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The highs and lows in Denmark: another roller coaster year for the Danish Royal Family

After the fickle 2022—which saw Queen Margrethe’s Golden Jubilee and Crown Princess Mary’s 50th birthday but also saw global headlines for the removal of Prince Joachim’s children’s titles—we bet the Danish Royal Family were hoping for a quieter 2023.

In many ways, it was quiet and steady. There were still moments of splendour and state, such as Prince Christian’s 18th birthday celebrations in October. But there were also moments of scandal, such as when compromising photos of Crown Prince Frederik and a female friend were published in tabloids, hitting his 19-year marriage with rumours that all was not well.

Queen Margrethe took time off for extensive back surgery; Prince Joachim accepted a new job in the United States; there was a new baby born within the family… let’s recap!

One thing you can count on from the Danish Royal Family is a splendorous New Year’s. Queen Margrethe hosted her annual levees with a new dress after 25 years!

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Only days later, she resigned one of her patronages in protest against Russia; in February, she cancelled a vacation due to health concerns; and two royal foundations announced large donations this year.

In February, the Royal Yacht Dannebrog announced its summer sailing schedule. Days later, Queen Margrethe announced that she would soon undergo major back surgery. She also took time in a major interview to take a swipe at Putin before getting surgery.

At the beginning of March, the Danish Royal Court announced that Queen Margrethe had been discharged from the hospital and that she would require a long period of recuperation following her back surgery. Crown Prince Frederik became regent while his mother was incapacitated, and took time to show his support for Ukraine on the anniversary of the conflict.

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Queen Margrethe’s recovery was so extensive, it prevented her from attending King Charles III’s coronation in May (the Crown Prince Couple attended instead). But she did appear on the balcony for her birthday on 16 April! Elsewhere we covered her reign in photos, as she’s now Europe’s longest-reigning monarch.

In May, we shared the news that King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway would pay an official visit to Denmark the next month. The Crown Prince Couple wound up playing a larger role in the visit, but there was still time for Queen Margrethe to greet her cousins.

At the end of July, we shared Queen Margrethe’s summer plans and covered her trip aboard the Royal Yacht in September. The Danish Royal Family confirmed their attendance at King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Golden Jubilee that month, too (though Princess Benedikte stayed behind to act as regent).

Queen Margrethe attended the opening of Parliament in October, and her attempts with a hat made headlines. She visited a synagogue that month, too. In December, the Danish Royal Court announced the Christmas plans for the family and shared behind the scenes snaps of both Christmas preparations and the 2024 New Year’s Levee.

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Crown Prince Frederik meanwhile, gained a patronage in support of Danish architecture. At the end of January, locations for 2023’s Royal Run were announced. In March, we shared how you could train for the Royal Run with Crown Prince Frederik. In April, we shared the pictures of the Royal Run medals. In May, the Crown Prince and Prince Vincent spoke of their training for the Royal Run.

In February, the Crown Prince carried out a secret meeting and celebrated love with his wife. The Crown Prince couple paid an official visit to India in February and March, which we covered here. Crown Prince Frederik attended a military parade and the consecration of a new bishop in Odense for his mother in April. He also visited a Danish military force.

At the end of April, Crown Prince Frederik traveled to the United Kingdom on behalf of his mother to present a banner to The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment’s Fourth Battalion (Queen Margrethe is the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief).

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Scandal hit Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary in November during the Spanish State Visit when photos of the future king and an aristocrat were published in tabloids.

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Crown Princess Mary’s first public engagements came mid-January, when she acted as regent on behalf of her mother-in-law and husband, who were in Greece for the funeral of ex-King Constantine.

In February, she attended the EliteForsk Awards. In April, we shared details of a sentimental work trip to Australia and her trip to Milan for Design Week. Also in April, Crown Princess Mary travelled to Vanuatu to view the damage by cyclones in the region.

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As the Women’s World Cup took over our screens in August, the Crown Prince Couple shared their support for the Danish team, despite them playing against Crown Princess Mary’s native Australia! The Crown Princess hosted Ukraine’s First Lady and penned a letter to her late mother when opening a new national bereavement centre. In December, she reflected on the year gone by for the Mary Foundation.

Prince Christian turned 18 in October, but we shared the news in June that he would forgo his royal allowance until he turns 21 or becomes Crown Prince, whichever event occurs first. Something Prince Christian did get in June? His driving license!

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The Danish Royal Court announced Prince Christian’s birthday plans in August and shared new portraits of the future king. He also became a godfather for the first time this month—to infant Prince Gustav Albrecht of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg.

As October rolled in, we were wall-to-wall with our coverage of Prince Christian’s birthday. There was a retrospective on his birth and early years; a documentary charting his studies as a future king; the royal guest list; a look at his education; details on the party awaiting him; new stamps to mark his coming of age; and a special photo album shared by his parents.

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On his proper birthday, Prince Christian was cheered on the balcony and with flags. There were also young guests at his gala dinner from around the Danish kingdom alongside the royals. More official portraits were released, including one of five of the future monarchs of Europe.

We also put together our own album of the weekend. And my personal favourite headline out of the weekend: the Cinderella who left behind her high heel. Prince Christian received the Order of the Elephant from his grandmother (his particular order came from his late grandfather, Prince Henrik) and we covered the illustrious history of the Order here.

In November, Prince Christian swore an oath to uphold the Danish constitution and formally accept his role. Though he’s now of age and can take the throne without a regent, he won’t gain a seat on the Council until there’s a change in reign.

Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine celebrated their 12th birthday early in January with new portraits; Princess Isabella turned 16 in April, with new portraits. In August, Princess Josephine started at a new school. In December, Prince Vincent cooked up a storm as part of the annual digital advent calendar. The Crown Prince Family shared a video call with an astronaut as part of their calendar, too!

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Prince Joachim received a new job: he would become a Defence Attaché for the Danish Embassy in Washington, D.C., from the fall. And despite the downgrade in titles for his children, and his job outside of Denmark, parliament didn’t want Prince Joachim to give up his allowance, which they announced in April.

Speaking of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, we covered their 2008 wedding here. Princess Marie travelled to Paris and Lyon for a cooking competition at the end of January; opened an autism conference in April.

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We’re not sure we’d say 2024 started off on the note that Count Nikolai, Count Felix, Count Henrik or Countess Athena anticipated… at the stroke of midnight on 1 January, they were downgraded from prince/princess to count/countess. At the end of January, they were still drawing headlines after we questioned if Nikolai and Felix were still being referred to as princes (yes, but their mother assured reporters that they were updating their paperwork).

Count Henrik’s confirmation date was announced and we covered it here. Count Nikolai announced that he would be doing a study abroad in Australia.

Elsewhere, we covered Countess Alexandra’s change of jobs and the birth of a son for Prince Gustav and Princess Carina (eldest son of Princess Benedikte). We also looked at the uniquely patriotic engagement rings of Queen Margrethe and Princess Marie. Princess Benedikte shared a look at her Christmas décor.

About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.