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Frederik IX (Christian Frederik Franz Michael Carl Valdemar Georg; March 11, 1899 – January 14, 1972) was King of Denmark from 1947 to 1972.

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Four generations of Danish Kings. L-R. Christian IX, Christian X, Frederik VIII. in front future Frederik IX

Prince Frederik was born on March 11, 1899 at Sorgenfri Palace in Kongens Lyngby on Zealand during the reign of his great-grandfather King Christian IX. His father was Prince Christian of Denmark (later King Christian X), the eldest son of Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Louise of Sweden (later King Frederik VIII and Queen Louise). His mother was Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, a daughter of Friedrich Franz III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia, the second of the seven children of Grand Duke Michael Nicolaievich of Russia and his wife, Princess Cecilie of Baden.

Christian IX died on January 29, 1906, and Frederik’s grandfather Crown Prince Frederik succeeded him as King Frederik VIII. Frederik’s father became, Crown Prince Christian and Frederik moved up to second in line to the throne. Just six years later, on May 14, 1912, King Frederik VIII died, and Frederik’s father ascended the throne as King Christian X. Frederik himself became Crown Prince.

Frederik was educated at the Royal Danish Naval Academy (breaking with Danish royal tradition by choosing a naval instead of an army career) and the University of Copenhagen. Before he became king, he had acquired the rank of rear admiral and he had had several senior commands on active service. He acquired several tattoos during his naval service.

In the 1910s Frederik’s mother Queen Alexandrine considered the two youngest daughters, Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia and Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia, of her cousin Emperor Nicholas II as possible wives for Frederik until the subsequent execution of the Romanov family in 1918. In 1922, Frederick was engaged to Princess Olga of Greece and Denmark, his second cousin. They never wed.

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Grand Duchess Maria Nikolaevna of Russia
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Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia

Instead, on 15 March 1935, a few days after his 36th birthday, he was engaged to the 25 year old Princess Ingrid of Sweden (1910–2000), a daughter of Crown Prince Gustaf Adolf (later King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden) and his first wife, Princess Margaret of Connaught. They were related in several ways. In descent from Oscar I of Sweden and Leopold, Grand Duke of Baden, they were double third cousins. In descent from Paul I of Russia, Frederick was a fourth cousin of Ingrid’s mother.

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Ingrid of Sweden

They married in Stockholm Cathedral on 24 May 1935. Their wedding was one of the greatest media events of the day in Sweden in 1935, and among the wedding guests were Frederik’s parents King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark, and King Leopold III and Queen Astrid of Belgium and Crown Prince Olav (future King Olav V of Norway) and Crown Princess Märtha of Norway, (born a Princess of Sweden).

Upon their return to Denmark, the couple were given Frederik VIII’s Palace at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen as their primary residence and Gråsten Palace in Northern Schleswig as a summer residence.

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Their daughters are:

* Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, born April 16, 1940, married to Henri de Laborde de Monpezat and has two sons
* Princess Benedikte of Denmark, born April 29, 1944, married to Prince Richard of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and has three children
* Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, born August 30, 1946, married to King Constantine II of Greece and has five children

On 20 April 1947, Christian X died, and Frederik succeeded to the throne as King Frederik IX of Denmark. He was proclaimed king from the balcony of Christiansborg Palace by Prime Minister Knud Kristensen.

Frederik IX’s reign saw great change. During these years, Danish society shook off the restrictions of an agricultural society, developed a welfare state, and, as a consequence of the booming economy of the 1960s, women entered the labour market. In other words, Denmark became a modern country, which meant new demands on the monarchy.

Changes to the Act of Succession

As King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid had no sons, it was expected that the king’s younger brother, Prince Knud, would inherit the throne, in accordance with Denmark’s succession law (Royal Ordinance of 1853).

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However, in 1953, an Act of Succession was passed, changing the method of succession to male-preference primogeniture (which allows daughters to succeed if there are no sons). This meant that his daughters could succeed him if he had no sons. As a consequence, his eldest daughter, Margrethe, became heir presumptive. By order of March 27, 1953 the succession to the throne was limited to the issue of King Christian X.

Shortly after the King had delivered his New Year’s Address to the Nation at the 1971/72 turn of the year, he became ill with flu-like symptoms. After a few days rest, he suffered cardiac arrest and was rushed to the Copenhagen Municipal Hospital on January 3. After a brief period of apparent improvement, the King’s condition took a negative turn on 11 January, and he died 3 days later, on January 14, at 7:50 pm surrounded by his immediate family and closest friends, having been unconscious since the previous day.

He was succeeded by his eldest daughter, Queen Margrethe II. Queen Ingrid survived her husband by 28 years. She died on November 7, 2000. Her remains were interred alongside him at the burial site outside Roskilde Cathedral.