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Margrethe II of Denmark

Margrethe II
Queen Margrethe smiling
Margrethe II in 2012
Queen of Denmark
Reign14 January 1972 – present
PredecessorFrederick IX
Heir apparentFrederik
Prime Ministers
Born (1940-04-16) 16 April 1940 (age 81)
Amalienborg, Copenhagen, Occupied Denmark
Spouse
(m. 1967; died 2018)
Issue
Detail
Names
Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid
HouseGlücksburg
FatherFrederick IX of Denmark
MotherIngrid of Sweden
ReligionChurch of Denmark
SignatureMargrethe II's signature

Margrethe II (Danish: [mɑˈkʁeˀtə]; Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid, born 16 April 1940) is Queen of Denmark and commander-in-chief of the Danish Defence.

Born into the House of Glücksburg, Margrethe is the eldest child of Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden. She became heir presumptive to her father in 1953, when a constitutional amendment allowed women to inherit the throne. Margrethe succeeded her father upon his death on 14 January 1972. On her accession, she became the first female monarch of Denmark since Margrethe I, ruler of the Scandinavian kingdoms in 1375–1412 during the Kalmar Union. In 1967, she married Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, with whom she had two sons: Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.

Margrethe is known for her strong archaeological passion and has participated in several excavations, including in Italy, Egypt, Denmark and South America. She shared this interest with her grandfather Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, with whom she spent some time unearthing artefacts near Etruria in 1962.

As of 2021, Margrethe has, as sovereign, received 42 official state visits and she has undertaken 55 foreign state visits herself. In addition to this, the Queen and the royal family have made several other foreign visits. Support for the monarchy in Denmark has been and remains consistently high at around 82%, as does Margrethe's personal popularity.

Early life

Margrethe's birthplace: Frederik VIII's Palace at Amalienborg.

Princess Margrethe was born 16 April 1940 at Frederik VIII's Palace, her parents residence at the Amalienborg palace complex, the principal residence of the Danish royal family in the district of Frederiksstaden in central Copenhagen. She was the first child of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess (later King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid). Her father was the elder son of the then-reigning King Christian X, while her mother was the only daughter of the Crown Prince of Sweden (later King Gustaf VI Adolf). Her birth took place just one week after Nazi Germany's invasion of Denmark on 9 April 1940.

Margrethe was baptised on 14 May in the Holmen Church in Copenhagen. The Princess's godparents were: King Christian X (paternal grandfather); Hereditary Prince Knud (paternal uncle); Prince Axel (her paternal grandfather's first cousin); King Gustaf V of Sweden (maternal great-grandfather); Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden (maternal grandfather); Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten (her maternal uncle); Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (maternal great-grandfather).

She was named Margrethe after her late maternal grandmother, Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden, Alexandrine after her paternal grandmother, Queen Alexandrine, and Ingrid after her mother. Since her paternal grandfather was also the King of Iceland, she was given the Icelandic name Þórhildur.

When Margrethe was four years old, in 1944, her younger sister Princess Benedikte was born. Princess Benedikte later married Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and lives some of the time in Germany. Her second sister, Princess Anne-Marie, was born in 1946. Anne-Marie later married King Constantine II of the Hellenes and currently lives in Greece.

Margrethe and her sisters grew up in apartments at Frederick VIII's Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen and in Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand. She spent summer holidays with the royal family in her parent's summer residence at Gråsten Palace in Southern Jutland. On 20 April 1947, King Christian X died and Margrethe's father ascended the throne as King Frederick IX.

Margrethe is known affectionately as "Daisy".

Heir presumptive

Princess Margrethe in August 1966

At the time of her birth, only males could ascend the throne of Denmark, owing to the changes in succession laws enacted in the 1850s when the Glücksburg branch was chosen to succeed. As Margrethe had no brothers, it was assumed that her uncle Prince Knud would one day assume the throne.

The process of changing the constitution started in 1947, not long after Margrethe’s father ascended the throne and it became clear that Queen Ingrid would have no more children. The popularity of Frederick and his daughters and the more prominent role of women in Danish life started the complicated process of altering the constitution. The law required that the proposal be passed by two successive Parliaments and then by a referendum, which occurred 27 March 1953. The new Act of Succession permitted female succession to the throne of Denmark, according to male-preference cognatic primogeniture, where a female can ascend to the throne only if she does not have a brother. Princess Margrethe therefore became heir presumptive.

On her eighteenth birthday, 16 April 1958, Margrethe was given a seat in the Council of State. She subsequently chaired the meetings of the Council in the absence of the King.

In 1960, together with the princesses of Sweden and Norway, she travelled to the United States, which included a visit to Los Angeles, and to the Paramount Studios, where they met several celebrities, including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Elvis Presley.

