhus. It will be only the second biography of Frederik VI, following Jan Møller's book from 1998, which was not very thorough.
Frederik VI was the only son of the mad King Christian VII and the unfortunate Queen Caroline Mathilde. He was only 16 when he assumed power in a palace coup in 1784 but only became king upon the death of his father in 1808. After the British terror-bombing of Copenhagen in 1807 he aligned his country closely to France in the Napoleonic Wars. The results were catastrophic, culminating in the state bankruptcy and the loss of Norway. Frederik VI was very popular at the time of his death in 1839, but historians have been, and still are, divided in their opinions of him.
In recent years there has been a row of serious biographies of Danish monarchs. Marie Hvidt's biography of Frederik IV was published in 2004, followed by Jon Bloch Skipper on Frederik IX in 2005, Knud J. V. Jespersen on Christian X in 2007 and Ulrik Langen on Christian VII last year.
The picture shows a bust of Frederik VI by Bertel Thorvaldsen which can be seen in Thorvaldsen's Museum, Copenhagen.

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