Category Archives: Danish Royals

Prince Henrik of Denmark Diagnosed with Dementia

photo: The Danish Monarchy, photographer: Jacob Jørgensen

The Danish Royal House has issued the following Press Release this morning, regarding the health of Prince Henrik:

“It is with deep regret that Her Majesty The Queen has asked the Lord Chamberlain to announce:

Following a longer course of investigation, and most recently, a series of examinations conducted during late summer, a team of specialists at Rigshospitalet has now concluded that His Royal Highness Prince Henrik suffers from dementia.

The diagnosis implies a decline in The Prince’s cognitive functional level.  The extend of the cognitive failure is, according to Rigshospitalet, greater than expected considering the age of The Prince, and can be accompanied by changes in behavior, reaction patterns, judgement and emotional life and may therefore also affect the interaction with the outside world.

As a consequence of the diagnosis, The Prince will further downgrade his future activities, just as patronages and honorary memberships will be considered. 

It is the wish of The Queen and the Royal Family that The Prince will have the peace and quiet as required by the situation.”

Danish Royal House: HRH Prince Henrik’s health

Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scots

by Susan Flantzer

Credit – Wikipedia

Margaret of Denmark was the wife of James III, King of Scots. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark on June 23, 1456, Margaret was the only daughter and the fourth of the five children of King Christian I of Denmark and Dorothea of Brandenburg.  Following the death of the childless King Christopher of Denmark, Sweden and Norway in 1448, Margaret’s father Count Christian I of Oldenburg was elected King of Denmark in 1448, King of Norway in 1450, and King of Sweden in 1457. The House of Oldenburg has occupied the Danish throne ever since.  Christian I ruled under the Kalmar Union,  a personal union from 1397 to 1523 in which a single monarch ruled the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden and Norway.

 

Margaret’s parents; Credit – Wikipedia

Margaret had three older brothers and one younger brother. Her two eldest brothers died in early childhood. Both of her surviving brothers became King of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden.

James III, King of Scots; Credit – Wikipedia

A marriage between Margaret and James III, King of Scots had been suggested as a way to end the conflict between Denmark and Scotland which had been going on since 1426. In 1266, Scotland and Norway signed the Treaty of Perth which ended military conflict over the sovereignty of the Hebrides and the Isle of Man. The treaty recognized Scottish sovereignty over the disputed territories in return for a lump sum of 4,000 marks and an annual payment of 100 marks to Norway. Scotland had stopped the annual payment in 1426.

Map showing the location of the Hebrides, Isle of Man, Orkney Islands, and the Shetland Islands; Credit – By © Sémhur / Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2918974

The marriage contract was signed on September 8, 1468. King James III pledged to Margaret a third of the royal possessions and income, including Linlithgow Palace, Stirling Castle, and Doune Castle. King Christian pledged a dowry of 60,000 Rhenish florins with a payment of 10,000 florins due before Margaret left Copenhagen. However, King Christian I was only able to raise 2,000 florins. The Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands were pledged by King Christian in his capacity as King of Norway, as security against the payment of the dowry. However, the money was never paid, and the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands were annexed by the Kingdom of Scotland in 1472.

James III and Margaret of Denmark; Credit – Wikipedia

On July 13, 1469, at Holyrood Abbey in Edinburgh, Scotland, 13-year-old Margaret married 17-year-old James III, King of Scots. The couple had three sons:

Margaret was a popular queen and was described as beautiful, gentle, and reasonable. Many later historians called her far better qualified to rule than her husband. During the crisis of 1482, when her husband was deprived of power for several months, Margaret showed a greater interest in the welfare of her children than that of her husband, and this apparently led to the couple’s alienation.

Margaret died on July 14, 1486, at the age of 30 and was buried at Cambuskenneth Abbey. After her death, there were suspicions that she had been poisoned by John Ramsay, 1st Lord Bothwell, a confidant of James III, although no evidence was found to support the charge. At the request of James III, Pope Innocent VIII commissioned an investigation of Margaret’s virtues and alleged miracles for possible canonization, but without result.

Memorial of Margaret and James III, King of Scots marking the site of their graves, funded by Queen Victoria; Photo Credit – By Adtrace at English Wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2531316

Wikipedia: Margaret of Scotland, Queen of Scotland

Works Cited

  • Ashley, M. and Lock, J. (2012). The mammoth book of British kings & queens. London: Constable & Robinson.
  • Da.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margrete af Danmark (1456-1486). [online] Available at: https://da.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margrete_af_Danmark_(1456-1486) [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • De.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margarethe von Dänemark. [online] Available at: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margarethe_von_D%C3%A4nemark [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). James III of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_III_of_Scotland [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • En.wikipedia.org. (2017). Margaret of Denmark, Queen of Scotland. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_of_Denmark,_Queen_of_Scotland [Accessed 13 Jul. 2017].
  • Williamson, D. (1996). Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell.

Prince Henrik of Denmark will not be buried with his wife Queen Margrethe II

Prince Henrik and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark; Photo Credit – By Holger Motzkau 2010, Wikipedia/Wikimedia Commons (cc-by-sa-3.0), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10951400

by Susan Flantzer

The Danish Royal House announced on August 3, 2017, that Prince Henrik would not be buried with his wife Queen Margrethe II of Denmark at Roskilde Cathedral in Roskilde, Denmark, the traditional burial place of Danish royalty. The press release read:

The Royal House has announced today that His Royal Highness Prince Henrik does not want to be buried in Roskilde Cathedral, as it had been planned. The Prince’s decision implies that he will not be buried next to Her Majesty The Queen in the sarcophagus that Professor and sculptor Bjørn Nørgaard has prepared. The Queen has been aware of the decision for some time and supports the decision. The Prince’s decision does not change the Queen’s funeral plans. It has been stated in the media that the Prince wants to be buried in France. This is not correct. The Prince still wishes to be buried in Denmark, but the arrangements are not yet in place.

Prince Henrik, born Henri Marie Jean André de Laborde de Monpezat in France in 1934, has been vocal about the difficulties he has experienced as a male consort (a historically female role) in terms of his personal income and his role in the affairs of the country. In April 2016, Prince Henrik renounced the title of Prince Consort, which he had been given in 2005. He retired from public life and decided to participate in official events to a very limited extent.

In 2010, it was announced that Queen Margrethe II had chosen St. Brigid’s Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral as the burial site for herself and her husband Prince Henrik. Danish artist Bjørn Nørgaard designed the double sarcophagus. The photos below are from my visit to Roskilde Cathedral in August 2011 where I was able to see a conservator restoring the 500-year-old murals on the chapel’s walls.

St. Brigid’s Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral; Photo Credit – © Susan Flantzer

Poster describing the sarcophagus of Queen Margrethe II; Photo Credit – © Susan Flantzer

Model of the sarcophagus of Queen Margrethe II; Photo Credit – © Susan Flantzer

Conservator restoring the 500-year-old murals on the chapel’s walls; Photo Credit – © Susan Flantzer

Detail of the mural; Photo Credit – © Susan Flantzer

Wedding of King Frederik IX of Denmark and Princess Ingrid of Sweden

by Emily McMahon

 

Crown Prince Frederik (the future King Frederik IX of Denmark) married Princess Ingrid of Sweden on May 24, 1935 at Stockholm Cathedral (Storkyrkan) in Stockholm, Sweden.

Frederik’s Family

Frederik standing on the chair surrounded by his great-grandfather King Christian IX, his father the future King Christian X, and his grandfather the future King Frederik VIII; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Frederik, born on March 11, 1899, at Sorgenfri Palace near Copenhagen, Denmark, was the eldest son of the future King Christian X of Denmark and Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. At the time of Frederik’s birth, his great-grandfather, Christian IX, was King of Denmark. Frederik was baptized the following month, also at Sorgenfri. Prince Knud, Frederik’s only sibling, was born the following year.

Frederik became Crown Prince of Denmark on May 14, 1912, upon the death of his grandfather, Frederik VIII. Whereas most of the previous Danish princes served in the army, young Frederik entered the Royal Danish Naval Academy. After furthering his education at the University of Copenhagen, Frederik served in the navy, attaining the rank of rear admiral and performing as an able commander. Like many of his naval comrades, Frederik acquired a number of naval-themed tattoos.

Frederik grew into a tall (he was well over six feet in height), lean, dark-haired, and somewhat serious young man. He was notably quite shy. Frederik was specifically noted to dislike sports but had a love for music inherited from his mother. He was an excellent piano player, an able composer, and had a particular interest in conducting. As a young adult, he frequently served as a guest conductor of the royal orchestra. Like his future wife, Frederik enjoyed driving his own car.

Frederik also had an unusually gifted memory for railway schedules. He was quite proud of this odd talent, so much so that he welcomed telephone calls from the Copenhagen elite inquiring about distance, fares, travel time, departures and arrivals of trains all over Europe.

Frederik’s father, Christian X, spent his reign as an alternately popular (during both World Wars) and unpopular (following the Easter Crisis of 1920) monarch. Christian was known as a very strict father whose sons feared him, but the marriage between Frederik’s parents appeared to be a happy one. Alexandrine was described as a woman devoted both to her husband and children and spent much of her time as a patron of various musical societies and gardening.

 

Ingrid’s Family

Princess Ingrid (far right) with her father, mother and three eldest brothers in 1912; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Ingrid, the only daughter of the future King Gustav VI of Sweden (then Crown Prince) and Margaret of Connaught, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was born on March 28, 1910, in Stockholm, Sweden.

