Frederik IX - Drama-documentary about Denmarks King Frederik IX.
The series in five parts will be shown on 1. January 2020 and the following Sundays.
It follows Frederik IX from 1912 until his death in 1972.
The drama-documentary is based on four interviews with Queen Margrethe as well a dramatized episodes from Frederik XI's life and time.
Frederik IX has been selected because he lived in interesting time, historically speaking. Like WWII. But also during an interesting and full transition to a full parliamentarian democracy in Denmark.
That is the gradual change enabling all citizens the right to vote.
The change from the King literally dismissing and appointing governments, with the political influence that entails, to the king formally dismissing and appointing governments.
The role of the royal family during the Occupation.
The public mood leading to the change in the Constitution that meant the QMII would become the next heir, rather than Frederik IX's brother and his family. - and no doubt the problems that entailed.
And of course the role of crown princess, later queen Ingrid, who had such an influence on both her husband but also in the role of the DRF to becoming living role models.
- On the face of it, it sounds very interesting and it will, I think, also be a indirect portrait of QMII in particular.
The series will be aired on DR1, which means people outside DK will be able to see it live, or at least later on from the DR1 archive.
ADDED: They have changed the dates in the article, so the post has been updated.
It looks really interesting, especially the parts about the transition from executive monarchy to ceremonial monarchy, the German occupation and the 1953 act of succession. Unfortunately it is inaccessible to us outside Denmark ( or perhaps Norway and Sweden) if the series is available only in Danish.
DR1 aired the first episode last night and lasting one hour it was surprisingly good and very frank! Brilliant actually.
It's a drama documentary, in the sense that it's a mix between actors playing scenes from Frederik IX's life and (genuine, specialized) historians and a person who knew Frederik IX intimately, his daughter QMII - who has the added advantage that she actually understands first hand how it is to be an heir, a monarch and the head of a dynasty.
While focusing on Frederik IX, it is also an indirect portrait of Christian X as well as Queen Alexandrine, who was a loving and caring mother, whom Frederik IX adored.
Christian X was in the words of QMII a very conservative man. He was also, again in the words of QMII, an oldfashioned father even for his time. Not because he was unloving or uncaring father, he was - in his way. But because he saw it as his duty to prepare and bring up Frederik IX to be a good king. As such Frederik IX was beaten and pretty regularly.
Christian X was an army-man to the core! And he ran the court like a barracks. He was despite his rough exterior a feely-touchy man. When under pressure he could react with rage or burst into tears.
He absolutely loved the army and he loved the army life, this was a lifestyle, where he felt at home. Also in civilian contexts.
Frederik IX was a sensitive boy, something his father seemingly never seemed to comprehend. His lifelong passion was music, so from around the age of twelve he received private lessons in singing, playing music and conducting at the home of one of DKs leading musicians - in whose home he felt very much at ease and at home.
In the wonderful words (and facial expressions) of QMII, Frederik IX absolutely hated riding horses! But his father insisted he should ride, because that's what army officers do. And "he was perhaps not the best pedagogue in the world."
Frederik IX and his brother were home-schooled up to and including high school. In between that they made a lot of mischief and fought among themselves as well.
When Frederik IX turned eighteen he was of age (in the civilian society it was 21, but for heirs it was eighteen) and had to attend his first State Council, wearing a in his opinion totally undeserved army uniform as a lieutenant a la suite. In the words of QMII: "It was perhaps not most exciting day."
To his father's bafflement, Frederik IX insisted on joining the navy as a sea-cadet, rather than the army, which was the proper way - and going the full four year training at the naval academy. He instantly felt at home in the navy and that was the beginning of a life-long love of the sea and the navy.
Frederik IX went to sea during WWI and even though DK was neutral, the military was naturally in a heightened state of alert and the activity level was high.
This first segment covers roughly the period from 1912 to the Easter Crisis in 1920.
With particular emphasis on the change of the Constitution in 1915 (which was the most important change since 1849) and the Easter Crisis.
Prior to 1915 only some 20 % of the population could vote and be elected to a political office. After the change most of the population including women could vote and be elected. (Today 100 % can per default vote.)
That of course changed the political environment totally!
(If you study the period it was surprisingly progressively. I'd say in many ways more progressive than today.)
One of these changes was that the Monarch lost the right to place a number of his own people in the Parliament thus losing considerable political influence. As a conservative authoritarian Christian X was not pleased!
