On a snowy Monday morning in Copenhagen, the Danish royal family gathered for another celebration of the beginning of the reign of King Frederik X: a reception at Denmark’s parliament.
King Frederik X and Queen Mary of Denmark arrived at the Folketing at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen on Monday for a reception celebrating the transition to a new reign. Their son, Crown Prince Christian, attended the reception as well.
They were joined by three more members of the family: the King’s mother, Queen Margrethe; his brother, Prince Joachim; and his aunt, Princess Benedikte. In Denmark, the monarch doesn’t deliver remarks in parliament, but Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen read out a speech from the new King during the reception. “We begin our responsible work as Denmark’s king in the belief that the Danish parliament will meet us in joint work for the good of the kingdom,” Frederiksen read. (Note Frederik using the “royal we” in his statement!)
The reception took place on the first full day of the new King’s reign. The day is also memorable for other reasons. It’s the 52nd anniversary of the proclamation of his mother, who reigned as Queen Margrethe II, in 1972. And it’s also the birthday of one of the family’s most significant ancestors, Margaret of Connaught. She was born at Bagshot Park in Surrey 142 years ago, on January 15, 1882.
Princess Margaret was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She was also the first wife of King Gustaf VI Adolf of Sweden, though she died before her husband inherited the Swedish throne. Gustaf and Margaret had five children, including Queen Ingrid of Denmark, and their grandchildren include both King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and Queen Margrethe of Denmark. Fittingly, you’ll note some major pieces of jewelry on display today that are connected to the legacy of Margaret of Connaught.
Queen Mary arrived for the Folketing reception wearing a lovely navy blue ensemble with matching shoes, gloves, and hat.
She accessorized with lovely diamonds and sapphires, including a very significant heirloom brooch.
Here’s a closer look at her lovely diamond floral earrings. The white gold earrings were made around 2000. They were sold at auction at Bruun Rasmussen in Copenhagen on December 1, 2016. The purchaser—presumably Queen Mary or one of her representatives—paid around 7,000 Danish krone for the earrings, which is around $1,000 USD. We recently saw Mary wear the earrings at one of the New Year’s receptions.
But it’s the brooch that is particularly special. The Connaught Sapphire Brooch, as the name suggests, features a large central sapphire in a frame of diamonds with a pearl and diamond pendant and festoons. Queen Ingrid inherited the brooch from her mother, Crown Princess Margareta, and later passed it on to her daughter, Queen Margrethe.
In 2006, Queen Margrethe gave the brooch to Queen Mary as a present to celebrate the baptism of her son, Crown Prince Christian. Above, Mary wears the brooch at Christian’s christening ceremony, which was held at Christiansborg Palace.
Queen Mary has worn the brooch often for important family events. We saw her wear it last October, for example, during Crown Prince Christian’s 18th birthday celebrations.
For Monday’s visit to parliament, Mary also wore a pair of delicate necklaces. One features a pendant in the shape of the letter F (for Frederik) set in diamonds. The other pendant was tucked beneath her neckline, but it was presumably the one engraved with the initials of her four children.
King Frederik’s family, Queen Margrethe, Prince Joachim, and Princess Benedikte, were also on hand to attend the Folketing reception. Notably, all five of the people who accompanied the King to parliament on Monday—Mary, Christian, Margrethe, Joachim, and Benedikte—are the family members who are eligible to serve as acting regent when the monarch is unable to do perform his regular duties. (Usually that’s when the monarch is traveling abroad.)
With her ensemble, Queen Margrethe wore lovely jewels set with diamonds and pearls.
She chose her Waterfall Earrings for the Folketing reception. The gold earrings, which were made by Van Cleef & Arpels, are set with brilliant-cut diamonds.
Like Queen Mary, Queen Margrethe wore a brooch with links to the Connaught family for the reception. She chose the Connaught Pearl Bar Brooch, which features three pearls surrounded by diamonds, set in gold and silver.
The brooch has been passed down through generations of the Connaught family. It originally belonged to Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia, wife of the Duke of Connaught and mother of Princess Margaret, Prince Arthur, and Princess Patricia of Connaught. The youngest child, Princess Patricia, inherited the brooch from her mother. Above, she wears the brooch on her wedding gown in 1919. After her marriage, she relinquished her royal title and was known as Lady Patricia Ramsay.
In 1958, Lady Patricia gifted the brooch to her great-niece, Queen Margrethe, as an eighteenth-birthday present. Margrethe has worn the brooch faithfully ever since. In her typical fashion, she has often used the piece creatively, for example as an enhancer on a pearl necklace.
She’s also paired the earrings and brooch together numerous times. She’s pictured wearing both jewels—plus her massive diamond engagement ring and the gold bracelet worn by the women of the Connaught family—above in Athens in 2006.
Finally, here’s a better look at the jewels worn by Princess Benedikte for the Folketing reception. She wore pearl and diamond earrings with a single strand of pearls and a pearl and diamond ring for the event. I’m also fascinated by her watch, which appears to feature an elaborate, modern diamond face.