Margaret founded a school for Ingrid with a small circle of Swedish noble girls. Ingrid was also given some domestic instruction as part of her education. As a child, she practiced cooking in her model cottage on the palace grounds and even washed the dishes after meals. The ability for a girl to cook, sew, and manage a household was seen as important at the time even for royalty.

When Ingrid was ten years old, her mother died unexpectedly following an operation. Gustav married his second wife and distant cousin, Lady Louise Mountbatten, in 1913. After her mother’s death, Ingrid spent several months of each year in the United Kingdom in the care of her grandfather, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught.

Ingrid made her debut at the opening of the Swedish Riksdag in 1928 when she was noted to be “smartly dressed.” She was also noted to be an accomplished linguist, an excellent horsewoman, a good skier and skater, and a talented dancer.  Ingrid often played matches against her tennis enthusiast grandfather Gustav V. During her young adulthood, Ingrid was often seen about Stockholm, driving her own two-seat car.

Besides gaining a reputation as a stylish young woman, Ingrid was known as being quite attractive. She was tall, had light brown hair, hazel eyes, and a warm smile. Curiously, she was also described as having a “well-shaped head.” Americans described Ingrid after her visit to the United States in 1939 as “tall and very slender” with a “nicely modeled mouth and exquisite teeth.”

 

The Engagement

Ingrid and Frederik’s engagement photo; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Despite an 11-year difference in age, Ingrid and Frederik were said to have been a couple for some time. The two were distant cousins on both sides. Their closest mutual relations were Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden and King Oscar I of Sweden.

Curiously, Frederik’s and Ingrid’s supposed engagement was rumored repeatedly years before it actually occurred. In 1918 word spread that Frederik and Ingrid were betrothed and an engagement announcement imminent, despite the fact that Ingrid was only 8 years old at the time. In 1929, announcements were again made for Ingrid’s and Frederik’s engagement, possibly as a part of royal wedding fever surrounding the marriage of Märtha of Sweden and Olav of Norway, when Ingrid served as a bridesmaid. At least one source cited the reasons for the “false starts” to the fact that Ingrid was the only granddaughter of King Gustav V and that several of her brothers had pursued commoner spouses.

In 1934, rumors surfaced a third time about a soon-to-be-announced engagement between Frederik and Ingrid. The source of the rumors were unnamed members of the Swedish court who insisted that the announcement would be made when Ingrid and her father returned from a vacation in France. Ingrid denied the news of any engagement, but curiously, Frederik was noted to have been in France at the same time.

After a denial of any union of the two by both Swedish and Danish court officials in January, the engagement of the couple was formally announced to the public on March 15, 1935, in Stockholm. When the engagement became a reality, Frederik had requested that the presses of both countries say nothing about it until it was announced officially. This agreement was honored, but the news was eagerly awaited by both countries excited at the prospect of a royal wedding. Frederik left for Stockholm on March 14 to be with his new fiancee.

The Danish Crown Princely couple was also in Sweden for the event. At the time of the formal announcement, a May wedding was hinted. Ingrid met her fiancé upon his arrival by train in Soedertelje (outside Stockholm), driving Frederik by herself back to the palace in Stockholm. As expected, the engagement was received very well in both countries and declared a “love match.”

A candlelight dinner was held the evening of the announcement in celebration of the engagement. The dinner included several toasts given to the happiness and good health of the new couple.

A number of European royal houses were linked by the engagement. Ingrid’s cousins Märtha and Astrid were Crown Princess of Norway and Queen of Belgium respectively, and Ingrid naturally had close ties to her British family.

Pre-Wedding Festivities

The festivities in Stockholm were said to be the most lavish seen since the civil wedding of Astrid of Sweden and Crown Prince Leopold of the Belgians in 1926. Frederik arrived in Sweden for the wedding week on the morning of May 19, 1935, drawing a large crowd at the Stockholm train station. The week before the wedding saw a number of festivities held in honor of the couple. King Leopold III of Belgium and his wife Astrid (Ingrid’s cousin and a Princess of Sweden) hosted a reception at the Belgian Legation.

King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine arrived in Sweden on May 21, 1935 on the Danish royal yacht. The couple was greeted in the Stockholm harbor by the colorfully decorated 40-foot Swedish royal barge, which carried them to the royal landing area. Several thousand uniformed troops and ordinary Swedes watched and cheered as the Danish royals were lead from the harbor to the royal palace.

King Gustav held a dinner and music concert for 800 guests (mostly royals and dignitaries) on May 22, 1935. Among the attendees were the Danish royals, the Belgian Crown Prince and Princess, and Wilhelm and Cecilie, former Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Germany. Most of the royal guests attended a second reception on the evening of May 23, 1935, followed by a gala performance at the Royal Opera House.

Unlike several of their foreign guests, the Swedish and Danish royals had minimal security. However, with such a large group of royalty gathered for the events, there was a considerable concern for possible kidnapping, assault, or assassination of one or more guests. The city of Stockholm posted detectives at every entrance of the Royal Palace, along with additional police officers on horseback patrolling the streets. Additional auxiliary officers were needed for escorts and guards. Messengers and delivery persons were given careful inspection for possible weapons or bombs.

As with previous weddings, rumors of engagements between other European royals started to surface just before the Stockholm celebrations. The announcement of an engagement between Princess Juliana of the Netherlands and Prince Carl of Sweden (a cousin of Ingrid’s and brother of Astrid, Crown Princess of Belgium and Märtha, Crown Princess of Norway) was said to be imminent. Although Queen Wilhelmina and the Dutch government considered Carl a prime candidate for the marriage, Juliana found him dull and unintellectual. She married Bernhard of Lippe-Bisterfeld in 1937.

Wedding Attire

Photo Credit – thecourtjeweller.com

Ingrid’s dress was a “simply cut” white gown, described alternately as silk or crepe satin. The gown featured a high neck, a draped bodice, and long sleeves with a 20-foot train, trimmed with point de venise lace worn by Ingrid’s mother Margaret of Connaught on her own wedding day in 1906. The veil was made of the same lace and has since been worn many descendants of Ingrid or their brides on their own wedding day. Atop the veil, Ingrid wore the crown of myrtle common for Swedish brides. She wore the Khedive of Egypt Cartier tiara she had inherited from her mother and a strand of simple pearls.

Ingrid also wore a special gift commissioned by her new husband for their wedding day. Frederik ordered brooch from Carlman of Sweden, made of Crown Princess Margaret’s diamonds into a namesake daisy shape. The brooch is now a much-loved piece of the Danish Royal Family. Ingrid’s daughter Queen Margrethe II wore the daisy brooch on her own wedding day.

Ingrid carried a bouquet of long-stemmed lilies, plum roses, and myrtle tied with trailing ribbons.  She also carried a fan and a handkerchief that was part of her mother’s wedding ensemble.

Frederik wore a black uniform with a blue sash, along with several orders. These orders included the Swedish Order of Seraphim, the Danish Order of the Elephant, and the Danish Order of the Dannebrog.

Wedding Guests

The wedding guests included 66 members of various European royal houses, ruling and defunct.  Royal attendees included three kings, two queens, several crown princes and princesses, and a former grand duke and duchess.

  • King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark
  • Crown Prince Gustav Adolf and Crown Princess Louise of Sweden
  • Prince Gustav Adolf (Ingrid’s brother) and Princess Sibylla of Sweden
  • Prince Carl Johan of Sweden
  • Prince Wilhelm of Sweden
  • Prince Carl of Sweden
  • King Gustav V of Sweden
  • King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of the Belgians
  • Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway
  • Friedrich Franz IV and Alexandra, former Grand Duke and Grand Duchess of Mecklenburg
  • Prince Valdemar of Denmark
  • Prince Harald of Denmark
  • Prince Gustaf of Denmark
  • Prince Axel of Denmark
  • Princess Thyra of Denmark
  • Princess Helene of Denmark
  • Princess Margaretha of Denmark
  • Princess Louise of Denmark
  • Princess Alexandrine of Denmark
  • Lady Patricia Ramsay (aunt of the bride and a British royal representative)
  • Prince George of Greece
  • Wilhelm and Cecilie, former German Crown Prince and Crown Princess
  • The Duke of Connaught (Ingrid’s maternal grandfather)
  • Prince Arthur and Princess Alexandra of Connaught (aunt and uncle of Ingrid and British royal representatives)

The Wedding Ceremony

Storkyrkan in Stockholm, Sweden; Photo Credit – By Holger.Ellgaard – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10691598

On May 24, 1935, a reported 100,000 spectators gathered around the Royal Palace in Stockholm to watch the royal procession. Wilhelm, the former Crown Prince of Germany, led the procession along with Arthur, Duke of Connaught, the bride’s maternal grandfather.

Ingrid chose to have no adult bridesmaids at the wedding, possibly as a show of austerity during the global Great Depression. Instead, Princess Astrid and Princess Ragnhild of Norway, daughters of Ingrid’s cousin Crown Princess Märtha, served as flower girls. Frederik’s supporter was Gustaf Bernadotte of Wisborg, the eldest son of Folke Bernadotte, Count of Wisborg and his American wife, Estelle.

The ceremony began at 11:30 AM at Storkyrkan (also known as St. Nicholas) Cathedral, a 13th-century cathedral where all of the Swedish Bernadotte monarchs had been crowned.  Ironically, one of the main features of the church was a statue of St. George fighting a dragon – a symbol of Swedish defense against medieval aggression by Danish kings.

