371 years ago: The death of Christian IV

When death creeps nearer, many see their lives before them. They relive all the happy moments of the past and clearly see what has meant something to them in their lives. What would stand out for you?

For Danish king Christian IV there was no doubt in his mind when he felt his illness worsen; he wished to spend his last days in the place where he had been most happy, in his beloved “Rose” in The Kings Garden, Rosenborg Castle.

The last period of the king’s life was shaped by great defeat, in his private life as well as in his role as leader of the country. In 1647 the king’s oldest son, Christian the Prince Elect, died, and to secure the line of the throne with his second eldest son, Duke Frederik, the king was forced to accept a number of demands that restricted his power significantly.

Blind on his right eye after the naval battle of Kolberger Heide and with a feeling that he had been let down by his loved ones, the king had no other wish than to die in the castle that he had built for his own amusement. On February 21, 1648, the king was transported from Frederiksborg to Rosenborg on a sleigh, and he died in his private bedchamber on February 28 the same year.

To museum guests of the present it might seem morbid, but in the time of Christian IV it was tradition to paint dead kings, and that is why you can experience Bernt Hilwaerts painting of Christian IV’s corpse in Room 3 Christian IV’s Bedroom. Notice, that in respect for the king, he is painted in profile, so his missing eye stays hidden.

It’s a special feeling to be in the exact same room where Christian IV lay “lit de parade” (a presentation of the royal body) 371 years ago.

If you want to experience the thrill of history, then visit Christian IV’s bedchamber and other historical rooms at Rosenborg Castle. Get information about opening hours and tickets prices here.

af Rosenborg Slot den 04.03.2019

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