Who is Crown Prince Frederik, Denmark’s king-in-waiting?

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In two weeks, Crown Prince Frederik is expected to become the king of Denmark after his mother, Queen Margrethe, made a surprise announcement that she is abdicating the throne.

Queen Margrethe is the world’s only currently-reigning female monarch and passed on the throne to her eldest son Frederik, during her annual New Year’s address.

January 14 will mark the completion of 52 years of Margrethe’s rule, the day when Frederik also becomes king. Here’s what to know about the crown prince.

Who is Crown Prince Frederik?

Crown Prince Frederik, 55, was born to Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik in Copenhagen, Denmark. He has one sibling – younger brother Prince Joachim.

Frederik is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark (also known as the Danish National Church), a requirement for the Danish royal family, particularly for reigning monarchs.

He has been seen as a rebellious teen turned “woke” family man, known for his love for a high-paced lifestyle and cars.

“He was not strictly speaking a rebel, but as a child and young man, he was very uncomfortable with the media attention and the knowledge that he was going to be king,” Gitte Redder, an expert on the Danish royal family, told the AFP news agency.

He only “gained confidence in his mid-20s”, she said. Frederik’s reputation as a party prince also started to clear after he became the first Danish royal to have completed a university education.

Where did Prince Frederik study?

He received his primary education at Krebs’ Skole in Copenhagen and later went to the Ecole des Roches, a boarding school in Normandy, France.

In 1986, he started studies for a political science degree at Aarhus University, which included a year spent at Harvard University, under the pseudonym Frederik Henriksen – a nod to his father.

Frederik graduated with a master’s in political science from the university in 1995. He speaks English, German, and French.

What has Prince Frederick done after his studies?

He has previously trained in the three branches of Denmark’s military and also served in the navy’s Frogmen Corps. He was one of only four of the 300 recruits to pass all of the tests in 1995 and was nicknamed “Pingo” (Penguin).

Frederik is also an avid skier who even took part in a four-month, 3,500km (2,175-mile) ski expedition across Greenland in 2000.

“He is a sportsman, he attends concerts and football matches, which makes him even more accessible than his mother,” said Redder.

In recent years, Frederik and his wife have also taken up more royal duties, especially owing to the queen’s health.

The couple are “modern, woke, lovers of pop music, modern art and sports”, historian Sebastian Olden-Jorgensen told AFP.

Who is his wife, Crown Princess Mary?

Frederik married Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, an Australian, in 2004.

Crown Princess Mary, 51, was raised on the island of Tasmania. She did not know Frederik was a prince when the two met at a bar during the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Mary has previously worked as a lawyer and marketing consultant.

What kind of power will Prince Frederik have as king?

Like his mother, Prince Frederik is expected to have little involvement in partisan politics. His role will be ceremonial, primarily involving state visits and national day celebrations.

Frederik will reign as king over Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

However, the formal power will remain with the elected parliament and Denmark’s government.

On the day of his ascension, an announcement will be made from Amalienborg Castle in Copenhagen. There will be no formal crowning ceremony.

Denmark has Europe’s oldest ruling monarchy, which traces its line back to the Viking King Gorm the Old, who died in 958.

Denmark’s monarchy has transitioned from elective to hereditary and finally its current form – a constitutional monarchy.

Who is next in line after Crown Prince Frederik?

Next in line after Frederik is his eldest son, Prince Christian, who was born in 2005 and turned 18 in 2023.

Frederik and his wife have four children who have mostly studied at state schools.

Why did Queen Margrethe abdicate?

Queen Margrethe suggested that she started to think about stepping down after a back surgery in February 2023.

“The surgery naturally gave rise to thinking about the future – whether the time had come to leave the responsibility to the next generation,” she said in the speech on Sunday.

Margrethe became queen at the age of 31, in 1972, after the death of her father, King Frederik IX.

Her ascension followed a constitutional amendment in 1953 that allowed women to inherit the throne.

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