The cathedral was decorated with a great deal of larkspur (also known as delphinium), a favorite flower of Ingrid’s. So much larkspur was needed to fill the church that a special plane was flown from London filled with the flower.

The procession of royalty began with Ingrid’s cousin, Queen Astrid of the Belgians, and her husband King Leopold III. Frederik was escorted into the church by his father. Crown Prince Gustav Adolf of Sweden escorted Ingrid down the aisle, following by the Norwegian flower girls.

Archbishop Erling Eidem of the Swedish Lutheran Church officiated at the ceremony. Both Frederik and Ingrid were noted as having pledged to love and care for one another happily and clearly. Frederik presented his bride with a plain gold band for as a wedding ring. The two held the ring together as they recited their vows before Frederik slipped it onto Ingrid’s finger.

A mixed choir sang Swedish and Danish wedding hymns throughout the service, some of which were composed specifically for the wedding. The choir was conducted by Sven Lizell of the Stockholm Choral Society. However, tragedy struck just after the service as Mr. Lizell dropped dead of heart failure.

The Grenadiers of the Guard stood at attention outside the cathedral during the service. The Grenadiers wore some of the original deerskin uniforms, boots, breastplates, and plumed hats presented by Catherine the Great of Russia nearly two centuries before. Swedish navy ships fired a salute in the harbor as a signal that the service had concluded.

After the Ceremony

A wedding breakfast was held at the Royal Palace, following the couple’s cavalry-escorted coach ride from the church through the streets of Stockholm. Several thousand spectators cheered along the Standvägen, a main street in Stockholm, to watch the procession and cheer for the new couple.

During the reception, a Danish choir serenaded Frederik and Ingrid outside the palace. Ingrid and Frederik then made a stop at the grave of Crown Princess Margaret, where Ingrid laid her bridal wreath.

Following the reception, Frederik boarded the Swedish royal sloop. They were carried across the harbor to the Danish royal yacht, the Dannebrog, bound for Copenhagen. A crowd of 200,000 Swedish and Danish citizens packed the Stockholm harbor to bid goodbye to the princess and her new husband. The couple’s departure was saluted with a series of cannon fires. A carnival followed in the streets of Stockholm into the night and through the following morning.

The Honeymoon

Ingrid and Frederik in Copenhagen after their wedding; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

A Swedish warship escorted the yacht carrying the new couple to Danish waters, arriving in Copenhagen the next day. Fireworks lit up the Copenhagen harbor to greet Frederik and Ingrid. The new crown princely couple were then welcomed with more waving and cheering Danes during their drive through the streets of Copenhagen. King Christian X was noted to be the first person to greet his son and new daughter-in-law as they stepped into the harbor.

Frederik and Ingrid attended a dinner for 150 guests on the evening of their arrival in Copenhagen. A ball was held at Christianborg Castle following the dinner for visiting dignitaries and nobility. After spending several days attending events in Copenhagen, the couple left for a short honeymoon on the French Riviera, the rumored location of their courtship.

Wedding of King Constantine II of Greece and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark

by Scott Mehl

source: Zimbio

King Constantine II of Greece and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark were married on September 18, 1964 in the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation in Athens.

Constantine’s Early Life

Constantine was born on June 2, 1940 at Villa Psychiko in Athens to Crown Prince Paul of Greece and Princess Friederike of Hanover. He has one older sister – Queen Sofia of Spain, and one younger sister – Princess Irene of Greece. During World War II, the Greek Royal Family were forced to flee Greece, settling in Alexandria, Egypt and then Cape Town, South Africa. They returned to Greece in 1946, and the following year, his uncle, King George II died. Constantine’s father became King, and Constantine became Crown Prince.

He attended school in Athens from 1949-1955, followed by all three Greek military academies. He then went to the National University of Athens to study law. An avid athlete, Tino (as he was known in the family) participated in the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome, winning a gold medal in sailing (Dragon Glass). This was Greece’s first gold medal in 48 years. He became a member of the International Olympic Committee in 1963.

He became King of the Hellenes following his father’s death in March 1964.

For more information about Constantine see:

Anne-Marie’s Early Life

Princess Anne-Marie Dagmar Ingrid of Denmark was born on August 30, 1946 at Amalienborg in Copenhagen. She is the third and youngest daughter of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Princess Ingrid of Sweden. Her two older sisters are Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Princess Benedikte of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. A year after her birth, her grandfather died, and her father became King Frederik IX. Several years later, the King had the succession laws changed to allow for female succession, putting Anne-Marie third in line to succeed her father.

After attending private school in Copenhagen from 1952-1961, Anne-Marie was enrolled at the Chatelard School for Girls, a boarding school in Switzerland, from 1961-1963. She then attended the Institut Le Mesnil, a Swiss finishing school.

For more information about Anne-Marie see:

The Engagement

Constantine and Anne-Marie are third cousins, several times over, through their mutual descent from both King Christian IX of Denmark and Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. They first met in 1959, when Constantine accompanied his parents on a State Visit to Denmark. Constantine was 19, and Anne-Marie was just 13. They met again in Denmark in 1961, but it was in 1962 that the romance truly began to blossom. Anne-Marie was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Constantine’s sister, Sophia, to Juan Carlos of Spain. By that time, Tino was clearly smitten and the two spent much of the night dancing together. After that, Tino made many visits to Denmark to see Anne-Marie, and the media began to speculate of a romance with Anne-Marie’s older sister Benedikte. In the summer of 1962, Anne-Marie was on holiday in Norway with her governess, and Tino was also there competing in yacht racing. They spent a lot of time together, and soon he proposed, and Anne-Marie accepted. His parents were delighted with the news, but the Danish King was hesitant to give his blessing. Soon, however, he realized that the two were in love and he relented, giving his consent. However, there were several conditions which had to be met. He insisted that the wedding could not take place until Anne-Marie had finished her education and reached her eighteenth birthday and that the engagement could not be made public until the beginning of the next year.

For the next six months, the couple kept their engagement a secret, while Constantine made many trips to Denmark, often using sailing events as an excuse for his visits. Finally, on January 23, 1963, the Danish Royal Court announced the couple’s engagement. Several days later, Constantine and Anne-Marie, along with their parents, appeared at a press conference and then greeted the crowds from the balcony at Amalienborg.

Once the excitement had died down, Anne-Marie returned to School in Switzerland and Tino returned to his official duties in Greece. The wedding was planned for January 1965. However, this would soon change due to the death of King Paul. In early 1964, King Paul was diagnosed with cancer. After undergoing surgery, he suffered from a pulmonary embolism and died on March 6, 1964. Tino assumed the Greek throne as King Constantine II. The wedding plans were moved forward and scheduled for September 18, 1964. This would be just weeks after Anne-Marie’s eighteenth birthday, and days after the end of the official court mourning.

Pre-Wedding Festivities

The celebrations began on September 7, 1964 when Constantine arrived in Denmark. That evening, a private dinner and dance were held at Fredensborg Castle, and the following day they returned to Amalienborg for the official display of the wedding gifts. That evening, they attended a gala performance at the Royal Theatre, followed by a lavish banquet held at Christiansborg Palace, with over 1,000 invited guests. The next morning, Anne-Marie and Tino were guests at a reception held by the City of Copenhagen and rode in a carriage procession through the streets to greet the thousands of Danes who had come out to wish them well.

The festivities then moved to Greece. Constantine, Anne-Marie and her family sailed to Greece aboard the Danish Royal Yacht, Dannebrog, where they were greeted by Queen Frederica, Princess Irene, and Prince Michael.

King Constantine hosted three large receptions at Tatoi Palace, with more than 6,000 guests invited. A special committee had been formed in Athens to select people from around the country to come – at the Government’s expense – to meet the King and his future Queen. A reception was also held at the Hotel Grande Bretagne, in Athens, in honor of the Danish royal family.

On September 16, most of the royal guests began to arrive, and King Constantine personally greeted most of them as their planes landed in Athens. That evening, a gala ball was held in the gardens of the Royal Palace of Athens, with 1,600 invited guests. The royal guests were resplendent in their gowns and uniforms, with their best jewels on show. The bride wore a light blue gown with the Greek Emerald Parure, which was among the jewels given to her by Queen Frederica. Read more about the parure here.

Wedding Guests

More than 1,200 guests attended the wedding, including many members of royal and noble families from around the world. According to the New York Times, the guest list included “eight reigning monarchs and their consorts, two former kings, more than 55 princes and princesses, and heads of state and representatives from more than 87 countries”. The royal guests included:

Constantine’s Immediate Family
Dowager Queen Frederica
Princess Sofia and Prince Juan Carlos of Spain
Princess Irene
Princess Viktoria Luise, Dowager Duchess of Brunswick

Anne-Marie’s Immediate Family
King Frederik and Queen Ingrid
Princess Margrethe
Princess Benedikte

Royal Guests
King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Prince Ingolf of Denmark
Prince Michael of Greece
Princess Eugenie of Greece, Duchess of Castel Duino
Princess Tatiana Radziwill
Prince George Radziwill
Princess Irene of Greece, Dowager Duchess of Aosta
The Duke and Duchess of Aosta
Princess Katherine of Greece, Lady Brandram and Sir Richard Brandram
Princess Alice of Greece
King Hussein and Princess Muna of Jordan
Hereditary Grand Duke Jean and Hereditary Grand Duchess Joséphine-Charlotte of Luxembourg
Prince Rainier of Monaco
Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands
King Olav of Norway
Crown Prince Harald of Norway
The Count and Countess of Barcelona
King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden
Crown Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden
Princess Christina of Sweden
King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit of Thailand
The Duke of Edinburgh
The Prince of Wales
Princess Anne of the United Kingdom
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent
Prince Michael of Kent
Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Tsar Simeon and Tsaritsa Margarita of Bulgaria
Prince Georg Wilhelm and Princess Sophie of Hanover
Prince Karl of Hesse
Princess Clarissa of Hesse
King Umberto and Queen Marie-José of Italy
King Mihai and Queen Anne of Romania
Queen Mother Helen of Romania
Princess Margareta of Romania
Count Michael Bernadotte
Princess Olga of Yugoslavia
Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia

Wedding Attire

The bride wore a gown made by a Danish designer, Jørgen Bender. The simple, yet elegant, dress featured a wide neckline, empire waist, and three-quarter sleeves, with a split-front skirt with a detailed edge, extending out into a 20-foot train.

