It was actually her cousin who was to become Danish king – when Queen Margrethe became queen of the brother people 50 years ago. A referendum was needed to resolve the tangle.
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Queen Ingrid could obviously just have daughters. When Margrethe, Benedikte and Anne-Marie were born, the doctors gave a clear message that the body would not tolerate more attempts to have a son.
Since the constitution required the monarch to be a man, this meant in practice that King Frederik the Ninth’s little brother – Prince Knud – would take over. And after him followed Prince Ingolf – who are Margrethe’s shackles of the same age. HE would eventually become the country’s new king, when Frederik the 9th one day pulled in the years.
At the same time as Frederik the 9th became king in 1947, Knud was given the title «heir prince».
But it was not that simple anyway. For while the people loved the king, the queen, and their three sweet little girls, the enthusiasm for the Crown Prince and his family could fit in a few square inches. Not that there was anything directly wrong with them, but neither father nor eldest son could be accused of inventing gunpowder.
“Once again for Prince Knud” is still a saying that all Danes understand. It plays at once Knud visited a dance performance in Frederiksberg. Asked during the break if he liked the feature with the naked kickers, the Crown Prince replied that he had been inattentive and barely noticed any of the excesses. Thus, the whole scene was wasted again, so that the king’s little brother would also get the details.
The royal predicament was solved by allowing the people to decide. In 1953, a large majority of Danes voted to change the constitution so that women can inherit the throne. Everyone knew that this had in fact been a choice between a future Queen Margrethe or a King Ingolf.
Now the hereditary prince got a place in the line of succession after the king’s three daughters – and it was clear to everyone that his branch of the family was out of the game for good.
The day after the election, the Danes received confirmation that they had made a wise choice. When a reporter from Ekstra Bladet found the 13-year-old Prince Ingolf in the schoolyard, they asked what he achieved would be in life – since the royal plans had been emphatically shattered.
“Then I’ll probably become a garbage man,” blackened the poor boy – and came to the front page with a bang.
Here you can read more comments from Asbjørn Svarstad
Instead of becoming a crown prince – or garbage man – Ingolf became a friendly officer in the Queen’s Life Guard and a respected member of Copenhagen’s most handsome company. In 1968 he went with his teenage girlfriend, like Inge, came from Hvidovre – and was deliciously popular. Because she was a bourgeois, he had to relinquish the title of prince and instead become count of Rosenborg. Inge became countess.
The couple was in a way banished to Southern Jutland, far away from the capital’s numerous pitfalls and temptations. Instead, the count got a nice estate with a dirt road that could throw off well. In addition, it is granted an annual – and initial – amount for subsistence. The count couple naturally showed up for all major occasions in the King’s Happy City.
And once in a while Ingolf appeared in the colored press and assured that he was not the least bit bitter about the lost throne. He was also nice to get rid of the fact that Cousin Margrethe is an absolutely excellent queen.
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In the late 80’s, where he came forward and told openly about an alcohol consumption that had gotten completely out of control. With a daily consumption of 20 bottles of Tuborg and half a jar of Old Danish, the doctors finally warned that life would soon give up. So with that, he became total abstinence overnight – and still is.
Inge got cancer and died in 1996, to the great despair of the count.
Ingolf later told in an interview about how he had small friends in different places all over Jutland, and that he drove around daily and many times with dinner and whatnot. In this way, it went on for a couple of years, until the lawyer Sussie had his claw beaten in the count – who immediately said “yes” and made her Countess of Rosenborg.
Last Friday, Her Royal Highness celebrated that it is 50 years since she bested the Danish throne. The “job” the 82-year-old monarch has done in such a forward-looking way that virtually all Danes love her. For SHE is not very boring.
I was once on «Egeland» outside Kolding, where it was common and exclusive interview in the fine room. Ingolf was a friendly person who blacked politely and well on all questions, while he chain-smoked cigarettes without a filter.
The report did not provoke any cheers from the sensational-hungry editorial staff in Oslo. On the contrary, the editor called and scolded me for writing the most bland and uninteresting story of all time.
Read more from the Norwegian debate here
On the way out to the car afterwards, very little was said – until my then wife, with her distinctly Danish humor, began to hiccup from the latter. She laughed and laughed – and could not stop at all.
“Did you see what he smoked?” she moaned: