We’ve got truly stunning royal news breaking in Copenhagen today, magpies—I’m coming to you with a special article to note that Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has announced that she will soon abdicate.
Queen Margrethe’s annual New Year message aired in Copenhagen earlier today, and the broadcast contained an unexpected bombshell. On January 14, the 52nd anniversary of her accession to the throne, the Queen will abdicate in favor of her elder son, Crown Prince Frederik. Though numerous monarchs have chosen abdication in recent years, notably from places like Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, and Japan, Queen Margrethe always maintained that she would remain on the throne until her death. That has now changed, apparently spurred on by the increasing health challenges she has faced in recent years.
To deliver her message, the Queen chose a particularly sentimental piece of jewelry: a diamond brooch in the shape of a daisy, plus coordinating diamond daisy earrings.
The brooch is, in part, a legacy from Queen Margrethe’s maternal grandmother, Princess Margaret of Connaught. Margaret was a British princess—a granddaughter of Queen Victoria and a niece of King Edward VII—who married the future King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden in 1905. Sadly, she died very young, years before her husband became King of Sweden.
King Gustaf VI Adolf and Princess Margaret had five children, including Prince Gustaf Adolf (father of the present King of Sweden) and Princess Ingrid. Their only daughter, Ingrid felt the loss of her mother at the age of ten particularly keenly. Ingrid is pictured above with her mother as a baby in 1910.
When Princess Ingrid prepared to marry Crown Prince Frederik, the future King of Denmark, in 1935, her father offered her a special gift. Gustaf had a new brooch made in the shape of a daisy, a reference to his late wife’s nickname. (Marguerite is French for daisy.) The diamonds that he used to make the brooch came from Margaret’s own jewelry box.
Princess Ingrid wore the diamond daisy brooch on her wedding day in memory of her beloved mother, and she continued to wear it regularly for decades afterward.
Frederik and Ingrid had three daughters, and the eldest, Margrethe, was named in honor of her late grandmother. They even share the “Daisy” nickname. Fittingly, Ingrid loaned the diamond daisy brooch to Margrethe to wear on her own wedding day in 1967.
Ingrid continued to wear the brooch in the years that followed, but at the dawn of the new millenium, she decided to hand it to the next generation. Shortly before her death in 2000, Queen Ingrid gave the daisy brooch to Queen Margrethe as a sixtieth birthday present.
Margrethe’s emotions regarding the sentimental gift are clear in an interview segment filmed in 2010 for the royal jewel documentary De Kongelige Juveler: “Ten years ago, when I was sixty, on my birthday, my mother had just turned ninety. She gave me the daisy brooch, which I must say, I was extremely touched, to be given it like that. Well, it’s a brooch which means a great lot to me, first because it was my mother’s, and then again because I wore it for my wedding, and then I was given it the way I was given it like that, when I was sixty. That was very special.”
Queen Margrethe has used the daisy brooch often ever since, especially for important family occasions. There’s something poignant about her decision to wear the brooch for the announcement of her forthcoming abdication. Just as Queen Ingrid handed the brooch to Queen Margrethe while she could still watch her daughter enjoy the jewel, Queen Margrethe is handing the throne over to the new King Frederik X and Queen Mary while she can still proudly watch them take over the job.