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HM The Queen's 80th birthday

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Her Majesty The Queen Margrethe II turns 80 years old on 16 April 2020.
In connection with the birthday, the Royal Danish House published "80 facta om H.M. Dronningen".

Portrættet er taget af fotograf Per Morten Abrahamsen, og logoet er udarbejdet af de grafiske designere Søren Varming og Henrik Kubel i samarbejde med Wonderful Copenhagen.

80 facts about H.M the Queen


When the citizens of Denmark woke up on Tuesday, 16 April 1940, it was a windy spring day. The newspapers predicted that the temperature would be between 2,1 and 7,8 degrees. On the front pages, the news were focused on the German occupation and the newspaper “Politiken” stated, among other things: “[Prime Minister] Stauning appeals to the people and asks for understanding and help: “It concerns the country’s welfare and the future of the people””. 


16 April 1940 changed its character when a little girl weighing 3.300 grams came to the world at 10.10 AM in Frederik VIII’s Palace at the Amalienborg Castle. After 23 minutes, a telegram was sent: “Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Ingrid gave birth to a little girl Tuesday at 10.10 AM. Mother and child are both doing well”


It is an old tradition that a royal birth is celebrated with a salute of 21 shots, but since The Queen was born under the German occupation of Denmark, this could not happen. Instead, the flags were raised in the entire country. The newspaper “Kristeligt Dagblad” wrote the day after the birth: “The salute was cancelled due to the special situation, but instead the flags were raised all over the city and on several ships in the harbour”.


The Queen’s godparents at the christening that took place on 14 May 1940 in Holmen’s Church, were King Christian X, Prince Knud of Denmark, Prince Axel of Denmark, King Gustaf V of Sweden, Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden, Prince Gustaf Adolf of Sweden and Prince Arthur of Great Britain.


In the first four years of her life, The Queen was also Princess of Iceland. This reflected in the third of the Queen’s four names: Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid.


Her Majesty’s nickname, Daisy, comes from the Queens grandmother, Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden whom the Queen is named after. The Crown Princess was born as Princess Margaret of Connaught in the United Kingdom where Daisy – the English word for marguerite – is a popular nickname for a person named Margaret. The Crown Princess Margareta died at the age of just 38 on 1 May 1920.


The Queen learnt to read in the 1st grade.


The Queen's portrait has adorned a Christmas seal twice. The first time as little Princess in 1942, and then thirty years later as a newly appointed Queen of Denmark. In addition, Her Majesty has designed the Christmas seal herself three times. The last time was in 2015.


When Denmark was liberated in 1945, The Queen was sleeping in her room in Frederik VIII's Palace at the Amalienborg Castle. The little Princess was then awakened and offered soda by her parents to celebrate the event.


The first time The Queen went to the Royal Theatre was for a gala performance of “Elves’ Hill” [“Elverhøj”, a play by Johan Ludvig Heiberg], arranged shortly after the liberation. For the Queen, this was the start of a lifelong love for the theatre.


For many years, The Queen practiced ballet dancing and Her Majesty started as a young princess, dancing under the guidance of ballet dancer Edel Petersen. For over 40 years, the Queen had been dancing ballet every week and today continues to be a keen spectator.


One of The Queen's favourite children's books is the story of Winnie the Pooh.


As a 12-year-old girl, The Queen received her first Greenlandic national costume. It happened after Frederik IX’s and Queen Ingrid's Greenland voyage in 1952.


As a child, The Queen often spent Christmas and Easter in the Trend Hunting Lodge, which was built in 1938-39 in a forest northwest of Farsø in Himmerland. In the book “The Deepest Roots” from 2016, The Queen writes, “We enjoyed staying at Trend, which is a one-storey house, and that alone was wonderful for us. You walked out the door and straight onto the grass."


The Queen became a member of the Danish Ornithological Society when she was 13 years old and continues to be fascinated by birds to this day.


The Queen went on her first skiing holiday in Norway in 1954. For many years the Queen has had a tradition of spending her winter holidays in Norway, where until a few years ago she also skied with close friends.


As a 14-year-old girl, The Queen watched a performance of Shakespeare's “Hamlet” in Kronborg for the first time. In 2016, The Queen was again among the audience as The Royal Shakespeare Company performed the play at Kronborg on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death.


Princess Margrethe had her confirmation at Fredensborg Castle on 1 April 1955.


