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Educating a Queen – Margrethe’s studies

By Skagens Kunstmuseer -, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Queen Margrethe is one of the few sovereigns of her generation with multiple university diplomas. Her education journey seems to have heavily influenced her life and the manner in which she performs her role.  

Shortly after turning six-years-old in 1946, the Princess entered elementary school at Zahles School, studying as a private pupil at Amalienborg Palace from 1946 to 1949, and attending classes in person until 1955. 

Between 1955 and 1956, Her Majesty spent one year abroad at North Foreland Lodge in Hampshire, England. This wouldn’t be the last time she studied in the United Kingdom either. 

Between 1956 and 1959, she continued her education at Zahles School, graduating high school with an upper secondary examination certificate in the languages branch. She currently speaks English, Swedish, French and German, as well as her native Danish. 

Once she graduated high school, the future Queen enrolled in several European universities between 1960 and 1965. The heir to the throne passed her philosophy examination in 1960 at Copenhagen University before moving on to Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, where she studied archaeology between 1960 and 1961, earning a diploma in prehistoric archaeology. 

Margrethe then turned her attention to disciplines that could help her in her role as head of state. And so, she enrolled in a political science programme that she carried out in three different institutions: Aarhus University in Denmark between 1961 and 1962, La Sorbonne University in Paris in 1963 and the London School of Economics in 1965. 

And it was right during her year in London that she met the Count who would become her husband. Henri de Laborde de Monpezat was a French diplomat, who at the time, was stationed at the French Embassy in the British capital. They met at a diplomatic dinner and, after a short courtship, got engaged and married. 

As head of state, she is also the Chief of the Armed Forces; however, unlike most of her other European peers, she did not have a formal military education. She was a part of the volunteers of the Women’s Flying Corps from 1958 and 1970. As such, she received full training as a corporal in the Women’s Air Force, later graduating to sergeant and, finally, to lieutenant. 

Because of her strong educational connection to the United Kingdom, she also has a special relationship with specific units of the British Armed Forces. Queen Margrethe holds the position of Colonel-in-Chief of the Queen’s Regiment (to which she was appointed in 1972) and the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment (appointed in 1992). 

But, aside from the degrees more specifically connected to her role as head of state, it seems like the Queen was defined by the studies she did for personal interest. She has always had an artistic side that was fuelled undoubtedly by the analysis of ancient artefacts brought to light by archaeologists, as well as the literary works she was able to read in their original languages thanks to her extensive linguistic knowledge. 

Each and every one of us is shaped by the education we receive, and, despite their unique status, monarchs are no exception. And with the Queen celebrating her 50th year on the throne, it is interesting to look back and see her education journey play such a crucial role in her vision of her job and the world at large.