After 1854 the castle served as the summer residence for King Friedrich VII, who died here on 15 November 1863. In 1864/1865 Prussian troops used the castle as quarters and as a military hospital. As a consequence of the German-Danish War of 1864, Denmark ceded the dukedom of Schleswig-Holstein to the Prussian crown. King Wilhelm gave the castle back to the family, and in 1871 Duke Karl, the then head of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, resided in the castle. Karl was the brother of Christian IX, who, in 1846, withdrew from the Danish state service because of his opposition to the policy of the "Eiderdänen" who favoured a total merger of Schleswig with Denmark.
The last German Empress, Auguste Victoria (1858-1921), a descendant of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, stayed in Glücksburg frequently. Her sister Caroline Mathilde married Duke Friedrich Ferdinand (1855-1934). Hence, the last German Empress Auguste Victoria is the great-grand-aunt of the current head of the house, Christoph Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, and Caroline Mathilde, the Empress’s sister, is his great-grandmother.
Traditionally, the family attaches great importance to the fact that the private character of the castle should be maintained, whilst keeping up cordial relations with the region. The “Friedrichsgarde,” for instance, maintains the tradition of the castle and the family and combines this tradition with shooting.
The Historical Association, which was founded by citizens in conjunction with the Schleswig-Holstein family, focuses on historical subjects relating to the history of the castle and its family. Friedrich Ferdinand Prince of Schleswig-Holstein was amongst the founding members as well. The current chairwoman is Elisabeth Princess of Ysenburg und Büdingen.
Another of the family’s non-profit commitments is the well-known Louisenlund Foundation, which was founded in 1949 by Duke Friedrich, the grandfather of Christoph Prince of Schleswig-Holstein. To this day, members of the family have been involved in the foundation as well. The sister of Christoph Prince of Schleswig-Holstein, Ingeborg Princess of Schleswig-Holstein, who is a well-known artist, works in the management of the Louisenlund foundation.
The castle's significant role in Europe
Being an important work of Renaissance architecture, Schloss Glücksburg, which is located south of the Flensburg Fjord, is one of the major cultural attractions in Schleswig-Holstein, and it is considered the cradle of European royal houses.
While Duke Johann the Younger went down in history as the castle’s builder, King Christian IX (1818- 1906) became the originator of Schloss Glücksburg’s reputation as being the cradle of European royal houses. So, after the death of his father, Duke Wilhelm, in 1831, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg was called to Copenhagen, where the King of Denmark himself took care of his further upbringing and education.
In 1837 he represented the Danish court at the coronation of Queen Victoria in Westminster Abbey. In 1842 he married Louise of Hesse-Kassel. . In 1853 Prince Christian, who was a direct descendant of the Oldenburg Royal Family, was ordained as the successor to Friedrich VII who remained childless. After the death of Friedrich VII at Schloss Glücksburg on 15 November 1863, the Prince was enthroned. Due to the German-Danish War of 1864, the beginning of his reign marked the end of the personal union of the Dukedoms of Holstein and Schleswig and the Kingdom of Denmark which had existed since 1460. As King Christian IX, he became the progenitor of the current Glücksburg line on the Danish throne. Christian became known as the “Father-in-Law of Europe”.