Sunday, 14 January 2007

Margrethe's 35th anniversary as queen today

To become a king or a queen a parent must die. This is the harsh paradox of ascending a throne. On this day 35 years ago Queen Margrethe's beloved father Frederik IX died. He was known as "the sailor king" and he was a smoker to the last. Queen Margrethe was proclaimed Denmark's queen just 20 hours after the death of her father. Frederik IX is buried at Roskilde Cathedral, not in the royal crypt indoors, but outdoors at his request, forever taking the airs of Denmark and its surrounding waters, metaphorically speaking. Queen Ingrid, is now buried with him. The Danes gave up the pomp and circumstance of formal coronations a long time ago and the practice is the new monarch is proclaimed. King Frederik was proclaimed king from the balcony at Christiansborg Palace after the death of Christian X. Not long after delivering his New Year's address to the nation on 31 December 1971, King Frederik fell ill and died shortly after on 14 January, 1972. He died of lung cancer.

In 1996 Queen Ingrid reflected on Crown Prince Frederik (it is well known they were close). She had a unique perspective on the Danish crown prince she married in May 1935 and also her grandson, about whom she is speaking: "I believe that one of the most difficult things in life is to be a crown prince. It's a weird thing - but that's how it is - you have to sit down and wait for your father or mother to die. This is in fact very strange. But we are used to it [ie: royalty]. We have been raised in that knowledge, and I don't think one thinks about it too much. But it is difficult to be in this position. It's an important position, and yet not no 1." (Many thanks Frederik IX for translation of an excerpt from Ninka's En familie og dens Dronning, 1996)

1. Margrethe is proclaimed queen 20 hours after her father's death 2. Queen Ingrid, Queen Margrethe, Prince Henrik, Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie lead the mourners at the funeral of Frederik IX 3. Queen Margrethe's first New Year address 4. In 1984 the Queen's special brand of speaking, with intelligence and humour, had become noteworthy 5. & 6. the Queen and Prince Henrik in the Faeroe Islands 7. Flowers for the Queen! 8. Queen, mother and grandmother - with first grandchild, Nikolai, on the balcony at Amalienborg for her birthday 9. with the heirs who follow her, Frederik and third grandchild Christian 10. Frederik leads the congratulatory "hurrah" from the balcony of Amalienborg for the 25th wedding anniversary of his parents.

Queen Margrethe
Queen Margrethe II: Denmark's Monarch for a Modern Age by Peter Thygesen, a Politiken journalist

A look back at Frederik IX, the Sailor King (1899 -1972)

1. Frederik as a baby (fetching bonnet!) 2. With brother Prince Knud 3. With brother Knud and mother Queen Alexandrine (the current Princess Alexandra wears the tiara known as the Alexandrine tiara) 4. As a young boy 5. & 6. As a young naval officer, like the current Crown Prince Frederik, he married later rather than younger and Queen Ingrid was always confident grandson Frederik would find the 'right girl' but she never met Mary, she became ill and died just after Frederik met Mary (they met September, Queen Ingrid died in November 2000) 7. Frederik was fond of a tattoo or two or three! 8. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid with King Christian X (we will find an opportunity to tell his story sometime) 9. Christian X died 20 April 1947 and Frederik was proclaimed king (10. 11. 12. & 13. at Christiansborg Slot) 14. & 15. Frederik and Ingrid, the new king and queen, still in mourning 16. to 31. King Frederik at work and with his growing family. It is said Frederik and Ingrid were a great pair, complemented each other and created a very happy family life for the 'first family' of Denmark 32. A three generation photo of an ill-looking King Frederik, Princess Margrethe and Prince Frederik 33. The death of King Frederik on 14 January 1972 - Prince Henrik, Prince Richard and King Konstantine follow the king's coffin to Christiansborg in a procession from Amalaienborg. Queen Ingrid, Queen Margrethe, Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie all stood on the stairs to the church (where Christian was christened) as the coffin was carried inside 34. In castrum dolorus inside the church 35. & 36. The funeral of Frederik IX, Queen Margrethe had Frederik and Joachim with her 37. Queen Ingrid 38. Princes Frederik, Joachim and Gustav at the funeral 39. The grave of Frederik IX and now also Queen Ingrid, outside at Roskilde Cathedral.

Some links about Frederik IX:
The Danish Monarchy - Frederik IX
Danish Royalty
The proclamation of King Frederik IX from the State and University Library, University of Aarhus (photos from this link too)
A well known Dane's old tattoos
Danish royal crypts in Roskilde Cathedral
Many thanks to Brigitte Gastel Lloyd for some photos from

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Blogger Carol said...


What a beautiful and sensitive post! Fascinating, and touching, to remember that regardless of their royal status, they are first and foremost a family.

Thank you.


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