Margrethe II: Who is the queen of Denmark, chain smoker and fashionista?

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark now finds herself the world’s only reigning queen, the longest-serving current head of state in Europe and the longest-serving monarch on the international stage except the Sultan of Brunei.

Queen Margrethe, 82, attended the state funeral of her British counterpart in London on Monday alongside her son Crown Prince Frederik – whose wife Princess Mary was apparently “not invited” after an embarrassing affair. diplomatic error – and was seen shedding tears at the spectacle. of the coffin draped in the royal standard at Westminster Abbey.

Margrethe was actually a third cousin of Elizabeth, as both women were great-granddaughters of Queen Victoria and their friendship stretched back decades, both sharing a passion for dogs and on sufficiently intimate terms to address each other by the nicknames “Daisy” and “Lilibet”. ” respectively.

Upon learning of the British Queen’s demise, Margrethe became the first foreign monarch to pay tribute to Her Majesty, writing a moving letter to King Charles III expressing her condolences.

“I send you and Camilla my warmest thoughts and prayers,” she said. “She was an imposing figure among European monarchs and a great inspiration to us all. We will miss her terribly.

“His 70 years of reign and service to the people of the United Kingdom, the Kingdoms and the Commonwealth are a remarkable and unprecedented achievement. We will always remember your important contributions to its development and prosperity.”

Due to an unfortunate quirk of time, an event commemorating Margerthe’s golden jubilee and 50 years of public service was scheduled for the Monday immediately after Elizabeth’s death at Balmoral and took place in a reduced form with royal guests present, but not without generous tributes. paid to the deceased.

Speaking ahead of Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee earlier this summer, Margrethe gave interview with ITV News in which she said her fellow monarch had been a “big inspiration” to her.

“She was 26 when she became queen,” said Margrethe. “When I was a kid, I hoped I wouldn’t be that young when my father died.

“It made a huge impression on me. The fact that she was dedicating her life. I understood what that meant. This is for life. That’s the whole point of my life. And I know she sees it too.

“When I was a kid, my mum and dad would tell me ‘look what they do in England’ and I saw that it could be done and that it was worth it and you could live a very full life with it, even with a busy schedule. heavy and demanding work.”

Margrethe was born on 16 April 1940, the eldest daughter of Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden, arriving just a week after Nazi Germany invaded her homeland.

She and her two younger sisters Princess Benedikte and Princess Anne-Marie were raised at Frederick VIII’s Palace at Amalienborg in Copenhagen and at Fredensborg Palace in North Zealand.

Queen Margrethe and Pavlos, Crown Prince of Greece, arrive at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for the final leg of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral


She became heiress presumptive ahead of her uncle, Prince Knud, thanks to a constitutional amendment that came into force in 1953, without which she would have been prevented from making history as the first woman to occupy the throne of Denmark since her namesake. , Margrethe. I, she ruled the Scandinavian kingdoms between 1375 and 1412.

The second Margrethe didn’t really wear the crown until her father’s death on January 14, 1972, when she was 32 years old, six years older than Elizabeth when her time came, hence the importance of her example.

By then, she had studied at Cambridge and the Sorbonne, toured America and met Elvis Presley, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and married French diplomat Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in June 1967, with whom she had two children, Frederick and Joachim.

An amateur poet and winemaker with a passion for sculpture and daschunds, Prince Henrik was apparently less comfortable being named Prince Consort (rather than King) than Britain’s Prince Philip himself, but he fulfilled his duties until his death at Fredensborg Palace. in February 2018, 81 years old.

Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen in March 2009


Margrethe proved to be a highly popular monarch throughout her reign, despite occasionally reprimanding the public for misbehavior during televised speeches, particularly during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

She is known for her passion for illustration (JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings), translation (Simone de Beauvoir), costumes and scenography and archeology and for her incisive refusal to quit smoking, a habit that led her to be nicknamed “Queen of the Ashtray”.

Her singular taste in clothing also raised eyebrows, with a brightly colored floral raincoat she wore to the 70th birthday celebration of Queen Sonja of Norway in 2007 a particularly lofty example, worthy of Grayson Perry.

Queen Margrethe accepts flowers from the parade at Graasten Castle wearing her notorious raincoat

(Palle Peter Skov/AFP/Getty)

But his tailoring flourishes also have their fans, with Vogue saluting her like “a heroine of unknown style”.

Defending the insulted raincoat, fashion writer Anders Christian Madsen wrote: “Eccentric at heart, she thought it would brighten gray summer days when she would have to disembark her royal yacht in the rain.

“She created a real wardrobe suspended between fantasy and history.”

In the same review, designer Julie Brogger said of Margrethe: “She surpasses everyone else. She doesn’t care what others think. She has this dramatic vision of how you can affect the public’s perception of you through your clothes.

“Her interest in the history of her family and the monarchy shows through her dresses.”

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at

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