After the end of WWI there was a referendum in Schleswig and Holstein, that DK had lost to Germany at the Second Schleswigan War in 1864, as to whether they wished to belong to DK or Germany. What is today Southern Jutland voted to reunite with DK.
That was acknowledged by the government. But conservative forces agreed with Christian X in his view that the whole of Schleswig and Holstein should rejoin DK.
The then PM Sahle and Christian X very much disliked each other! And when Christian X summoned the PM, without having consulted his own advisors, it ended in a row, and presumably in a fit of rage Christian X dismissed the government on the spot.
Most of the political spectrum went up in arms and there were mass-demonstrations at Amalienborg demanding the King to resign. This at a period where monarchies fell like dominoes! - Something the dismissed government wouldn't be displeased with...
At some point Christian X told his son: "You may never become king." It was deeply serious! Christian X was accused of trying to commit a coup d'etat. Strictly speaking he wasn't. It was, and still is, the monarch who appoint and dismiss governments. But doing it on his own initiative was bending the rules too much!
It wasn't because Christian wanted to be an absolute ruler or wished to usurp power, but as an authoritarian he genuinely believed the king should have an important political role to play. (And to that I can add that it was politicians who started the catastrophic Second Schleswigan War, so to some extend he had a point IMO.)
It was the Social Democrats, headed by the later PM Thorvald Stauning, who saved Christian X. They suggested and approved a general election, with a given result, considering the circumstances. And that cemented the fact that the Monarch went from being a political figure to a symbolic figure.
- But it was close! DK was very close to becoming a republic!
I'm not sure I appreciate the dramatized segments, but I understand and respect that they attract a wider audience.
All in all a series that is of interest to those with some historical interest as well as to the real history buffs and I do intend to watch the whole series, which is available at least to Danish viewers online.
I will, as soon as I find a link, post it here, with some text pointing out the highlights and translating quotes I for whatever reason think are relevant or amusing.
Are you able to watch this outside DK?
Just wonderful. Many thanks for taking the time and effort Muhler. I learn so much from you.
Yes I can, but unfortunately I don't speak Danish.
I am particularly curious about the documentary's depiction of Denmark during World War II since the Danish government's (and indeed the Royal Family's) response to the German invasion and their relationship with the Nazi regime are highly controversial until today.
I will write a short running commentary later.
The next segment should cover Frederik IX's youth, including his engagements and his marriage to a certain Princess Ingrid as well as the beginning of the Occupation from 9th April 1940.
So your curiosity will hopefully be satisfied.
I suggest you who are interested keep an eye on YouTube. This series is bound to end up there shortly - and hopefully with English subtitles.
You are welcome, Tarlita. :smile:
Is it as lavish as the Crown,I'm not really a documentary drama fan but Frederik IX's life and times are highly fascinating.
I understand the Crown has been somewhat controversial and accused of "interpreting facts".
This is a firsthand account of Frederik IX by his daughter and professional historians who specialize in the DRF who are providing the material and comments - I don't think any of them wish to "interpret" anything too freely
IIRC wasn't his nickname Rico? He was a handsome young man and was briefly engaged to Princess Olga of Greece. A granddaughter of the Grand Duchess Vladimir. He called off the engagement for some reason and then became engaged to the Princess Ingrid of Sweden.
Grand Duchess Vladimir / Maria Pavlovna was not very happy from what I read as Frederik was a Crown Prince and her granddaughter would one day be Queen.
At any rate it will be interesting to see how they cover this period.
It's widely believed that Queen Ingrid put a stop for much of his too excessive drinking and there are also rumours that he was on Antabus for some periods of his life. Frederik was madly in love with Ingrid, who ended up loving him too, and didn't take many decisions without consulting her first.
Thank you JR. I never read that he was a drinker as a young man.
This looks very interesting! I hope it goes on you tube with English subtitles soon.
I'm especially interested about the period of the Nazi occupation & Christian's role at the time.
In any case, that is a controversial topic in Denmark not least because of former PM Rasmussen’s public apology and some sectors of the Danish establishment ( including the Queen ? ) criticizing it.
:previous: The Occupation is (or rather was) a very controversial subject here in DK - as it was and very much still is in most European countries to this day.
In DK we have had a very frank and honest debate about the Occupation, the Resistance, the Collaboration, the "field mattresses" = women who dated German soldiers, the Danish soldiers who joined Waffen SS to fight on the Eastern Front, the Evacuation of the Jews, The skirmishes at the border on 9th April, the profiteers and people adapting to the daily life under an Occupation and the way collaborators (and innocents) were treated during and after the Liberation 1945.
