VI was the son of Frederik IV and Louise of Mecklenburg-Güstrow.
He had been raised in the spirit of the pietistic movement, a fact that
influenced all his rule. Furthermore, he suffered from insurmountable shyness
and detested having to make public appearances.
Despite Christian's retiring lifestyle, he and his queen wished to emphasise their autocratic powers by displays of luxury. They had several magnificent palaces built, though they were never used for balls and festivities. Ludvig Holberg, the Scandinavian historian and playwright, once observed about Christian VI's court that its members were as "virtuous as old cats".
Christian would have liked to keep a direct ruling hand on his two monarchies and his two duchies, but he was constantly forced to seek advice from others. Thanks to his reliance on a number of astute advisors, a series of important reforms were carried out during Christian's reign; in particular, reforms relating to popular education and to economics. In 1736 the institution of confirmation, which involved formalised religious education, was introduced in Norway and Denmark. Three years later a law was passed to ensure at least a minimum education be made available to the poor in rural areas. In 1736 a bar examination was introduced that was of great importance in improving qualifications in the legal profession. Christian was also involved in charting a 1741 law ("konventikkelplakaten") decreeing that only priests ordained in the state church were permitted to lead public prayer meetings. Smaller, private prayer meetings required only the supervision of a priest. In addition, Christian banned theatre performances and entertainment such as clowning and juggling.
On Christian VI's death in 1746 his son, Frederik V, succeeded him on the throne.