Crazy kings and weird stories – The monarchy of Denmark

Today is a pretty special day in Denmark, there is a nationwide celebration which has been going all on week, culminating today. – It is our crown prince’s birthday, and it’s not just any birthday, he is turning 50 today! 

So in honor of the Danish crown prince (His name is Frederik by the way), I will dedicate this post to the Danish monarchy, because over the past many years we’ve (By we I mean the Danes) have had 54 rulers (Don’t worry I will only go through 10) and a bunch of them were really crazy and interesting – the craziness has however been on a downward spiral in recent years, which is probably good for Denmark but doesn’t make for as fun stories 😉  

Prins Frederik

Crown Prince Frederik the 10th

Now this is Frederik, he isn’t a king yet, but he will be and it’s his birthday so of course, I’m going to include him 🙂 He was born in 1968, he is married to an Australian who became crown princess Mary in 2004 when the 2 were married and today they have 4 kids, the oldest being prince Christian who like his father will someday be the king of Denmark.                                                                                             One day when Prince Christian has his own kids, he is very likely to name his firstborn son Frederik like his father, not necessarily to honor him, but because throughout history it’s the tradition of Danish kings to be called Frederik and Christian, so actually, our crown prince, whose birthday we are celebrating, is Frederik the 10th and his son will be Christian the 11th. 

Harald Blåtan.jpg

Harald Blåtand

From the newest in history, I’m jumping back a little over 1000 years to king Harald Blåtand. His last name Blåtand actually means Bluetooth. You might actually already “know” of him without even knowing, but I’m sure the English translation rang a bell, because yes the modern day Bluetooth is actually named after him, and the symbol is his initials written in old Nordic Runes. Unfortunately, no one knows why he had this name, but dental care wasn’t widely available back then so maybe he just had really bad teeth.                                                                                                                       He wanted to be known for making the Danes Christian, but unfortunately for him, he is today more known for being killed by an arrow in the butt while fighting his own son Svend, who wanted to overthrow him. 

Valdemar Den Store

I’m not going to say a whole lot about this king, but he was born in 1131 and was king from 1157 to 1182, meaning that he was actually king for 25 years, which is a lot at that time considering that many other kings only lasted 3 – 9 years and one unlucky king only just made it 20 months on the throne before being killed. But the reason I do think he is worth mentioning is that he, alongside a good friend of his Bishop Absalon, founded Copenhagen, which is now the capital of Denmark.


Valdemar Sejr

Another Valdemar, but in between the 2 there has been another king, so this Valdemar was king from 1202 to 1241, so a good amount of time as well. This king is known for especially one thing – the Danish flag!                                                            The Danish flag is said to be the oldest flag in the world, which is still in use, and the legend of how we got it, is quite peculiar. It is said that when Valdemar had gone to war with his troops in Estonia and Denmark was loosing so he asked God for help a sign that he would win and to show Valdemar that he would victorious God sent the Danish flag from the heavens – and Valdemar won, so we kept the flag. 


Oluf / Magrete the 1st.

Oluf is the youngest king that Denmark ever had, he was only 5 years old when he was crowned, but he didn’t get to govern for himself, his mother Magrete did it for him, and she did it fantastically! When he turned 10 he was also crowned king of Norway, again with his mother as the front figure how would do all the decision making. Oluf died when he was just 17, but his mother didn’t want to let go of power so she found some other young boys that she was somehow related to and then had them put in as kings with her as the sovereign with all the power. She was never crowned queen but she was named “Lady of full power” on a lifetime basis in both Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, meaning that she actually sat as regent in all the 3 Nordic countries, and she did so for 37 years. It was another 576 years before Denmark saw the next female regent. 

Christian the 1st.

Now there isn’t much to notice about Christian the 1st. except that “started” the Danish tradition with Christian and Frederik as the name of the Danish king, this was in 1448, and since him, Denmark has only had one king named something else, this was the king who followed him. He is mainly known for having been tall, spending way too much money and not being the smartest guy. 

Christian 4.jpg

Christian the 4th.

Christian the 4th. is a strong contender for the favorite king of most Danes, which can seem a little strange considering the fact that he pretty much ran our country into bankruptcy. He was king from 1588 to 1648, meaning he was on the throne for 60 years. Christian’s big dream was to take back Sweden, and so he went to war with our neighboring country A LOT, and losing, well every time! This was expensive and on top of all his wars, he build (well at least he ordered others to build) a lot of the touristy buildings you can still see in Copenhagen today, including castles, churches, towers and general housing. 

Want to read more about the touristy things to see in Copenhagen? Check out my post here. 

On top of starting and losing a lot of wars and building way more than he could afford Christian the 4th. is known for being quite the alcoholic, who was often seen drinking more than 30 glasses of wine at dinner other than that he is known for being a ladies man of sorts, marrying 3 times and having a lot of kids, both with his wives and others, at least 20 kids are known and it is speculated that there were many more, who just remained unknown.

 Christian the 7th.

This king I included because he was known to be literally insane, he was king for 42 years all of those years, he was an autocratic king, meaning that he ruled all by himself without anyone being able to say no to him. Later in history, it has been concluded that he suffered from schizophrenia, leaving him paranoid, nervous and often angry. A doctor from Germany was brought to Denmark to treat him, Christian really liked him and the doctor really liked his wife, the feelings were returned and the 2 started an affair, ending with the king discovering it and the doctor being executed. There is actually a movie about this called “A royal affair” and I highly recommend seeing it.


Magrete 2nd.

Jumping in time again we’ve reached present time and Queen Magrete the 2nd, who has been the Queen of Denmark since 1972. The most important thing you need to know about her is that we Danes love her! She paints, she designs costumes for ballets, she smokes cigarettes, she is good at languages, she was married to a Frenchman who recently died, but he was never king she was always Queen with him as a prince, just as in England. Every year on New Year’s eve she gives a speech on TV and basically, all of Denmarks 5.8 million people sit down and watch her speak – in short, we really do love her. 

So there you have it, a short look into the history of Danish kings and Queens, like I said at the beginning of the post ever since Denmark became a real country we’ve had 54 regents, I picked out 10 and I hope it wasn’t too much information for you 🙂

Want to learn some Danish as well? Check my post about 10 Danish words you need to know.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s