Education

Margrethe was educated at the private school N. Zahle's School in Copenhagen, from which she graduated in 1959. She spent a year at North Foreland Lodge, a boarding school for girls in Hampshire, England, and later studied prehistoric archaeology at Girton College, Cambridge, during 1960–1961, political science at Aarhus University between 1961 and 1962, attended the Sorbonne in 1963, and was at the London School of Economics in 1965. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Margrethe is fluent in Danish, French, English, Swedish and German, and has a limited knowledge of Faroese.

Marriage and children

Queen Margrethe II and her consort, Prince Henrik, in 2010

Princess Margrethe married a French diplomat, Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, on June 10, 1967, at the Holmen Church in Copenhagen. Laborde de Monpezat received the style and title of "His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark" because of his new position as the spouse of the heir presumptive to the Danish throne. They were married for over fifty years, until his death on 13 February 2018.

Margrethe gave birth to her first child on 26 May 1968. By tradition, Danish kings were alternately named either Frederik or Christian. She chose to maintain this by assuming the position of a Christian, and thus named her eldest son Frederik. A second child, named Joachim, was born on 7 June 1969.

Reign

Margrethe II in a costume of the Faroese people. Stamp FR 302 of Postverk Føroya, Faroe Islands, issued 14 January 1997.

Succession

Shortly after King Frederick IX delivered his New Year's Address to the Nation at the 1971/72 turn of the year, he fell ill. At his death 14 days later, 14 January 1972, Margrethe succeeded to the throne at the age of 31, becoming the first female Danish sovereign under the new Act of Succession. She was proclaimed Queen from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace 15 January 1972 by Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag. Queen Margrethe II relinquished all the monarch's former titles except the title to Denmark, hence her style "By the Grace of God, Queen of Denmark" (Danish: Margrethe den Anden, af Guds Nåde Danmarks Dronning). The Queen chose the motto: God's help, the love of The People, Denmark's strength.

In her first address to the people, Queen Margrethe II said:

My beloved father, our King, is dead. The task that my father had carried for nearly 25 years is now resting on my shoulders. I pray to God to give me help and strength to carry the heavy heritage. May the trust that was given to my father also be granted to me.

Constitutional role

The Queen's main tasks are to represent the Kingdom abroad and to be a unifying figure at home. The Queen performs the latter task by accepting invitations to open exhibitions, attending anniversaries, inaugurating bridges, etc. She receives foreign ambassadors and awards honours and medals.

As an unelected public official, the Queen takes no part in party politics and does not express any political opinions. Although she has the right to vote, she opts not to do so to avoid even the appearance of partisanship.

The Queen holds a meeting with the prime minister and the foreign affairs minister every Wednesday, unless she or the prime minister is outside of the kingdom.

After an election where the incumbent prime minister does not have a majority behind him or her, the Queen holds a "Dronningerunde" (Queen's meeting) in which she meets the chairmen of each of the Danish political parties.

Each party has the choice of selecting a royal investigator to lead these negotiations or alternatively, give the incumbent prime minister the mandate to continue his or her government as is. In theory each party could choose its own leader as royal investigator, the social liberal Det Radikale Venstre did so in 2006, but often only one royal investigator is chosen plus the prime minister, before each election. The leader who, at that meeting succeeds in securing a majority of the seats in the Folketing, is by royal decree charged with the task of forming a new government. (It has never happened in more modern history[when?] that any party has held a majority on its own.)

Once the government has been formed, it is formally appointed by the Queen. Officially, it is the Queen who is the head of government, and she therefore presides over the Council of State (privy council), where the acts of legislation which have been passed by the parliament are signed into law. In practice, however, nearly all of the Queen's formal powers are exercised by the Cabinet of Denmark.

In addition to her roles in her own country, the Queen is also the colonel-in-chief of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires), an infantry regiment of the British Army, following a tradition in her family.

Silver and Ruby Jubilees

Queen Margrethe II marked her Silver Jubilee in 1997 with a religious service and a gala dinner attended by fellow Scandinavian royals. She celebrated her Ruby Jubilee, the 40th year on the throne, on 14 January 2012. This was marked by a church service, concert, carriage procession, gala banquet at Christiansborg Palace and numerous TV interviews.

Immigration debate

In an interview within the 2016 book De dybeste rødder (The Deepest Roots), according to historians at the Saxo Institute of the University of Copenhagen she showed a change in attitude to immigration towards a more restrictive stance. She stated that the Danish people should have more explicitly clarified the rules and values of Danish culture in order to be able to teach them to new arrivals. She further stated that the Danes in general have underestimated the difficulties involved in successful integration of immigrants, exemplified with the rules of a democracy not being clarified to Muslim immigrants and a lack of readiness to enforce those rules. This was received as a change in line with the attitude of the Danish people.

Golden Jubilee

The Queen's Golden Jubilee is planned for 2022.

Personal life and interests

The official residences of the Queen are Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen and Fredensborg Palace. Her summer residences are Marselisborg Palace near Aarhus and Gråsten Palace near Sønderborg, the former home of her mother, Queen Ingrid, who died in 2000.

