Christian X of Denmark
|Reign||14 May 1912 – 20 April 1947|
|Reign||1 December 1918 – 17 June 1944|
|Consort||Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin|
|Frederick IX of Denmark
Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
|House||House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg|
|Father||Frederick VIII of Denmark|
|Mother||Louise of Sweden|
26 September 1870|
|Died||20 April 1947
Christian X (Christian Carl Frederik Albert Alexander Vilhelm; 26 September 1870 – 20 April 1947) was king of the Kingdom of Denmark from 1912 to 1947 and the only king of Iceland (where the name was officially spelled Kristján), between 1918 and 1944.
He was the third Danish monarch of the House of Glücksburg and the first member of his family since the 16th century to have actually been born into the Danish royal family; both his father and his grandfather were born as princes of a minor German ducal family. Among his siblings were King Haakon VII of Norway.
Being something of an authoritarian and a ruler who strongly stressed the importance of royal dignity and power in an age of growing democracy, Christian X did not seem fit for popularity. However, a reign spanning two world wars and the role he was believed to have played under Nazi rule made him one of the most popular Danish monarchs of modern times.
Early life 
Christian was born on 26 September 1870 at Charlottenlund Palace in Gentofte Municipality near Copenhagen as the oldest son and child of Crown Prince Frederick of Denmark and his wife Louise of Sweden, only surviving child of King Charles XV of Sweden. He was baptised in the Chapel of Christiansborg Palace on 31 October 1870 by the Bishop of Zealand, Hans Lassen Martensen.
Christian married Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in Cannes on 26 April 1898; she was a daughter of Frederick Francis III, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Grand Duchess Anastasia Mikhailovna of Russia. She eventually became his queen consort. They had two children:
- Prince Frederick (1899–1972), later King Frederick IX of Denmark
- Prince Knud (1900–1976), later Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark
The couple were given Christian VIII's Palace at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen as their residence and Sorgenfri Palace north of Copenhagen as a summer residence. Furthermore, the couple received Marselisborg Palace in Aarhus as a wedding present from the people of Denmark in 1898. In 1914, the King also built the villa Klitgården in Skagen.
On 14 May 1912, King Frederick VIII died after collapsing from shortness of breath whilst taking a walk in a park in Hamburg, Germany. He had been returning from a recuperation stay in Nice, France and was staying anonymously in the city before continuing to Copenhagen. Christian was in Copenhagen when he heard about his father's demise and ascended the throne as Christian X.
Easter Crisis of 1920 
In April 1920, Christian instigated the Easter Crisis, perhaps the most decisive event in the evolution of the Danish monarchy in the Twentieth Century. The immediate cause was a conflict between the King and the cabinet over the reunification with Denmark of Schleswig, a former Danish fiefdom, which had been lost to Prussia during the Second War of Schleswig. Danish claims to the region persisted to the end of World War I, at which time the defeat of the Germans made it possible to resolve the dispute. According to the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, the disposition of Schleswig was to be determined by two plebiscites: one in Northern Schleswig (today Denmark's South Jutland County), the other in Central Schleswig (today part of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein). No plebiscite was planned for Southern Schleswig, as it was dominated by an ethnic German majority and, in accordance with prevailing sentiment of the times, remained part of the post-war German state.
In Northern Schleswig, seventy-five percent voted for reunification with Denmark and twenty-five percent for remaining with Germany. In this vote, the entire region was considered to be an indivisible unit, and the entire region was awarded to Denmark. In Central Schleswig, the situation was reversed with eighty percent voting for Germany and twenty percent for Denmark. In this vote, each municipality decided its own future, and German majorities prevailed everywhere. In light of these results, the government of Prime Minister Carl Theodor Zahle determined that reunification with Northern Schleswig could go forward, while Central Schleswig would remain under German control.
Many Danish nationalists felt that at least the city of Flensburg, in Central Schleswig, should be returned to Denmark regardless of the plebiscite's results, due to the sizeable Danish minority there and a general desire to see Germany permanently weakened in the future. Christian X agreed with these sentiments, and ordered Prime Minister Zahle to include Flensburg in the re-unification process. As Denmark had been operating as a parliamentary democracy since the Cabinet of Deuntzer in 1901, Zahle felt he was under no obligation to comply. He refused the order and resigned several days later after a heated exchange with the King.