Her veil of Irish lace was a family heirloom. It was originally a gift to her grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, for her wedding to the future King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden in 1905. Holding the veil in place, Anne-Marie wore the Khedive of Egypt Tiara, another piece which goes back to her grandmother’s wedding, having been a wedding gift from the Khedive of Egypt. You can read more about the tiara here. Keeping with the tradition, both the veil and the tiara have been worn by all of Queen Ingrid’s female descendants.

The groom wore his white Field Marshal’s uniform, adorned with several Greek and Danish orders and medals.

The bride’s attendants (listed below) wore simple gowns of white organza, with white flowers in their hair.

  • Princess Anne of the United Kingdom
  • Princess Christina of Sweden
  • Princess Irene of Greece
  • Princess Margareta of Romania
  • Princess Tatiana Radziwill
  • Princess Clarissa of Hesse

Wedding Ceremony

On the morning of September 18, 1964, with all of the guests already assembled at the Cathedral, King Constantine, accompanied by his mother, left the Royal Palace in an open carriage. Soon, he was followed by Princess Anne-Marie and her father. The bride’s attendants were waiting outside the cathedral to help her with her gown and train, and then the procession began.

The traditional Greek Orthodox ceremony was conducted by Archbishop Chrysostomos, the Primate of Greece. After hearing the sacraments of marriage, the two exchanged rings and took communion. Part of the service involved crowns being held over their heads. This was done first by Queen Frederica, and then by a succession of princes – Crown Prince Harald of Norway, Crown Prince Carl Gustaf of Sweden, The Prince of Wales, Prince Michael of Greece, Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, Prince Ingolf of Denmark, Prince Michael of Kent, Prince Karl of Hesse and Count Michael Bernadotte.

At the end of the service, red and white rose petals fluttered down into the cathedral, as the couple embraced her parents, and the Dowager Queen Frederica curtsied to Greece’s new Queen.

Following the ceremony, the King and his new Queen led a carriage procession back to the Royal Palace where a wedding breakfast was held for 80 guests. Constantine and Anne-Marie then left for Corfu to begin their honeymoon.

Wedding of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Henri de Laborde de Monpezat

by Emily

Princess Margrethe of Denmark (the future Queen Margrethe II of Denmark) and Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat were married on June 10, 1967 at Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Margrethe’s Early Life

Margrethe (right) with her sister Benedikte, c. 1946. Photo credit: nordic-aputsiaq.blogspot.com

Margrethe Alexandrine Thorhildur Ingrid was born at Copenhagen’s Amalienborg Palace on April 16, 1940, the eldest of three daughters of King Frederik IX of Denmark and his Swedish wife, Ingrid. Named for her deceased maternal grandmother, Crown Princess Margaret of Sweden, Margrethe was also the name of the first queen regnant of Denmark and engineer of the long-running Kalmar Union. Young Margrethe also carried the names of her paternal grandmother, mother, and, uniquely, an Icelandic name. As her she was born just a week after the German invasion of Denmark during World War II, Margrethe was known from birth as “the ray of sunshine in occupied Denmark.”

After it became clear that Ingrid and Frederik would not have a son, preparations were made to enable Margrethe to eventually rule Denmark after her father. The 1953 Danish Act of Succession allowed daughters to succeed to the throne in the absence of direct male heirs. Although Margrethe was released from school the day the act was passed to celebrate, Ingrid was required to phone her daughter’s teacher to request permission.

Margrethe attended the North Foreland Lodge (a girls’ boarding school) in Hampshire, England, for a year. Her parents purposely selected a school that catered to the middle class so Margrethe would be spending time with ordinary girls. Margarethe had a rather varied experience in higher education, studying at Girton College at Cambridge University, Aarhus University, the Sorbonne, the London School of Economics, and the University of Copenhagen. Margrethe later said on several different occasions that she particularly enjoyed the anonymity that came with studying outside of Denmark.

A gifted linguist, Margrethe eventually became fluent in Danish, Swedish, French, German, and English. On a visit to the Faroe Islands, Margrethe was even able to converse in decent Faroese. She also enjoyed cooking – which she often did herself as a student – but lamented that she had little time to devote to it. Margrethe also enjoyed visual art, and her paintings, drawings, and costumes would later be used and displayed in various exhibitions and productions after she became queen.

Although she studied a variety of subjects, Margrethe was always drawn to archeology. She developed a love of the discipline from a young age, possibly as a result of her maternal grandfather, Gustav VI of Sweden, taking her along on expeditions in Italy when she was a child. Before she became queen, Margrethe had assisted on expeditions in Thailand, Egypt, and the Sudan.

Margrethe also served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Corps in her young adulthood, where she became an able markswoman. She also took lessons in jiu-jitsu and judo and excelled at the high jump, swimming, and tennis. Shortly after her 18th birthday in 1958, Margrethe began serving as regent during her father’s occasional absences from Denmark. She attended her first opening of the Danish Parliament in October 1958.

For more information about Margrethe see:

Unofficial Royalty: Queen Margrethe II
Danish Monarchy: HM The Queen

Henri’s Early Life

Margrethe, Henrik, Mary, and Frederik in front of Henrik’s childhood home in Hanoi, Vietnam

Henri was born on June 11, 1934, in Talence, France. His parents, Count André de Laborde de Monpezat and Renee Doursenot, were members of the French nobility. Renee had previously been civilly married to another man before her marriage to Andre; her first marriage allowed Renee to marry Andre religiously in 1934, but the couple did not marry civilly until 1948. Henri had six siblings, including a sister who died in childhood.

Henri began his education at home with a private tutor, continuing on at a Jesuit school in Bordeaux, France. Henri spent several years of his childhood in Vietnam, then under French control, where his father ran a newspaper. He attended a French school in Hanoi, where he took interest in Vietnamese and Chinese languages.

Henri’s love for Southeast Asia continued into his adolescence and adulthood, as he continued his education at schools in Saigon and Hong Kong. Henri studied political science at the Sorbonne, as his wife did years later. He also studied at Paris University, earning a master’s degree in French literature. Henri was awarded a diploma in Oriental languages from Ecole Nationale de Langues Oriental before serving in the French military in Algeria.

After his time in the military, Henri entered the French foreign services. In 1963, he began working at the French embassy in London. At the time he met Margrethe, Henri was working as the third secretary in the Department of Oriental Affairs at the embassy.

Henri’s developed a wide variety of interests ranging from flying planes to collecting Chinese porcelain to sailing. Like his future wife, Henri was multi-lingual from early on. In addition to French, Danish, and English, Henri speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese and Vietnamese.

For more information about Henrik see:

Unofficial Royalty: Prince Henrik of Denmark
Danish Royal Court: HRH Prince Henrik

“He came, he saw, you conquered.”

Henri and Margrethe, c. 1966. Photo credit: bimg.dk

When asked once by a journalist as a young woman when she would find her husband, the amused Margrethe replied, “Wouldn’t it be fairer to ask when will he be finding me?” Margrethe had no way of knowing that her husband would indeed find her rather than the other way around. Before her engagement, Margrethe also confirmed during an interview with the press that the Danish constitution would not have to be amended if she were to marry a commoner.

While studying at the London School of Economics in 1965, Margrethe was invited to a dinner at the French embassy. As an employee of the embassy at the time, Henri was expected to attend but was ambivalent about meeting the Danish princess by whom he was to be seated. Henri later said that to his surprise he found Margrethe interesting from their first meeting, but was a bit intimidated by her and said little during the dinner as a result. Margrethe said she had no real impression of Henri from their first meeting.

Margrethe and Henri were both guests at a wedding shortly after the first dinner. The two chatted at the wedding reception and on the plane ride back to London, as they were seated together once again. Upon their return to London, Margrethe and Henri gradually began seeing more and more – and growing mutually fonder – of one another.

The couple kept a low profile for more than a year, made easier by the fact that Margrethe’s anonymity in Britain. The couple was so private that upon the news that an engagement announcement was imminent, most Danes had no idea their princess had been exclusively dating anyone. Frederik was later to say to his daughter of her courtship with Henri, “He came, he saw, and you conquered.”

The Engagement

Henri and Margrethe on the balcony of Amalienborg Palace when their engagement was announced. Photo credit: dr.dk

Margrethe received from Henri a Van Cleef and Arpels engagement ring featuring two large square cut diamonds set at a diagonal. Set on a yellow gold band, the diamonds were said to be six karats each.

