Queen Margaret II of Denmark, the longest-reigning monarch in Europe, ascended the throne of Denmark on January 15, 1972, at the age of 31. Its motto is “God’s help, the people’s love, the strength of Denmark.” After more than 5 decades in power, on the 52nd anniversary of her ascension to the throne, she abdicated to her son, Frederick X, to become her successor king.
Birth and upbringing
Margrethe Alexandrine Thorhildur Ingrid (Queen Margrethe II) was born on April 16, 1940 in Copenhagen, Denmark, a week after the German invasion of the country during World War II.
Her parents, King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid, were members of two royal families; Her father was the eldest son of King Christian
“Margaret II” is the older sister of her two sisters; Princess Benedict (born 1944) and former Queen Anne-Marie of Greece (born 1946). She took the name of her maternal grandmother, Crown Princess Margaret, her paternal grandmother, Queen Alexandrine, and her mother, Ingrid. Thorhildur is a reference to King Christian being king of Iceland.
When she was born, the Danish law of succession prevented women from inheriting the throne; But this law was changed in 1953 according to a referendum held under pressure from successive Danish governments.
On June 10, 1967, she married Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, a French diplomat, who later assumed the title of Prince Henrique. Their first child, Crown Prince Frederik, was born on May 26, 1968, and their second son, Prince Joachim, was born on June 7, 1969.
Study and scientific training
Queen Margaret attended Zales School between 1946 and 1955, was a private pupil in Amalienburg between 1946 and 1949, and in the academic year 1955-1956 she was a pupil at North Foreland Lodge, a girls’ school in Hampshire, England.
After receiving private lessons, she graduated from “Zales School” with a high school examination certificate (language track) in 1959. Between 1960 and 1965, she studied at universities in Denmark and other European countries.
After passing the philosophy examination at the University of Copenhagen in 1960, she studied archeology at the University of Cambridge, England, in 1960-1961 and obtained a diploma in “Prehistoric Archaeology”. After that, she studied political science at Aarhus University in 1961-1962, at the Sorbonne in Paris in 1963 and at the London School of Economics in 1965.
Queen Margrethe II speaks French, Swedish, English, and German, in addition to her mother tongue, Danish.
She performed volunteer service with the Women’s Air Force (1958-1970), and received comprehensive training at the rank of corporal, then sergeant, then lieutenant in the Women’s Air Force.
In addition to her relationship with the Danish Defence, she has special relations with certain units of the British Defence, where she was appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen’s Regiment in 1972, and Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment in 1992.
Her experience in governance
Margaret II was crowned Queen of Denmark on January 15, 1972, the day after her father, King Frederik IX, died of illness. She was 31 years old when she was crowned, and she became the first woman to hold this position in Denmark during the modern era.
In her first speech to the Danes, she said, “My beloved father, our king, has died. The mission that my father carried for nearly 25 years now falls on my shoulders. I pray to God to give me the help and strength to carry this heavy heritage, and may I also have the trust that was given to my father.” .
Because the political system in Denmark is a constitutional monarchy; The Queen does not express any political opinions, and cannot carry out political actions independently. Although she signs all laws of Parliament, they do not enter into force until they are signed by a Cabinet minister. The Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister submit regular reports to her to keep her informed of the latest political developments.
Agence France-Presse quoted the Danish historian, Lars Hovebacke Sørensen, as saying that Margaret “succeeded in being a queen who united the Danish nation in a period of great changes…globalization, the emergence of a multicultural state, and the economic crises of the 1970s and 1980s, and again in the period from 2008 to 2015.” And the period of the Corona epidemic (2020/2022),” he added, “The basis of her popularity is that the Queen is completely apolitical.”
He pointed out that the Queen – whom her family and subjects call “Daisy” – was able to preserve the monarchy without diminishing its status. After she became a widow in 2018, she repeatedly insisted that she would never give up her duties, saying, “I will remain on the throne until I fall.”
Margaret’s personal popularity contributed greatly to improving the Danish people’s perception of the monarchy. When she became queen in 1972, only about 42% of Danes surveyed supported retaining the monarchy, while the remainder believed there was no place for the monarchy in a modern democracy.
But during her reign, she was able to modernize the royal institution, allowing her two sons to marry commoners. While she was preparing to step down from the throne, opinion polls showed that the Danish monarchy is one of the most popular monarchies in the world, and enjoys the support of more than 80% of Danes.
Queen Margaret was fascinated by drawing from her childhood and maintained her interest throughout her life, with creative work becoming a priority activity on a fixed day of the week in her busy schedule.
The Queen’s artwork became publicly known after she designed the annual Christmas ring in 1970, and at the end of the 1970s, she produced prototype illustrations for Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Since then, she has been continuously active in a wide range of artistic fields; Such as: drawing and watercolors, embroidery and church textiles, and scenography and costume design for ballet performances and films.
Much of her work has been shown in exhibitions in Denmark and abroad since the mid-1980s. Her works are also in the Statens Museum for Kunst (the Danish National Gallery), the Aarhus Art Museum and the drawing collection at the Koge Art Gallery (sketches for church textiles).
Her abdication from the throne
In 2023, Queen Margrethe II underwent major back surgery that required a long period of recovery and rehabilitation. In early January 2024, she surprised observers when she announced that she would abdicate in favor of Crown Prince Frederik on the 52nd anniversary of her accession to the throne. She was the longest-reigning monarch in Europe, and in 900 years this was the first time that a Danish king or queen abdicated the throne.
On Sunday, January 14, 2024, King Frederik X ascended the throne of Denmark, succeeding his mother, while large crowds gathered in the capital to watch the historic event.
The Royal Palace said that the inauguration became official as soon as Queen Margaret signed her abdication document during a meeting of the State Council in Parliament, as Denmark has one of the oldest monarchies in the world and does not hold coronation ceremonies.
The meeting was attended by representatives of the government, Queen Margrethe, Frederick (55 years old), his Australian-born wife Mary (51 years old), who is now the queen, and their eldest son Christian (18 years old), the new heir to the throne.
The post first appeared on www.aljazeera.net