Danish Royal Family is one of the earliest monarchies in the world. The family has an extensive ancestry which dates back to the 8th century to the current monarch. All the members of the Royal Family hold the title of Prince/Princess with the exception of the Queen Margrethe II.
Having a vast history makes them quite an object of curiosity. Let us dive into 10 interesting facts about The Danish Royal Family.
1) The Danish Monarchy is around 1200 years old.
It is one of the oldest monarchies in the world and dates back to the 8th century, tracing its lineage back to Harthacnut and Gorm the Old (ruler of Denmark around the 10th century). The kingdom itself is probably older than that. The Danes were reunited and Christianized by the King of Denmark and Norway Harald Bluetooth in 965 CE.
Additionally, the era of Herald’s grandson Cnut the Great represented the peak of the Danish Viking Age.
2) Queen Margrethe I- The Lady King
She is the first great ruling queen in European History. Additionally, she was nicknamed as “The Lady King”. She is famous for the ” Kalmar Union” and for publishing the treaty of Kalmar which united the kingdoms of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. She then crowned her son as the ruler of the three kingdoms. However, it was Margrethe I who was Scandinavia’s effective ruler throughout her lifetime.
3) It was King Frederik VII who ended Absolutism in Denmark.
Absolutism is the practice where a monarch holds complete autocratic control over a territory. This practice started in Demark during 1660. Subsequently, transforming elective monarchy into a hereditary monarchy. When King Frederik VII ascended to the throne in January 1848, the Danish demanded an end to Absolutism and the King yielded to their demands.
4) King Christian X- A national symbol.
During the German siege and occupation of Denmark, King of Denmark Christian X rode the streets of Copenhagen on a horse every day. The king parading around town on his horse made him a national symbol. And also giving him the title of one of the most popular Danish monarchs of modern times.
Additionally, wearing a square button engraved with the Danish Flag and the insignia of the king, was a small but effective way for Danes to show resistance to the German Force.
Popular Myths about him.
There are many popular myths about King Christian X. One of them goes that when he set out for his rides around town he would don the Star of David to show solidarity with the Jews. The basis of this myth is a British report of 1942. The report states that the Monarch threatened to wear the Star if Danish Jews were forced to wear one.
Another story about the King is that once riding around Copenhagen he saw the German Flag flying over Hotel D’Angleterre ( it used to be the German military headquarters ). Stopping his horse, he asked the German guard to remove it as it was against the armistice agreement. The soldier refused to do so. The king then said that he will send a Danish soldier to remove it. The guard responded saying that the soldier will be shot. The king then replied that the Danish Soldier will be him. According to the tale, the flag was taken down.
5) During the holocaust The Danish Royal Family saved around 99 percent of Danish Jews.
Before October 1943, Danish Jews were quite safe from the perils of the holocaust. But then Hitler gave out orders for their deportation and arrest. After hearing about these orders Danish Civil Servants started identifying Jews but not to arrest them but to warn them and move them to safety. The Danes evacuated all of Denmark’s Jews (around 7200) to neutral Sweden. Subsequently saving 99% of them from the holocaust. King Christian X financed this operation.
6) The Telegram Crisis- A Diplomatic crisis between Denmark and Germany.
In 1942, The King of Denmark Christian X received a long congratulatory message from Adolf Hitler for his 72nd birthday. To this, the King gave a one-line reply which gave his best regards. Hitler felt insulted. He immediately called back his ambassador from Copenhagen and removed the Danish ambassador from Germany. This incident is called the Telegram Crisis.
7) The scandalous affair that took place in The Danish Royal Family.
The affair of Queen Caroline Matilda and German Doctor Johann Freidrich Struensee is one of the most scandalous affairs in Danish History. Additionally, it is a popular belief that Princess Louise Augusta is their illegitimate offspring.
The Queen’s husband King Christian VII had a long history of mental illness. He was being treated by German Doctor Struensee. A man who became his confidant. An affair blossomed between the German Doctor and Queen Caroline Matilda, who later convinced the King to bestow his entire power onto Struensee. For 16 months, Denmark was under the rule of the Queen and the Doctor. This period was called as “The time of Struensee”.
However, other members of the Danish Royal Family were against Struensee and he was arrested on the charges of lèse majesté and later executed, Queen Caroline eventually went into exile and died of Scarlet Fever at the age of 23.
8) The current Monarch of Denmark Queen Margrethe II.
During Queen Margrethe II’s times, only male ascensions to the throne were allowed. However, a concession was passed which allowed females to ascend the throne in case there were no male heirs. Once her Father Frederik IX passed away in 1972, she ascended the throne and became Queen. She is Denmark’s second female ruler after Queen Margrethe I, who ruled in the 14th century.
She married the Diplomat Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat. After their marriage he became Prince Henrik, they have two children together, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim.
9) The Queen’s late husband broke a 500-year-old tradition.
In 2017, Prince Henrik made a choice to be cremated. He chose not to be buried next to his wife Queen Margrethe II and hence broke a 500-year-old tradition of the Danish Monarchy.
10) Requirement for the monarch.
It is a requirement of the monarch of Denmark to be a member of the Danish National Church or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark.
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