It can seem strange to people who haven’t been raised in a monarchy, but for us in Denmark, our royal family is something we are proud of, and these days they are very popular; the most popular royal family in Europe (a title shared with the royal family in Britain). The head of our royal family is Queen Margrethe II, or Daisy as she is called, and today the 16th of April, she turns 80 years old. If you live in Denmark, this is no surprise to you, since the Danish media are very aware of this round birthday, and it is celebrated by almost everyone around Denmark through SoMe, TV shows (don’t forget to watch ‘Fællessang for Dronningen – hver for sig’ on DR1 tonight at 20.00 where we all celebrate her through song) etc.
Our beloved queen has had her ups and downs, as have all royal families in the world, I think, but in the end, we love her, we adore her, we look up to her, we respect her, and we cherish her. Here are 7 reasons why that is:
The queen loves the theatre, but she is not just another spectator. In several plays, she has been the one behind the scenography and the costumes. For instance in 2019 she did a collaboration with the Danish singer Oh Land on Snedronningen (the Snow Queen) in Tivoli, where Oh Land produced the music and the queen did the costumes and the scenography. The two also collaborated on Askepot (Cinderella) the year before in Tivoli.
Her educational background is not only from University of Copenhagen, but also Cambridge and Sorbonne, where she studied political science, philosophy, and archeology. One of her biggest passions is archeology, a passion she shared with her late grandfather, and she even participated in a dig in Etrurien, Italy.
- The smoking
This is one that really divides the Danes: the queen is a smoker, a proud smoker. She has been smoking all her life, and has no plans of ever giving that up, unlike other members of the royal family. However, a few years ago she made a pledge to no longer smoke in public, a promise she finds it difficult to keep. So, if you think smoking the old school way is still a little cool, Queen Margrethe is for you. If not, try to ignore it and read the other 6 points once more.
A video clip from the official Royal Families Youtube channel has recently gone viral. It’s a clip showing our queen creating hats or masks from cardboard and staplers, and not only does she create them, she plays with them. Even the most skeptical of the monarchy, will go weak when seeing this video. It is adorable.
Watch the video here.
- The anniversary
In 1992 the Queen and her late husband Prince Henri celebrated their 25 wedding anniversary. On the morning of their anniversary a crowd of family, friends, and children had assembled outside their bedroom window at Fredensborg Slot (castle) to wish them happy anniversary, which is a tradition in Denmark, when couples celebrate 25 years of marriage (Sølvbryllup: Silver Wedding). The scene was photographed and it shows a new side of the queen, a laid back version. Usually we only get to see her in her big gowns or fashion-forward pants, but this time we got to see her with her hair down in her night gown. The pictures have become iconic, showing a more relaxed and relatable side of the queen.
Take a look at the picture here.
- The speeches
Our queen has a lot of tasks and responsibilities, and she does them well. However, if there is one place where she excels, it’s in her speeches. Every year on New Years at 6 pm she gives a televised new years speech for the public, with more than 1.5 million people watching, and every year she talks about something new, while still keeping her traditional greetings for Danes abroad, Danes working on new years etc. In 2012 she gave an iconic new years speech: “There’s a tendency at the moment where one paints a picture of the perfect life with spouse, children, an inspiring job, exciting hobbies, a youthful look despite age. Who can live up to all of that?” (loosely translated). During these corona days the queen gave a televised speech to the people, reprimanding us, and telling us to stay at home, because the situation is serious. It honestly felt like the mother of the nation was talking to us all, and it made a huge impact on the Danish people.
Read the speech concerning the corona situation here (in Danish).
- J.R.R. Tolkien
In reason no. 7 we go a bit back to the creativity. In all secrecy, using a synonym, Queen Margrethe illustrated a new edition of Lord of the Rings in 1977. She has since shared the secret and unveiled that she was the woman behind Ingahild Grathmer, and that the Tolkien universe was what spiked her creativity when she was in her 30’s. The has since illustrated a few other books, including Prince Henri’s poetry collection Cantabile.
Fotograf Per Morten Abrahamsen
Happy birthday, Queen Margrethe II