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Christian VII

Christian VII, 1749–1808, king of Denmark and Norway (1766–1808), son and successor of Frederick V. Shortly after his accession his mental illness made him dependent on his physician, Struensee, who in 1770 caused the dismissal of minister of foreign affairs Johann Hartwig Ernst Bernstorff and in 1771 became an all-powerful minister. After Struensee's downfall (1772), Christian's marriage with Caroline Matilda, sister of George III of England, was annulled. Andreas Peter Bernstorff became chief minister in 1773, and after 1784 Christian's son and successor, Frederick VI, acted as regent. Widespread liberal reforms were enacted under the direction of Bernstorff and Prince Frederick, notably the abolition of serfdom.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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