by Emily McMahon
Born on Christmas Eve in 1879 in the city of Schwerin in Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (now in Germany), Alexandrine Auguste was the eldest daughter and the eldest of the three children of the sickly Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna, a granddaughter of Tsar Nicholas I of Russia.
Alexandrine had one brother and one sister:
- Friedrich Franz IV, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg (1882 – 1945), married Princess Alexandra of Hanover, had five children
- Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886 – 1954), married Wilhelm, German Crown Prince, had six children
It was in the French city Cannes, located on the French Riviera, that Alexandrine met her future husband, the future King Christian X of Denmark. Because of the poor health of Alexandrine’s father, the family spent much time in warm climates including Cannes where they had a large estate, Villa Wenden. Grand Duchess Anastasia had a poor reputation for her dislike of her adopted country and her extravagances. She also had an illegitimate child during her widowhood. Although concern there were concerns for Alexandrine’s and Cecilie’s futures due to their mother’s lifestyle, both made impressive marriages. It was Anastasia who urged Alexandrine to marry the future King Christian X of Denmark, to which Alexandrine complied. The two were married in Cannes, France (her mother’s preferred residence) in 1898. Christian and Alexandrine were married in Cannes, France on April 26, 1898.
The couple had two sons:
- King Frederik IX of Denmark (1899–1972), married Princess Ingrid of Sweden, had three daughters including Queen Margrethe II of Denmark
- Hereditary Prince Knud (1900–1976), married Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark, had two sons and one daughter
Christian and Alexandrine received the newly built Marselisborg Palace in Aarhus as a wedding present from the Danish public, but it was not completed until 1902. The couple made Christian VIII’s Palace at Amalienborg their Copenhagen base. The couple also spent a considerable amount of time at Sorgenfri Palace just outside Copenhagen. It was at Sorgenfri that both of the couple’s children, the future Frederik IX and Knud, were born.
Christian and Alexandrine were devoted to one another and enjoyed a happy marriage. The couple became king and queen of Denmark in 1912. While their popularity waxed and waned throughout Christian’s rule, he and Alexandrine are generally viewed as a successful king and queen. Prior to the World Wars, Alexandrine and Christian traveled extensively, often returning to Cannes where they met and married.
Alexandrine was somewhat shy and disliked the ceremonial and public aspect of being queen. She preferred more solitary activities and was known for her talents in needlework and for her avid interest in gardening. She also had a deep appreciation for music and was the patron of several musical organizations. Her eldest son Frederik shared his mother’s passion for music.
At the start of the German occupation of Denmark during World War II, it was unknown whether Alexandrine’s sympathies would ally with her native country or her adoptive one. Alexandrine proved herself loyal to Denmark by working with various relief organizations to bring aid to Danes affected by the occupation. She also received General Kaupisch, the German head of the occupation, with a less than warm welcome. Alexandrine and her husband were lauded by the Danish public for their devotion to the country during wartime. Alexandrine was also able to save the sizable Danish royal jewel collection from Nazi looters by hiding it in churches and even farmhouses.
Alexandrine was widowed in 1947. During her time as dowager queen, she devoted most of her time to charitable causes, particularly those dedicated to children. She was known simply as Queen Alexandrine until her own death in 1952, being the first former queen to forgo the title of Dowager Queen.
IN 1952, Alexandrine died in her sleep four days after her 73rd birthday. She had undergone an intestinal operation a week and a half before her death. At her funeral, her son Frederik conducted her favorite song, Edvard Grieg’s “Springtime.” Alexandrine is buried with her husband in the Glücksburger Chapel at Roskilde Cathedral.