Margrethe II of Denmark

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Margrethe II (Margrethe Alexandrine ├×├│rhildur Ingrid, born 16 April 1940) has been the Queen of Denmark and is member of the Danish royal family who reigned as Queen of Denmark from 14 January 1972 until her abdication on 14 January 2024. Having reigned for exactly 52 years, she was the second-longest reigning Danish monarch after Christian IV.

Margrethe was born into the House of Glucksburg, a cadet branch of the House of Oldenburg during the reign of her paternal grandfather, King Christian X. She is the eldest child of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid. She became heir presumptive to her father in 1953, when a constitutional amendment allowed women to inherit the throne. In 1967, she married Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, with whom she had two sons, Frederik and Joachim. Margrethe succeeded her father upon his death on 14 January 1972.

As sovereign, Margrethe received 42 official state visits and she undertook 55 foreign state visits herself. Margrethe has worked as a scenographer, a costume designer, and an illustrator of works by J.R.R. Tolkien. She and the royal family have made several other foreign visits. During her reign, support for the monarchy in Denmark remained consistently high at around 82%, as did Margrethe's personal popularity. She was succeeded by her elder son, Frederik X.

Early Life and Education

Margrethe was born on 16 April 1940 at 10:10 CET at Frederik VIII's Palace, in her parents' residence at Amalienborg, the principal residence of the Danish royal family in the district of Frederiksstaden in central Copenhagen. She was the first child of the Crown Prince and Crown Princess (later King and Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid). Her father was the elder son of the then-reigning King Christian X, while her mother was the only daughter of the then Crown Prince of Sweden (who would later reign as King Gustaf VI Adolf). Margrethe's birth took place just one week after Nazi Germany's invasion of Denmark on 9 April 1940.

Princess Margrethe was baptized on 14 May in the Holmen Church in Copenhagen. Her godparents were her grandfathers, King Christian X of Denmark and Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden; her maternal great-grandfathers, King Gustaf V of Sweden and Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn; her uncles Prince Knud of Denmark and Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Vasterbotten; as well as her first cousin twice removed, Prince Axel of Denmark. She was named Margrethe-the Danish variation of her late maternal grandmother Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden's name-Alexandrine after her paternal grandmother, Queen Alexandrine, and Ingrid after her mother. Since her paternal grandfather was also King of Iceland at the time of her birth, she was given the Icelandic name Porhildur. Like her maternal grandmother, Margrethe is known affectionately as "Daisy" to her family and close friends.

The birth of Margrethe's younger sisters Benedikte and Anne-Marie followed in 1944 and 1946 respectively.

The princesses grew up in apartments at Frederik VIII's Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen and in Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand. Margrethe spent summer holidays with the royal family in her parents' summer residence at Grasten Palace in Southern Jutland. On 20 April 1947, following the death of King Christian X, Margrethe's father ascended the throne as King Frederik IX.

Education

Margrethe was educated at the private school N. Zahle's School in Copenhagen, from which she graduated in 1959. She spent a year at North Foreland Lodge, a boarding school for girls in Hampshire, England, and later prehistoric archaeology at Girton College, Cambridge, during 1960-1961, political science at Aarhus University between 1961 and 1962, attended the Sorbonne in 1963, and was at the London School of Economics in 1965. She is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.

Margrethe is fluent in Danish, French, English, Swedish and German, and has limited knowledge of Faroese.

Heir Presumptive

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 Glucksburg branch was chosen to succeed. As Margrethe 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 Margrethe's father ascended the throne 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. The law required that the proposal be passed by two successive Parliaments and then by a referendum, which occurred on 27 March 1953. The new Act of Succession permitted female succession to the throne of Denmark, according to male-preference cognatic primogeniture, where a female can ascend to the throne only if she does not have a brother. Princess Margrethe therefore became heir presumptive. In 2009, the law of succession was modified into absolute primogeniture.

Margrethe attended the traditional New Year Courts for the first time in 1956. On her eighteenth birthday, 16 April 1958, Margrethe was given a seat in the Council of State. She subsequently chaired the meetings of the Council in the absence of the King. In 1960, together with her first cousin, Princess Margaretha of Sweden, and Princess Astrid of Norway, she travelled to the United States, which included a visit to Los Angeles, and to the Paramount Studies, where they met several celebrities, including Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Elvis Presley.

She paid her first visit to the Faroe Islands in 1959, alongside her parents and sisters, and to Greenland in 1960.

Marriage and Family

While Margrethe studied in London, she met the French diplomat, Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, who was legation secretary at the French Embassy in London. Their engagement was announced on 5 October 1966. They were married on 10 June 1967, at the Holmen Church in Copenhagen, and the wedding reception was held at Fredensborg Palace. 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 heir presumptive to the Danish throne. They were married for over fifty years, until his death on 13 February 2018.

Less than a year after the wedding, Margrethe gave birth to her first child, a son, on 26 May 1968. By tradition, Danish kings were alternately named either Frederik or Christian. She chose to maintain this by assuming the position of a Christian, and thus named her elder son Frederik. The following year, a second child, named Joachim, was born on 7 June 1969.

In 1974, she and Henrik purchased Chateau de Cayx in the wine district of Cahors in Southern France.

