Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, longest-reigning monarch of Europe and the only reigning queen after her death Queen Elizabeth IIcelebrated her anniversary with a series of modest celebrations in homage to her second cousin.
Margrethe, 82, a hugely popular queen known for her creative streak as well as her constant smoking, is said to have made the decision herself. She was originally supposed to celebrate her 50th birthday. the anniversary of her accession to the Danish throne in January, but the festivities have been greatly curtailed due to the pandemic.
Instead, full-blown festivities were expected to take place across the country this weekend, but then they were toned down again after the death of Queen Elizabeth on Thursday.
The palace said the decision was made “at the Queen’s own request,” according to Danish media.
In a letter of condolence to King Charles III, Margrethe called Queen Elizabeth “an outstanding figure among European monarchs and a great inspiration to all of us.” We will miss her terribly.
The carriage procession through the streets of Copenhagen, as well as access to the balcony, was canceled.
“After 50 years on the throne, Queen Margrethe has become the world’s longest-lived monarch since the death of Queen Elizabeth.” the Danish newspaper Berlingske stated on Friday.
Margrethe was crowned queen at the age of 31 on 14 January 1972.
At the time of her accession to the throne, only 45% of Danes supported the royal family, objecting to the place it occupied in a modern democracy. Today it enjoys the support of more than 80% of the population.
Margrethe, who was widowed in 2018, is credited with modernizing the institution and encouraged the marriage of her two sons to non-nobles. She is praised for being scandal-free and apolitical.
Margrethe repeatedly said that she would remain on the throne until her death. In 2019, she told Swedish daily Expressen: “I intend to stay put as long as I live. My mission is a lifetime.” She said that the renunciation would only be called into question if she became seriously ill.
Her son, 54-year-old Crown Prince Frederik, should be her successor.
Her fun-loving reputation was solidified in May this year when she rode the roller coaster at Copenhagen’s Tivoli amusement park, managing to stay in a hat.
She is considered an accomplished artist and has illustrated several books and exhibited her work in museums at home and abroad. She has also worked as a costume designer and set designer for the Royal Danish Ballet and the Royal Danish Theatre. Margrethe, a linguist, has also been involved in translation projects, including a 1981 translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s novel All Men Are Mortal under a pseudonym.
The decision to cancel street parties and a folklore festival due to take place on Saturday was made by the royal family. The Queen was to appear on the balcony of Amalienborg Palace with members of her family before making a ceremonial carriage ride down Strøget in central Copenhagen to City Hall.
The gala performance at the Royal Theater was “in an adjusted form,” according to the palace.
Members of the Swedish and Norwegian royal families took part in activities over the weekend, including a Sunday church service at the Church of Our Lady in Copenhagen, followed by lunch on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog and dinner at Christiansborg Palace.
Historian Lars Hovbakke Sørensen told Berlingske that even though the ties between the families “were not that close”, the cancellation followed protocol.
“If you had street festivals, it would send the wrong signal to the world,” he said. “You need to show your sympathy, not least because there are both personal and family ties between the two royal families.”
The second longest-serving monarch is King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, who has been on the throne for 49 years.
The Sultan of Brunei has been on the throne for 54 years, but opinions are divided on whether he should be considered the world’s longest-serving monarch, due to the fact that the country only became independent from Britain in 1984.