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Margrethe at 80: Queen of Denmark


Det Danske Kongehus Instagram still (fair use)

Today, we’re looking back at the first ten years of Queen Margrethe’s reign, from 1972 to 1982.

Princess Margrethe was born in 1940, the oldest daughter of Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid. At the time of her birth, women could not succeed to the throne of Denmark. However, after three daughters were born to the king, it became clear that he would not have a male heir to succeed him and the laws were changed. Margrethe became heiress presumptive in March 1953.

Prior to her accession, she married a French diplomat named Henri de Laborde de Monpezat and had two sons, Frederik and Joachim. But shortly after New Years in 1972, her father fell ill and did not recover from his illness. King Frederick IX passed away on 14 January 1972, and Margrethe became the first Queen of Denmark.

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There is no elaborate coronation ceremony in Denmark, à la the British royals, so when Margrethe succeeded her father on 14 January 1972, she was proclaimed Queen of Denmark by the Prime Minister, Jens Otto Krag, from the balcony at Christiansborg Palace.

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Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik are pictured above on the balcony at Christiansborg Palace on 15 January 1972, the same morning she was proclaimed queen. She spoke to the public who’d gathered outside the palace, saying, “My beloved father, our King, is dead. The task that my father had carried for nearly 25 years is now resting on my shoulders. I pray to God to give me help and strength to carry the heavy heritage. May the trust that was given to my father also be granted to me.”

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Queen Margrethe is pictured attending her first Cabinet meeting as queen.

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This is the first official portrait of Queen Margrethe following her accession in 1972.

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In February 1973, King Olav of Norway paid a State Visit to Denmark. Here, Queen Margrethe is pictured with her Norwegian counterpart.

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Queen Margrethe and her family are pictured here aboard the Royal Yacht Dannebrog visiting Bornholm in June 1973.

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In May 1974, Queen Margrethe paid a State Visit to Queen Elizabeth II. Here, she and Prince Henrik are pictured inspecting the troops.

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Attending a gala dinner with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Windsor Castle.

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Admiring the horses.

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Queen Margrethe hosting a State Dinner for the President of Yugoslavia.

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Looking through the camera as a crew sets up to film her at Fredensborg Palace in 1975.

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In June 1975, Queen Margrethe and the Nigerian Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon, received honorary Doctor of Law degrees from Cambridge University.

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Queen Margrethe attended the Nobel Prize ceremony on 10 December 1975.

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Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik in Chicago, 1976.

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In June 1976, the Royal Family took a trip to the Virgin Islands.

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The Royal Family vacationing in France in 1977.

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Meeting Mikhail Baryshnikov in Paris, 1978.

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Visiting French vineyards in 1978.

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In 1979, Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik visited China.

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Queen Margrethe welcomed Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip to Copenhagen in May 1979.

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At a gala banquet aboard the Royal Yacht Britannica during Queen Elizabeth’s State Visit.

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Two queens sharing a carriage through Copenhagen, May 1979.

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Two queens in Jutland, May 1979.

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In June 1980, Queen Margrethe attended Royal Ascot with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and Grand Duke Jean of Luxembourg.

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She marked her 40th birthday with a new official portrait.

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The Royal Family vacationing in France, 1981.

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Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik can be seen at the forefront of the picture walking down the aisle at St. Paul’s Cathedral for the wedding of Charles, The Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer in July 1981.

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Queen Margrethe in a photo for the State Visit of French President François Mitterand.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.