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Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg

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Title: Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg  
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Subject: Princess Frederica Amalia of Denmark, Princess Wilhelmine Ernestine of Denmark, Christian V of Denmark, Christina of Saxony, Sophie Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach
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Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg

Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Portrayed by Abraham Wuchters as Queen
Queen consort of Denmark and Norway
Tenure 28 February 1648 – 9 February 1670
Spouse Frederick III of Denmark
Issue Christian V, King of Denmark
Anna Sophia, Electress of Saxony
Frederika Amalia, Duchess of Holstein-Gottorp
Wilhelmina Ernestina, Electress Palatine
George, Duke of Cumberland
Ulrika Eleonora, Queen of Sweden
House House of Brunswick
Father George, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Mother Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt
Born 24 March 1628
Herzberg Castle, Lower Saxony
Died 20 February 1685(1685-02-20) (aged 56)
Copenhagen, Denmark
Burial Roskilde Cathedral
Religion Lutheranism

Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg (24 March 1628 – 20 February 1685) was queen of Denmark and Norway as the consort of the King Frederick III of Denmark.

Early years

Sophie Amalie was born at the Anne Eleonore of Hesse-Darmstadt.

Sophie Amalie married Prince Frederick in Castle Glücksburg on 1 October 1643 and lived in Bremen. The marriage was arranged in 1640 as it was considered suitable for the current situation of the groom: he was, at that point, archbishop of Bremen and not heir to the throne. In 1646–47, they lived in humble circumstances in Flensborg before her spouse was declared heir.

She became Queen of Denmark in 1648. They had 8 children, including King Christian V of Denmark and Ulrike Eleonora of Denmark who married King Charles XI of Sweden.

Dano-Norwegian consort

Portrait of Sophie Amalie as queen by an unidentified artist, c. 17th century

Sophie Amalie loved hunting and, in spite of the dire financial situation of the Kingdom, she was the centre of a sumptuous court life, with exclusive luxury items and grand parties, which shed glory on the royal power. She enjoyed fashion, parties and theatre, arranged masquerades and made the French taste fashionable in Denmark. As her husband was introverted, she became the centre of the social life at court.

She remodelled the court after a French and German pattern. In 1649, a large order of items arrived for the new court life she arranged, followed also by new staff and new positions. She hired a German chapel master, Kaspar Förster, a French violin orchestra, a French ballet master, D. de Pilloy, and a French court singer and dancer, Anne Chabanceau de La Barre. The Spanish Ambassador, Bernardino de Rebolledo, dedicated her his poems. Ballet, masquerades and theatre performances were performed, and she and her children participated in amateur theatre with the nobility: in 1655, she performed five different parts in a ballet at the same occasion. The waste of money in a poor society was not well received by the public.

Political Influence

Sophie Amalie dressed in theatrical garb, as part of the theatre of court by Heimbach

In the first part of Frederik III's reign, and later during the reign of her son Christian V from 1670, Sophie Amalie had influence on political decisions. In the early 1650s, she was active in the power struggle with Corfitz Ulfeldt and Leonora Christina Ulfeldt, who had become a humiliating threat to the position of the Royal Couple. She did not get along with her husband's half sisters, and her arguments with them are famous: she was the first queen in over 30 years, and she could never stand the half sisters of her spouse, who had fulfilled the position of first lady during their father's reign. She was interested in politics and collected followers by handing out favours.

Baron Ludvig Holberg said about her that she had "the capacity of a statesman" and "the heart of a soldier" but also that she was "more admired than loved" and that she went too far in her hatred toward Leonora Christina.

She is thought to have initiated the war against Sweden in 1657. Sophie Amalie probably took part in the decision to introduce the absolute monarchy. This happened while the popularity of the royal couple was at its highest after the Swedish siege of Copenhagen in 1658–60. She was very popular at that point for her moral support during the siege. She participated in many confiscations of the royal house from the nobility. In 1662, she confiscated the property of Kai Lykke after he claimed she had sex with her servants. She also confiscated the property of the Ulfeldt couple. She had Leonora Christina Ulfeldt imprisoned in the Blåtårn in 1663 and refused to release her as long as she herself was still alive. Her influence grew smaller after 1665, when she was not informed about the terms of the new constitution, nor appointed regent in the case of a guardian government. The reason was her favoring of her younger son, her ambition of marriages of status for her daughters, as well as her indecision whether her ambition to reconquer Scania from Sweden would be best benefitted by an alliance with France or the Emperor. As a queen dowager, she quarreled with her daughter-in-law about etiquette matters.

The palace Amalienborg Palace is situated presently. She mostly lived there after she was widowed.

She died in Copenhagen and was buried in the Roskilde Cathedral.


Name Birth Death Notes
Christian 15 April 1646 25 August 1699 succeeded as King of Denmark
married, 1667, Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Cassel; had issue
Anna Sophia 1 September 1647 1 July 1717 married, 1666, John George III, Elector of Saxony; had issue
Frederika Amalia 11 April 1649 30 October 1704 married, 1667, Christian Albert, Duke of Holstein-Gottorp; had issue
Wilhelmina Ernestina 21 June 1650 22 April 1706 married, 1671, Charles II, Elector Palatine; no issue
Frederick 11 October 1651 14 March 1652 died in infancy
George 2 April 1653 28 October 1708 married, 1683, Anne, Queen of Great Britain; had issue
Ulrika Eleonora 11 September 1656 26 October 1693 married, 1680, Charles XI, King of Sweden; had issue
Dorothea 16 November 1657 15 May 1658 died in infancy


  • (Danish) Article in the Dansk biografisk Lexikon
  • (Danish)


External links

  • (English) History of the Rosenborg Castle
Sophie Amalie of Brunswick-Lüneburg
Cadet branch of the House of Welf
Born: 24 March 1628 Died: 20 February 1685
Royal titles
Preceded by
Anne Catherine of Brandenburg
Queen consort of Denmark and Norway
Succeeded by
Charlotte Amalie of Hesse-Kassel
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