It has been a very sobering look but also extremely interesting, sometimes heroic, sometimes shameful but never black and white.
It has helped dispelling the myths that were often self-glorifying and enabled people to have a more nuanced look at the Occupation. But is remains a taboo best left undisturbed in many countries - because what happened in DK during the Occupation also happened in most central and west European countries that were occupied - including the Channel Islands. Also proportionally. I.e. the percentage of people who collaborated with the Germans were roughly the same in most countries and those who were active in the Resistance were also roughly the same proportionally speaking.
I have written at length about these topics here on TRF and for those interested I suggest you do a search on my posts for these dates: ninth April and fourth and fifth May.
In that way I won't have to repeat myself here in this thread.
But let's return to the documentary.
Start: Frederik and Knud were homeschooled up to and including high school and as such had fairly little contact with other children their age. And Frederik IX (F9 from now on) felt lonely.
1:15 - "My father and Christian X (C10 from now on) were different personalities in various ways. My father was decidedly a sensitive soul. No doubt about that. Very much so."
1:40 - "C10 was very much a military man as you were back then and he had certainly when they were very young envisioned them as becoming officers and as such they should naturally be able to ride.
- My dad HATED riding! I don't think my farfar was the world's best pedagogue.
- My dad didn't have an altogether easy time as a boy, he sure didn't."
C10 becomes king in 1912. F9 had just turned thirteen.
He was called Rico from very young. That was a tradition within the family.
5:00 - the ones they see the most are their nannies and teacher - and sometimes they have to report their mischiefs to their dad.
6:05 - "They teased their teacher terrible and many things happened I think... They were often fighting as well."
It wasn't a warm and loving home. C10 was an officer to the core!
6:55 - "C10 was an old-fashioned dad, also back then."
7:20 - "Back then children were thrashed and their dad was in no way restrained in regards to beating them.
- That their dad had a heavy hand in regards to his sons was not unusual back then. Perhaps not least in regards to his oldest."
He used a ruler, he had on his desk.
8:00 - QMII explains that C10 being a heavy-handed dad was in part because he felt responsible for F9 being able and capable of succeeding him later.
C10 was conservative! In a time of transition, from states being build on the foundation of the monarchy and monarch to becoming a state build on a democratic foundation. That was difficult for C10 to accept and adjust to.
Only around 20 % of danish citizens could vote and be elected to a political office.
C10 had great difficulty in accepting the idea that women should be allowed to vote.
Another problem was that after the amended Constitution of 1915 there would no longer be members of the Parliament appointed by the king. Thus reducing his political influence.
C10's Cabinet Secretary (political advisor) was a moderate man who tried to and succeeded in restraining the king.
He is so much against the proposed change of the Constitution that he ponders dismissing the government. As he believed that change would constitute a direct danger for Denmark.
13:00 When F9 was distressed he sought solace with his mother.
13:15 - "Queen Alexandrine was a very mild person. - He was terribly fond of his mother. She had a particular soft spot for her eldest, among other things because they shared a joy for music."
F9 could "hear" music from reading the musical notes.
QMII explains that her farmor was very musically inclined and no doubt was the reason why F9 came to love music. That artistic mind was in contrast to that of his father's.
They often went to the theater during winter and F9 loved it.
From the royal box you can directly down on the orchestra so F9 could follow every little detail the conductor, Høeberg, made.
17:40 - F9 is here being presented to the brother of the conductor, singer Georg Høeberg, who was to have a huge influence on the artistic and personal side of F9. Because F9 would from now on attend private lessons in the Høeberg home.
C19 didn't really comprehend that music was such a passion for F9.
18:50 - F9 and Knud are after some mischief aboard Dannebrog (the old one, a paddlesteamer) and after a suggestion by the captain enrolled in the crew and assigned duties for the rest of their teen years. The boys loved it! Forming the basis for F9's lifelong love of the sea and the navy.
19:30 - QMII explains that when F9 was very young and was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, he replied that he wanted to be a mate aboard the Great Belt ferry. That was the grandest he could imagine.
The captain of Dannebrog was a naval officer of the right kind and his crews adored him. Strict but fair.
F9 got the number 461 and Knud 462.
Later on as a consequence of being a mate aboard Dannebrog F9 decides to get his officers training in the navy - which was pretty unusual. C10 would have preferred the army. And it took some convincing before that was okayed.
24:00 - The change of the Constitution of 1915 is a reality and in order to be valid it must be signed by the king.
