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Duke Adolf

A magnificent strategist and vigilant sovereign

In 1526 Duke Adolf was born in Flensburg. At the age of 18 years he took over the newly established dukedom of Schleswig-Holstein-Gottorf. His country was poor and indebted. Therefore he offered his services to Emperor Karl V and became an important military leader. In England he asked for the hand of Queen Elizabeth I in marriage. Like the other 16 rejected suitors he was then awarded the English "Order of the Garter". His crest shows this award.


He returned from his military campaigns as a wealthy man and was able to afford to build castles for the most important offices: Kiel (1558-1567), Reinbek (1572-1576), Husum (1577-1582) and Tönning (1581-1583). He was married to Christine, the daughter of Landgrave Philipp von Hessen, and had four sons and five daughters with her. One of his daughters was the mother of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden. Duke Adolf died in Schloss Gottorf in 1586.