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Summary Article: DENMARK
from World Royal Families

Official title

Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark

Country ruled

Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands

Born

16 April 1940

Accession to throne

1972

Royal house

House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg

Official residence

Winter residence,Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen. Spring and autumn residence, Fredensborg Palace, Fredensborg. Summer residences, Marselisborg Palace,Aarhus and Grasten Palace, Grasten and the Royal Yacht Dannebrog.

Heir

Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark (b. 1968, elder son)

THE ROYAL HOUSE OF Denmark is the oldest in Europe, able to trace its ancestry back for over 1,000 years to Gorm the Old (d. 958). The monarchy was originally elective, but in practice the succession almost always passed from father to eldest son. This practice ceased during the rule of Frederick III in 1660–1661, when an absolutist hereditary monarchy replaced it. In 1665 a royal decree established the principle of succession based on male primogeniture.

Following political upheaval throughout Europe in 1848, the ‘year of revolutions’, on 5 June 1849 the Danish monarchy's status changed from absolute to constitutional. The next great change came in 1953 when the Act of Succession allowed for female succession to the Danish throne, thus enabling the current queen to ascend to the throne following the death of her father Frederick IX in 1972.

The direct line of descent was broken in 1448 when King Christoffer III died without issue. The throne was offered to Duke Adolf of Schleswig-Holstein who refused the offer but recommended his nephew, Count Christian of Oldenburg, who was duly crowned King Christian I. The Royal Family of Oldenburg reigned until 1863, when, despite having married three times, the last sovereign of that line, Frederick VII, died in 1863 without producing an heir. The crown passed to a distant cousin, Prince Christian of Glücksburg who acceded to the throne as Christian IX and became the first monarch of the current House of Glücksburg on the Danish throne.

Over time Christian IX was to become known as the ‘the father-in-law of Europe’: his daughter Princess Alexandra married Edward VII of England, his son William went on to rule Greece as George I, and his grandson Carl became King Haakon VII of Norway. His other children married into the royal families Russia, Hanover and France.

The reigning monarch, Queen Margrethe II — known affectionately by her public as ‘Queen Daisy’ — was born on 16 April 1940 at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen and christened at the naval church in Holmens Kirke on 14 May 1940. The young Margrethe had a wide-ranging education, attending universities in Copenhagen, Cambridge, Aarhus, Paris and London where her studies included political science, economics and archaeology. The queen is a skilled linguist, who speaks French, Swedish, English and German, as well as her native Danish. On 10 June 1967 Princess Margrethe married Henri Marie Jean André Count of Laborde de Monpezat at a ceremony in Holmens Kirke; the couple have two children, Crown Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim. On her accession to the throne on 14 January 1972, Queen Margrethe II became only the second female monarch to rule Denmark.

As well as her royal duties, the queen has long had an active interest in the arts, both as a patron and as an artist in her own right. She has illustrated a Danish edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of The Rings, and exhibitions of her work have been displayed in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Japan and Italy.

Copyright © 2008 by Compendium Publishing Ltd

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