The PM and C10 did not see eye to eye! They did their best to annoy each other.
The political majority at the time at least in principle favored a republic.
C10 was behind is rough facade a very sensitive person would could react with rage or tears when put under pressure.
The Constitution of 1915 changed DK into a genuine democracy, representing the people by the people. With most now being allowed to vote and run or office.
30:00 - F9 became close to Høeberg family and felt at home there. He went there almost daily.
1917. - F9 has finished high school at Amalienborg.
QMII explains that music became a refuge for her father when things got a bit too hot at home.
At around18-19 he starts getting singing lessons as well. This time at another Høeberg, Albert Høeberg.
31:40 - F9 turns eighteen and is now of age. That applies to heirs, because the legal age was otherwise 21. As such he attends his first meeting of the State Council - where he is to observe and learn.
32:35 - "I recall he spoke about about his eighteenth birthday with very limited enthusiasm."
C10 insisted on F9 wearing a uniform, so he was appointed lieutenant a la suite. "It tormented my dad terrible that he was to pretend to be a lieutenant and on top of that in the army! And all he wanted was to join the navy as cadet."
In his speech on that day C10 encourage his son to always follow his (political) conviction something the government saw as a provocation, as they believed the king should be above political convictions.
31:10 - Pledging to adhere to the Constitution.
F9 though wasn't particularly interested in politics.
36:00 - Joining the Naval Academy for a full four year training as officer.
QMII explains it was a big change, now that he for the first time was to be with young men of often very different background.
F9 starts out by insisting on being informal and using informal you.
37:55 - Among the close friends he found at the academy he remained HK ever after. Because he was addressed Hans Kongelige højhed = His Royal highness when on duty, so they nicknamed him HK. And he very much appreciated being treated like everybody else by his mates.
F9 found in the navy the same camaraderie as his father had found in the army. Here he could be himself.
In 1917, there was a lot of activity in the navy, due to WWI. Even though DK was neutral.
At some point they ended up in Britain, which was often visited by the Danish navy, but when attempting to bunk coal in Leeds, the workers were on strike, so the crew, including the cadets had to shovel coal themselves. F9 was actually on duty, but opted to join his mates in shoveling coal - and getting dirty and there is a photo of them at 40:30 - And the men on this photo became his closest friends for life.
WWI ended, monarchies toppled all over Europe.
Schleswig and Holstein voted about being reunited with DK. There was only a majority for doing so in Northern Slesvig and as such they were to rejoin in 1920. C10 wanted all of Holstein and Schleswig to join the Danish realm. there was no political backing for doing that.
C10 could not accept that decision and backed by conservatives he considered sacking the government.
45:00 - Easter 1920. C10 meets with the PM, who loathe each other, without his cabinet secretary being present and probably in a fit of rage sacks the government on the spot. C10 started out by suggesting the government called a general election. The PM pointed out that there was no political majority against the government. But the government was sacked, as the monarch is actually entitled to do. Albeit it very much against the democratic system as it worked then and now.
The politicians mobilized and aided by the press C10 completely lost control of the situation! There were mass-demonstrations at Amalienborg calling for C10 to abdicate - and indeed the monarchy to be abolished. the situation was most serious!
C10 appointed his own government - but that was sidelined by the public and political sentiments. Not least because the new ministers did not have a political background let alone were democratically elected. And many wanted to introduce a republic.
50:00 F9 went to the Høeberg family from the academy but it soon became clear that it was risky for him to return to Amalienborg through the crowd, so he dressed discreetly and returned home that way.
52:00 - the later PM, Thorvald Stauning, comes to the rescue of C10. Urging him to accept a compromise. Something C10 was reluctant to do, but he realized the gravity of the situation, at some point telling his son, that he might not become king. And eventually caves in appoints a new government (of politicians) and calls a general election. The result is of course a certainty: It goes politically against C10 but the monarchy is saved.
It was a sobering experience for F9 as well! He learned the hard way how fragile the monarchy could be and that he would need to co-operate with the politicians when his time came.
The Easter Crisis was a lesson for the DRF. they realized that they were now a symbolic power, rather than a political power.
- It took two hours to write this summary, so I hope you have patience. ;)
And here is the second episode in the series, covering the youth and early adulthood of F9 up until the Occupation in 1940.
I'll write an overview when I have seen it myself.
Those who simply cannot wait for the third and fourth segments can find them on DR.dk.
Third segment. The Occupation:
Fourth segment. becoming king. from 1947 to his death in 1972.
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