From 1955 to 1956, The Queen was enrolled at a boarding school in England.


In 1956, for the first time, The Queen took part in the Royal New Year's reception as Royal Successor.


When the Queen turned 18 in 1958, the young Princess was admitted to the State Council cf. section 17 of the Constitution. 1: “The Ministers in unison constitute the Council of State, in which the successor of the throne, when he is of age, takes office. The King shall preside except in the case referred to in section 8 and in cases where the legislative power under the provisions of section 9 may have conferred on the Council of State the authority to lead the government."


As a young Princess, the Queen was on excavation holidays in Italy in the late 1950s with her grandfather, the Swedish King Gustaf VI Adolf. The King and Princess shared an interest in archeology.


The first time The Queen saw the Faroe Islands was in 1959, when as an heir to the throne she visited the North Atlantic Islands with her parents and sisters. The last time Her Majesty visited the Faroe Islands was in 2016, when The Queen visited Suderø, Sandø and Tórshavn.


On a June day in 1959, a newly-minted graduate in modern languages, Princess Margrethe was able to decorate her head with a graduation cap after passing her final exams at Zahles School as a private student.


The first time The Queen was in Greenland was in 1960, when The Queen was 20 years old. The latest one took place in 2015, when The Queen, together with Prince Henrik, visited North and West Greenland with the Royal Ship Dannebrog on a two-week long voyage.


In 1960, The Queen studied philosophy at the University of Copenhagen, and in the period 1960-1961 she pursued studies in archaeology at the University of Cambridge. Then, Her Majesty studied Political Science at the University of Aarhus in 1961-1962, at Sorbonne in 1963 and at the London School of Economics in 1965.


In 1960, The Queen met Elvis Presley in the Paramount's film studios in Hollywood, when the three Nordic princesses, Margrethe of Denmark, Astrid of Norway and Margaretha of Sweden, visited the USA in connection with the opening of a new flight route from Denmark.


The 13-square-meter Room 402 in College 9 at Aarhus University was the home of Princess Margrethe while studying Political Science.


On June 10, 1967, the heir to the throne married Henri Marie Jean André Count de Laborde de Monpezat, who at marriage became Prince Henrik of Denmark. The wedding took place in Holmen's Church and the wedding party was held at Fredensborg Castle. Prince Henrik passed away on 13 February 2018.


A five-meter-long train was among the details of the wedding dress that the Queen herself helped design with her tailor Jørgen Bender. The dress was decorated with Irish lace, that Queen Ingrid had received from her mother, and which Queen Ingrid herself had worn at her and Frederik IX's wedding in 1935.


On the occasion of the wedding of the regent couple, Queen Margrethe’s and Prince Henrik's Foundation was founded. The fund supports social, scientific and cultural causes.


The Queen grew up in Frederik VIII's Palace at the Amalienborg Castle, where the Crown Prince family lives today. Together with Prince Henrik, Her Majesty moved into Christian IX's Palace in 1968 after the wedding that took place the year before.


When Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon in July 1969, Princess Margrethe was watching it on TV while the new-born Prince Joachim was lying in his mother's arms.


Souris was the name of The Queen and Prince Henrik’s first dog. It lived from 1970 and nine years on. Since then, Her Majesty and the Prince have had 16 dogs, most of which have been dachshunds. The Queen’s current dog is named Tilia.


The Queen volunteered at the Women’s Aircraft Corps in the period from 1958-1970 and during this period received a comprehensive training in the Corps. The Queen finished with the rank of Major.


Besides the connection to the Danish Defence, The Queen has a special connection to a unit in the British Defence. In 1972, the Queen became Allied Colonel-in-Chief (Honorary Colonel) in The Queen's Regiment, later Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment. In 1997, the Queen took over as Colonel-in-Chief of The Princess of Wales' Royal Regiment.


Her Majesty speaks five languages. In addition to her mother tongue, Danish, she speaks English, French, Swedish and German.


First as a 30-year-old, The Queen read the book "Lord of the Rings". Tolkien's books have since meant a lot to Her Majesty - also creatively. When the Crown Prince and Prince Joachim were children, The Queen read the books to them, and drew imaginative landscapes that Tolkien described in the books for the Princes' rooms.


The Queen's earliest professional artistic work dates from the time of the ascension to the throne in the early 1970s, when Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" inspired The Queen to a series of small landscape drawings, later used to illustrate the trilogy under the pseudonym Ingahild Grathmer.


