How did the Danish royal family start?

All you need to know about the Danish royal family and where it all began...
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Having been around for over a thousand years, Denmark’s royal family is one of the oldest monarchies in the world…

After the passing of Queen Elizabeth in 2022, Queen Margrethe II remained as Europe’s only reigning female monarch.

With the recent news of the sudden abdication of Queen Margrethe, the longest-serving monarch, the Danish royal family has been in the spotlight more than ever.

However, the history of the Danish monarchy is not particularly common knowledge, so allow us to give you a breakdown…

WATCH NOW: Danish Royals’ cutest moments. Article continues after video.

RELATED: Queen Margrethe’s reign in retrospect

How old is the Danish Monarchy?

The Danish Monarchy can be traced all the way back to Gorm the Old (also called Gorm the Languid) who was ruler of Denmark from 936 until he died in 958. At this time, the monarch was elective rather than being passed down through generations of family, however, the choice was generally limited to either the eldest son of the reigning monarch or someone very closely related. This system changed in 1660 when absolutism was introduced, replacing the elective monarchy with inherited monarchy… this is when the royal family as we know it was born. 

The Act of Succession of 27 March 1953 allowed for the possibility of a female monarch… this act is what enabled Queen Margrethe to ascend to the throne in 1972. Fast forward to 2009, the Act of Succession was amended, by Queen Margarethe herself, which enabled the eldest child (regardless of gender) to succeed to the throne. 

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark gives a New Year’s speech on December 31, 2023, announcing her upcoming abdication. (Credit: Getty)

What religion is the Danish royal family?

One requirement for the Danish royal family, specifically for the monarch, is to be part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark (often referred to as the Danish National Church). Queen Margrethe and Crown Prince Frederik and all his children belong to the Danish National Church. This is also true for Crown Princess Mary who joined the Church of Denmark before she became part of the royal family. Before this, when she was living in Australia, she was Presbyterian.

RELATED: Inside Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik’s fairytale romance

How rich is the Danish royal family?

The Danish royal family has an estimated net worth of US$40 million. The Danish Civil List means the government pays the royal family. The annual sum paid to the monarch covers official expenses such as the Queen’s activities, the royal household’s operations, and private expenses. As of 1 April 2023, the civil list payment totals DKK 7,595,369 (approx. AUD$1,648,786) a month.

The allowance also benefits Princess Benedikte, covering expenses related to her official obligations. In addition to this amount, the government also provides an allowance of DKK 1,869,573 (approx. AUD$405,842) a month for The Crown Prince, of which The Crown Princess receives 10 percent. Prince Joachim also gets an allowance of DKK 330,450 (approx. AUD$71,733) a month. 

Frederik VIII’s palace, at Amalienborg where Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary reside. (Credit: Getty)

Where does the Danish royal family live?

Amalienborg is the Royal Family’s residence in Copenhagen and is a complex that consists of four palaces, Christian VII’s Palace, Christian VIII’s Palace, Frederik VIII’s Palace, and Christian IX’s Palace. The palaces are built around an octagonal courtyard in which the center of this, stands the French sculptor J.F.J. Saly’s equestrian statue of Frederik V, the founder of Amalienborg and Frederiksstaden. Amalienborg became the royal residence in 1974 after Christiansborg Palace burned down.

The Crown Prince and The Crown Princess and their children reside both in Frederik VIII’s palace at Amalienborg and in the Chancellery House at Fredensborg Palace. Fredensborg Palace is located on the eastern shore of Lake Esrum in Fredensborg on the island of Zealand in Denmark. The palace began construction in 1719 and was built as a country seat for Frederik IV. The main building was first used in 1722 and the chapel in 1726.

The palace has five main areas, The Palace Garden, The Orangery, The Palace Chapel, the riding ground and stable, and of course, the Chancellery House where the family often resides. The Queen also uses the palace for three months in the spring and three in the autumn. Fredensborg Palace is also often the setting for important events in the life of the Royal Family such as weddings, anniversaries, and birthdays. 

What is the Danish royal family surname?

Though the Danish royal family doesn’t have a set last name, they use the name of the house: Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg. The house is often referred to simply as the House of Glücksburg.

Denmark’s future king and queen, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary arrive at the New Year’s banquet at Amalienborg Castle, Copenhagen, on January 1, 2024. (Credit: Getty)

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the new Crown Prince of Denmark, Prince Christian

The monarchy today

Denmark now has a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the monarch cannot independently perform political acts. The monarch does sign all Acts of Parliament, however these only come into force after being countersigned by a Cabinet Minister. The Queen is informed of the latest political developments through regular meetings with the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The Queen’s main tasks involve representing Denmark abroad and being a figurehead at home. The Queen regularly attended anniversaries, open exhibitions, and exhibition openings abroad.

The Danish royal family remains relatively small. The members of the royal family with titles consist of Queen Margarethe II, her sons Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, and their wives Crown Princess Mary and Princess Marie. Frederik and Mary have four children: Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent, and Princess Josephine. Joachim and Marie also have four children: Count Nikolai, Count Felix, Count Henrik, and Countess Athena. 

Princess Benedikte, daughter of Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid is also included in the order of succession to the Throne and may act as regent when The Queen and The Crown Prince are abroad. 

On New Year’s Eve, Queen Margrethe announced her plans to abdicate, resulting in the news that Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will ascend the Throne. The Queen’s plans to abdicate means Denmark will now have an Aussie-born Queen.

RELATED: Princess Mary to become Queen of Denmark

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