Denmark’s King Frederik IX was laid to rest among his royal ancestors amidst pomp and pageantry in Roskilde Cathedral on 24 January 1972.

King Frederik fell ill shortly after giving his New Year’s Address to the nation on 31 December 1971, and he was rushed to hospital days later suffering from a heart attack.

He died on 14 January 1972 at 7.50 pm, surrounded by family and close friends.

His eldest daughter Queen Margrethe II became Denmark’s first reigning female monarch in five centuries.

King Frederik was deeply mourned as thousands paid their respects when his body lay in state at Christiansborg Palace from 18 January for six days until the funeral.

Four generations of Danish kings: Christian IX, Frederick VIII, Christian X and Frederick IX in 1903

A brief service was held before King Frederik’s coffin were placed on a gun carriage, pulled by 48 seamen, and accompanied by honour guards from the Danish Navy, Army and Air Force, from Christiansborg Palace through the city to Copenhagen Central Station.

The procession also included honour guards from the United States, British and Swedish Navies.

The coffin was taken aboard a special railway carriage for the train journey to Roskilde Cathedral where all Danish monarchs since Christian III, who died in 1559, have been buried.

Reigning monarchs, heads of state and commoners were among the mourners who paid their last respects.

King Frederik’s remains were later moved to a mausoleum just outside the Cathedral, according to his last wishes.

His widow, Queen Ingrid, lived for another 28 years and died on 7 November 2000, aged 90. She was buried beside her husband a week later, on 14 November.


Frederik was born at Sorgenfri Palace on 11 March 1899, the eldest son of Christian X and Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.

His father became King in 1912 when his grandfather Frederik VIII died, so he was second in line to the throne.

He began his education at the Royal Danish Naval Academy in 1917 and the University of Copenhagen.

King Frederick IX of Denmark (1947-1972) in 1935.

Frederik broke with tradition by choosing a naval career, instead of joining the army. He held several senior commands whilst on active duty, acquired several tattoos during his years of service and rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in 1946.

He married Princess Ingrid of Sweden on 24 May 1935, and lived mostly at Frederick VIII’s Palace at Amalienborg and spent their summers at Gråsten.

They had three daughters: Queen Margrethe II, Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.

King Frederik and Queen Ingrid providing a relaxed and loving family life for their three daughters, so the Royal Family became a popular reflection of the typical Danish family adapting with the times.

However, Frederik also acted as regent after his father was temporarily injured after falling off a horse in October 1942 until 1943.

His father Christian X refused to leave Denmark and became a visible symbol for popular resistance symbol during World War II. Sources say he rode his horse every day through the streets of Copenhagen, unaccompanied by a groom or guards, in defiance of Hitler, as the people waved and cheered as he passed by.

Frederik supported and encouraged the Danish resistance against German Occupation, and he and his father were imprisoned by the Germans from 1943 to 1945.

He was proclaimed King from the Christiansborg Palace balcony by the Prime Minister Knud Kristensen after his father died on 20 April 1947.

His reign saw many changes when Denmark shook off restrictions of an agricultural society, the development of a welfare state, a booming economy during the 1960s and the modernisation of society. Women achieved equality and entered the workforce.

The Act of Succession was amended in 1953, to allow his eldest daughter to become Queen, rather than his younger brother Prince Knud.

He was extremely popular, as he had a natural friendliness and warmth, whilst maintaining the dignity of a monarch, whilst dealing with people from all walks of life.

The King was also a talented piano player and he also served as a conductor, with the Royal Danish Orchestra and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, from 1938 and continued until 1971, about nine months before he died.

King Frederik IX’s Motto: “With God for Denmark.”

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