Margrethe II of Denmark

Margrethe II of Denmark
Margrethe II
Queen of Denmark
Reign 14 January 1972 – present
Predecessor Frederick IX
Heir apparent Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark
Prime Ministers
Spouse Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark (1967–present)
Crown Prince Frederik
Prince Joachim
Full name
Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid
House House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glucksburg [1]
Father Frederik IX of Denmark
Mother Ingrid of Sweden
Born 16 April 1940 (1940-04-16) (age 71)
Amalienborg Palace, Denmark
Religion Lutheranism
Monarchical styles of
Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
Royal Coat of Arms of Denmark.svg
Reference style Her Majesty
Spoken style Your Majesty
Alternative style Ma'am

Margrethe II (Danish pronunciation: [mɑˈg̊ʁæːˀd̥ə]; Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid) (born 16 April 1940) is the Queen regnant of the Kingdom of Denmark. In 1972 she became the first female monarch of Denmark since Margaret I, ruler of the Scandinavian countries in 1375-1412 during the Kalmar Union.


Early life

Princess Margrethe was born on 16 April 1940 at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. Her parents were the future Frederik IX and Ingrid of Sweden, then Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark.

She was baptised on 14 May 1940 in the Church of Holmen. The princess's godparents were King Christian X of Denmark, Prince Knud of Denmark, Prince Axel of Denmark, King Gustaf V of Sweden, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

Since her paternal grandfather, the then-reigning King Christian X, was also the King of Iceland at the time, and Margrethe until 1944 was an Icelandic princess, the Princess was as a tribute to the people of Iceland given an Icelandic name, Þórhildur, consisting of "Thor" and the word for "battle" or "fight". The name is spelled with the thorn letter, which is a surviving rune, and is equivalent to "th". It is sometimes anglicized as Thorhildur.[2]

Margrethe has two younger sisters: Princess Benedikte (born 1944), who lives in Germany, and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece (born 1946), who lives in London.

In mid-1960, together with the Princesses of Sweden and Norway, she traveled to the United States, which included a visit to Los Angeles, California, and to the Paramount Studios, where they were met by several celebrities, including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Elvis Presley.

Heiress presumptive

Queen Margrethe II and her consort, Prince Henrik.

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 she 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 her father ascended the throne as Frederick IX and it became clear that Queen Ingrid would have no more children. The popularity of Frederik and his daughters and the more prominent role of women in Danish life started the complicated process of altering the constitution. That proposal had to be passed by two Parliaments in succession and then by a referendum, which was held on 27 March 1953. The new Act of Succession permitted female succession to the throne of Denmark, according to male-preference primogeniture, where a female can ascend to the throne only if she does not have a brother. Princess Margrethe therefore became the Heiress Presumptive.

On her eighteenth birthday, 16 April 1958, the Heiress Presumptive was given a seat in the Council of State, and the Princess subsequently chaired the meetings of the Council in the absence of the King.

Education and marriage

She studied prehistoric archaeology at Girton College, Cambridge during 1960–61, political science at Aarhus University between 1961–1962, at the Sorbonne in 1963, and at the London School of Economics in 1965, and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

On 10 June 1967, Crown Princess Margrethe of Denmark married a French diplomat, Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, at the Naval Church of 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 Heiress Presumptive to the Danish throne.

Queen Margrethe is fluent in her native tongue, Danish; the native tongue of her husband, French; as well as English, Swedish and German.[3]


Her father King Frederik IX died on 14 January 1972. On the occasion of her accession to the throne, Queen Margrethe II became the first female Danish Sovereign under the new Act of Succession. She was proclaimed Queen from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace Square by Prime Minister Jens Otto Krag on 15 January 1972. The Queen chose the motto: God's help, the love of The People, Denmark's strength.[4]

Her Majesty waving to crowds on her 70th birthday in April 2010

In 2008 the Queen announced that her male-line descendants would bear the additional title of Count of Monpezat,[5] which they inherit from the Queen's husband and consort, Henri-Marie-Jean André Count de Laborde de Monpezat.

