09 March 2015

Today's Princess: Anne Catherine of Brandenburg

via Wikimedia Commons
Many future queens have benefited from having a royal gentleman travel to her country. Remember Mary Donaldson met the future King of Denmark when he visited Australia. His ancestor King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway found his wife the same way on his travels to Germany. Although it is safe to say that Christian did not meet Anne Catherine of Brandenburg (1575-1612) in a bar like Frederik met Mary.

Twenty-year-old Anne Catherine caught the eye of the 18-year-old king and he invited her family to attend his coronation the next year. He had been king since the age of 11 but he was only just assuming personal power. The Margrave of Brandenburg took his daughter to Denmark and an engagement was soon announced.

Despite her husband's vivacious Renaissance personality, or perhaps because of it, Anne Catherine seems to have left few visible marks on the blossoming culture, architecture, and history of her day. Christian is renowned for economic reforms and for sponsoring new cultural institutions, buildings and towns. He even renamed Oslo for himself; it was called Christiana for 300 years. He was also known for womanizing and burning witches.

All in all, perhaps it is better that Anne Catherine seems to have lived a quiet existence. She gave birth to seven children with three boys, including the future King Frederik III, surviving to adulthood. Anne Catherine did not live a long life, dying at the age of 36. Her husband went on to reign for a total of 59 years, the longest reign in Danish history. His next marriage was a doozy, but that's a story for another day.

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