Subsequently, Christian X dismissed the rest of the cabinet and replaced it with a de facto conservative caretaker cabinet. The dismissal caused demonstrations and an almost revolutionary atmosphere in Denmark, and for several days the future of the monarchy seemed very much in doubt. In light of this, negotiations were opened between the King and members of the Social Democrats. Faced with the potential overthrow of the Danish crown, Christian X stood down and dismissed his own government, installing a compromise cabinet until elections could be held later that year.
This was the last time a sitting Danish monarch attempted to take political action without the full support of parliament. Following the crisis, Christian X accepted his drastically reduced role as symbolic head of state.
Reign during World War II 
In contrast to his brother, King Haakon VII of Norway, and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands, who went into exile during the Nazi occupation of their countries, Christian X remained in his capital throughout the occupation of Denmark, being to the Danish people a visible symbol of the national cause (although it is important to note that Norway's King Haakon VII was forced to escape the invading Germans after refusing to accept a Nazi-friendly puppet regime). Even though until the German putsch in August 1943, Christian's official speeches reflected the government's official policy of cooperation with the occupying forces, this did not prevent him from being seen as a man of "mental resistance." And during the first two years of the German occupation, in spite of his age and the precarious situation, he nonetheless took a daily ride on his horse, "Jubilee," through Copenhagen, unaccompanied by a groom, let alone by a guard. A majority of Danes saw this image of their king riding in the streets of the capital as heroic and a symbol of national independence and resistance.
In 1942, Adolf Hitler sent the king a long telegram congratulating him on his seventy-second birthday. The king's reply telegram was a mere, Spreche Meinen besten Dank aus. Chr. Rex (English: Giving my best thanks, King Chr.). This perceived slight, known as the Telegram Crisis, greatly outraged Hitler and he immediately recalled his ambassador from Copenhagen and expelled the Danish ambassador from Germany. German pressure then resulted in the dismissal of the government led by Vilhelm Buhl and its replacement with a new cabinet led by non-party member and veteran diplomat Erik Scavenius, who the Germans expected would be more cooperative. Today it is a well known fact that Scavenius also had the full confidence of the king, who recognized the increasing German threat to Denmark. (In any event, whatever independence Denmark had been able to maintain during the first years of the occupation ended abruptly with the German putsch in August 1943.)
After a fall with his horse on 19 October 1942, he was more or less an invalid for the rest of his reign. The role he played in creating the Easter Crisis of 1920 greatly reduced his popularity, but his daily rides, the Telegram Crisis and the propaganda rumours spread by Danish-American circles had once again made him popular to the point of being a beloved national symbol.
On his death in Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen, in 1947, Christian X was interred along other members of the Danish royal family in Roskilde Cathedral near Copenhagen. Although he had been behind the politics of Erik Scavenius, a cloth armband of the type worn by members of the Danish resistance movement was placed on his coffin at castrum doloris.
Legend and trivia 
On November 22, 1942, The Washington Post published a photograph of Christian X; calling him, ironically, a victim of Hitler, and stating that the nation of this regent did not oppose German occupation with arms. It became then important for Danish Americans to prove the contrary, and a number of stories were invented in the turmoil of the war. The most successful of these was the legend of the king wearing the yellow star in order to support the Jews. King Christian used to ride daily through the streets of Copenhagen unaccompanied while the people stood and waved to him. One apocryphal story relates that one day, a German soldier remarked to a young boy that he found it odd that the king would ride with no bodyguard. The boy reportedly replied, "All of Denmark is his bodyguard." This story was recounted in Nathaniel Benchley's bestselling book Bright Candles as well as in Lois Lowry's book Number the Stars. The contemporary patriotic song "Der rider en Konge" (There Rides a King) centers on the king's rides. In this song, the narrator replies to a foreigner's inquiry about the king's lack of a guard that "he is our freest man" and that the king is not shielded by physical force but that "hearts guard the king of Denmark."
Another popular, but apocryphal, legend carried by the American press concerned the supposed flying of the German flag over the Hotel d'Angleterre (then being used as the Germany military headquarters in Copenhagen). The king riding by and seeing the flag, tells a German sentry that this is a violation of the armistice agreement and that the flag must be taken down. The sentry replies that this will not be done. The king then says if the flag is not taken down, he will send a Danish soldier to take it down. The sentry responds, "The soldier will be shot." The king replies "the Danish soldier will be me." According to the story, the flag was taken down. (Another version has the Germans remove the Danish flag from above Amalienborg royal palace; however, throughout the war the Danish flag flew at Amalienborg.)
