The Danish royal family consists of the dynastic family of the monarch. All members of the Danish royal family, except Queen Margrethe II, hold the title of Prince/Princess of Denmark. Dynastic children of the monarch and of the heir apparent are accorded the style of His/Her Royal Highness, while other members of the dynasty are addressed as His/Her Highness. The Queen is styled Her Majesty.
- Main members
- Former member
- Royal family of Greece
- Royal family of Norway
- Ducal family of Schleswig Holstein
- Counts and Countesses of Rosenborg
- Line of succession
- Privileges and restrictions
The Queen and her siblings belong to the House of Glücksburg, which is a branch of the Royal House of Oldenburg. The Queen's children and male-line descendants belong agnatically to the family de Laborde de Monpezat, and were given the concurrent title Count/Countess of Monpezat by royal decree in April 2008.
The Danish royal family enjoys remarkably high approval ratings in Denmark, possibly ranging from somewhere between 82% and 92%.
The Danish royal family includes:
The former wife of Queen Margrethe's youngest son Prince Joachim, Princess Alexandra lost the style of Royal Highness and was granted the lower style of Highness upon her divorce in 2005, becoming known as HH Princess Alexandra of Denmark, a style which would cease upon her remarriage. During this time she was still a Princess of Denmark and thus a member of the Danish royal family. In 2005, her former mother-in-law granted her the additional title of grevinde af Frederiksborg (Countess of Frederiksborg), a personal title which would not be forfeited if Alexandra remarried. When she remarried on 3 March 2007, she lost the style of Highness and titular dignity of Princess of Denmark, and ceased to be a member of the royal family (although she still receives an allowance, and keeps the style and title, Her Excellency Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg).
Royal family of Greece
Most of the members of the deposed royal family of Greece hold the title of Prince or Princess of Greece and Denmark with the qualification of His or Her Highness, pursuant to the Royal Cabinet Order of 1774 and as agnatic descendants of George I of Greece, who, as the son of the future King Christian IX of Denmark, was (and remained) a "Prince of Denmark" prior to his accession to the throne of Greece in 1863. Until 1953 his dynastic male-line descendants remained in Denmark's order succession. However, no Danish act has revoked usage of the princely title for these descendants, neither for those living in 1953, nor for those born subsequently or who have since married into the dynasty.
There are three members of the Greek royal family who are not known to bear the title of Prince/ss of Denmark with the qualification of His/Her Highness.
The following, consorts of royal monarchs today, were born with the titles of Prince/Princess of Greece and Denmark although they are not descended from King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie:
Royal family of Norway
The royal family of Norway descends in the legitimate male line from Frederick VIII of Denmark, Queen Margrethe II's great-grandfather. Haakon VII of Norway, who was born Prince Carl of Denmark as Frederick VIII's younger son, was, like his uncle, George I of Greece, invited to reign over another nation. As with the Greek branch's descendants, members of the Norwegian line no longer have succession rights to the Danish crown, but unlike the Greek dynasts they discontinued use of Danish royal titles upon ascending their foreign throne in 1905.
Ducal family of Schleswig-Holstein
The Ducal Family of Schleswig-Holstein descends in the legitimate male line from Christian III of Denmark. As with the Greek branch's descendants, members of the Schleswig-Holstein line no longer have succession rights to the Danish crown, but unlike the Greek dynasts they discontinued use of Danish royal titles upon ascending their foreign throne in 1564.
Counts and Countesses of Rosenborg
Danish princes who marry without consent of the Danish monarch lose their dynastic rights, including royal title. The ex-dynasts are then usually accorded the hereditary title "Count of Rosenborg". They, their wives, and their legitimate male-line descendants are:
Line of succession
The first law governing the succession to the Danish throne as a hereditary monarchy was the Kongeloven (Lex Regia), enacted 14 November 1665, and published in 1709. It declared that the crown of Denmark shall descend by heredity to the legitimate descendants of King Frederick III, and that the order of succession shall follow semi-Salic primogeniture, according to which the crown is inherited by an heir, with preference among the Monarch's children to males over females; among siblings to the elder over the younger; and among Frederick III's remoter descendants by substitution, senior branches over junior branches. Female descendants were eligible to inherit the throne in the event there were no eligible surviving male dynasts born in the male line. As for the duchies, Holstein and Lauenburg where the King ruled as duke, these lands adhered to Salic law (meaning that only males could inherit the ducal throne), and by mutual agreement were permanently conjoined. The duchies of Schleswig (a Danish fief), Holstein and Lauenburg (German fiefs) were joined in personal union with the Crown of Denmark.
This difference caused problems when Frederick VII of Denmark proved childless, making a change in dynasty imminent, and causing the lines of succession for the duchies on one hand and for Denmark on the other to diverge. That meant that the new King of Denmark would not also be the new Duke of Schleswig or Duke of Holstein. To ensure the continued adhesion of the Elbe duchies to the Danish Crown, the line of succession to the duchies was modified in the London Protocol of 1852, which designated Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg, as the new heir apparent, although he was, strictly, the heir neither to the Crown of Denmark nor to the Duchies of Schleswig, Holstein or Lauenburg by primogeniture. Originally, the Danish prime minister Christian Albrecht Bluhme wanted to keep the separate hereditary principles, but in the end the government decided on a uniform agnatic primogeniture, which was accepted by the Parliament.
This order of succession remained in effect for a hundred years, then the Salic law was changed to male-preference primogeniture in 1953, meaning that females could inherit, but only if they had no brothers. In 2009, the mode of inheritance of the throne was once more changed, this time into an absolute primogeniture. This imposed no immediate change on the line of succession as it was then, as Prince Vincent had not yet been born. The current line of succession is:
- The Crown Prince Frederik
- Prince Christian
- Princess Isabella
- Prince Vincent
- Princess Josephine
- Prince Joachim
- Prince Nikolai
- Prince Felix
- Prince Henrik
- Princess Athena
- Princess Benedikte
- Princess Elisabeth
Privileges and restrictions
Following the transformation of Denmark's monarchy from elective (at least theoretically, although it had generally descended to the eldest son of the House of Oldenburg since 1448) to hereditary in 1660, the so-called Kongelov established the reign "by the grace of God" of King Frederick III and his posterity. Of the articles of this law, all except Article 21 and Article 25 have since been repealed. Article 21 states "No Prince of the Blood, who resides here in the Realm and in Our territory, shall marry, or leave the Country, or take service under foreign Masters, unless he receives Permission from the King". Under this provision, princes of Denmark who permanently reside in other realms by express permission of the Danish Crown (i.e. members of the dynasties of Greece, Norway and the United Kingdom) do not thereby forfeit their royalty in Denmark, nor are they bound to obtain prior permission to travel abroad or to marry from its sovereign, although since 1950 those not descended in male-line from King Christian IX are no longer in the line of succession to the Danish throne. However, those who do reside in Denmark or its territories continue to require the monarch's prior permission to travel abroad and to marry.
Article 25 of the Kongelov stipulates, with respect to blood members of the Royal dynasty: "They should answer to no Magistrate Judges, but their first and last Judge shall be the King, or to whomsoever He decrees.". The wording excludes those whose blood cannot be traced to a Danish monarch (e.g. the present Crown Princess).
Although all other articles of the Kongelov have been repealed by amendments to the Constitution in 1849, 1853 and 1953, these two articles have thus far been left intact.