British Royal Visits to Denmark

The Duchess of Cambridge will embark on a working visit to Denmark on February 22-23, with The Royal Foundation Center for Early Childhood, which she launched in 2021. The Duchess will meet Queen Margrethe and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark for a series of events, which makes today a great opportunity to look back at the close relationship between the two Royal Families.

Copenhagen in January - First Impre...
Copenhagen in January - First Impressions of Denmark

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The Danish and British Royal Families have had a close relationship which dates back centuries, with frequent intermarriage. King James VI and I married Princess Anne of Denmark in 1589. Queen Anne married Prince George of Denmark in 1683. Princess Louise of Great Britain married King Frederick V of Denmark in 1743 while her niece, Princess Caroline Matilda, married her son King Christian VII of Denmark and Norway in 1766. Princess Alexandra of Denmark married the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) in 1863, while their daughter, Princess Maud, married her cousin, Prince Carl of Denmark in 1896, later becoming King Haakon VII and Queen Maud of Norway. Wedding of Prince George of Denmark and Anne Bowes-Lyon, Viscountess Anson The late Duke of Edinburgh was born Prince Philippos of Greece and Denmark, and as such the Danish Order of the Elephant was displayed at his Funeral.

For much of the latter half of the 19th century, the Prince and Princess of Wales spent extended annual Holidays at Fredensborg Palace  when the Russian, Greek, British, and Hanoverian Sovereign children and in-laws of King Christian IX and Queen Louise descended on Denmark. One famous anecdote of the time came when the relatives met a man while walking in a park, who asked to be introduced:

King Christian IX said I’m the King of this country, with my sons; the Crown Prince of Denmark and the the King of Greece, and my sons-in-law; the Prince of Wales, Tsar of Russia, and the Crown Prince of Hannover.

To all this the bewildered man replied: “and I’m the Emperor of China” and walked off.

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The British and Danish Royal Families have continued to be close in the years after the gatherings at Fredensborg Palace stopped. King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine attended the Wedding of Prince George, Duke of Kent and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark in 1934, Lady Patricia Ramsay (aunt of the bride) and Princess Helena Victoria attended the Wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Princess Ingrid of Sweden in 1935, while King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark attended the Wedding of the Queen and Prince Phillip of Greece and Denmark in 1947. Queen Ingrid  was the only foreign royal who attended the Wedding of Princess Margaret in 1960, and was accompanied by the soon-to-be Queen Anne-Marie of Greece for the Wedding of Princess Alexandra of Kent in 1963.  The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, and Princess Anne attended the Wedding of King Constantine of Greece and Princess Anne-Marie of Denmark in 1964, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent attended the Wedding of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik of Denmark in 1967, while The Queen Mother, godmother of the bride, attended the Wedding of Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in 1968. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik attended the Wedding of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. The Earl and Countess of Wessex represented the British Royal Family at the Wedding of Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark in 2004 while Queen Margrethe attended the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011.

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While King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra made a State Visit to Denmark in 1908 and King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark went on a State Visit to Britain in 1914, there are no public images. In 1951, the British Royal Family hosted King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark on their State Visit to Britain, which was one of the last events King George VI presided over before his final terminal illness.

A few years later, after the Queen’s Accession, she undertook a State Visit to Denmark in 1957, her third outgoing State Visit, reflecting the close family relationship. There was a State Banquet at Christiansborg Palace, a Gala Performance at the Royal Theatre, and a Return Banquet on the Royal Yacht Britannia, which was attended by the extended Danish Royal Family.

Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik were hosted by the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh on their first State Visit to Britain in 1974, two years after her accession, with a Banquet at Windsor Castle and a Return Banquet at at Claridge’s Hotel.

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The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh made a second State Visit to Denmark in 1979, which included a series of splendid events including a State Banquet at Christiansborg Palace and a Return Banquet on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

In 2000, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh hosted Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik on another State Visit to Britain, which included a Banquet at Windsor Castle and a Gala Dinner at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

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The last official visit between Britain and Denmark was in 2012, when the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were hosted by the Danish Royal Family as part of their Tour of Scandinavia. The Duchess of Cambridge has also visited Denmark before, in 2011, when the Duke and Duchess paid a short visit to Copenhagen to visit the UNICEF Supply Division centre to view the distribution of aid to East Africa.

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The Danish and British Royal Families have also attended countless personal events over the years, and the Danish Royal Family have also made several Official and Private visits to the United Kingdom. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid visited London in 1939, when she met her grandfather, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, for the last time before his death during the Second World War. A few years later, the Danish Royal Family was welcomed as extended family when they arrived for the Danish Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 1948. The Prince of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik’s 25th Wedding Anniversary in 1992, while the Duke of Edinburgh attended her 60th Birthday in 2000. Queen Margrethe attended the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1997, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Dinner at Windsor Castle in 2002, and the Order of the Garter Service in 2002. Over the years various members of the Danish Royal Family have been in London for events connected to the Anglo-Danish Society, which has included Gala Dinners in 1939, 1962, 1966, 1974, and 2019. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary were at Royal Ascot in 2016, and also attended the Prince of Wales’ 70th Birthday Dinner at Buckingham Palace in 2018. More recently, Crown Prince FrederikCrown Princess Mary and Prince Christian of Denmark joined the Duke of Cambridge at the EURO 2020 Semi-Final Match between England and Denmark at Wembley Stadium in July 2021.

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One thought on “British Royal Visits to Denmark

  1. I hope she brings along some nice jewels. My bet is on her tanzanite jewels and one of her pearl earrings and pendants.

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