100th Anniversary of Queen Ingrid’s Birth
Sunday March 28th marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of Her Royal Highness Princess Ingrid of Sweden, the woman who would later become the Queen Consort of Denmark.
Born Ingrid Victoria Sofia Louise Margareta in 1910, Princess Ingrid was the third child and only daughter of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf (later King Gustav VI Adolf) and his first wife, Crown Princess Margaret (nee, Princess of Connaught). The newborn Princess was christened in April 1910. Princess Ingrid had four brothers, two older and two younger: Prince Gustav Adolf, Prince Sigvard, Prince Bertil and Prince Carl Johan (the only surviving sibling).
Tragedy struck the Princess at an early age, when her mother passed away suddenly on May 1st, 1920 at the age of 38 while pregnant with her sixth child. Princess Ingrid was barely ten. Her father remarried three years later, to Ingrid’s second cousin Lady Louise Mountbatten. It has often been reported that the relationship between Princess Ingrid and her stepmother was immensely tense.
Princess Ingrid was educated in Sweden, although in a British manner as instructed by Queen Mary. She was a keen sportswoman, enjoying many ‘British’ sports – horse riding, tennis, swimming and skiing. She also took up her mother’s love of gardening, and once she came of age, quickly received her driver’s license. Princess Ingrid, along with her brothers, spent much time in England visiting their maternal grandfather, Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught. It was while in England that Ingrid was a bridesmaid several times at royal weddings: in 1919 for Princess Patricia of Connaught (her mother’s sister), in 1928 for Lady May Cambridge and in 1933 for her rumoured fiancé-to-be, Prince George (the future Duke of Kent). It was also in the early 1930s that the British media believed Princess Ingrid to be a suitable match for their heir to the throne, David, Prince of Wales (who was also Ingrid’s second cousin). They called her “one of the few eligible Protestant Princesses in Europe”, enraptured by her “typical Scandinavian beauty, tall and graceful, with blue-grey eyes and shingled golden hair.”
However, no engagement between the pair came about and a media storm was created in 1935 throughout Sweden and Denmark, when Princess Ingrid wed Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark at Stockholm’s Storkyrkan (The Great Church), located next to the Royal Palace of Stockholm, on May 24th. The wedding was attended by numerous Kings and Queens, and as reported by The Telegraph, over 60 Princes and Princess. Two days following the wedding, the Danish royal yacht Dannebrog transported the newlyweds across the Baltic Sea, from Stockholm to Copenhagen. Here, Crown Prince Frederik and the new Crown Princess Ingrid were greeted by King Christian X, with thousands lining the streets marking the path to Amalienborg to catch a glimpse of their new Princess.
It was just before Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid’s fifth wedding anniversary in 1940 that they welcomed their first child, a daughter named Margrethe Alexandrine Þórhildur Ingrid, on April 16th. Four years later, Benedikte Astrid Ingeborg Ingrid was born on April 29th, 1944. The couple’s third and final child, Anne-Marie Dagmar Ingrid, followed on August 30th, 1946. All three girls were born at the couple’s home of Amalienborg Palace. It was the couple’s youngest daughter, Princess Anne-Marie, who was the first to wed, to King Constantine II of Greece in September 1964 at the Metropolis Cathedral of Athens (she became Queen Anne-Marie). Heiress Princess Margrethe married French Count Henri de Laborde de Monpezat in June 1967 at the Naval Church of Copenhagen, while Princess Benedikte married Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg in February 1968 at the Fredensborg Palace Church. Ten grandchildren and (at present) sixteen great-grandchildren were born between Frederik and Ingrid’s three daughters:
- Queen Margrethe’s two children, Crown Prince Frederik (b. 1967) and Prince Joachim of Denmark (b. 1968). Crown Prince Frederik has two children, Prince Christian and Princess Isabella. Prince Joachim has three sons, Princes Nikolai, Felix and Henrik.
- Princess Benedikte’s three children, Prince Gustav (b. 1969), Princess Alexandra (b. 1970) and Princess Nathalie (b. 1975). Princess Alexandra is the only one of the three who has children, Count Richard and Countess Ingrid. Princess Nathalie is expecting her first child this coming July.
