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Denmark’s Future King: Crown Prince Frederik, From Rebellious Youth to Climate-Conscious Monarch

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, poised to ascend the throne following his mother Queen Margrethe II‘s surprising abdication announcement, stands as a symbol of Denmark’s progressive and relaxed monarchy.

Known for his environmental advocacy, Frederik has been preparing for his role as a monarch, all while living under the considerable popularity of his mother.

Gitte Redder, an expert on the Danish royal family, described Frederik’s journey from a media-shy youth to a confident adult.

Initially uncomfortable with his destined role, Frederik’s early years were marked by a sense of rebellion and a penchant for fast living, a response to feeling neglected by his royal parents.

However, his transformation began post-graduation from Aarhus University in 1995, where he also attended Harvard University under a pseudonym, honouring his father, Prince Consort Henrik.

Frederik’s real maturation took shape during his rigorous training in Denmark’s military branches, including a notable stint in the navy’s Frogman Corps where he was one of only four recruits to pass all tests in 1995.

His adventurous spirit was further exemplified by a daring 3,500km ski expedition across Greenland in 2000.

The Prince’s popularity has surged in recent years, bolstered by initiatives like the Royal Run, annual fun runs he started in 2018. His approachable demeanor, seen in his participation in sports events and concerts, contrasts with the more reserved image of his mother.

The guest of honor, Crown Prince Frederik, arrives with Crown Princess Mary and Queen Margrethe of Denmark to the Prince’s 50th Birthday ball in May 2018 | Getty Images

Frederik’s personal mantra, “I don’t want to lock myself in a fortress. I want to be myself, a human being,” reflects his desire to maintain his humanity even as he ascends the throne.

This philosophy also extends to his family life. He met his wife, Australian lawyer Mary Donaldson, in a Sydney bar during the 2000 Olympics.

Together, they have endeavoured to provide a normal upbringing for their four children, mainly through state education.

Historian Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen views the couple as embodying modern, “woke” sensibilities, with a fondness for pop culture, modern art, and sports. Their approach signals not a revolutionary shift but a careful, contemporary adaptation of the monarchy.

As Denmark anticipates the transition from Queen Margrethe II to Prince Frederik, the nation looks forward to a monarchy that is increasingly attuned to modern values and challenges, particularly in the realm of environmental stewardship.

Prince Frederik’s journey from a rebellious teen to a climate-conscious, approachable future king mirrors Denmark’s own evolution and its aspirations for the future.

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