Tuesday, 28 January 2014

The heirs of 1914: Denmark

The heir to the throne of Denmark in 1914 was one of the newest Crown Princes on the continent.  Christian Frederik Franz Michael Carl Valdemar Georg, known as Frederik, had become heir to the throne in 1912 and now, aged fifteen, was enjoying an education that would make him one of the most modern kings his country had known.

Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark, photographed in 1914

As king of Denmark, a role he assumed on the death of his father, Christian X, in 1947 he would oversee changes to the constitution which would allow women to inherit the throne for the first time and pave the way for his daughter, Margrethe, to become queen and changes to the way his country was run which included a brand new welfare state and better working rights for women.  The seeds of that modernity were sewn in his childhood when Frederik became the first heir to his country's throne to embark on a naval, rather than army, career.  The little boy who had stood at the feet of the legendary Christian IX, the father in law of Europe, turned his monarchy into one of the most modern on the continent.  And perhaps of all the heirs of 1914, his future was the clearest then.  The boy who would be Christian X never made any secret of his desire to move with the times, not even as a teenage Crown Prince.

The future Frederik X stands on a chair to the side of the then King of Denmark, Christian IX, with another king Christian and king Frederik with them.  This historic photo of four kings together was taken in 1903 when the youngest Fred was just four

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