Queen Margrethe II: A Biography
Margrethe (pronounced Margretta) Alexandrine Thorhildur Ingrid was born on April 16, 1940 to Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid of Denmark at the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. The baby was considered a 'ray of sunshine' during the dark times enveloping the country with Hitler's attack and eventual invasion. The wee princess was named for her maternal grandmother, Princess Margaret "Daisy" of Connaught. Since a Danish King (King Christian X) was also the sovereign of Iceland at th time, the baby was bestowed with an Icelandic middle name, Thorhildur.
The princess wasn't born as heiress to the throne of Denmark. In fact, at the time of her birth, only males could ascend the throne.
Prior to the 1953 Act of Succession, the throne passed by Salic Law to those descended from King Christian IX who was the grandfather of King Christian X. The monarch in 1953, King Frederik IX, had three daughters but no sons. Under the Salic Law, the heir to the throne was Prince Knud, the King's younger brother. Prince Knud was far less popular than the King was. Further, Knud's mother-in-law, Princess Helena, was accused of supporting the Nazi movement during the Second World War. These factors, combined with a belief that the Salic Law was outdated, resulted in the movement to change the succession law so that Frederik's oldest daughter, the then Princess Margrethe, could inherit the throne.
After the parliament adopted 'The Succession to the Throne Act' on March 27, 1953, which states that "On the demise of the King the Throne will pass on to his son or daughter so that the son takes precedence over the daughter." Since, King Frederik IX had three daughters, the oldest became the heiress to the throne. Thus at the age of thirteen, Princess Margrethe found herself in succession to the Throne.
Princess Margrethe attended Zahles Skole as a private pupil at Amalienborg Palace. Between 1955-1956, she was a boarder at North Foreland Lodge, in Hampshire, England. Having received private lessons, the princess graduated from Zahles Skole with the upper secondary examination certificate (language line) in 1959. Between 1960-1965 the princess studied at universities in Denmark and other European countries. After having passed the examination in philosophy at Copenhagen University in 1960, she studied archaeology (Diploma in Prehistoric Archaeology) at University of Cambridge. The princess, subsequently, studied political science at Aarhus University, the Sorbonne and the London School of Economics.