The Queen has been painting through most of her life. Initially, The Queen mainly used watercolors, but since then she has switched to mainly using acrylic paint.


For eight times, The Queen has been a part of artistic teams behind a ballet show in Tivoli. The latest ballet, where Her Majesty was scenographer and costume designer, was "The Snow Queen" in 2019.


Denmark has had 9 prime ministers and 24 governments during The Queen's reign. The first was Jens Otto Krag, who proclaimed The Queen as regent in 1972.


Since the ascension to the throne in 1972, The Queen has chaired 547 State Councils. At a State Council meeting, the Prime Minister and Ministers present bills and law proposals, as well as the bills passed by the Parliament, for confirmation by HM The Queen.


The Queen is the 21st Oldenburg monarch on the Danish throne.


The Queen's motto is "God's help, the love of the People, Denmark’s strength". The Queen even drafted the motto herself shortly before the proclamation at Christiansborg Castle the day after Frederik IX's death.


It was the Queen herself who decided to use the Roman numeral "II" as a recognition of Margrete I, who was never an official monarch of Denmark, but who essentially fulfilled this task.


The Queen has drawn her own monogram. Furthermore, The Queen stands behind the Crown Prince Couple's and Prince Christian's monogram.


The Queen has three marches, only one of which is used in official context nowadays. When Her Majesty became the regent of Denmark in 1972, it was the existing Princess Margrethe's Honorary March that became the new  official Honorary March of The Queen. But shortly afterwards a new Honorary March was composed, which unfortunately proved unsuitable for the Royal Life Guard to march to. In 1980, therefore, a national competition was announced for a new march for The Queen. However, since a regent can only have one official Honorary March, the new march would have to be a Parade March, and this is how it is today - the Parade March is the one played during official occasions.


In 1974, The Queen and Prince Henrik bought the Château de Cayx Castle, located in the Cahors wine region of southern France. The castle has since formed the setting for many of the royal family's summer holidays.


The Queen is awarded with 11 Danish and 50 foreign decorations. The Majesty has also received 15 honours, including Honorary Fellow at the London School of Arts in 1975 and Honorary Doctor at the University of Oxford in 1992.


During The Queen's reign, a total of 78 Orders of the Elephant were awarded. The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order of the Elephant and, as Denmark's finest Royal Order of Knights, the Order of the Elephant is mainly awarded to members of the Danish royal house, foreign royal houses and princely houses as well as heads of state. Only three times in the last 100 years a common-born Dane has received the order. Most recent case was in 2000, when a ship-owner Maersk Mc-Kinney Møller received the Elephant Order. The Queen herself received the Elephant Order in 1958, but with effect from April 20, 1947, the same day her father became king.


In 1981, The Queen translated Simone de Beauvoir’s novel “All Men Are Mortal” from French to Danish under the pseudonym H.M. Vejerbjerg, together with Prince Henrik.


During the 2012 London Olympics, The Queen and the other members of the royal family lived on the Royal Ship Dannebrog, which was docked in the Thames.


During the 2012 Olympic Games, the Queen saw Denmark winning medals at Eton Dorney rowing stadium.


Every year in December, The Queen goes to Londo, where, among other things, she does her yearly Christmas shopping.


Since the death of King Frederik IX in 1972, the Queen has continued the tradition of the annual summer voyage on the Royal Ship Dannebrog. Her Majesty has carried out a total of 48 voyages with Dannebrog, 44 of which were carried out together with Prince Henrik.


To this date, there have been 54 outbound and 58 incoming state visits during The Queen's reign.


The Queen's most recent state visit was to Argentina in 2019. During the visit, the Crown Prince and a major Danish business delegation accompanied The Queen. Together, they visited the capital city Buenos Aires and the Danish community in Tandil.


The Queen has 74 Danish and 9 foreign patronages. Some of the patronages have been taken over from the Queen's mother or father. Most recently, The Queen has become the patron of the Danish Arthritis Hospital in Sønderborg, which was inaugurated in 2019.


The Queen is the godmother of, among others, HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, HRH Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and HRH Prince Carl Philip of Sweden.


The Queen was awarded the Mother Language Award in 1989, and in 2004 Her Majesty was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize.


Since the early 1990s, The Queen has been involved with the decoupage technique, where clip-outs from books and magazines are glued together to form new designs. The method has been used by The Queen as a backdrop for the film adaptation of some of H.C. Andersen's well-known fairytales, including "The Snow Queen" in 2000 and "The Wild Swans" in 2009.


