Kings in waiting are becoming increasingly rare in Europe. Spain, Sweden, Belgium and the Netherlands have female first in line with the heirs in Norway and Sweden having first born daughters who will succeed them. Which is why Prince Christian of Denmark, who turns ten today, is beginning to occupy a rather special position in Europe’s royal vista. He is in line to be his country’s king and is one of just a handful of male heirs scattered across the continent.
Christian is the eldest son of Crown Prince Frederik, heir to the throne of Denmark, and his wife, Crown Princess Mary. The birth of their son was a hugely anticipated event and royal baby mania had been in evidence since the couple had announced their were expecting their first child. Their son was born in the early hours of October 15th 2005 at the University Hospital Copenhagen and celebrations began across Denmark.
The celebrate the birth of this future king, there were 21 gun salutes during the day while that night bonfires were lit across the country the little prince would one day rule. There were also celebrations in Australia, Princess Mary’s home country, to mark the arrival of her baby. The couple soon presented their son to the world and could barely contain their happiness and excitement. But they did have to keep one thing to themselves – his name. In Denmark, royal baby names are traditionally revealed for the first time at the font.
There were no big surprises when Frederik and Mary announced what they had called their son at his christening on January 21st 2006. Denmark’s kings alternate between the names Frederik and Christian so the answer to the much asked question of what was the royal baby’s name was already really known. His full name is Christian Valdemar Henri John and his godparents included the Crown Prince and Princess of Norway, the Crown Princess of Sweden, Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece and his uncle, Prince Joachim of Denmark.
While still a toddler, this king in waiting carried out his first public engagement when he helped his paternal grandfather, Denmark’s Prince Consort, to open a new elephant house at Copenhagen Zoo. And that began a fairly regular set of public appearances for the young prince who attends a public school and who appeared before the cameras as he made his way to class there for the first time in 2011.
Christian was soon joined in his royal nursery by a sister, Isabella, who was born in April 2007 and in 2011 he got another sister and a brother when his mother gave birth to twins, Vincent and Josephine. The four children take part in photo calls throughout the year and when their parents toured Greenland in 2014 they all participated in engagements with Christian leading the way.
Ten is a landmark birthday and to mark the occasion, the Danish Royal Family has released a new set of official photographs of Christian. It’s likely that the prince will pass his big day at school and then at home with his family. But it marks another staging post on the road that will see him one day head the oldest monarchy in Europe and take on a very rare role indeed – being a king in the 21st century.
Photo credit: Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Kongehuset.dk