On October 4, 1966,  the Danish Parliament gave their approval of the marriage. It was noted that even the socialist candidates consented to the marriage with the message that this did not indicate their approval of the monarchy in general. Upon approval of the marriage by Parliament, Danish premier Jens Otto Krag wished the couple luck and a happy marriage on behalf of the public.

The following morning, Frederik formally asked the State Council for approval of the marriage of the heir to the throne. The approval was granted as expected. Henri and Margrethe took a group photo with Frederik and members of the State Council following the decision.

In celebration of parliamentary and state council approval of their marriage, Margrethe and Henri appeared on the balcony at Amalienborg with both sets of parents. A crowd of 5,000 happy Danes had gathered to cheer for the couple. Margrethe told that crowd that she and Henri “shall never forget this day,” while Henri expressed his appreciation in Danish with the words, “Thank you a thousand times.”

After the balcony appearance, Frederik drove his daughter and her fiancé around Copenhagen in an open car to wave at the spectators. The trip ended at Fredensborg Palace, where lunch and a press conference were held. During the press conference, Henri repeated his thanks to the Danish people, remarking that he planned to become one “hundred percent Dane” following his marriage. A banquet for the families and government officials was held that same evening, along with a private orchestra performance. King Frederik conducted the performance (he was an able conductor) which was later broadcast on Danish radio.

Wedding Preparations

Margrethe and Henri during their engagement. Photo credit: newroyaldaydiscussion.blogspot.com

When the engagement was initially announced, it was speculated the wedding would take place on May 24, the wedding anniversary of Margrethe’s parents. The ceremony was originally scheduled to take place on May 25, 1967, but was later postponed to June 10, 1967 due to Margrethe’s sister Anne Marie’s pregnancy. Anne Marie gave birth to Crown Prince Pavlos on May 20. The religious ceremony was scheduled to take place at Holmens Kirke in Copenhagen, which was at one time a naval blacksmith’s workshop. Margrethe was also baptized at Holmens Kirke.

Erik Jenson, Bishop of Aalborg, would conduct the religious service. Bishop Jenson also formally received Henri into the Danish Folk (Lutheran) Church. Following the wedding, Henri would now be known by the Danish version of his name (Henrik) and convert from Roman Catholicism to the Danish Folk Church.

On Margrethe’s insistence, there would be no special ceremonies at the church marking a royal wedding. The ceremony would last approximately 20 minutes and consist of the same rites and practices in any other Danish wedding. When asked if Henri would say his vows in French, Bishop Jensen replied that as this would be a Danish wedding, all vows would be said in Danish.

Arrangements for twelve days of receptions, galas, tours of Copenhagen, and theater performances were made for guests. The wedding was paid for entirely by the royal family and private donations. Preparations were made to televise the wedding – a somewhat new phenomenon – in Denmark as well as France, Belgium, Switzerland, Sweden, and Norway.

Although Margrethe’s and Henri’s pairing attracted little controversy in Denmark, the European anti-royalist Provos threatened to throw ketchup at the royal coach during the processional and release mice in the church. The group had also been responsible for numerous demonstrations, fights, and had thrown smoke bombs during the wedding of Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands in 1966. Additional police officers from around Denmark were brought to the capital to assist with security.

Festivities in Copenhagen and the Bornholm Deer

Margrethe and Joachim at a ball shortly before their wedding. Photo credit: joachimetmarie.centerblog.net

In the weeks of early wedding planning, the residents of the Danish island of Bornholm contacted Frederik with a unique proposal to feed the guests at the upcoming wedding. At the time, the island had a considerable overpopulation of deer. In hopes of reducing the herd, the islanders proposed that the wedding menu include venison and invited Frederik (an avid hunter) and his entourage to the island. Frederik took up the Bornholm residents’ offer and in a few days’ time was able to kill enough deer to feed several hundred guests.

Henri arrived in Copenhagen at the end of May in preparation for the wedding celebrations. Like her mother had done before her marriage to Frederik, Margrethe drove to the airport and picked up her fiancé on her own. The couple and the Danish royal family attended a banquet that evening with various diplomats attending the wedding. During the first few days after Henri’s arrival, Margrethe and Henri attended numerous sporting events, concerts, and even a special reception held to thank those who helped with the wedding arrangement, planning, and decoration. Henri also quietly converted from Roman Catholicism to the Danish Lutheran Evangelical Church during this time.

The wedding coincided with Copenhagen’s 800th-anniversary celebrations, making the decorations all the more festive. The streets of Copenhagen were decorated in flowers and Danish and French flags. Crowds followed Margrethe and Henri at nearly every stop and event celebrating the coming wedding.

Henri, Margrethe, and the King and Queen attended a reception at the Copenhagen City Hall the day before the wedding. Copenhagen Mayor Urban Hansen and other city officials toasted the couple and wished a happy marriage before presenting Henri and Margrethe with a set of china.

Before boarding the Danish royal yacht (the Dannebrog) for a tour of the Copenhagen harbor, Henri addressed a crowd of several thousand Danes who had gathered to watch the event. Speaking in Danish, Henri gave his appreciation to the Danish public for their kind reception and well-wishes. The speech was broadcast in Denmark by radio and television. The Dannebrog was flanked by not only several Danish Royal Navy ships, but a few Swedish and Norwegian vessels as well. Several Royal Danish Air Force planes flew over as the couple cruised the harbor, their trails spelling out Henri’s and Margrethe’s initials.

King Frederik and Queen Ingrid held events in celebration of the couple nearly every night in the week preceding the wedding. The Copenhagen Royal Theater also gave a special performance to entertain visiting royal guests, in which Frederik and Ingrid lent their theater box to their daughter and her fiance. Additional events included a ball at the French Embassy and a dinner and dance at Fredensborg for the couple and their close friends.

Margrethe’s sister Benedikte and her fiancé, Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, greeted most of the royal guests at the airport. Many of the royal guests stayed at Fredensborg Palace (the summer residence of the royal family), or at Storekro, north of the city.

The Wedding Ceremony

Margrethe with her father, Frederik IX, on their way to the wedding ceremony. Photo credit: hellomagazine.com

The wedding was held in the late afternoon of June 10, 1967 with the majority of wedding guests leaving Amalienborg between 3:30 and 4:30. The wedding procession started at Amalienborg Palace and stretched all the way to Holmens Kirke. Two thousand police officers were assigned to watch the streets along the procession out of concern of anti-royalist protests. Crowds lined the streets of the entire parade route as royal hussars led Margrethe and Frederik, who were traveling in a state coach. Father and daughter waved to the crowd as they passed.

Upon arrival at Holmens Kirke, Margrethe was helped out and her train and veil straightened by her bridesmaids. Margrethe and her father entered to the song “Sicut Cervus,” a sixteenth-century hymn of Psalm 42. Henri smiled as Frederik led his eldest daughter down the aisle of Holmens Kirke, which had been decorated with white and purple bouquets of flowers.

When she reached the altar, Margrethe leaned in as Henri planted a kiss on her cheek. The ceremony was brief for a royal wedding, but typical for such services in the Danish Lutheran Evangelical Church. Along with the couple’s exchange of vows and a sermon, the congregation sang two hymns. Margrethe admired the ring after Henri placed it on her finger, then turning around to give a smile to her parents.

As the wedding ceremony drew to a close, the new couple turned to bow and curtsey to the King and Queen as the bridesmaids again straightened Margrethe’s train and dress. Margrethe and Henri exited the church to “Toccata from Symphony No. 5” amid a 21 gun canon salute, crowds of spectators throwing confetti and rice, and the bells of Holmens Kirke ringing around them. A 252 gun salute was fired at the close of the service, accompanied by a group of jets forming the letters “M” and “H” in the sky over Copenhagen. Margrethe gave Henri a daisy from her bouquet as the couple climbed into the coach to head to Amalienborg.

The Wedding Attire

Margrethe (and her long train!) with Henri on their wedding day. Photo credit: orderofsplendor.blogspot.com

Margrethe’s dress was designed by Danish dressmaker Jørgen Bender, who was well-known in the Danish royal court. The close-fitting, long-sleeved white silk gown featured a square neckline and deep pleats at the hips, which created a flared skirt. On the front of the dress was a piece of heirloom lace that had originally belonged to Margrethe’s grandmother, Margaret of Connaught, the former Crown Princess of Sweden. The 20-foot silk train of the dress fell from Margrethe’s shoulders and featured squared corners similar to the collar.

On the bodice of her dress, Margrethe also wore another favorite from her mother’s family – the diamond daisy brooch. A nod to Queen Ingrid’s mother (Margaret, also known as Daisy) this brooch had also been worn by Ingrid on her own wedding day in 1935, a wedding gift from her father. The bridesmaids wore circlets of daisies in their hair, and daisies were the prominent flowers in Margrethe’s bouquet, along with stephanotis.

For her tiara, Margrethe chose the tiara worn by her mother on her wedding day, the Khedive of Egypt Tiara. The Cartier-designed tiara was given to Margrethe’s grandmother Margaret in 1905 as a wedding gift from the Khedive of Egypt. It features numerous diamond laurel leaf swirls anchored at seven peaks with larger diamonds. The Khedive tiara has subsequently been worn by all of Queen Ingrid’s married female descendants on their special days. Attached to the tiara was the veil of point de venise lace that had also been handed down from Margaret to Ingrid to Margrethe.

