After putting off the German powers by seven years of astute diplomacy, he realized the impossibility of carrying out the idea of a common constitution and, on the 30th of March 1862, a royal proclamation was issued detaching Holstein as far as possible from the common monarchy.
It suffered considerably during the wars between Schleswig and Holstein in the 15th century.
Definitely incorporated with this country in 1853, it experienced another change of fortune after the short war of 1864 between Denmark on the one side and Prussia and Austria on the other, as by the peace of Vienna (30th of October 1864) it was ceded with Schleswig and Holstein to the two German powers.
On the 24th of December Saxon and Hanoverian troops occupied Holstein in the name of the German Confederation, and supported by their presence and the favor of the population the prince of Augustenburg, as Duke Frederick VIII., assumed the government.
Reluctantly he assented to the policy which led to war with the combined power of Austria and Prussia, and to the separation of the duchies of Schleswig, Holstein and Lauenburg from Denmark (see Schleswig-Holstein Question).
This division of national sentiment within the monarchy, complicated by the approaching extinction of the Oldenburg line of the house of Denmark, by which, in the normal course under the Salic law, the succession to Holstein would have passed away from the Danish crown, opened up the whole complicated SchleswigHolstein Question with all its momentous consequences.
Before the end of the year Elizabeth of Holstein was also expelled from Russia, and Bestuzhev was supreme.
Meanwhile the preparations for war had been continued, and on the 1st of June Austria flung down the gage by declaring her intention of submitting the whole question of the duchies to the federal diet and of summoning a meeting of the Holstein estates.
Other connubial speculations foundered on the personal dislike of the princess for the various suitors proposed to her, so that on the death of her mother (May 1727) and the departure to Holstein of her beloved sister Anne, her only remaining near relation, the princess found herself at the age of eighteen practically her own mistress.
The counter-stroke of Austria was to embarrass Prussia by allowing full play in Holstein to the agitation in favor of the Augustenburg claimant.