It’s always been a little bit confusing to me that one of the most liberal democracies in the world still has a constitutional monarchy. And it doesn’t just exist – many Danes are very fond of their Royals. And we’re not only talking elderly, tea-drinking, commemorative-plate-collecting aunties! The royals, especially the Crown Prince couple, Frederik and Mary, are considered modern and even cool by younger generations, while the Queen and Prince Consort are seen more like a beloved, but quirky old pet that’s been with the family forever and sometimes does funny stuff (am I allowed to say this about actual royals?!).
I’m sure you know a fair share of facts about the Danish royals already, but here are a couple of things you might not have heard about yet!
The Crown Prince is a really cool guy
It’s true. Crown Prince Frederik has extensive military training, starting out as a Royal Guard and later joining the “Frogman Corps” (frømandskorpset), which is something like the Danish Navy SEALs. He also spent four months as a member of the Sirius Sleigh Patrol (siriuspatruljen), a super-elite navy squad patrolling the arctic wilderness of Greenland. He holds the rank of Commander in the Danish navy. In 2013, he was the first member of a royal family to complete an Iron Man competition. Sounds like a tough guy, huh? Wrong! He melted all of our hearts when he couldn’t stop crying during his wedding, when his bride, Mary, was walking down the aisle. So adorable!
The Danish royals don’t know the word “scandal”
Generally, the Danish royal family’s image is very low-key and pretty much “goodie two shoes”. An official reception here, some idyllic pictures from the family summer vacation there, that’s it. It’s very rare that the Danish royals are in the yellow press; in fact, I can only think of two instances I know of. The first one is not even a real scandal, but Prince Joachim’s divorce from his first wife and subsequent second marriage were seen a bit critical by some. But the printing presses ran hot when the Crown Prince, not one to say no to a good party, was spotted partying at a night club with “a mystery blonde” the night before the christening of his twins. As usual, there was nothing more to the story, and that’s about as rotten as it gets in the state of Denmark!
Language matters a lot to the Danes
The Danish royal family contains quite a few foreigners (the Prince Consort Henrik, Crown Princess Mary and Princess Marie, to name a few very prominent ones – one could think there’s no marriage material in Denmark!), and that is completely fine with the general Danish population. But they do expect that the members of the royal family speak Danish. Prince Henrik’s Danish is good, but he has a French accent (but seriously, how cute is the guy in that video!), which many Danes frown upon. Crown Princess Mary, the embodiment of grace and charme, speaks pretty perfect Danish (at least as far as I can tell), and is universally loved and admired.
The Queen is a talented artist
Queen Margrethe II. celebrated 40 years on the throne recently, and she is very well liked among the Danish population. She is known for being a bit quirky and for wearing funny outfits sometimes, but she has gained much respect for her many talents, which include translations of French literature (for example Simone de Beauvoir) and painting. She gets major coolness points from me for illustrating a Danish edition of The Lord Of The Rings in 1977. Her husband, Prince Henrik, also published poetry.
Royal babies make for a fun betting game
Danes love to bet, and it is a tradition that royal babies’ names aren’t revealed until the official christening, when they are about a month old. In the days leading up to the ceremony, there was a huge guessing game going on, and you could even bet on what their first names would be! My boyfriend’s family had their very own family pot going, where everyone placed bets on what the kids would be called.
The Royals are dedicated to all parts of the Kingdom
As you’ll probably know, Greenland and the Faroe Islands are part of the Kingdom of Denmark as autonomous constituent countries. Since Margrethe II. took the throne, she has made an effort to make these countries feel as part of Denmark, too, and she spends a couple of months every summer on her royal ship, Dannebrog, sailing around her kingdom (how cool is it to be queen?!). And her son and his wife have given their twins Greenlandic middle names (Minik and Ivalo), under which they are mainly known in Greenland.
What’s your view on the Danish royals? I mean, seriously, how could you not love them?!