Since her first exhibition at the Køge Sketch Collection in 1988, The Queen has exhibited her art both alone and together with other artist, in many places both at home and abroad.


The Queen and Prince Henrik exhibited their paintings and sculptures together for the first time in 2013 at the ARoS Art Museum. The exhibition was titled "PAS DE DEUX ROYAL - an artistic meeting". It included 150 works, including The Queen's landscape paintings, church textiles, stage designs and decoupages, as well as Prince Henrik’s poems and sculptures.


The Queen herself invented the word "internationalese", which according her means "a peculiar, impersonal language that is not anyone's".


The Queen is heavily fascinated by the Viking Age. One of the Queen's first artistic works was illustrations for a book about the Danish legendary king Regnar Lodbrog. The book was published by Jørgen Stegelmann, head of Krebs' School, where The Queen's two sons were pupils. The book was illustrated by Ingahild Grathmer, a pseudonym of The Queen.


On The Queen's 75th birthday,  16 April 2015, the Royal Danish Science Society founded the "Queen Margrethe II's Science Award". The prize of DKK 100,000 is awarded annually to a researcher under the age of 50 and is to be awarded every year for 25 years.


At Easter, the Queen has a tradition of painting Easter eggs. The brightly colored eggs afterwards adorn the Marselisborg Castle, where Her Majesty has a tradition of celebrating Easter. This year, the Easter stay at Marselisborg Castle was canceled due to the spread of coronavirus.


The Queen has introduced a special Christmas tradition. After The Queen and the royal family have attended church, Her Majesty gathers all the staff members who are at work and reads the Nativity of Jesus to them. Afterwards, everyone gets a Christmas present from The Queen.


Christmas calendars with 24 doors to open, one every day from December 1st – it is an international tradition, but it is said to be a special Danish custom that involves 24 packages. The Queen has introduced this tradition to the royal family by embroidering a Christmas calendar that can accommodate 24 small gifts for her grandchildren. The calendars are designed with pockets decorated with embroidered hearts and Christmas motives, inspired by The Queen's Christmas seal from 2003. Each calendar has its own distinctive character with variations of the embroidery so that the children can easily recognize their own.


The Queen loves to dance Les Lanciers. Over time, this dance has become tradition at birthdays and dinner parties in the Royal House.


Once a year, The Queen curtsies. This happens at the New Year's reception at the Amalienborg Castle on 1 January, when The Queen and the female members of the royal family curtsy to the invited guests before heading to the table. The tradition originally comes from the Parliament in Stockholm and was brought to Denmark by Queen Ingrid. Back then, the royal ladies curtseyed when the King opened the Swedish parliament every year.


Over the years, The Queen has held 48 New Year's speeches.


With her 48 years on the throne, The Queen is the second longest-standing monarch in Danish history. Her Majesty is only surpassed by King Christian IV, who held the Danish throne for 60 years.


After the UK left the EU earlier this year, The Queen is now the longest-serving head of state in the EU.


When The Queen turns 80 years April 16, 2020, the Majesty will be the second regent to pass this milestone. The first was Christian IX who lived for 88 years.


Throughout her reign, the Queen has personally thanked all teams of guardsmen of the Royal Life Guard who have been guarding the castles. Only two times Her Majesty had to cancel the Royal Danish Life Guard Parades. The first time, the Queen had the flu, and the second time was in March 2020 due to the spread of coronavirus.


On Thursday, the Queen does not normally have regular office hours. The day is reserved for The Queen's other deeds and is often used for creative undertakings. At the castles, the Queen has set up ateliers where she works with artistic activities.


Many times, the Queen has been engaged in ecclesiastical art. As a practising artist, the Queen has sewn and embroidered several church textiles in clear colours and with the symbolism of imagery that is related to the Christian themes. Her Majesty recently designed and embroidered a new antependium and a new chasuble for the 300-year-old castle church in Graasten.


On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017, Her Majesty The Queen made a new antependium with the Luther rose as a central motive for the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. In addition, The Queen has, among other things, created chasubles for Haderslev Cathedral in 1988 and Holmen's Church in 2012 as well as colourful bishop’s capes for Viborg Cathedral in 1989, Aarhus Cathedral in 1999 and Aalborg Cathedral in 2006.