This handsome lad has turned 15. Why do they grow up so fast??
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With her radiant smile and charming manner, Princess Marie is one of Denmark’s classiest imports.
French-born Marie officially joined the royal family in 2008 when she married Prince Joachim, the younger son of Queen Margrethe II. Since then, Marie has become extremely popular in her adopted country, and it’s not hard to see why: she’s a great representative of Denmark, a loving wife, and a doting mother to her two children and two stepchildren.
Marie is frequently praised for her warm relationship with her stepsons, Princes Nikolai and Felix, from Joachim’s previous marriage to Countess Alexandra (Manley). In fact, all three parents are hailed for their good relationships with one another and their sensible approach to parenting a blended family. Marie and Joachim’s two children together, Henrik and Athena, are adored by their elder siblings.
Marie’s work is also a subject of praise, earning her accolades near and far. Each one is a source of great interest for the princess:
- Copenhagen Cooking & Food Festival
- Danmarks Skiforbund
- Den danske UNESCO (Danish National Commission for UNESCO)
- Det Danske Studenterhus i Paris
- Epilepsiforeningen (Danish Epilepsy Association)
- Folkekirkens Nødhjælp (English: DanChurchAid)
- Kattegatcentret Aquarium
- Landsforeningen Autisme (National Association for Autism)
- New Nordic Jewellery and Watch Show
- Prix littéraire des Ambassadeurs (Annual Literary Prize for French Literature)
- Schackenborg Fonden
- Tønder Festival
Marie has worked extensively both within Denmark and internationally. She has been closely involved with patronages in southern Denmark in the Jutland region when she resided at Shackenborg castle with Prince Joachim. He had taken over the castle and surrounding farmland, working with the farmers and other organizations in the area for many years. Both the Prince and Princess remain supporters of the area since it was a place close to Joachim’s heart and Marie’s first home with her husband.
She has visited Ethiopia and Cambodia, both with DanChurchAid. The organization assists millions people annually through humanitarian and development activities. More recently, Marie has become involved with DanChurchAid’s program to reduce food waste.
Admiration of her work is not limited just to Denmark. The princess was recently awarded the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor. As a former French citizen, she was recognized for her humanitarian efforts with her patronages.
Prince Henrik, consort to Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II, died peacefully on February 13th at Fredensborg Palace. His body was formally removed from Fredensborg back to Copenhagen, where the public was able to pay tribute to him. His funeral followed on February 20th.
The nation mourned the prince who had been a part of their royal family since his 1967 marriage to their Crown Princess Margrethe.
Born Henri Marie Jean André, Count of Laborde de Monpezat, he was a colorful character among the royals. Henrik was the definition of a bon vivant who enjoyed cooking and winemaking. He ran the Château de Cayx estate in France, a favorite retreat in his native country. It was a much-loved spot for the prince, who spent summers there with his wife and children, and then his sons and their children. The prince also worked to translate French literature into Danish. He was termed a “Renaissance Man”, which made Henrik an excellent fit for Margrethe – the Queen is a painter, costume designer, and patron of the arts – a “Renaissance Woman” in her own right.
Courtship, Marriage, and a New Country
The charming, multilingual diplomat fell for Margrethe, and she for him. They met at a dinner party in the home of mutual friends in 1965, and again they met during a friend’s wedding. It was on the plane ride home together that Henrik declared his love for her. In the autumn of 1966, they were engaged. Margrethe’s ring is called a toi et moi ring – French for “you and me” represented by two large diamonds. A perfect way to seal and engagement by her French beau.
The royal wedding ceremony took place in Holmens Kirke and subsequent celebrations were held at Fredensborg Palace. The following year on May 26th, 1968, Henrik and Margethe welcomed their first son, Frederik, named for his grandfather King Frederik IX. Their second child, Prince Joachim, was born June 7th, 1969. Both Frederik and Joachim carry their royal titles as well as their father’s family title. Both are styled “His Royal Highness” and as a Count of Monpezat.
The issue of titles was a sticking point for Henrik, who expressed his disappointment at not becoming king when Margrethe became queen. In royal protocol, a king is higher in rank than queen, so it would’ve been inappropriate for him to become king when it was his wife who was the blood heir to King Frederik IX. Henrik didn’t see it that way. His complaints startled Danes, who did not expect their Prince Consort to make such a matter public.
Public Anger, Unroyal Burial
Prince Henrik was laid to rest in a very modern way, unique from the standard Danish royal burials. It was done so at his request because of his very public frustration of not being a king or even a king consort. After being cremated, part of his ashes were buried in the garden of Fredensborg; the remainder of his ashes have been scattered in the waters around Denmark.
Originally, the queen and prince had commissioned artist Bjørn Nørgaard to create a stunningly unusual glass sarcophagus. Inside, frosted glass silhouettes of the royal couple. It is mounted on three columns with silver elephant heads (a nod to the Danish Order of the Elephant). Margrethe and Henrik were to be buried in the royal vault under the floor in Roskilde Cathedral, with the sarcophagus above representing them, much like the traditional stone versions seen in royal cathedrals in Britain and Europe.
