9 Surprising Comparisons of Europe's Only Reigning Queens Today

Their Majesties, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain are the only reigning Queens in Europe today. Both celebrated an extraordinary milestone in their reigns this year. 

Check these nine surprising comparisons of Europe's modern Queens:

1. The only reigning Queens of the 21st Century-Europe

When they ascended the throne in the 20th century, Europe was still following the male-preference primogeniture succession law, which means that sons of the sovereigns are ahead in the line of succession. Daughters can only succeed in the absence of sons.

Queen Elizabeth II and her three male heirs in direct succession to the throne: Her son, The Prince of Wales, her grandson, The Duke of Cambridge, and her great-grandson, Prince George of Cambridge

In 1953, Denmark altered its law of succession to male-preference, allowing the eldest daughter of King Frederick IX to become heir-presumptive, the then 13-year-old Princess Margrethe.

Queen Margrethe II and her two male heirs in direct succession to the throne: Her son, The Crown Prince Frederick, and her grandson, Prince Christian (eldest son of Prince Frederick)

They reigned in a time, life span is already longer, thus, recorded having the longest-reigns so far. Queen Elizabeth II reached her Platinum Jubilee this year, the longest-reigning British monarch ever. And Queen Margrethe II reached also her Golden Jubilee this year.

With the abdication of Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands in July 2013, the British Queen and the Danish Queen remain the only two reigning Queens in Europe today.

2. They were Heir-Presumptive. And succeeded their respective fathers on the throne because they have no brothers. 

While other reigning Crown Heads in Europe today were born eldest or only sons (five of them were not first-born and have older sisters):

  • King Philippe (Belgium) Reigned: 2013 
  • Prince Hans Adam II (Liechtenstein) Reigned: 1989
  • Grand Duke Henri (Luxembourg) Reigned: 2000 (second child but eldest son)
  • Prince Albert II (Monaco) Reigned: 2005 (second child but only son)
  • King Harald V (Norway) Reigned: 1991 (third child but only son)
  • King Felipe VI (Spain) Reigned: 2014 (third child but only son)
  • King Carl XVI Gustav (Sweden) Reigned: 1973 (fourth child but only son)
  • King Willem-Alexander (The Netherlands) Reigned: 2013
3. Reigning a regnal name "second"

Queen Elizabeth II's regnal name is the second Elizabeth to reign in the British throne after Elizabeth I, called The Great. She was a Tudor, daughter of King Henry VIII. 

Elizabeth I reigned in the 16th century and often credited as a monarch who ushered England to the Golden era. Unlike the current British Queen, Elizabeth I did not marry, nor had ever expressed to get married despite a number of suitors seeking her hand for marriage.

Her refusal to settle down and provide the throne with direct heirs caused a succession crisis that would forever change the face of the British monarchy.

Queen Margrethe II is the second Margrethe to reign over the independent Denmark. The first Margrethe reigned in a time Denmark was still united by a single monarch with Sweden and Norway, including the current-day Finland.

Margaret I reigned in the middle of the 14th century up to the first quarter of the 15th century. She was the daughter of King Valdemar IV of Denmark, the king who intended to unite the Scandinavian nations (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) into one entity.

Margaret I's husband was King Haakon VI of Norway, they had a son, King Olaf II of Denmark.

4. Milestone of their reign this year

They are both celebrating a milestone of their respective reigns this year. Queen Elizabeth II for her Platinum Jubilee and Margrethe II for her Golden Jubilee. 

Elizabeth II ascended the British throne on February 6, 1952, while Margrethe II ascended the Danish throne on January 14, 1972.  

However, due to coronavirus restrictions this year, major events and celebrations related to their Jubilee year, are postponed later this year.

5. Got married five years before becoming Queens

In an amazing parallel of fate, both of them got married, five years before succeeding their respective fathers on the throne.

Queen Margrethe II and Queen Elizabeth II with their prince consort: Prince Philip and Prince Henrik. 

Elizabeth II married her third cousin, Lt. Philip Mountbatten (born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark), on November 20, 1947, five years before the death of her father in 1952.

She and the Duke of Edinburgh had two children at the time of her accession to the throne: Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Their two younger children: Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were born later in her reign: 1960 and 1964 respectively.

While Margrethe II married Henry de Laborde de Monpezat, a French diplomat, on June 10, 1967, five years before her father's death in 1972. They have two sons together: Prince Frederick and Prince Joachim.

6. Both are widowed

Queen Margrethe II became widowed on February 13, 2018 when her husband, Prince Henrik, died in his sleep at Fredensborg Palace after a short illness. He was 83. They were married for almost 51 years at the time of his death.

Queen Margrethe II and her husband, Prince Henrik

Queen Elizabeth II became widowed on April 9, 2021 when her husband of 72 years died peacefully at Windsor Castle after suffering from lingering illness. Prince Philip was 99 at the time of his death, two months short of reaching his centenary birthday in June.

Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

They were the modern-day Queens who are reigning in Europe today as widows.

7. Double Cousins

Related by blood, they are both great-great granddaughters of Queen Victoria of Britain and King Christian IX of Denmark.

Queen Elizabeth II descended from Queen Victoria's eldest son, King Edward VII, and from King Christian IX of Denmark's eldest daughter, Princess Alexandra. 

While Queen Margrethe II descended from Queen Victoria's two sons: Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught (through his daughter, Princess Margarita) and Prince Leopold, Duke of Albany (through his son, Prince Charles Edward of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha). She descended from King Christian IX of Denmark's eldest son, King Frederick VIII (the older brother of Princess Alexandra).

Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was also their double cousin: He descended from Queen Victoria's second daughter, Princess Alice, and from King Christian IX's second son, who would reign in Greece as King George I.

8. Dog Lovers

Just like most royals, the queen cousins are known to be devoted dog lovers. 

But what made them ultra-different from other dog-lover royals is the sweet fact that they often allow their fur babies to interrupt them at work, joining them in their working rooms, even appearing in official portraits, strutting with guests, and sitting on their laps.

Queen Elizabeth II and her corgis
The Danish Queen with her dachshund pet

While Queen Elizabeth II preferred a corgi breed, her cousin loves a dachshund. However, lately, the British Queen stopped breeding corgi and owned a mix of dachshund. Her Candy, who famously interrupted her in the room while busy viewing memorabilia of the past Jubilees, is a dachshund and corgi mix.

See below sweetness of the queens as ultimate dog lovers:

Queen Elizabeth II's beloved dorgi (a mix og dachshund and corgi) named Candy interrupted her memorabilia viewing at her setting room. The fur cutie strutted in front of the Queen, wagging her tail, before disappearing to the next door.

Queen Margrethe II allowed her dog, a dachshund breed, sat in her lap during an audience with a volunteer group celebrating her Golden Jubilee. Her beloved fur baby was also present in the room when she was interviewed by a journalist.

9. Both have a child/children who are divorced

Royals are considered to be privileged and pampered, but this does not mean they are exempted from experiencing a turbulent family life. 

The monarchs also have personal family troubles.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip have three out of their four children who are divorced. The Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Duke of York, the first two remarried while the Duke of York remained living with his ex-wife at his Windsor estate residence, Royal Lodge.

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Prince Henrik have a son who had a controversial marriage. Prince Joachim, their second son, had a whirlwind romance with Alexandra Manley, who was raised in Hongkong. 

They were married in 1995 and have two sons together. But 10 years later, they were divorced and many speculated Alexandra had a secret affair whom she married two years after the divorce was finalized. 

Prince Joachim remarried to a French fashion designer, Marie Cavalier, in 2008 and have two children together.

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