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, StruenseeStruensee, Johann Friedrich
, 1737–72, Danish politician, b. Germany. As physician to Christian VII he gained complete mastery over the insane king and became the favorite of the young queen, Caroline Matilda.
..... Click the link for more information. , who in 1770 caused the dismissal of minister of foreign affairs Johann Hartwig Ernst BernstorffBernstorff, Johann Hartwig Ernst
, 1712–72, Danish politician, of German (Hanoverian) origin. As minister of foreign affairs (1751–70) under Frederick V and Christian VII, he successfully kept Denmark at peace.
..... Click the link for more information. 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 BernstorffBernstorff, Andreas Peter
, 1735–97, Danish politician; nephew of Johann Hartwig Ernst Bernstorff. Made (1773) foreign minister after Struensee's fall from power, he obtained from Russia the final ratification of the exchange treaty negotiated by his uncle in 1767.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.