An New Year’s morning 1972, his mother called to say that his father, the King of Denmark, was unwell. The night before, Princess Margrethe had seen her New Year’s speech on television and thought her speech was as good as before. When, after her mother’s phone call, she first represented her father at the reception and then visited him at the bedside, the people of Copenhagen weren’t too worried. His condition didn’t seem so serious, a little fever, maybe a slight flu.
“Long live Queen Margrethe II!”
Frederik IX was 72 years old, Margrethe was 31. In the following days, however, the king’s condition worsened, he was hospitalized and Margrethe visited him daily. In a recent book about her years leading up to the coronation, she talks about the beeping ECG monitor in the dying king’s chamber. His mother began to prepare everything for court. Margrethe was looking for a motto for her reign. On January 14, her father died and Margrethe was crowned Queen of Denmark. “King Frederick IX. is dead,” he exclaimed. “Long live Queen Margrethe II!”
The big party will be postponed to the summer
It was 50 years ago and the Danish kingdom is celebrating. A little at least, the corona pandemic is dominating the country and the number of infections is higher than ever. The big parties should therefore only take place late in the summer. At 81 and after 50 years on the throne, Margrethe II is still popular in the kingdom.
The country quickly transformed into a modern welfare state. She has seen nine prime ministers come and go. An extraordinary queen who, even if she didn’t strike the right note, knew how to cushion it in a surprisingly direct and self-deprecating way. And the Danes don’t seem to blame him anyway. Not even his love for cigarettes. After all, the Queen hasn’t smoked in public for many years.
“God’s help, people’s love, Denmark’s strength” was Margrethe II’s motto. She also remembered her father and his “With God for Denmark”. The royal family had been popular for a long time – at least since Frederik’s father, King Christian X, stayed with the family and roamed the streets of Copenhagen during the German occupation of Denmark. Margrethe was able to become queen because succession to the throne laws were changed in the 1950s and as the eldest daughter she was now allowed to follow her father. As he was known for his love of music, his daughter was also known for her love of art and her many interests, from painting to designing theater and film costumes to translating books.
The New Year’s address from the head of the kingdom is a lovingly cultivated ritual of Danes on New Year’s Eve. Margrethe had married her husband, former French diplomat Prince Henrik, before his accession to the throne. He died in 2018. The fact that it was not always easy for him to arrive in his role and in Denmark at all also concerned the Queen. The marriage produced two sons and Crown Prince Frederik, 53, is also very popular with Danes. When the Queen was on a state visit to Germany in the fall of 2021, he was allowed to accompany her. The fact that the queen can abdicate in his favor is not in dispute.
On Friday, the day of her throne’s jubilee, the Queen met the government that morning and she was celebrated in Parliament. But because the anniversary of her accession to the throne always commemorates the day her father died, Margrethe II went to Roskilde Cathedral with her sons Frederik and Joachim. There rests Frederik IX. bury. And his daughter, the queen, laid a wreath.