40 things you’ve always wanted to know about the Danish Queen (but were afraid to ask)

You might want to nip down to your

local supermarket and get stocked up!

[This post is also published over at www.blogs.denmark.dk – the official website of Denmark run by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs]

The Danish Queen is about to celebrate her 40th Jubilee and the Danes are excited.  Not to mention the Danish media who are having an absolute field day…  We’re in for a weekend of wall-to-wall coverage.  Live action from the palace, non-stop commentary from the ‘experts’, historial documentaries, the opinions of Hr. and Fr. Danmark and more fascinating facts about the Danish royal family than you can wave a Danish flag at…  (And, selvfølgelig, Danish buses will be patriotically decked out in flags over the weekend too.)

But how much have I actually learned about the Danish Queen in my 12 years here?  Well, just to test myself, I thought I’d write a list of 40 facts for the Queen’s 40th Jubilee.  Off the top of my head.  Written down as they popped up in my head.  And – cross my heart – I haven’t cross-checked them on ‘google’. After all, where would be the fun in that?

(Glaring) errors (that make me look like a right fool) and omissions are excepted… ;D



  1. Her name is Magrethe.  Or is it Margrethe? Can never remember the exact spelling, but in Danish it’s pronounced ‘Ma-gray-te’
  2. Her nickname is Daisy (apparently from the French word Marguerite = Daisy = which is also the Danish name for the flower Daisy = coincidentally the national flower of Denmark)
  3. She smokes like a chimney
  4. Her French husband’s name is Henri (de Montpessat?) but the Danes renamed him ‘Henrik’ and make fun of the way he speaks Danish
  5. The Queen lives at Amalienborg Palace in the centre of Copenhagen, and can moor a boat right outside. Her summer residence is in Gråsten, the south of Jutland.
  6. In the summer she goes off on her boat and makes official visit to towns around Denmark
  7. Henri(k)’s family are from Caïx (south of France or perhaps mid?) and Daisy and Henrik spend their private summer holidays there
  8. Just remembered the name of the royal yacht – it’s “Dannebrog” (which is the name of the Danish flag)
  9. She refuses to have her front teeth cleaned up
  10. She’s very artistic and designs ballet costumes (I also seem to remember something about wall hangings in churches), does découpage and paints pictures
  11. She thinks being Queen is a ‘job for life’, meaning she wants to reign until she dies
  12. The names of her sons are Frederik and Joachim
  13. Frederik (the crown prince) is married to Mary (né Donaldson) who’s from Oz/Tasmania but has Scottish heritage [said the fellow Scot ;D]
  14. Frederik, nickname ‘Frede’, and Mary have 4 kids: Christian, Isabella, Vincent and Josephine
  15. Joachim was married to Alexandra (né Manley) from Hong Kong, got divorced and is now married to Marie (can’t remember her maiden name) who is French. But I can tell you that Marie has a little dog who is the type that can fit into a handbag (don’t quote me on the name of the breed…bichon frisée?)
  16. Joachim and Alex had 2 kids together: Felix and Nicolaj
  17. Joachim and Marie have 1 child, Henrik, and another one about to pop out at any moment
  18. The Queen starts off her Christmas Dinner with a plate of ricepudding (don’t know why that fact suddenly popped in to my head) accompanied, as far as I recall, by beer
  19. The Queen’s husband, Henri(k) has his own vinyard at Château de Caïx and the Danes affectionately call his wine Château de ‘Rævepis’ (which translates as ‘fox piss’). I’ve seen it for sale in the department store Magasin
  20. When the Queen and Prince Henrik are on summer holiday at Caïx, she wanders around the local market buying produce, basket in hand, lady-in-waiting in tow (and, of course, the paparazzi)
  21. She’s very tall
  22. She has long hair, which is always worn up
  23. Though there is one very famous photo of her, leaning out of a castle window, no make-up, flowing locks, on the occasion of her (I think) Silver Wedding, when it’s tradition for family and friends to surprise the ‘bride and groom’ by waking them up at an ungodly hour by singing and playing horn music (gotta love those Crazy Danes and their crazy Danish traditions)
  24. The Queen likes to dress in strong colours and wears a lot of shawls and hats
  25. She was partly educated in England – might have been Oxford or Cambridge
  26. She has a really good British accent when she speaks English, and is also fluent in French
  27. She has two sisters: Benedikte and (it’s on the tip of my tongue…) Marie ??
  28. Benedikte is (methinks) married to a German and lives there, Marie (??) is married to the exiled Greek king and they live in the UK
  29. The Queen likes to ski but I think the recent problems with her knees have put a stop to that
  30. Prince Henrik has pet dogs but I don’t think the Queen has her own special dog – or, at least, I haven’t heard one mentioned in the gossip magazines
  31. There’s a magician/comedian she likes called Rune Klan, whose trick at a gala dinner involved the Queen choosing a piece of sliced ham (as opposed to a playing card)
  32. She also loves the entertainer Søren Østergaard, especially when he plays the baker who has ‘dancing’ Danish pastries
  33. I can’t remember the Queen’s exact age, but it’s around 73.  (I’m pretty sure of this because I let the kids skive off school a couple of years back, so we could go to Amalienborg, wave Danish flags, and see her wave from the balcony on her 70th birthday)
  34. She spends Christmas with her family
  35. New Year’s Eve is spent with old friends and they have a masked ball and fireworks
  36. On New Year’s Day she invites the ‘high heid yins’ (as we say in Scotland) like cabinet ministers, diplomats, etc for a gala dinner at Amalienborg Palace.  And the diplomats are expected to turn up in their national costume (which, naturally, provides plenty of cheap entertainment for the media)
  37. The Queen makes a televised speech on 31 December at 6pm – which is the official kickoff for Danish New Year celebrations.  So if you’re going out for dinner/to a party that evening, you mustn’t arrive later than 5.50pm – you have been warned!
  38. Okay, so I’m beginning to run out of ideas now…  Um, it’s also tradition at New Year parties to stand up during the Queen’s speech, glass of champagne in hand
  39. And the Danes get their cue that the speech is nearing its end when the Queen gives a special mention to the Danish armed forces and the Greenlanders
  40. This New Year past (31 December 2011) was the 40th time the Queen has made the speech.  And – true to form – she ended it as she always ends it with “Gud Bevare Danmark!” (‘God Save Denmark!)
Here is ‘Daisy’ in action on New Year’s Eve 2009

I was, of course, standing up when I took this photo! ;D

Whew – there you have it, folks…

Gud Bevare Danmark!  (God Save Denmark!)  Længe leve Dronningen!  (Long live the Queen!)