She is the 1,188th Dame of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain and the 961st Knight/Lady of the Order of the Garter.

Constitutional role

After an election where the incumbent Prime Minister does not have a majority behind him, a “Dronningerunde” (Queen's meeting) between the chairmen of each of the Danish political parties attends a meeting with the monarch.

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 government as is.

In theory each party could choose its own leader as Royal Investigator, the globalistic party 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 that any party has held a majority on its own.)

Danish Royal Family
Royal Coat of Arms of Denmark.svg

HM The Queen
HRH The Prince Consort

HRH Princess Benedikte
HM The Queen of the Hellenes

HH Princess Elisabeth

v · d · e

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, 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 Council of State, and she is required by convention to act on its advice.

The Queen's main tasks are to represent the Kingdom abroad and to be a unifying figurehead at home. The queen performs the latter task by accepting invitations to open exhibitions, attending anniversaries, inaugurating bridges, etc. 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.

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.

Personal life and interests

The official residences of the Queen and the Prince Consort are Amalienborg Palace and Fredensborg Palace in Copenhagen. Their summer residence is Gravenstein Castle near Sønderborg, the former home of the Queen's mother, Queen Ingrid, who died in 2000.

The Queen is an accomplished painter, and has held many art shows over the years [6]. Her illustrations—under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer—were used for the Danish edition of The Lord of the Rings published in 1977 and the re-issue in 2002[7]. She is also an accomplished translator and is said to have participated in the Danish translation of The Lord of the Rings[8]. She is also a costume designer and designs some of her own clothes.

Margrethe is a chain smoker, and she is famous for her tobacco habit.[9]. However, on 23 November 2006 the Danish newspaper B.T. reported an announcement from the Royal Court stating that the queen would never again be seen smoking in public. Still, the queen does continue to smoke but in the future she will do so only privately. The announcement is probably due to the fact that the Danish parliament recently has decided on strict rules concerning smoking.[10]

She suffers from arthritis and has had both her knees replaced as a result.

A statement in a 2005 authorized biography about the Queen (entitled Margrethe) focused on her views of Islam: "We are being challenged by Islam these years. Globally as well as locally. There is something impressive about people for whom religion imbues their existence, from dusk to dawn, from cradle to grave. There are also Christians who feel this way. There is something endearing about people who give themselves up completely to their faith. But there is likewise something frightening about such a totality, which also is a feature of Islam. A counterbalance has to be found, and one has to, at times, run the risk of having unflattering labels placed on you. For there are some things for which one should display no tolerance. And when we are tolerant, we must know whether it is because of convenience or conviction."[11]

Honours and decorations

Danish decorations

Order of the Elephant
Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog
One hundred anniversary Commemorative Medal of King Frederik IX's birth
One hundred anniversary Commemorative Medal of King Christian X's birth
Queen Ingrid's Commemorative Medal
Commemorative Medal for the 50-year anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Ingrid's arrival in Denmark
Home Guard fortjensttegn
Home Guard 25-year mark
Civil Defense League glory sign
Danish Reserve Officers Association Medal
Queen Margrethe II in Vágur, Faroe Islands, 21 June 2005
Queen Margrethe II and her husband Prince Henrik of Denmark welcome President George W. Bush and his wife Laura Bush at Fredensborg Palace, July 5, 2005.

Foreign decorations

Symbols of Margrethe II


The Queen and The Prince Consort have two children and seven grandchildren:


Patrilineal descent

See also

  • List of national leaders
  • List of current sovereign monarchs


External links

Margrethe II
Cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg
Born: 16 April 1940
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Frederick IX
Queen of Denmark
Heir apparent:
British royalty
Preceded by
Count Carl Johan Bernadotte of Wisborg
Line of succession to the British throne Succeeded by
Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark

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