Above: A skilling
Frederick was the youngest son of Christian I. Though he resembled his
brother, King Hans, his temperament was apparently
more peaceful and mild.
In 1522 Frederick accepted an offer to become king of Denmark. At the time of his coronation in 1524 he was 52 years old. Frederick's ascent to the throne represented more than just a change of cast. The Danish nobility had now acquired the actual powers of state by the expansion of their political and financial privileges. The laws of Christian II were repealed, burned in fact, and the number of members in the Danish National Council was increased to 50.
In 1524 the Norwegian National Council decided that Frederick should also be king of Norway in exchange for Norway being granted a relatively independent position. The promise of independence was not honoured by Frederick who soon appointed Danes to all the permanent Norwegian castles. In the Norwegian coronation charter Frederick had promised to fight against the Protestant movement, but instead he granted freedom of religion to the Lutherans and protected the Protestant lay preachers. In order to lay his hands on some of the revenue of the Roman Catholic church, Frederick appointed secular noblemen to the monasteries and confiscated royal estates that had been at the disposal of the bishops.
Throughout most of his rule, Frederick's hold on the throne was threatened by his nephew, the banished king, Christian II. In 1531, with the support of the bishops and members of the Norwegian National Council, Christian attempted to reclaim the Norwegian throne. The military campaign failed and Christian was imprisoned despite a promise of safe conduct.
Frederick died in his own castle, Gottorp in Schleswig,
in 1533. Three years passed before his son, Christian
III became king.