Margrethe announced in 2008 that her male-line descendants would bear the additional title of Count or Countess of Monpezat in recognition of her husband's ancestry.

In 2022,the Queen announced that, from the start of 2023, the descendants of Prince Joachim will only be able to use their titles of Count and Countess of Monpezat, their previous titles of Prince and Princess of Denmark ceasing to exist. To allow the children, who were never expected to hold an official role within the royal family, to have normal lives, the wanted "to create a framework for the four grandchildren, to a much greater degree, to be able to shape their own existence without being limited by the special considerations and obligations that a formal affiliation with the Royal House as an institution implies." Her son Joachim, daughter-in-law, Marie, former daughter-in-law, Alexandra, and eldest grandson, Nikolai, publicly expressed shock and confusion because of the decision, after which Margrethe released a statement in which she said that it saddened her that she had upset Joachim's family.

Along with late husband, Margrethe has kept dachshunds since the 1970s. She currently has one dog, the dachshund Tilia, who was Prince Henrik's dog until his death in 2018.

Titles and Styles

16 April 1940-14 January 1972 Her Royal Highness Princess Margrethe of Denmark

14 January 1972-14 January 2024: Her Majesty The Queen of Denmark

14 January 2024 Her Majesty Queen Margrethe

National

-Knight of the Order of the Elephant (20 April 1947) (R.E.)

-14 January 1972-14 January 2024: Sovereign of the Order of the Elephant

-14 January 1972: Grand Commander of the Order of the Dannebrog (S.Kmd)

-14 January 1972-14 January 2024: Grand Master of the Order of the Dannebrog

-Knight of the Decoration of the Cross of Honor of the Dannebrog (D.Ht)

-Homeguard Medal of Merit

-25 Years of Homeguard Service Medal

-Medal of Honor of the League of Civil Defense

-Medal of Honor of the Reserve Officers League

-100 Anniversary Medal of the Birth of King Christian X

-50th Anniversary Medal of the arrival of Queen Ingrid to Denmark

-100th Anniversary Medal of the Birth of King Frederik IX

-Queen Ingrid Commemorative Medal

-Greenland: Nersornaat Medal for Meritorious Service, 1st Class

Foreign Honors

-Argentina: Grand Cross of the Order of the Liberator San Martin

-Austria: Grand Cross, Special Class of the Order of Honor for Services to the Republic of Austria

-Belgium: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Leopold I

-Brazil: Grand Cross Collar of the Order of the Southern Cross

-Bulgaria: Grand Cross of the Order of the Stara Planina

-Chile: Grand Cross of the Order of Merit

-Estonia: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana

-Egypt: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Nile

-Finland: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the White Rose of Finland

-France: Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honor

-Germany: Grand Cross, Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany

-Greece: Dame Grand Cross, Special Class of the Royal Order of Saints Olga and Sophia, Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer

-Iceland: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Falcon

-Iranian Imperial Family: Dame Grand Cordon of the Imperial Order of the Pleiades

-Italy: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic

-Japan: Knight Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of the Chrysanthemum, Dame Grand Cordon (Paulownia) of the Order of the Precious Crown

-Jordan: Knight Grand Cordon with Collar of the Order of Al-Hussein bin Ali

-Lativa: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Three Stars

-Lithuania: Grand Cross of the Order of Vytautas the Great

-Luxembourg: Knight of the Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau

-Mexico: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Aztec Eagle

-Morocco: Grand Cordon of the Order of the Order of Ouissam Alaouite

-Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion of the Netherlands

-Kingdom of Nepal: Member of the Order of Honor

-Norway: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Saint Olav, Recipient of the Silver Jubilee Medal of King Olav V, Recipient of the Silver Jubilee Medal of King Harald V

-Poland: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Eagle, Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland

-Portugal: Grand Cross with Collar of the Military Order of Saint James of the Sword, Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Prince Henry

-Romania: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of the Star of Romania

-Saudi Arabia: Collar of the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud

-Slovakia: Grand Cross of the Order of the White Double Cross

-Slovenia: Member 1st Class of the Order of Freedom of the Republic of Slovenia

-Spain: Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece, Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Charles III

-Sweden: Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Royal Order of the Seraphim, Recipient of the 85th Birthday Medal of King Gustaf VI Adolf, Recipient of the 40th Birthday Medal of King Carl XVI Gustaf, Recipient of King Car XVI Gustaf's 70th Birthday Commemorative Sign

-South Africa: Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Good Hope

-South Korea: Grand Cross with Collar of the Grand Order of Mugunghwa

-Thailand: Knight of the Order of the Rajamitrabhorn, Knight of the Order of the Royal House of Chakri

-United Arab Emirates: Grand Cordon of the Order of Al Kamal

-United Kingdom: Stranger Lady Companion of the Order of the Garter (7th Lady since 1901; 1979), Recipient of the Royal Victorian Chain (1974)

-Yugoslavia: Great Star of the Order of the Yugoslav Star

Awards

-2004: The Hans Christian Andersen Award Committee's Honorary Award

-2022: Foreningen Norden's Nordic Language Prize

-2024: The Robert Award for Best Costume Design at the 41st Robert Awards