Henri wore a classic bridegroom’s attire featuring a black morning coat with cutaways, matching trousers, and a white straight-end bowtie. He also wore the light blue sash and star of the Order of the Elephant, the highest order in Denmark. Henri received the order on the day of the wedding.

After the Ceremony

Henri and Margrethe, dancing their first waltz at the reception. Photo credit: orderofsplendor.blogspot.com

Margrethe and Henri rode in the carriage through Copenhagen, accompanied by 44 mounted hussars. The new couple waved to the crowds flanking the streets along the route, just as the bride and her father had done during the processional. During the recessional, a hussar accompanying the couple was thrown to the ground after his horse bolted, but he was not seriously injured.

The couple appeared on a balcony at Amalienborg Palace along with their parents to wave to the crowd of 25,000 below. Frederik thanked the spectators for their enthusiasm and gave his congratulations to the new couple. As Margrethe began to address the spectators, she was overcome with emotion and left the balcony in tears.

A garden reception was held for 400 guests in a pavilion in the courtyard of nearby Fredensborg Palace. The candlelight reception featured a five-course dinner – including the Bornholm venison – catered by the Kesby family of the Richmond Hotel. At the reception, Henri gave a speech to the bride and her family in Danish, again indicating his love for his new wife and adopted country as well as his intention to serve Denmark to the best of his ability. This marked the first public occasion in which Henri gave a lengthy speech in his new language.

The bride and groom began the wedding ball by performing their first dance as a married couple, a waltz. After several hours of dancing and talking among their guests, Henri and Margrethe changed to more comfortable going-away attire. The couple said goodbye to their families in the early hours of June 11, boarding the Dannebrog to begin their honeymoon.

The couple honeymooned on the Mexican island of Cozumel, spending part of their time in a villa owned by former Mexican president Adolfo Lopez Mateos. Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands had stayed at the villa during their honeymoon the previous year.

Wedding Guests and Attendants

Margrethe and Henri with their wedding party and royal guests. Photo credit: orderofsplendor.blogspot.com

The wedding was attended by 900 guests, a number of whom were royal and prestigious, including three kings, two queens, fourteen princesses, and thirteen princes from around Europe.

One of the most notable absences was King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie (Margrethe’s youngest sister) of Greece. 1967 was the year of a coup d’etat in Greece, leaving the family more or less in captivity and unable to travel to Denmark. It was initially believed that Anne-Marie would be allowed to attend alone while the Danish government advised Constantine not to attend, but in the end neither made it to the celebrations. Ingrid, upset that her youngest daughter and her family would not be present, put up numerous pictures of the couple and their children around the palace during the reception.

The couple had four young teenage girls serve as bridesmaids. The bridesmaids were Kristin Dahl, Countess Desiree of Rosenborg (daughter of Count Flemming), Anne Oxholm Tillisch and Carina Oxholm Tillisch. Each of the bridesmaids wore short-sleeved blue dresses with circlets of daisies in their hair.

Notable guests included:
King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark
King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden
King Olav of Norway
Princess Sibylla of Sweden
Crown Prince Harald of Norway
Count and Countess Carl Johan Bernadotte
Prince Bertil of Sweden
Count Sigvard and Countess Marianne Bernadotte
Princess Margaretha of Denmark
Prince Knud and Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark
Princess Elisabeth of Denmark
Prince Ingolf of Denmark
Count Christian and Countess Alexandra of Rosenborg
Prince Viggo of Denmark
Prince George and Princess Anne of Denmark
Prince Rene and Princess Margrethe of Bourbon-Parma
Prince Gorm of Denmark
Count Fleming and Countess Ruth of Rosenborg
Crown Prince Carl Gustav of Sweden
Princess Christina of Sweden
Princess Brigitta of Sweden and Prince Johann Georg of Hohenzollern
Princess Margaretha of Sweden and John Ambler
Princess Desiree of Sweden and Baron Niclas Silfverschiold
King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium
Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands
Crown Princess Beatrix and Prince Claus of the Netherlands
Grand Duke Jean and Grand Duchess Josephine-Charlotte of Luxembourg
Prince Louis Ferdinand and Princess Kira of Prussia
Duke Christian and Duchess Barbara of Mecklenburg-Schwerin
Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent (the British royal representative)
President Urho Kekkonen of Finland
President Ásgeir Ásgeirsson of Iceland
Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Princess Benedikte of Denmark
Prince Juan Carlos and Princess Sofia of the Asturias
Princess Tatiana Radziwill and Jean Fruchaud
Captain Alexander Ramsay of Mar (cousin of Queen Ingrid)
Francoise Bardin (sister of Henri)
Countess Catherine de Laborde de Monpezat
Countess Maurille de Laborde de Monpezat
Count Etienne de Laborde de Monpezat
Count Jean-Baptiste de Laborde de Monpezat

Wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson

by Scott Mehl

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Mary Donaldson were married on May 14, 2004 at Copenhagen Cathedral (The Church of Our Lady) in Copenhagen, Denmark.

photo: CNN

photo: CNN

 

Prince Frederik

Prince Frederik André Henrik Christian of Denmark was born in Copenhagen on May 26, 1968, the elder son of (then) Princess Margrethe of Denmark and Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat. He has a younger brother, Prince Joachim. In 1972, his mother became Queen Margrethe II upon the death of her own father, King Frederik IX. At not yet 4 years of age, Frederik became The Crown Prince of Denmark.

He received his primary education in Denmark and France before earning a degree in Political Science from the University of Aarhus. He spent a few years as First Secretary to the Danish Embassy in Paris and has served in all branches of the Danish Armed Forces.

For more information about Frederik see:

Mary Donaldson

photo: Wikipedia

Mary Elizabeth Donaldson was born in Hobart, Australia on February 5, 1972, the youngest child of Professor John Donaldson and Henrietta Horne. She has two older sisters, Jane and Patricia, and an older brother John. Her mother passed away in 1997, and her father was remarried to British novelist Susan Horwood (aka Susan Moody). Both of her parents are Scottish, but they lived in Australia from the time of their marriage.

Mary began her education in Houston, Texas, where the family was living at the time. They returned to Tasmania and she continued her schooling there. Following the completion of her secondary education, she enrolled in The University of Tasmania, receiving a degree in Commerce and Law. She also received graduate certifications in Advertising and Marketing and worked in those fields in Australia and Scotland. As her relationship with Frederik became more serious, she left Australia and worked in Paris as an English tutor before moving to Denmark and working for Microsoft.

For more information about Mary see:

The Meeting

The Slip Inn, Sydney Photo: tripadvisor.com.au

The Slip Inn, Sydney.  Photo: tripadvisor.com.au

Frederik and Mary met on September 16, 2000, during the Olympic Games in Sydney. A friend of Mary’s was meeting Bruno Gómez-Acebo (a nephew of King Juan Carlos) for dinner at the Slip Inn in Sydney and invited Mary and another friend to join them. Bruno also brought a few friends, including Prince Nikolaos of Greece and his cousin Crown Prince Frederik. Quickly the two became very interested in each other. Over the next year, Frederik made many private trips to Australia to see Mary, and in 2001, she left Australia and moved first to Paris and then to Denmark.

The Engagement

photo: Hello

photo: Hello

The engagement of Crown Prince Frederik and Miss Mary Donaldson was formally announced on October 8, 2003, following a meeting of the Council of State, at which The Queen had given her formal consent to the marriage. Following some official photos, a balcony appearance and a luncheon, the newly engaged couple sat for a brief press conference and photographs with the world’s media in the Garden Hall at Fredensborg Palace. At this time, the world was able to see the wedding ring Frederik had given to Mary. In keeping with the tradition of incorporating the colors of the Danish flag, Mary’s ring features a large emerald-cut diamond flanked by two emerald-cut rubies. That evening, a gala dinner was held at Fredensborg Palace in honor of the couple, attended by both families, members of the Danish Government and the Royal Household.

Pre-Wedding Festivities

The couple attending the Gala at Christiansborg Palace

The couple attending the pre-wedding Gala at Christiansborg Palace

There were quite a lot of events and festivities leading up the wedding. The first was a reception held on April 20 at the Australian Embassy in honor of the bride and groom. However, it was the week before the wedding when the rest of the events took place.

May 05 – Military Parade at Langelinie
May 07 – Rock’n’Royal in Parken (concert held in Parken Stadium)
May 08 – Dinner hosted by the Australian Governor General
May 09 – Match Race – sailing regatta in the Port of Copenhagen
May 11 – Gala Dinner at Christiansborg Palace, hosted by The Queen
May 12 – Official Reception at Copenhagen Town Hall
May 12 – Private Party at a nightclub in Copenhagen for the younger guests
May 12 – concurrently, The Queen hosted a private dinner for the older guests at Amalienborg Palace
May 13 – Official Reception in the Folketinget (Parliament)
May 13 – Gala Performance at the Royal Theatre

Wedding Guests

photo: AFP/Getty Images

photo: AFP/Getty Images

The wedding was attended by both the bride’s and groom’s families, friends and members of the Danish government, and other royalty from around the world.