- Queen Anne-Marie’s five children, Princess Alexia (b. 1965), Crown Prince Pavlos (b. 1967), Prince Nikolaos (b. 1969), Princess Theodora (b. 1983) and Prince Philippos (b. 1986). Princess Alexia has four children, Arrietta, Ana-Maria, Carlos and Amelia Morales y de Grecia. Crown Prince Pavlos has five children himself, Princess Maria Olympia, Princes Constantine Alexios, Achileas-Andreas, Odysseas-Kimon and Aristide Stavros.
Crown Princess Ingrid quickly became immersed in the Danish culture upon her arrival to Denmark and quickly learnt the Danish language. One of her first patronages was the Danish Girl Scouts in 1936, after passing the tests applicants were given. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid’s first overseas trip as a married couple was to the United States in April 1939, where they visited California (they visited again in 1960). In 1940, Ingrid became the patron of the Danish Women’s War-Effort Society. Following the German occupation of Denmark in 1940 during World War II, her popularity rose to great heights due to her silent resistance and solidarity towards her people. The new mother would often be seen walking the streets of Copenhagen pushing a baby carriage containing an infant Princess Margrethe, or riding her bicycle.
When King Christian X passed away on April 20th, 1947, Crown Princess Ingrid became Queen Consort of Denmark as her husband took the Danish throne. It was over the next three decades that King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid instituted much change to the Royal Court, and to Denmark’s economy. Queen Ingrid installed a much more relaxed style of official court, replacing several old-fashioned customs. Through her love of gardening, Queen Ingrid researched the history of her beloved Gråsten Palace and renovated the Palace and its gardens according to her findings.
As King and Queen, Frederik and Ingrid hosted many heads of state, and also made many visits overseas. Several trips to England were undertaken, one such trip was in May 1951, when they paid a state visit to King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom. They attended a gala banquet at Lancaster House, and met with then-Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
In January 1972, King Frederik fell ill following his annual New Year’s address. His passing on January 14th left Queen Ingrid a widow. Frederik IX wished to be buried outside of Roskilde Cathedral, near Copenhagen, and his wishes were granted following his January 24th funeral at the Christiansborg Palace chapel. The couple’s eldest daughter succeeded the throne, becoming Queen Margrethe II. Queen Ingrid was appointed Rigsforstander (formal Regent) later that year, after swearing oath to the Danish Constitution. This position allowed her to act as a representative of the Monarch when both Queen Margrethe and Crown Prince Frederik were out of the country/absent.
Over the following years, as Queen Ingrid’s age increased and health eventually declined, she began slowly transferring her patronages to other members of the Royal Family, mainly to Princess Benedikte (the Girl Scouts for instance). Some of the included the Danish Red Cross (now under the patronage of Queen Ingrid’s grandson Frederik), Save the Children (under both Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary) and the Fund for Trees and the Environment. Several funds and grants were also named after Queen Ingrid, like the Queen Ingrid Honorary Grant and the King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid Fund for Humanitarian and Cultural Issues.
From the mid-1990s, Queen Ingrid began retreating from public life due to her declining health. Her main appearances late in the decade were at family evenings – her grandchildren’s weddings, the baptisms of some of her great-grandchildren. Celebrations marking Queen Margrethe’s 60th birthday in April 2000 showed the 90-year-old Queen’s frailty, she had required a walking frame for several years at this point.
On November 7th, 2000 Queen Ingrid passed away at her home of Fredensborg Castle. Her casket, covered with the Danish flag, was transported to the Christiansborg Palace Chapel, where she laid in state for three days. Her funeral on November 14th at the Roskilde Cathedral brought dozens of Europe’s royalty to Denmark. Thousands of Danes, and members of the Danish Royal Family, marched behind the hearse carrying Queen Ingrid’s casket to Roskilde Cathedral for the service. Following the funeral service, Queen Ingrid was interred next to her husband outside the Cathedral.
To celebrate the anniversary, the Danish Royal Family will host a concert at Tivoli in late August.Filed under Denmark, Sweden
Tagged Anniversary, Biography, Birthday, Ingrid of Sweden.