Let’s wrap up our coverage of Dronningens skatkammer, the excellent new television documentary on Denmark’s royal jewels, with an overview of some of the bits and baubles we learned in the final installment of the series.
The fourth and final episode of the series, “Woman and Monarch,” focuses on the way that Queen Margrethe II has chosen to wear jewelry as she crafts her public image as a female monarch. The episode includes a whole lot of really great archival footage, including a fabulous video of the royal family on the balcony in 1952.
Margrethe reminisces about the process of growing up royal, noting that she was old enough (at 17) to participate in the 1957 state visit from Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, but not old enough yet to wear a tiara. (She received her first tiara, the Alexandrine Diamond Drop Tiara, a year later when she turned 18.) But she was deemed mature enough for another milestone moment during that visit. “It was the first time I had nail polish on!” she laughs.
We also learn in this episode that Queen Margrethe, like Queen Ingrid before her, does not have pierced ears. The men and women putting together the exhibition note that some of the Queen’s heaviest gala earrings (like those from the Pearl Poiré Parure, pictured above) have support wires to help her bear their weight. The wires, though, make for extra challenges when mounting the jewels for display.
Queen Ingrid had the grand royal earrings from the collection converted to have screw-back fastenings. You can see that detail here, in this picture of the Queen Alexandrine Sapphire Earrings, as well as the support wires. Margrethe explains that she’s never pierced her ears in part because she didn’t want to go through converting all of the earrings again.
As we gaze on the turquoise and gold Torben Hardenberg earrings given by Prince Henrik to Queen Margrethe in 2010, though, Margrethe offers another quip about her non-pierced ears. She tells us that she simply never wanted to pierce them. “I have five holes in my head,” she laughs. “I do not need more.”
The staff of the Danish Royal Collection is hard at work in the episode putting finishing touches on the Golden Jubilee jewelry exhibition, “A Queen’s Jewellery Box.” We learn that the Queen has loaned all of the insignia from her foreign orders and decorations to be shown in the exhibition.
And then we get to hear the Queen talk about a particularly special bit of royal insignia: an important collar and badge of the Order of the Elephant, Denmark’s most senior order of chivalry.
She showcases the special elephant badge made for King Christian V of Denmark, as well as the jeweled collar from which it is suspended. She notes that her father wore this collar and badge, and she also wears it every year for the New Year’s receptions in Copenhagen. The elephant is set with magnificent table-cut diamonds.
King Frederik IX and his royal legacy are discussed throughout the episode. We’re treated to archival footage of the late king in his study, and Margrethe shows off his pipe collection.
With the final touches in place, including modern lighting enhancements to a grand chandelier, the exhibition at Amalienborg is ready to be officially opened.
Many members of the royal family attend the opening, which was delayed slightly because of the pandemic. We see Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary, Princess Benedikte, Count Ingolf, and Countess Sussie attending the opening and touring the space. We get a fabulous view of the exhibition itself—well worth watching! And we also hear Margrethe’s remarks as she opens the show. She describes the incredible range of jewels on show: “These are great things. Strange things. Great stuff. And pretty simple stuff, which you just wear because you have a relationship with it. It’s nothing about the carats. It’s something about the heart, I think.”
The heart is certainly very involved with the last piece highlighted in the documentary: the Ruby Horseshoe Brooch. The jewel was a gift from King Frederik IX to the future Queen Margrethe II in June 1953, on the day that the Succession Act was amended to make her his heir. “I remember that it was a special day. I sensed very clearly that my father was very proud that I should follow him,” she recalls. And she remembers wearing it on the very first day of her reign: “I had no doubt that, on the day of the proclamation, it had to be worn, because that was the day my father had foreseen when I got it that day in June 1953.” It’s a wonderful way to wrap up a wonderful jewelry documentary series!