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The Turbo Prince on the Danish throne


In his young, wild years, Frederik was decried as the Turbo Prince. Today, as a family man and a people-oriented athlete, he is popular with his compatriots. As the new Danish king, he nevertheless takes on a difficult inheritance.

By By Julia Waschenbach, ARD Stockholm

The monarch could hardly have chosen the time for the change of throne more wisely. Because the royal family is surfing on a wave of popularity that is so great that the Danes faithfully support the decision. While, according to a survey in December, 41 percent of those surveyed were of the opinion that Margrethe should remain queen until her death, at the beginning of January it was only four percent.

So Frederik, who only really realized as a ten-year-old that his future would look different than that of his classmates because it was clear from the start. Different rules applied to Frederik in public. “As a boy, I sometimes thought: Why the hell do I have to do this? Why can't I just be myself?” asks the then crown prince in the biography “Under Bjælken” by the Danish author Jens Andersen. Frederik rebels, drives too fast, makes missteps. But his rebellion remains comparatively harmless.

Close to the lives of their subjects: This is how Frederik and Mary behave during regular visits to Greenland.

One Polar expedition impressed

In Andersen's biography, his father Prince Henrik describes him as wild and strong-willed. His mother talks about his physical strength, which he noticed in his childhood. Sport is always a free space for Frederik, where he lets off steam, tests his limits – and earns the respect of the Danes.

When he runs his first marathon, they take notice. When he fought his way along the north coast of Greenland on a dog sled for four months on an expedition – 3,500 kilometers in temperatures below minus 40 degrees – many were completely impressed. “He knows what it means to pull himself together, to get through something until the bitter end,” says Queen Margrethe about him. “That's certainly not a bad prerequisite for his future tasks.”

When Frederik set off on his expedition to Greenland in 2000, the Danish public became positively aware of him.

Close to the life of middle-class Danes

The monarch's trust in the new royal couple is great. She thinks highly of her daughter-in-law, Queen Mary. For Frederik, meeting the Australian was a stroke of luck. He is said to have introduced himself to her as “Fred from Denmark” in a pub in Sydney on the sidelines of the 2000 Olympic Games. According to her own statement, she initially didn't know who she was looking at. Four years later, the wedding bells rang.

A few years later, the Crown Prince was still seen cycling through Copenhagen on a cargo bike to take his children to kindergarten. The four children Christian (18), Isabella (16), Vincent and Josefine (both 13) all attended a public elementary school.

Modern and close to the life of ordinary Danes – that is part of the secret recipe of the Danish royal family. A successful idea from Frederik himself: the “Royal Run”. A fun run that he invented for his 50th birthday and that tens of thousands of people have taken part in every year since then – including his own family.

Frederik at the “Royal Run” 2021- accompanied by Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther.

Undisputedly popular: Margrethe

“He likes to move and be among people – that is his great strength,” says Thomas Larsen, royal family expert and biographer of Queen Margrethe. “Because if we try to imagine Margrethe running through the streets – it won't work.”

Frederik goes his own way and is popular with the people. But when the Danes talk about his mother, they go into raptures. “There are very, very big shoes that Frederik has to fill,” says royal family expert Trine Larsen. “Also because the queen is so incredibly popular. She is much loved and very respected.”

The 83-year-old is considered a down-to-earth and very direct lady with wit and a razor-sharp mind. And: She has accompanied the Danes for more than half a century. For Trine Larsen, the long reign is also a reason to believe that Frederik is now ready for the Danish throne: “I have no doubt that he will be a good king. He has had 52 years to watch his mother.”

Queen Margrethe II abdicates

The life of Europe's longest-serving monarch

Julia Waschenbach, ARD Stockholm, tagesschau, January 14, 2024 5:51 a.m

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