Then, in 2017, Prince Henrik made the announcement that the plans for this royal burial would not take place. Instead, he would be buried away from his wife. It was a form of protest that would serve to remind Margrethe for the rest of her life that she had denied him his equality. It was said that the prince had dementia, and thus his retirement from public life, but he was lucid enough to remember that he had be wronged, and he made sure that his new wishes were followed to the letter.
Henrik’s family and only very close friends attended the funeral, including his siblings and even his former daughter-in-law Alexandra, the Countess of Frederiksborg. The nation came out in full force to see his coffin and pay respects by leaving flowers.
Margrethe must be devastated, but like the true queen that she is, she has gracefully appeared in public to acknowledge the public tributes to Henrik and was a pillar of strength during the funeral itself. He sounds like he was a firecracker, full of life and a vibrant personality. Despite his displeasure over being denied kingship, Henrik served his country admirably and was Margrethe’s right-hand-man for the entirety of their marriage. They appeared very happy and Queen Margrethe, I am sure, will miss him terribly. Princess Marie,too, must be incredibly sad to lose not just a father-in-law, but a father-in-law who shares her homeland’s cultural background. They seemed very close. Crown Princess Mary made a sweet gesture of wearing a necklace that Henrik gifted her for her wedding to Crown Prince Frederik.
My prayers to the Danish Royal Family.
Prince Henrik is reported to have died peacefully at Fredensborg Castle, just north of the Danish capital of Copenhagen. His wife, Queen Margrethe, was at his side along with their two sons – Crown Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim. Frederick had been representing Denmark at the Olympics, and rushed home to be with his father as Henrik’s health failed.
The French-born Count Henri de Monpezat became the husband of Denmark’s future queen on June 10, 1967. It was a love match and his marriage to Margrethe appeared successful.
Margrethe became queen just a few years later on the 14th of January, 1972. King Frederick IX, Henrik’s father-in-law, died after an illness, and the new queen was proclaimed – but not a king.
This was a point of contention with Prince Henrik, who was angered that he was not given equal status to his wife. Like his British counterpart, the Duke of Edinburgh, the ascendancy of his wife to monarch status was difficult to deal with. It disrupted the family life – one person died, a beloved father – and the rest of the family had to shift into entirely new roles. Understandably, this is extremely difficult.
Whereas the Duke decided to take control of various royal residences and his children’s education to occupy himself (as well as various sports and travels), Denmark’s consort has made his unhappiness vocal over the course of his wife’s reign about being shut out of equal treatment. In his mind, Henrik should’ve been king.
So angry was Henrik that he made a public declaration last year that he would not be buried next to Queen Margrethe II in the event of his death, which, sadly, has come much sooner than expected.
As in the UK, a man marrying a monarch does not make him king. The status of king is higher than that of queen, and it would be inappropriate for a blood-princess – who is a direct heir – becoming a lower rank than her husband, no matter if he is a commoner or a prince. Thus, while women marrying a king makes them queen, the roles are still in their usual order.
No matter what Henrik felt about his status, his marriage seemed happy overall and I am sure Margrethe must be heartbroken, as is the rest of the family. Princess Marie, also a native of France, had a good relationship with her father-in-law, with whom she spoke French and shared their love of culture together. Marie and Joachim even named their eldest son Henrik in his honor.
I wish them peace and comfort in this very trying time. The one happiness that they have is that Henrik is now at peace, no longer suffering.
Prince Henrik did not want a state funeral and the ceremony will be small and private, according to the Royal court.
Henrik will then be cremated, with half his ashes spread over Danish waters and the other half buried in the royal private garden at the Fredensborg Castle.
The Dutch state visit to Denmark is happening, and I love it.
Like me, you probably love to see royals hanging out together. It was great seeing Marie of Denmark and Letizia of Spain chatting during the Olympics, along with Mette-Marit of Norway sitting alongside Guillaume of Luxembourg. It’s great!
So this Dutch state visit to Denmark this week has been nothing short of spectacular. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima make their official visit to strengthen the relations between Denmark and the Netherlands, says the Danish Foreign Ministry. Following the official welcome by Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort Henrik at Copenhagen Airport, the Dutch royal couple began their visit at Fredensborg Palace. The Dutch King and Queen then met with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen.
Queen Margrethe held a State Banquet Tuesday evening for her visitors and the royal women wore their shiny finest. Maxima, however, was the best.
Impressing the heck out of all concerned, Maxima was swathed in her delicate blue lace gown and Dutch Sapphire tiara. She wore both for Willem-Alexander’s investiture as king, and I’m so glad she brought both back for this occasion. In fact, she made the tiara slightly taller by adding a diamond sprig at the top (as if it needed embellishment!).
