Despite the Salic law, still in force in many European countries, the 20th century will have known a few reigning sovereigns with a strong character, from Wilhelmina, Juliana and Beatrix of the Netherlands to Charlotte of Luxembourg. But the death of Elizabeth II now makes Margrethe II of Denmark the last “matriarch” in the world.
She should never have worn the crown. If the Salic law had not been repealed in Denmark on March 27, 1953, Margrethe would never have become crown princess… In that same year, women were honored through the monarchies of old Europe. Charlotte already reigns in Luxembourg and Juliana in the Netherlands. On June 2, Elizabeth II will be crowned Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland at Westminster.
The Semiramis of the North
Moreover, by breaking with the “law of males”, Denmark is only reconnecting with its history. Was there not, at the end of the 16th century, a Margrethe I – “the Semiramis of the North” – to govern the three Scandinavian kingdoms at the same time? But since then no princess had been allowed to wear the crown. The change in inheritance rules was approved by referendum and incorporated into an appendix to the constitution on the following June 5.
The younger brother Frederick IX, Knut, therefore loses his title and his prerogatives ofHereditary Prince – crown prince – for the benefit of his niece Margrethe, the king’s eldest daughter, aged 13. By way of “compensation”, Knut will receive – and his children after him – a comfortable allowance. Even today, his eldest son, Ingolf, Count of Rosenborg, receives just over 200,000 euros each year.
One might think that the Danes lack imagination. For five and a half centuries, their dynasty alternated with metronome regularity, the Christians and the Frédérics! Only Margrethe II will disturb this beautiful precision mechanism by succeeding her father, on January 14, 1972, at the age of 31. Five years earlier, she married a French diplomat, Henri de Laborde de Monpezat, who became Prince Henrik of Denmark, from a bourgeois family of Bearn origin. The couple will have two sons, Frédéric and Joachim.
“All men are mortal”
A talented draftsman, the Queen illustrated an edition of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. We also owe him the production of postage stamps, the creation of fabrics and stage decorations. With her husband, she translated Simone de Beauvoir’s novel, All men are mortal. Very popular, Margrethe II willingly granted audiences. The only criticism that his compatriots can address to him is smoking in public! Its golden jubilee last summer was the occasion for demonstrations of popular jubilation. The Danish monarchy therefore certainly still has a bright future ahead of it. Especially since in 2005, Crown Prince Frederic had, from his marriage to Australian Mary Donaldson, a son named… Christian.
If Margrethe II remains to this day the “last queen” in the world and will have her eldest son as successor, the Gotha should be feminized in the more or less near future. Indeed, the rule of absolute primogeniture having been adopted almost everywhere, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Norway will certainly have sovereigns in the second half of the 21st century.