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Who is Prince Frederik, the next king of Denmark?

Crown Prince Frederik has vowed to ‘guide the ship’ when times comes to ascend throne

Shweta Sharma
Monday 01 January 2024 09:00 GMT
Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II announces shock abdication in New Year’s Eve speech

Crown Prince Frederik will take over as Denmark’s monarch after his mother Queen Margrethe II announced her surprise abdication on New Year’s Eve.

The queen, 83, is the longest-serving current monarch in Europe but will step down on 14 January, 52 years after she ascended the throne after the death of her father King Frederik IX in 1972.

All eyes are now on Crown Prince Frederik, 55, who was once known as the party prince in the early 1990s before he graduated with a master’s in political science in 1995, becoming the first Danish royal to complete a post-graduate degree.

Born on 26 May 1968, the eldest son of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik, the heir apparent received his primary education at Krebs’ Skole in Copenhagen and later went to the École des Roches, a boarding school in Normandy, France.

Growing up, the crown prince is said to have felt neglected and harboured resentment toward his parents, who were preoccupied with their royal duties. He filled the gap of an isolated and troubled adolescence with his passion for cars and a high-paced lifestyle.

But the perception soon changed after he graduated from Aarhus University in 1995 and had a year-long stint at Harvard University in the US.

He enrolled in Harvard under the pseudonym Frederik Henriksen, adopting his father’s name, Henri de Monpezat, the French diplomat who assumed the title of Prince Consort Henrik upon marrying Margrethe.

File Queen Margrethe II of Denmark waves as she arrives aboard the Royal Yacht Dannebrog in Aarhus Municipality (Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Ima)

The crown prince also completed military courses and trained in Denmark’s three military branches. He attained the title of Major General in Denmark’s Army and Air Force, as well as Rear Admiral in its Navy.

In the Navy’s Frogman Corps he was among only four recruits out of 300 to pass all the tests. There he was reportedly nicknamed “Pingo” (Penguin) after his wetsuit filled up with water during a training course in scuba diving and he ended up walking like the bird.

In 2000, he took part in a daring four-month ski expedition covering 3,500 km (2,175 miles) across Greenland. He had to be hospitalised and taken for check-ups following sledging and scooter accidents. His popularity has surged over time, particularly propelled by the Royal Run – an annual series of fun runs across Denmark that he initiated in 2018.

Danish Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik arrive at the State Banquet at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen (via REUTERS)

Crown Prince Frederik has been involved in various charitable and cultural activities, including a passion for the climate crisis.

“When the time comes, I will guide the ship,” he said in 2022 as the Danes celebrated the queen’s half-century on the throne.

“I will follow you, as you followed your father” in taking forward the 1,000-year-old institution, he added.

His Australian-born wife Mary Donaldson will become the first Australian-origin monarch to take the role of Queen Consort alongside her husband.

He met her, a lawyer by profession, in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympic Games. They got married in 2004 and have four children: Prince Christian, Princess Isabella, Prince Vincent, and Princess Josephine.

Crown Prince Frederik will become the king of Denmark on 14 January. There will be no formal coronation ceremony like King Charles and Camilla of Britain. His ascent to the throne will be announced from Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen.

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