Danish Royal Family
The Queen and Prince Consort
Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra
Prince Nikolai
Prince Felix
Princess Benedikte and Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Prince Gustav of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg
Princess Alexandra of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and Count Jefferson von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth
Count Richard von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth

The Bride’s Family
John Donaldson and Susan Moody, the bride’s father and stepmother
Jane and Craig Stephens, the bride’s sister and brother-in-law
Patricia and Scott Bailey, the bride’s sister and brother-in-law
John and Leanne Donaldson, the bride’s brother and sister-in-law
Peter Donaldson, the bride’s uncle
John Pugh, the bride’s uncle
Margaret Cunningham, the bride’s great-aunt

Royal Guests
Belgium
King Albert II and Queen Paola
The Duke and Duchess of Brabant
Princess Astrid and Prince Lorenz
Prince Laurent and Princess Claire

Bulgaria
Prince Kardam and Princess Miriam

Greece
King Constantine II and Queen Anne-Marie
Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal
Princess Alexia and Carlos Morales
Prince Nikolaos and Miss Tatiana Blatnik
Princess Theodora
Prince Philippos

Japan
Crown Prince Naruhito

Liechtenstein
Prince Wenzeslaus

Luxembourg
Grand Duke Henri and Grand Duchess Maria Theresa
Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume
Prince Guillaume

Monaco
Hereditary Prince Albert
Princess Caroline and Prince Ernst August of Hanover

Netherlands
Queen Beatrix
The Prince of Orange and Princess Máxima
Prince Constantijn and Princess Laurentien

Norway
King Harald V and Queen Sonja
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit
Princess Märtha Louise and Mr. Ari Behn

Serbia
Crown Prince Alexander and Crown Princess Katherine

Spain
Queen Sofia
The Prince of Asturias and Letizia Ortiz Rocasolano
Infanta Elena, Duchess of Lugo, and Jaime de Marichalar, Duke of Lugo
Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, and Iñaki Urdangarin, Duke of Palma de Mallorca

Sweden
King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia
Crown Princess Victoria
Prince Carl Philip
Princess Madeleine

United Kingdom
The Earl and Countess of Wessex

Other Royalty
Empress Farah of Iran
The Prince and Princess of Naples
The Duke and Duchess of Calabria
The Duke and Duchess of Castro
Archduchess Francesca of Austria
The Duke and Duchess of Braganza
Prince Karim Aga Khan IV
Prince Georg Friedrich of Prussia
Prince Philipp of Hesse
Princess Xenia of Hohenlohe-Langenburg
Prince Wilhelm and Princess Ilona of Schaumburg-Lippe
Princess Désirée of Schaumburg-Lippe
Princess Eleonore of Schaumburg-Lippe
Prince Dimitri and Princess Dorrit Romanov

The Wedding Attendants

photo: Danish Royal Court

photo: Danish Royal Court

Bridesmaids
Jane Stephens, the bride’s sister
Patricia Bailey, the bride’s sister
Amber Petty, friend of the bride

Best Man
Prince Joachim, the groom’s brother

Flower Girls and Page Boys
Erin Stephens, the bride’s niece
Kate Stephens, the bride’s niece
Madisson Woods, the bride’s niece
Prince Nikolai of Denmark, the groom’s nephew
Count Richard von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth, son of the groom’s cousin

The Wedding Attire

photo: Zimbio

photo: Zimbio

For her wedding dress, Mary selected Danish designer Uffe Frank.  The dress is made of ivory duchess satin lined with silk organza.  In the skirt of the dress, the satin was set in panels which opened from the hip to reveal nearly 8 meters of antique Irish lace underneath.  The sleeves were described by the designer as ‘calla sleeves’, as they open in the shape of a calla lily.  The back of the skirt was shaped with 31 meters of tulle, edged with Chantilly lace.  For the ceremony, the bride’s dress also featured a detachable 6-meter train of satin.  

Mary’s veil was first used in 1905 at the wedding of Princess Margaret of Connaught to the future King Gustav VI Adolf of Sweden.  It came to Denmark when Margaret’s daughter married the future King Frederik IX of Denmark in 1935 and was worn by all three of Ingrid’s daughters, including the current Queen.

Holding the veil in place is a tiara given to the bride by Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik, now typically referred to as Crown Princess Mary’s Wedding Tiara. Mary’s earrings were specifically made for the wedding. Set in platinum, they feature brilliant-cut diamonds and large South Sea pearls.  In a very personal tribute to her late mother, the bride had her mother’s wedding ring sewn into the bodice of her dress, close to her heart.

The bridal bouquet consisted of several types of white flowers, including white and antique roses, stephanotis, rhododendrons, azaleas and myrtle from Fredensborg Palace, and spirea from Graasten Palace, with a trail of snow gum, an Australian eucalyptus.  Following the wedding festivities, Mary’s bouquet was taken to Scotland and laid at her mother’s grave.

Crown Prince Frederik wore the dress uniform of the Danish Navy, with the sash and star of the Order of the Elephant, and necklet and star of the Order of the Dannebrog.

The Ceremony

photo: Zimbio

photo: Zimbio

The wedding ceremony took place on May 14, 2004 at 4 pm at the Copenhagen Cathedral. Following the arrival of the royal guests, the Donaldson family and Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik, the bride made her entrance to Handel’s ‘Zadok the Priest’. Following the service, the couple proceeded by carriage through the streets of Copenhagen to Amalienborg Palace. There, they appeared on the balcony with their parents, to the cheers of the crowds gathered below. A sea of Danish and Australian flags greeted them. Following the balcony appearance, they proceeded to Fredensborg Palace by car for the wedding banquet.

The Wedding Banquet

DK-Fred-Mary-wedding-banquet

The wedding banquet was held in a massive tent on the grounds of Fredensborg Palace.  Following speeches by the Prince Consort, The Queen, Professor Donaldson and the Crown Prince, the guests dined on a menu of predominantly French cuisine:

Timbale of Shellfish from the Nordic Seas
Sea Urchin Sauce

Roast Venison from the Royal Forests
Rissole Potatoes from Samsø
Peas à la Parisienne
Sauté Mushroom and Morel Sauce

Vol-Au-Vent Perfect Union
White Danish Asparagus and Bornholm Chicken with a Sprinkling of Apple Cider

White Chocolate Délice
Crown Prince and Crown Princess

La Cigaralle du Prince Consort 2000
Cahors Château de Caïx 1996
En Magnum

Champagne Mercier
Cuvée Frederik & Mary

The wedding cake was 2 meters in height and weighed nearly 90kg. It featured 10 tiers, some with almond and others with chocolate. All were covered in white marzipan with pink roses and the couple’s monogram in chocolate. In a bit of a humorous break from tradition, the cake was topped with cartoon figures of the couple.

Late in the evening, the couple and their guests moved to the Dome Hall in the palace for the traditional Bridal waltz. Tradition dictates that the dance must take place just before midnight, and although the entire banquet was running a bit behind schedule, they made it just in time. The couple took the floor, surrounded by their guests forming a large heart-shaped group around them. As the dance progressed, the guests moved in closer and closer to the couple.

Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark, has died

Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Richard, 6th Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, head of the House of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and husband of Princess Benedikte of Denmark, died at his home, Berleburg Castle, in Bad Berleburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany late on March 13, 2017 at the age of 82. Princess Benedikte is the elder of the two younger sisters of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark. Prince Richard underwent surgery for treatment of prostate cancer in 2003 and previously, had undergone treatment for skin cancer.

The announcement from the Danish Royal House via Tommy Paulsen, Private Secretary of Princess Benedikte, gave no cause of death: “It is with great sadness that I, on behalf of Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte, have to announce that His Highness Prince Richard has died. His Highness died suddenly at the castle in Berleburg last night, Monday, March 13. Her Royal Highness Princess Benedikte, after a short stay in Denmark, returned home to Berleburg Tuesday morning.”
Kongehuset: Pressemeddelelse: Hans Højhed Prins Richard er afgået ved døden

At the wedding of Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1966, Prince Richard met his future wife, the second of the three daughters of King Frederik IX of Denmark. The couple married at the Fredensborg Palace Church in Denmark on February 3, 1968. Richard and Benedikte had one son and two daughters. Because their three children were not raised in Denmark, they are not in the line of succession to the Danish throne.

Prince Richard was active in a number of conservation programs including a project to reintroduce European bison on his 30,000-acre estate. See NPR: German Prince Plans To Put Bison Back In The Wild.

Philippa of England, Queen of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway

by Susan Flantzer

Philippa by Reinhold Callmander on a window above her grave, 1890s; By Mariusz Paździora (photo); Reinhold Callmander (painting) – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6100584

Philippa of England was the second daughter and the sixth and youngest child of King Henry IV of England and his first wife Mary de Bohun, a rich heiress. Mary never became Queen of England because she died before her husband became King, shortly after Philippa’s birth at Peterborough Castle on June 4, 1394. When Philippa was five years old, her father deposed his first cousin King Richard II and became King Henry IV. Not much is known about Philippa’s childhood other than that she attended her father’s second marriage in 1403 to Joan of Navarre and that she made a pilgrimage to Canterbury in the same year. She mostly lived at Berkhamsted Castle and Windsor Castle.

Philippa had five siblings. Her father’s second marriage was childless.

Early in his reign, Henry IV tried to negotiate an alliance between England and the Kalmar Union, which united Denmark, Sweden, and Norway into one kingdom, with Queen Margrethe I of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. He suggested a marriage between two of his children, his eldest son and heir Henry (the future King Henry V) and Philippa, with Margrethe I’s great niece and great nephew, Catherine of Pomerania and Eric of Pomerania. Terms for the marriages were not agreed upon at that time, however, in 1405, a marriage between Philippa and Eric of Pomerania, who was the heir to his great aunt’s throne, was arranged. Eleven-year-old Philippa was married by proxy to 24-year-old Eric on November 26, 1405 at Westminster Abbey in London. Philippa was formerly proclaimed Queen of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway on December 8. 1405 in the presence of the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian ambassadors.

