Relieved noblewoman avoided marriage to Frederik II
The heir to the throne had fallen for a young noblewoman from Fyn and, contrary to tradition, was determined to make her his queen. After a 13-year love affair, the king’s aunt resolved the situation – to the great relief of the noblewoman in question.
On New Year’s Eve 1572, Anne Hardenberg put pen to paper, sharing with a dear friend the good news that she had finally extricated herself from an awkward situation.
The letter was written at Hvedholm Castle, which was owned by her relatives. In all probability, Anne Hardenberg had grown up at the nearby estate, Skjoldemose, which belonged to her father. We actually know next to nothing about Anne Hardenberg’s childhood, not even when she was born.
As a young girl, it is likely that she never dreamed she would grow up to be Queen of Denmark, because at that time the daughters of nobles and the sons of princes simply did not move in the same circles.
The king proposes to the noble maiden
Frederik II was in love with the young noblewoman as early as in 1558. We know this, because his mother wrote to him and begged him not to stand in the way of Anne Hardenberg’s happiness, given that the fair maiden had already received a proposal of marriage from an affluent Danish nobleman. Nevertheless, Frederik II took steps to prevent the marriage from happening .
His passion for Anne Hardenberg was more than superficial, and 13 years later he was still keen to marry her. As a point of interest, he had also been crowned king in the meantime. He wrote of his intentions to his aunt Elisabeth, who was Duchess of Mecklenburg.
The aunt resolved the situation
In early 1572, Elisabeth brought a German princess to Denmark to present her to the king. However, it was Elisabeth’s own daughter, Sophie, who caught his eye, and they were soon engaged.
Frederik II confided in his aunt that he felt obliged to inform Anne Hardenberg of the engagement. Elisabeth understood his situation, but made it clear to her nephew that it would not be appropriate for him to approach his former sweetheart in person. Instead, Elisabeth would meet the young noblewoman and explain the facts of the matter.
And it was precisely this meeting that Anne Hardenberg wrote about to her dear friend on New Year’s Eve 1572. She ended her letter with the words: “God knows that I am calm and joyful in my heart – more so than I have been for many years.”
The following year, she married the nobleman who had proposed to her fully 15 years earlier.
The manor tales are written by Linda Corfitz