(CNN) — He has been known as the Crown Prince of Denmark since he was three years old, but this Sunday he left Copenhagen’s Christiansborg Palace as King Frederick X of Europe’s oldest monarchy.
Denmark’s royal transition was triggered a few weeks ago when Queen Margrethe II announced on New Year’s Eve that she intended to abdicate in early 2024. There are reports that Frederick’s popular mother, the world’s only reigning queen, will give up the throne. The throne shocked the Danes throughout the country.
After the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022, Margaret became Europe’s longest-reigning monarch. The couple are known for their close relationship, and it’s taken for granted that the Danish head of state, like her distant cousin, sees her role as a life’s work.
However, the 83-year-old monarch appears to have changed his mind and will abdicate 52 years after taking the throne. So who is the new King of Denmark and what kind of monarch will he become?
a rebellious boy
Although the Danish monarchy is over 1,000 years old, its members currently play a limited role under the country’s constitution. The Danes are extremely proud of their royal family, and the monarch also plays an important ambassadorial role.
“It’s very popular. Polls show very convincing support from the Danish people,” Birgitte Borup, culture editor at Danish newspaper Berlingske, told CNN. “Queen Margaret is offering her monarchy on a silver platter.”
Borup said Frederick would be “a different kind of king” who was “down to earth and interested in sport, whereas his mother was more culturally outstanding”. He added that “his main challenge is probably the way he speaks” because “he’s not known for his style in front of crowds.”
Frederic was born in 1968, the first child of Margaret and her late husband Prince Henry, who died in 2018. His name was chosen based on the Danish royal custom of calling the heir apparent Frederik or Christian. His only brother, Prince Joachim, was born in 1969.
Growing up in the public eye wasn’t easy for the shy young prince. His primary education was completed at Krebs’ Skole, an elite private school in Copenhagen, before he went to a boarding school in Normandy, France. Federico is uncomfortable with the media attention and fears for his fate. In the early 1990s, many people regarded him as a “party prince” who loved sports cars.
His time at Aarhus University helped him restore his reputation, and in 1995 he became the first member of the Danish royal family to earn a master’s degree. His political science studies included a year abroad at Harvard University, where he enrolled under the pseudonym Frederik Henriksen, a tribute to his father.
While in the United States, Federico also became fluent in French, English and German, and in 1994 he worked for several months at the Danish mission to the United Nations, earning a diplomatic title. Later, he was posted to Paris for a year as First Secretary at the Danish Embassy in 1998.
Frederik of Denmark, an outstanding athlete
Federico also received extensive military training in all three branches of the Danish Army, particularly in the elite Frogman Marine Corps, where he earned the nickname “Pingo” (Penguin).
In addition to being a decorated soldier, he also proved to be a passionate and highly capable athlete. He has competed in marathons over the years in Copenhagen, Paris and New York, and in 2013 he became the first member of the royal family to compete in an Ironman triathlon, finishing with a time of 10 hours, 45 minutes and 32 seconds.
He also served as a member of the International Olympic Committee from 2009 to 2021 and participated in a four-month, 2,795-kilometer dog sledding expedition through northern Greenland, an autonomous territory of Denmark, in 2000.
Federico also gained popularity in his country through his Royal Running program. Launched on its 50th birthday in 2018, the sporting challenge has become one of the largest running events in the country, with more than 80,000 participants each year.
Like King Charles III of England, he became a great environmentalist. Since Copenhagen hosted the COP15 climate talks in 2009, it has been firmly committed to highlighting the dangers of climate change and promoting Denmark’s role in a green future.
Danish royal experts say that although Frederick is popular with the public, he will face challenges when he takes the throne, which will make him king and head of state of Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
“Crown Prince Frederik is a more informal person than his mother,” historian Lars Hovbakke Sørensen said. “In the future, if it wants to maintain its focus on the monarchy With widespread support, it will also need to attract more Danes who are not interested in sport by showing interest in other topics.”
Likewise, Danish royal author Trine Villemann told CNN, “First and foremost, Federico has to prove that he can do more than just sport.”
The former royal correspondent and author of the unauthorized family biography 1015 Copenhagen K explained that “even though he had publicly stated over the years that he was happy with his future role, deep down there was still a feeling of uncertainty. A lingering doubt.” Many Danes have to overcome it, no matter how popular it is.
Federico bids farewell to his bachelor days when he meets Australian sales executive Mary Elizabeth Donaldson. The couple met in a busy Sydney bar in 2000 while the Crown Prince was in Australia for the 2000 Summer Olympics. It is said that Mary, unaware that the evening was taking place, was seduced by a member of the royal family.
Four years later, the couple married in a lavish ceremony at Copenhagen Cathedral in the presence of the king, queen and distinguished guests, followed by millions of people around the world.
They now have four children: 18-year-old Christian, who will become the new Crown Prince of Denmark when his father ascends the throne; 16-year-old Isabella; and 13-year-old twins Vincent and Josephine. The couple tried to give the children a more informal education than Federico had received, sending them to regular public schools.
In 2012, ahead of the ruby jubilee of Denmark’s 40th year on the throne, Queen Margrethe expressed her admiration for her daughter-in-law in an interview with CNN: “I trust her very much. We have a very good relationship, the relationship between us Very good.” Warm relationship. “
Ordinary Danes also embraced the future Queen Mary, who was praised for her composure and dedication to social causes.
Wellman described her as “the power behind Frederick” and called her transformation from commoner to beloved royal “extraordinary and impressive.”
The royal expert pointed to some of the future queen’s priorities over the years, such as her work on mental health and fighting bullying and loneliness through her foundation. “I would go so far as to say that Mary set an example for others like the Princess of Wales in terms of her choice of career and using the royal platform to spread awareness,” he explained.
Borup said he would become “the monarchy’s most important asset” in the coming years.
“She was not born into royalty, but some would say she was. She carried herself with grace and was an outstanding representative of the Danish nation,” he said. “She was known for always being well prepared and took on very important assignments, such as shining a light on domestic violence.”
“When Mary and Frederick met in Australia, people often said she was lucky to have met a fairy-tale prince. I think time has proven that he was luckier.”