In August of 1406, Philippa left England to travel to Sweden and married Eric of Pomerania in person on October 26, 1406 at Lund Cathedral in Lund, Sweden. Documentation from the wedding indicates that Philippa wore a tunic with a cloak in white silk bordered with gray squirrel and ermine, making her the first documented princess to wear a white wedding dress. On November 1, 1406, Philippa was crowned Queen of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

Eric of Pomerania; Credit – Wikipedia

Philippa was actively involved in state affairs. She was given large tracts of land in Sweden as her dower lands and acted as her husband’s representative in Sweden, where she spent much time. Her particular interest in Sweden was Vadstena Abbey, which came to be a refuge for her and a base whenever she was in Sweden. Philippa was regent for Denmark, Sweden, and Norway during Eric’s pilgrimage to Jerusalem from 1423 to 1425. Even after Eric returned from his pilgrimage, Philippa continued her commitment to the kingdom. She resolved disputes among her subjects, and in 1428 organized she successfully defended Copenhagen against attacking forces from the Hanseatic League cities.

After 23 years of marriage, Philippa gave birth, for the first and last time, to a stillborn boy in 1429. Her health deteriorated after the stillbirth and during a visit to Vadstena Abbey, Philippa died on January 5, 1430 at the age of 35. Her death was a great loss to both her husband Eric and the monarchy. She was buried in St. Anna’s Chapel, which she had built at the Vadstena Abbey church. In Philippa’s memory, Eric gave a generous sum of money to the abbey. In return, he demanded that the abbey employ ten priests who would pray and sing psalms around the clock for the salvation of Philippa’s soul. It turned out to be a very stressful “gift” for the abbey.

Gravestones of Queen Philippa at Vadnesta Abbey; Photo Credit – Wikipedia

Wikipedia: Philippa of England

Works Cited
“Philippa of England.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Sept. 2016. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
“Philippa af England.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2016.
Williamson, David. Brewer’s British Royalty. London: Cassell, 1996. Print.

Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, Queen of Sweden

by Susan Flantzer

by Alexander Roslin, 1774; Credit – Wikipedia

Princess Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, born on July 3, 1746 at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen, Denmark, was the eldest daughter and the eldest surviving child of the four children of King Frederik V of Denmark and his first wife Princess Louisa of Great Britain. She was a granddaughter of King George II of Great Britain and among her first cousins were King George III of the United Kingdom; her brother King Christian VII’s wife Caroline Matilda of Wales, Queen of Denmark; and William V, Prince of Orange. One month after her birth, Sophia Magdalena’s father became King of Denmark. After the death of her elder brother in 1747, Sophia Magdalena was the heir presumptive to the Danish throne until the birth of her second brother in 1749.

Sophia Magdalena had four siblings:

Sophia Magdalena also had one half-brother from his father’s second marriage to Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel:

In 1743, Sophia Magdalena’s father was one of the candidates in the election for the heir to the Swedish throne, but instead, Adolf Frederik of Holstein-Gottorp was elected the heir and succeeded to the Swedish throne in 1751. Adolf Frederik was married to Sophia Magdalena’s first cousin once removed, Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, the daughter of Friedrich Wilhelm I, King in Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover, the daughter of King George I of Great Britain. Past wars and the result of the 1743 election caused tension between Denmark and Sweden. To foster friendship between the two countries, a betrothal was arranged in 1751 between two 5-year-olds, Sophia Magdalena and Crown Prince Gustav of Sweden, son of King Adolf Frederik of Sweden and his wife Louisa Ulrika of Prussia. The betrothal was arranged by the Swedish parliament, not the Danish and Swedish royal families. The proposed match was disliked by both the mothers. Gustav’s mother, Queen Louisa Ulrika had long been in conflict with the Swedish parliament and would have preferred a marriage with her niece, Philippine of Brandenburg-Schwedt. Sophia Magdalena’s mother Queen Louise feared that her daughter would be mistreated by the Louisa Ulrika of Prussia.

When Sophia Magdalena was five years old, her mother Queen Louise died at age 27 due to complications from a miscarriage. The next year, her father made a second marriage to Juliana Maria of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. Sophia Magdalena was raised to become Queen of Sweden and received a strict religious upbringing at Hirschholm Palace, the home of her paternal grandmother and her namesake, Queen Dowager Sophie Magdalene (born Sophie Magdalene of Brandenburg-Kulmbach).

On October 1, 1766, Sophia Magdalena was married by proxy to Gustav at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen with her half brother Frederik representing the groom. She then traveled to Sweden where she married Crown Prince Gustav in person on November 4, 1766 at the Royal Chapel at the Stockholm Royal Palace.

The wedding attire of Gustav and Sophia Magdalena at the Royal Armory (Swedish: Livrustkammaren), a museum in the Royal Palace in Stockholm, Sweden

The marriage was not a happy one. Sophia Magdalena was quiet and serious and found it difficult to adapt to her husband’s pleasure-loving court. The interference of Gustav’s jealous mother, Queen Louisa Ulrika, did not help the situation. Sophia Magdalena dutifully performed her ceremonial duties, but she did not care about social life and would rather exist in peace and quiet with a few friends.

Sophia Magdalena by Carl Gustaf Pilo, 1765; Credit – Wikipedia

Gustav III of Sweden by Alexander Roslin, 1772; Credit – Wikipedia

In 1771, King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died and Gustav succeeded his father as King Gustav III of Sweden. Gustav and Sophia Magdalena’s coronation was held on May 29, 1772 at the Storkyrkan (The Great Church) in Stockholm.

Unfinished painting of Gustav III’s coronation by Carl Gustaf Pilo (Sophia Magdalena can be seen sitting on the right); Credit – Wikipedia

In 1772, Gustav arranged for a coup d’état known as Revolution of 1772 or Coup of Gustav III. Initially, Sophia Magdalena was not informed about the coup d’état, which reinstated absolute monarchy and ended parliamentary rule. Gustav imprisoned opposition leaders and established a new regime with extensive power for the king which he used wisely. He introduced freedom of the press and tried to remedy corruption in the government.

Gustav III (center right) at the Revolution of 1772 by Pehr Hilleström; Credit – Wikipedia

The marriage of Sophia Magdalena and Gustav remained unconsummated for ten years. There were various theories regarding the cause including Sophia Magdalena’s strict religious upbringing and introverted character, Gustav’s sexuality, and the possibility that either or both Sophia Magdalena and Gustav had some kind of physical problem. Eventually, Count Adolf Fredrik Munck af Fulkila acted as a sexual instructor for the couple. The instruction resulted in the birth of a son. When it became known that Munck participated in the reconciliation between the royal couple, there were rumors that he was the father of Sophia Magdalena’s son. The couple eventually had another son, but he did not survive childhood:

Gustav III, Sophia Magdalena and Crown Prince Gustav Adolf in Haga Park by Cornelius Høyer, 1784–1785; Credit – Wikipedia

In the 1780s, Gustav III was preoccupied with foreign policy: a growing hatred of Denmark and a desire to conquer Norway. In 1788, he began a war against Russia, the Russo-Swedish War, but had to retreat because of a mutiny in the army. In 1789, he resumed the war with varying success. The war ended in 1790 with the Treaty of Värälä. The war with Russia had destroyed Sweden’s economy, and when Gustav decided to attack France, a conspiracy developed. On March 16, 1792, King Gustav III was shot by Jacob Johan Anckarström during a masquerade at the Royal Opera House. King Gustav III died of his wounds at the Stockholm Royal Palace on March 29, 1792 at the age of 46. Assassination ringleader, Count Anckarström, was beaten for three days before he was beheaded, mutilated and dismembered. The event is the subject of Giuseppe Verdi’s 1859 opera Un ballo in maschera.  King Gustav III was buried at Riddarholm Church in Stockholm, Sweden.

Sophia Magdalena by Niklas Lafrensen, 1792; Credit – Wikipedia

Upon Gustav III’s assassination, his 14-year-old son succeeded to the throne as King Gustav IV Adolf, under the regency of his paternal uncle Prince Karl, Duke of Södermanland, who was later to become King Karl XIII of Sweden when his nephew was forced to abdicate and flee the country in 1809. Sophia Magdalena was horrified by the murder of her husband, but it was a relief that as Queen Dowager, she could retreat from public life. She lived in the Royal Palace in Stockholm during the winter, and at Ulriksdal Palace during the summer. Sophia Magdalena died from a stroke at the age of 67 on August 21, 1813 at Ulriksdal Palace. She was buried at Riddarholm Church in Stockholm, Sweden.

Tomb of Sophia Magdalena at Riddarholm Church in Stockholm, Sweden; Photo Credit – www.findagrave.com

Wikipedia: Sophia Magdalena of Denmark, Queen of Sweden

Works Cited
“Gustav III of Sweden.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 25 July 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.
“Gustav III.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, Feb. 2015. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.
“Sophie Magdalene af Danmark.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.
“Sophia Magdalena of Denmark.” Wikipedia. N.p.: Wikimedia Foundation, 25 Sept. 2016. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.
Susan. “Princess Louisa of Great Britain, Queen of Denmark.” British Royals. Unofficial Royalty, 19 Dec. 2013. Web. 25 Sept. 2016.