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Have you ever lovingly nicknamed your toddler offspring Prince or Princess? After reading this piece you might decide to cease and desist with that cute little habit. You see, not all Royals have been the courageous, handsome, good-natured characters as depicted by Disney. Well, more of that further down, first I have to tell you how I stumbled onto this story in the first place.
One of the things I love most about Denmark, is that there are small culinary and historic treasures in the middle of the woods, where you expect to find nothing but trees. “Jægerhytten” is a prime example of just that.
Last summer, the Karate Kid and I were looking for a nearby lake where we could go swimming with the dog. So what do you do when you have recently relocated to a different country and do not really know the area you wound up in? Yes, you turn to O’ Wise Google, whom returned with information of such a place we were seeking. After consulting the map and the GPS, off we went!
We found the parking lot with no problems, and from there it was supposed to be just a short walk through the forest to the lake where we could bathe from a nice little sandy beach. Now. You might not be aware of this, but Old Mamasan has as much sense of direction as your regular bread box. Do you think we went in the wrong direction? Yup, we went in the wrong direction! Lucky for us that we did, because that’s when we found this little heaven on earth, the “Jægerhytten”.
“Jægerhytten” was mentioned at the website where we found directions to the lake, but I had misunderstood what it was. I thought we were talking about an old shack where the boy’s scouts hung out or something.
Boy, was I wrong! «Jægerhytten» is definitely not an old shack. Well. It is old. It is repurposed as a fantastic restaurant! Sir Nerdalot and I have been there to sample both the lunch- and dinner menu, and as we are getting guests this weekend – we are just dying to show off the «Jægerhytten».
But I promised historic tales about Royal shenanigans, didn’t I? Ok, here we go:
“Jægerhytten” is Danish for Hunters Lodge, and this particular one was first drawn onto a map in the mid 1700’, then by the name “Herlighed”, which I would translate to “Loveliness”. The Lodge was a Royal hunting cabin for Hircholm Castle.
Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark-Norway, is said to have engaged in a love affair with her schizophrenic husband King Christian VII’s personal physician , Johann Friedrich Struensee. (Mind you, this nutjob of a King was not completely innocent himself from marital indiscretions…) The two lovers were, as the story tells, cultivating their love affair at this particular hunters lodge “Jægerhytten” from 1770 to 1772.
(Just a little fun-fact here: The Queen’s father and the King’s mother, were siblings, thus the married Royal couple were cousins. There was a lot of that going around, and as I mentioned here, they were all inbred lunatics)
The Queen gave birth to a daughter, Louise Augusta, in 1771. Her hubby (and cousin), King Christian VII, acknowledged paternity, but everyone still knew that it was Strunsee who was the biological father. The similarity between the Princess and Struensee was striking, which historians still agree on today.
Struensee gained considerable political power through controlling the mentally ill King Christian VII, but this did not go down unnoticed. On January 17th, 1772, a coup was staged against Struensee, whom was arrested and sentenced to death.
Queen Caroline Mathilde was also arrested, and the marriage with King Christian VII was dissolved. Caroline Mathilde was also to be executed, but that upset her brother, King George III of Great Britain, and thus England and Denmark were on the precipice of war. (See? All the Royals are frigging’ related! Of course King George III and King Christian VII were also cousins. Family feud much?) War was avoided by sparing the de-crowned Queen’s life, and she was instead banished from the country. Caroline Mathilde never saw her children again and died during an epidemic of scarlet fever in 1775 in Hanover, Germany, only 23 years old.
King Christian VII replied when he was informed about his ex-Queen’s passing: “What a shame – she had such nice legs.”
Jægerhytten is situated in Birkerød on Zealand, Denmark, 30 minutes’ drive north of Copenhagen.
Eskemoseskov, the forest the Jægerhytten is in the outskirts of, is a great hiking area along the lake Sjælsø.