Denmark

Last modified: 13 January 2019

The country

The state is known as Kongeriget Danmark in its national language. This means the Kingdom of Denmark. The country is being reigned by the Schleswig-Holstein-Sønderborg-Glücksborg dynasty.

Denmark is Europe’s oldest monarchy. The first King was Gorm the Old who became the Danish king in 899. All the other dynasties that reigned Denmark descend from this king in straight line. Queen Margrethe I united the Kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden (independent in 1523) and Norway (after 1814 a part of Sweden) in the Union of Kalmar in 1397. In 1448 the House of Oldenburg started to reign. With King Frederik VII this dynasty became extinct. In 1863 the new dynasty of Slesvig-Holsten-Sønderborg -Glücksborg began to reign over Denmark with King Christian IX, also known as the father-in-law of Europe, as four of his children ascended the throne in another country and as he held big family-reunions where royals could meet. He and his wife Louise had six children: the oldest became King Frederik VIII and married Princess Louise of Sweden, and son Vilhelm became King George I of Greece in 1863. Christian IX soon lost the duchy of Slesvig to Prussia (1864). He died in 1906. Prince Carl, became King Haakon VII of Norway in 1905. In 1953 his oldest daughter Margrethe became the Crown Princess after the law was changed. Until then King Frederik IX’s younger brother Prince Knud had been the Tronfølgeren.

Sovereign

The current sovereign is Margrethe II Alexandrine Torhildur Ingrid, Queen of Denmark. She was born at the Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark, on 16 April 1940.

She is the daughter of King Frederik IX of Denmark (1899-1972) and his wife Princess Ingrid of Sweden (1910-2000)

Enthronement

Margrethe succeeded her father, King Frederik IX, who died on 14 January 1972.

The inauguration took place ath Christiansborg Palace, Copenhagen, Denmark, on 15 January 1972.

Other details

The Queen’s motto is Gud hjælp, Folkets kærlighed, Danmarks styrke, which means Gods help, the love of the people, the power of Denmark.

The Queen is head of the Danish Lutheran Evangelic Church.

Marriage and descendants

Queen Margrethe II was married to Henri de Laborde de Monpézat (1934-2018) since 1967. He was known as His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark and was 2005-2016 His Royal Highness The Prince Consort (Prinsgemalen).

Their children:

  • Crown Prince Frederik (born 1968)
  • Prince Joachim (born 1969) married 1995-2005 to Alexandra Manley (born 1964), married 2008 Marie Cavallier (born 1976). He has three sons, Prince Nikolai (born 1999), Prince Felix (born 2000), Prince Henrik (born 2009) and one daughter, Princess Athena (born 2012). Joachim’s former wife Alexandra is now Countess of Frederiksborg, and remarried in 2007 (divorced 2015) Martin Jørgensen (born 1978).

Heir to the throne

Crown Prince Frederik André Henrik Christian of Denmark was born at the Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 26 May 1968. He became the Crown Prince upon the accession to the throne of his mother on 14 January 1972.

Since 2004 he is married to Mary Donaldson (born 1972).

Their children:

  • Prince Christian (born 2005)
  • Princess Isabella (born 2007)
  • Prince Vincent (born 2011)
  • Princess Josephine (born 2011)

Postal address

Amalienborg Palace
1257 K Copenhagen
Denmark

Succession

Denmark is a constitutional monarchy. Royal authority shall be inherited by men and women in accordance with the provisions of the Act of Succession to the Throne of March 27th 1953. The throne shall be inherited by the descendants of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine. On the death of a monarch the throne shall pass to his son or daughter, a son taking precedence over a daughter, and where there are several children of the same sex the elder child taking precedence over the younger child. When one of the monarch’s children has died, the issue of the deceased shall take his place in accordance with the lineal descent. In case a monarch leaves no issue entitled to succeed to the throne, the throne shall pass to his brother or sister, with precedence for the brother. Where there is no person entitled to succeed to the throne, the throne shall pass to the then nearest collateral line of the descendants of King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine. Only children born of lawful marriage shall have the right of succession. The monarch shall not marry except with the consent of the Folketing. Should a person entitled to succeed to the throne marry without the consent of the monarch, given in the Council of State, such person shall forfeit his right of succession to the throne for himself and the children born of the marriage, and for their issue.

On 2 June 2006 the Danish Parliament passed an amendment to the Act of Succession to the effect that the first-born – irrespective of gender – will always succeed to the throne. As prescribed by the Constitutional Act the Government reintroduced the unchanged Bill after a general election in 2007. On 6 October 2008 the Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, announced a referendum would be held on 7 June 2009. The Bill was passed by Parliament on 24 February 2009, after which it was submitted to a binding referendum. The amendment was adopted in the referendum, which took place on 7 June 2009, as a majority comprising at least 40 % (it was almost 59 %) of all those entitled to vote voted in favour of the amendment. The majority of the Danes who voted, 85,4 %, said yes to the proposal. Since the first-born child, regardless of whether it is a boy or a girl will succeed to the throne. Males do no longer have precedence over females.

A monarch shall not reign in other countries except with the consent of the Folketing. The monarch shall be a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church. The monarch and the heir to the throne shall be of age when he/she has completed his eighteenth year. The monarch shall, prior to his accession to the throne, make a solemn declaration in writing before the Council of State that he will faithfully observe the Constitutional Act. Two identical originals of the declaration shall be published, one of which shall be delivered to the Folketing to be kept in its archives, while the other shall be filed in the Public Record Office. The monarch must promise that she will observe the Constitutional Act. Should the throne become vacant and there be no Heir to the Throne, the Folketing shall elect a monarch and establish the future order of succession to the throne. When a monarch is ill, travelling or on holiday, the monarch will appoint a Regent, usually one of the successors to the throne.

Titles

The Queen is Her Majesty, Queen of Denmark. A male heir to the throne is Royal Highness, Crown Prince of Denmark. Queen Margrethe used to be styled as tronfølgeren (heir to the throne) and wasn’t called Crown Princess. The children of the sovereign and of the heir to the throne are Royal Highness, Prince/Princess of Denmark. The other members of the royal family are Highness, Prince/Princess of Denmark. On 30 April 2008 it was announced that Queen Margrethe II has decided that her sons, their wives and children will get the titles Count and Countess of Monpezat (Greve/Grevinde/Komtesse af Monpezat), in addition to their existing titles. The title will pass on to future generations in male line.

Royal residences

Since 1849 most palaces are in the possession of the Danish state, but some are private property of the royal family. Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik have three residences in Denmark. In the winter they reside at the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. In spring and autumn they reside at Fredensborg Palace at Fredensborg. In the summer they officially reside at Marselisborg Palace at Aarhus, in both seasons for three months. They also spend time at Graasten Palace and on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog. Queen Margrethe II and her husband in 1974 bought the Château de Cayx in the wine district of Cahors, France, where they usually spend part of the summer. The crown princely couple resides at the chancellery af Fredensborg Palace. Prince Joachim and his family live at Schackenborg Castle at Møgeltønder in South Jutland.

Amalienborg Palace houses a royal museum. Fredensborg Palace is open in the month of July, but the gardens are free accessible. The chapel of Graasten Palace is open part of the year, while the gardens are open all year, only when the royal family is not in residence. The gardens of Marselisborg Palace are open when the family is not in residence. There are guided tours at the garden of Schackenborg Castle throughout the summer.

The Kings and Queens of Denmark since 1863

Christian IX (1818-1906)1863-1906
Frederik VIII (1843-1912)1906-1912
Christian X (1870-1947)1912-1947
Frederik IX (1899-1972)1947-1972
Margrethe II (1940-)1972-

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