Margrethe is an accomplished painter and has held many art shows over the years. Her illustrations—under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer—were used for Danish editions of The Lord of the Rings, which she was encouraged to illustrate in the early 1970s. She sent them to J. R. R. Tolkien, who was struck by the similarity of her drawings to his own style. Margrethe's drawings were redrawn by the British artist Eric Fraser for the Folio Society's English edition of The Lord of the Rings, first published in 1977 and reissued in 2002. In 2000, she illustrated Prince Henrik's poetry collection Cantabile. Another skill she possesses is costume designing, having designed the costumes for the Royal Danish Ballet's production of A Folk Tale and for the 2009 Peter Flinth film, De vilde svaner (The Wild Swans). She also designs her own clothes and is known for her colourful and sometimes eccentric clothing choices. Margrethe also wears designs by former Pierre Balmain designer Erik Mortensen, Jørgen Bender, and Birgitte Taulow.[citation needed] The Guardian in March 2013 listed her as one of the fifty best-dressed over 50s. In connection with her 80th birthday, British Vogue published an article calling her "An Unsung Style Heroine."

Margrethe is a chain smoker and is well known for her tobacco habit. However, on 23 November 2006, the Danish newspaper B.T. reported an announcement from the Royal Court stating that in the future the Queen would smoke only in private.

Family

The Queen surrounded by her family waving to crowds on her 70th birthday in April 2010. From left to right: the Crown Princess, Prince Felix, the Crown Prince, Prince Christian, the Queen, Prince Nikolai, Prince Consort Henrik, Prince Joachim and Princess Isabella

The Queen has two children and eight grandchildren, all born at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen:

In 2008, the Queen announced that her male-line descendants would bear the additional title of Count or Countess of Monpezat, in recognition of her husband's ancestry.

Queen Margrethe II in Vágur, Faroe Islands, 21 June 2005
Queen Margrethe II and her husband the Prince Consort welcome President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush at Fredensborg Palace, 5 July 2005
Margrethe II with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva during the latter's visit to Denmark, 12 September 2007

Honours

She is the 1,188th knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain, and only the 7th Lady of the Order of the Garter since 1901, when Edward VII appointed his consort a member. She is also Colonel-in-Chief of The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (Queen's and Royal Hampshires) in the United Kingdom.

Queen Margrethe II Land in Northeast Greenland was named in her honour on 16 April 1990 on the occasion of her 50th birthday.

National

Foreign

Queen Margrethe is also Colonel in Chief of an English infantry regiment, The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment. This tradition started with what became the Buffs (the Royal East Kent Regiment) in 1689 with Prince George of Denmark (husband of Queen Anne); it was resurrected in the early 20th Century when King Frederick VII was made Colonel in Chief of the Buffs (his sister, Princess Alexandra was married to King Edward VII). Since then the Danish Monarch has been the Colonel in Chief or Allied Colonel in Chief of the Buffs, Queen's Own Buffs, Queen's Regiment and Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment.

Nongovernmental organizations

  •  Slovakia: Tree of Peace Memorial Plaque. Awarded on 16 April 2020, on the occasion of her 80th birthday anniversary. Plaque presented on behalf of Servare et Manere on 29 September 2020 to Henning Fode, Private Secretary of the Queen by Miroslav Wlachovský, the Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the Kingdom of Denmark.

Ancestry

She is a great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and third-cousin to Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.

Patrilineal descent

Patrilineal descent
  1. Egilmar I of Lerigau, dates unknown
  2. Egilmar II of Lerigau, d. 1142
  3. Christian I, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1167
  4. Moritz of Oldenburg, d. 1209
  5. Christian II, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1233
  6. John I, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1275
  7. Christian III, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1285
  8. John II, Count of Oldenburg, d. 1314
  9. Conrad I, Count of Oldenburg, 1300–1347
  10. Christian V, Count of Oldenburg, 1340–1423
  11. Dietrich, Count of Oldenburg, 1398–1440
  12. Christian I of Denmark, 1426–1481
  13. Frederik I of Denmark, 1471–1533
  14. Christian III of Denmark, 1503–1559
  15. John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, 1545–1622
  16. Alexander, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, 1573–1627
  17. August Philipp, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1612–1675
  18. Frederick Louis, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1653–1728
  19. Peter August, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1696–1775
  20. Prince Karl Anton August of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1727–1759
  21. Friedrich Karl Ludwig, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, 1757–1816
  22. Friedrich Wilhelm, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, 1785–1831
  23. Christian IX of Denmark, 1818–1906
  24. Frederik VIII of Denmark, 1843–1912
  25. Christian X of Denmark, 1870–1947
  26. Frederik IX of Denmark, 1899–1972
  27. Margrethe II of Denmark, b. 1940

See also

This page was last updated at 2022-01-12 07:07 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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