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Granny Knows Best: the grandparents of Margrethe II


Queen Margrethe of Denmark is descended from royalty on both sides of her family tree. Today, let’s look at their lives more in depth.

Christian X of Denmark

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Queen Margrethe’s paternal grandfather was Christian X of Denmark, who reigned from 1912 to 1947. He also reigned as the last King of Iceland. He lived according to stringent belief in royal authority but was also a firm symbol of the Danish resistance, having rode through the streets of Copenhagen unguarded during the Nazi occupation of the Second World War.

A much-beloved figure for this reason, and for leading Denmark through two world wars, Christian X died in 1947 and was succeeded by his son, Frederick IX. As all Danish monarchs alternate between the names of Christian and Frederick, to play her part in observing this tradition, Margrethe treats herself as a ‘Christian’ and named her son Frederik to continue the line.

Queen Alexandrine of Denmark

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Queen Margrethe’s paternal grandmother was Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, born a German duchess from Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 1879. She married Prince Christian of Denmark in 1898, and together, they ascended to the throne in 1912.

As a queen, she devoted herself to gardening and other courtly pursuits and was happy to play a laid-back role while her husband was the face of the monarchy. The couple enjoyed immense popularity as they reigned during two world wars, and Queen Alexandrine was said to be a driving force behind the scenes with support for her husband and the institution of monarchy.

During the Second World War, a Danish playwright, Kaj Munk, said of Queen Alexandrine that she was the only German the Danish people would like to keep. She was widowed in 1947 and died in 1952, 20 years before her granddaughter Margrethe ascended to the throne.

Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden

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Queen Margrethe’s maternal grandfather was King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, who reigned from 1950 to 1973. His only daughter, Ingrid, married Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark in 1935, giving him three Danish granddaughters: Margrethe, Benedikte, and Anne-Marie.

At the time his reign began, he was the oldest heir apparent in the world (The Prince of Wales later broke this record and is adding time to it), and reigned by the motto “Duty before all.” He was a beloved figure, well-respected and viewed as knowledgeable on the subjects he championed, and helped transform the image of the monarchy in Sweden.

After his first wife—and Margrethe’s maternal grandmother—died in 1920, he was remarried to Lady Louise Mountbatten in 1923, who reigned as queen consort. His daughter, Ingrid, was said to be furious that her father had remarried and did not like her new stepmother. It took years before she was reconciled to her family in Sweden because of their strained relationship.

He is the grandfather of two monarchs and one queen consort: Queen Margrethe, King Carl XVI Gustaf, and Queen Anne-Marie; and was the only grandparent who lived to see Margrethe ascend to the Danish throne in January 1972. He died the following year.

Princess Margaret of Connaught

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Queen Margrethe’s maternal grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught, was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and grew up to be one of the most eligible royal brides of her generation. She met Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf on a trip to Egypt, and they fell in love at first sight. They were engaged in Cairo and married in 1905.

The royal couple had five children together: Prince Gustaf Adolf, Sigvard Bernadotte, Prince Bertil, Carl Johan Bernadotte, and Ingrid (later to be Queen of Denmark). As the Crown Princess of Sweden, she dove into learning the language of her new home and learned all she could about Swedish history and culture, and other topics, including politics. She became known as Margareta and worked with arts groups, sports groups and helped out to provide relief during the First World War.

On 1 May 1920, Crown Princess Margareta died suddenly following an infection at eight months pregnant and was buried in her wedding dress and veil on Karlsborg Island at Solna.

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.