It is fantastic to see these major royals all together. I hope for more visits like this between the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and fellow crowned heads in the future! Britain often seems far removed from their European counterparts, save for Edward and Sophie (the Earl and Countess of Wessex). So let’s hope the Cambridges get to the Continent and then little Prince George will perhaps see his royal compatriots more often than not (George and Estelle = yes)!
Going from commoner to royal isn’t easy, but Princess Marie of Denmark makes it look effortless. How, you ask? Here are four things that make Marie a star in the world of royalty:
Marie comes from an outgoing family
During an interview, Marie’s brother Gregory revealed that they grew up in a talkative family who like to meet new people. Definitely a plus for a princess who needs to meet and greet different people every day!
Marie gets along famously with her royal in-laws.
From the outset, the pretty brunette charmed her in-laws Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik. The prince especially took a shine to her because like Marie, Henrik is also a French native. Queen Margrethe and Marie both enjoy museums and the ballet, recently attending a performance in Tivoli Gardens.
Marie’s friendly and outgoing nature is a crucial attribute for a public person. The princess’s sunny disposition has also made her own family a warm, loving unit. Marie adores her stepsons Nikolai and Felix, and they love her. The boys get along well with their half-siblings, too. Nikolai and Felix are big brothers to little Henrik, 5, and Athena, 2, from Joachim and Marie’s marriage. They are frequently seen doting on the little ones during family outings.
Marie is multilingual.
Born in Paris, Marie grew up speaking both French and English. Upon her engagement to Prince Joachim, she added Danish to her language repertoire, which by then included Italian and Spanish. She can now give smooth speeches in Danish and chats easily with her adopted countrymen. Marie fits in well with the royal family: both Joachim and his elder brother, Crown Prince Frederik, speak fluent French. Queen Margrethe herself is multilingual in French, Swedish, English and German.
Marie looks good anywhere!
The princess has proved time and again that she can easily transition from girl-next-door to elegant royal. Whether it’s a family holiday in sporty shorts or a gala banquet with a tiara, Marie seems born to the role of a royal.
Marie (née Cavallier) was born February 6, 1976 in Paris. She lived with her parents and two elder half-brothers, Gregory and Benjamin Grandet.
Despite initial happy beginnings, Marie faced her parents’ divorce when she was still very young. It was a situation familiar to many children, but it devastated young Marie. Little did she know that her experiences would give her an understanding that would help her in her own role as a stepparent one day.
Marie’s parents both remarried: her mother, Françoise, married Christian Grassiot in 1987. Marie got along well with her new stepfather, but never warmed to her father’s new wife. Alain Cavallier’s new marriage produced two more sons, but that would also end in divorce.
As a child, the princess attended primary school in Paris. She then moved to the exclusive Beau-Soleil International Boarding School in Villars, Switzerland. There she made lasting friendships and had her first taste of independence. After completing her studies there, she went on to study economics in Geneva.
Fluent in English, Marie made the decision to continue further studies in the United States. The princess studied international business and economics at Babson College in Boston, Massachusetts. After she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Marymount Manhattan College in New York, Marie returned to Switzerland.
During the autumn of 2004 Marie attended a hunting party held by friends of her stepfather. There she met the dashing Prince Joachim, younger son of Queen Margrethe. Marie and Joachim became friends and she took an immediate liking to his two small boys, Nikolai and Felix.
The relationship did not turn serious until after Joachim’s divorce in 2005. He and Princess Alexandra, now Countess of Frederiksborg, agreed to part on good terms and remain friends for the sake of their sons.
Not long afterwards, Joachim and Marie landed in the media. Danish tourists secretly photographed the pair during their holiday in Avignon in 2005. Despite the intrusion, they carried on as normal as possible. After a two-year courtship, the Palace announced their engagement in October 2007.
In preparation for her new role as a Danish princess, Marie began Danish language lessons. For her history lessons, Marie toured museums, castles and churches. She got to know the people in the village of Møgeltønder, where she and Joachim would live in Schackenborg Castle. The pair married May 24, 2008.
In subsequent interviews, Marie stated that she tread carefully with the children when she and Joachim began dating. As a child of divorce, Marie did not want to intrude on their relationship with their father nor step on their mother’s toes. Marie needn’t have worried – the boys warmed to her instantly. She and Alexandra also get along very well, and they are often seen together with their husbands for many events.
Princess Marie of Denmark is definitely a royal role model. Her poise and elegance, combined with her friendly nature, makes the princess life look effortless. The happy family life that she and Joachim have created is a testament to true love and deep friendship. The Danish royal family is very fortunate indeed.
Ah, lucky 13 (seriously, it’s my husband’s lucky number)! For Nikolai’s birthday, the royal court has released a charming array of photos. There are serious photos mixed in with playful moments with his younger brother, Prince Felix. The photos were taken by the always excellent Steen Brogaard.
Nikolai is the eldest son of HRH Prince Joachim of Denmark and Alexandra, the Countess of Frederiksborg.
Tiara tip to: The Danish Royal House & PPE