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On May 14, 1912 while on a return journey from a trip to Nice with his wife and four of his children, King Frederik VIII of Denmark made a short stop in Hamburg, staying at the Hotel Hamburger Hof under the pseudonym “Count Kronsberg”.

That evening, Frederik—while incognito—went out for a stroll on the Jungfernstieg, during which he became faint and collapsed on a park bench at Gänsemarkt. He was discovered by a police officer who took him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead; his cause of death was announced as a heart attack. As King Frederik VIII was incognito at the time and had no papers on him, his body was brought to the local morgue, where he was identified by the hotel manager the next morning.

Alexandrine’s husband acceded to the throne as King Christian X, and Alexandrine became Queen Consort of Denmark. She is not considered to have played any political role, but is described as being a loyal support to her spouse.

She was interested in music, and acted as the protector of the musical societies Musikforeningen i København and Den danske Richard Wagnerforening. She was known for her needlework, which she sold for charitable purposes. After the death of her mother-in-law Louise of Sweden in 1926, she succeeded her as the official protector of the various charity organisations founded by Louise. She enjoyed golf and photography.

During World War I, she founded Dronningens Centralkomité af 1914 (“The Queen’s Central Committee of 1914”) to the support of poor families. The revolution in Russia brought much heartbreak for Alexandrine as three of her uncles, Nicholas, George and Sergey, were killed by the Bolsheviks.

She survived the 1918 flu pandemic.

King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark

World War II

On April 9, 1940 at 4 am Nazi Germany invaded Denmark in a surprise attack, overwhelming Denmark’s Army and Navy and destroying the Danish Army Air Corps. King Christian X quickly realized that Denmark was in an impossible position.

Its territory and population were far too small to hold out against Germany for any sustained period of time. Its flat land would have resulted in it being easily overrun by German panzers; Jutland, for instance, would have been overrun in short order by a panzer attack from Schleswig-Holstein immediately to the south.

Unlike its Nordic neighbours, Denmark had no mountain ranges from which a drawn-out resistance could be mounted against the German army. With no prospect of being able to hold out for any length of time, and faced with the explicit threat of the Luftwaffe bombing the civilian population of Copenhagen, and with only one general in favour of continuing to fight, King Christian X and the entire Danish government capitulated at about 6 am, in exchange for retaining political independence in domestic matters, beginning the occupation of Denmark, which lasted until May 5, 1945.

In contrast to his brother, King Haakon VII of Norway, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, King George II of the Hellenes, Grand Duchess Charlotte of Luxembourg, King Peter II of Yugoslavia, President Edvard Beneš of Czechoslovakia and President Władysław Raczkiewicz of Poland, all of whom went into exile during the Nazi occupation of their countries, King Christian X (like King Leopold III of the Belgians) remained in his capital throughout the occupation of Denmark, being to the Danish people a visible symbol of the national cause (Haakon VII escaped the German advance after refusing to accept a Nazi-friendly puppet regime.)

King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine of Denmark

The royal couple was given great popularity as national symbols during the World War II occupation, which was demonstrated during a tour through the country in 1946. Before the occupation, she and her daughter-in-law were engaged in mobilising the Danish women.

Her rejection of Major General Kurt Himer, Chief of Staff to General Kaupisch on April 9, 1940 became a symbol for her loyalty toward Denmark before her birth country Germany. When General Himer asked for an audience with the monarch, Christian was persuaded to receive him by his daughter-in-law as he would any other, which was supported by Alexandrine. He asked to do so alone, but Alexandrine told him she would interrupt them.

When the General was about to leave, she came in; and when he greeted her, she said: “General, this is not the circumstance in which I expected to greet a countryman.”

During the German occupation of Denmark, the King’s daily ride through Copenhagen became a symbol of Danish sovereignty. This picture was taken on his birthday in 1940

It was reported, that although Alexandrine was seen as shy and disliked official ceremonies, she had a “sharp” intelligence, and she was, together with her daughter-in-law, Ingrid of Sweden, a true support of the monarch and a driving force for the resistance toward the occupation within the royal house.

It was also reported, that in contrast to the monarch himself and the Crown Prince, the Queen and the Crown Princess never lost their calm when the nation was attacked.

As she was not the Head of the Royal House, she could show herself in public more than her spouse, who did not wish to show support to the occupation by being seen in public, and she used this to engage in various organisations for social relief to ease the difficulties caused by the occupation. Kaj Munk is quoted to describe the public appreciation of her during World War II with his comment: “Protect our Queen, the only German we would like to keep!”

Queen Alexandrine of Denmark

King Christian X used to ride daily through the streets of Copenhagen unaccompanied while the people stood and waved to him. One apocryphal story relates that one day, a German soldier remarked to a young boy that he found it odd that the King would ride with no bodyguard. The boy reportedly replied, “All of Denmark is his bodyguard.”

Later life

At his death in Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, in 1947, at the age of 76, King Christian X was interred along with other members of the Danish royal family in Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen. Although he had been behind the politics of Erik Scavenius, a cloth armband of the type worn by members of the Danish resistance movement was placed on his coffin under a castrum doloris.

When Queen Alexandrine was widowed; she became the first Queen Dowager of Denmark to opt not to use that title.

She died in Copenhagen on December 28 in 1952 at the age of 73 and is interred next to her husband in Roskilde Cathedral.