Queen Margrethe was born on 16 April 1940 as the eldest daughter of King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid. She matriculated in 1959 and then studied at the universities of Copenhagen, Cambridge, Århus, Sorbonne and London, concentrating particularly on political science and archaeology.
Queen Margrethe & the Prince Consort at Victoria, Crown Princess of Sweden, and Daniel Westling's wedding in Stockholm 2010. Photograph: Holger Motzkau.
In 1967, she married the French diplomat Comte Henri de Laborde de Monpezat (b.1934), thereafter called Prince Henrik. They have the sons Frederik (b.1968) and Joachim (b.1969).
The Queen’s style of reigning is outgoing and during her reign, the royal house’s relationship with the population has become more open than before. During her annual summer cruises on the royal yacht Dannebrog, she attaches great importance to reaching all parts of the realm, including the Faroe Islands and Greenland. In addition, she has managed to give her traditional televised New Year message a personal touch, which has strengthened the monarchy’s position in the nation.
At the same time, she pursues a wide range of artistic and literary interests, which have produced numerous visible results in the form of paintings, church vestments, stage designs, book illustrations and translations from Swedish into Danish and, with the Prince Consort, from French into Danish.
Like the Queen, Prince Henrik is an intellectual. He holds a university degree in French literature and Oriental languages and has published several books, including a volume of memoirs, Destiny Binds, in 1996, the poetry collection Cantabile, illustrated with collages created by the Queen, in 2000 and the poetry collection Whispering Breeze, also published in French as Murmures de vent, in 2005. He is moreover an established cookery book writer and an experienced winegrower.
The Queen and Prince Consort own the wine castle Château de Caïx in the Prince’s native Cahors in southwest France, where they usually spend part of the late summer.
The Prince Consort’s cosmopolitan attitude manifests itself in his extensive international work, and he is often called upon to support Danish export campaigns all over the world.
Knud J. V. Jespersen, Professor, dr. phil