A popular way for Danes to display patriotism and silent resistance to the German occupation was wearing a small square button with the Danish flag and the crowned insignia of the king. This symbol was called the Kongemærket (King's Emblem pin).
The King and Danish Jewry 
During World War II Christian X became the hero of a number of myths about his defense of the Danish Jews. The story which became best known says that the King showed his support for the Jews by carrying the Star of David when riding in the streets of Copenhagen.
This myth dates back to World War Two, but gained a second youth in 1952 with its retelling in Leon Uris novel Exodus. In this later version, the King orders the whole population to follow his example -- every subject then wore the Star to force the Germans to abandon their anti-Jewish policy. The story is told in a few lines and in a very realistic style. It was repeated in the film Exodus. However, it was not invented by Leon Uris, but during the war and probably by a person hired by a Danish-American club in New York. This has been shown by the Icelandic historian Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson in The King and the Star. Myths created during the Occupation of Denmark. The myth has been read as a metaphor for the general warm relation that existed between Danes and the Danish Jews, which resulted in the Rescue of the Danish Jews in 1943.
One genuine example of Christian X's relation to the Danish Jews was his choice to participate in the 100th anniversary of the Copenhagen synagogue in 1933. Reputedly, the Rabbi pointed out to the King that given the situation in Germany where the anti-Semitism was rife it would be understandable if he were to choose not to attend, and the King answered "Are you mad? Now there's twice as much reason to attend!"
Sir Max Hastings writes in Inferno; The World at War, 1939-1945, "Elsewhere, some small countries showed bolder defiance than did the French." Hastings contrasts this with wartime Britain, which for a time interred German refugees -- including German Jews -- regardless of their background or circumstances. He also points out widespread collaboration with the Nazis in France and even the Netherlands, where he notes "Despite the legend of Dutch sympathy promoted by Anne Frank's diary, Holland's policemen proved more ruthless than their French counterparts, dispatching a higher proportion of their country's Jews to deportation and death . . . . The Danes," Hastings concludes, "alone among European societies, refused to participate in the deportation of their Jews, almost all of whom survived."
Titles, styles and honours 
Titles and styles 
- 26 September 1870 – 29 January 1906: His Royal Highness Prince Christian of Denmark
- 29 January 1906 – 14 May 1912: His Royal Highness The Crown Prince
- 14 May 1912 - 20 April 1947: His Majesty The King
- United Kingdom KG - 849th Knight of the Garter - 1914
- United Kingdom GCB - Honorary Knight Grand Cross (Civil) of the Order of the Bath
- United Kingdom GCVO - Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order - 11 October 1901 
|Frederick IX, King of Denmark||11 March 1899||14 January 1972||Princess Ingrid of Sweden||Margrethe II, Queen of Denmark
Princess Benedikte of Denmark
Queen Anne-Marie of Greece
|Knud, Hereditary Prince of Denmark||27 July 1900||14 June 1976||Princess Caroline-Mathilde of Denmark||Princess Elisabeth of Denmark
Count Ingolf of Rosenborg
Count Christian of Rosenborg
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Christian X of Denmark|
- FaktaLink - 2005 - Besættelsen - Kilder
- Official website of the Danish Monarchy - Biography of King Christian X
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Frequently asked questions
- "Der rider en Konge". Lyrics by Hans Hartvig Seedorff Pedersen. Published e.g. in Emilius Bangert et al., "Dansk Alsang-Bog", Copenhagen: Egmont H. Peterens Forlag, 1941.
- Sofie Lene Bak. 2001. Jødeaktionen oktober 1943: forestillinger i offentlighed og forskning. Museum Tusculanum Press. p 158
- Per Stig Møller. 2001. Munk Gyldendal A/S, p. 242.
- Hastings, Sir Max. Inferno; The World at War, 1939-1945. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Pp. 391-393.
- The London Gazette: . 11 October 1901.
Cadet branch of the House of OldenburgBorn: 26 September 1870 Died: 20 April 1947
|King of the Kingdom of Denmark