Prince Christian of Denmark, Count of Monpezat (Christian Valdemar Henri John; born 15 October 2005) is the elder son and eldest child of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary. He is a grandson of Queen Margrethe II and her husband Prince Henrik. He is second in the Danish line of succession, after his father. His sister Isabella is immediately after him in the line of succession.
Prince Christian was born at 1:57 am in Rigshospitalet, the Copenhagen University Hospital, in Copenhagen on Saturday, 15 October 2005. At noon on the day of his birth 21-gun salutes were fired from the Sixtus Battery at Holmen in Copenhagen and at Kronborg Castle to mark the birth of a royal child. At the same time, public buses and official buildings flew the Danish flag, the Dannebrog. At sunset on the same day beacon bonfires were lit all over Denmark, while Naval Home Guard vessels lit their searchlights and directed them towards the capital. Bonfires were also lit in celebration in Australia.
Christian was hospitalised briefly on 21 October 2005 because he suffered from neonatal jaundice, a usually harmless illness and a fairly common one (especially in premature births). The first photographs of the then 6-day-old boy showed a yellow tinge to his face and hands. The prince was examined by doctors and underwent blood tests, then spent time in a light box under special coloured light rays to break down the bilirubin substance which causes jaundice. His parents took him home again the same day and he made a full recovery.
Christian was christened on 21 January 2006 in Christiansborg Palace Chapel by Bishop Erik Norman Svendsen. Christian’s godparents are his paternal uncle, Prince Joachim of Denmark; his maternal aunt, Jane Stephens; the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Norway; the Crown Princess of Sweden; the Crown Prince of Greece; and two friends of the couple: Jeppe Handwerk and Hamish Campbell. He was named Christian Valdemar Henri John, continuing the Danish royal tradition of alternating between the names Christian and Frederick in direct line.
He received a number of presents on the occasion of his christening, including a pony called Flikflak from the Folketing, Denmark’s national parliament.
Christian is second-in-line to the Danish throne. Since the 16th century, first-born sons of Danish monarchs have traditionally been alternately named Frederick and Christian; Queen Margrethe II, while naturally interrupting this sequence, treated herself as a “Christian” for the purposes of alternation, coming between her father, Frederick IX, and her son, Crown Prince Frederik. Prince Christian will likewise presumably be known as “King Christian XI of Denmark” (following his great-great-grandfather Christian X in that name).
The possibility Mary could be expecting a female child motivated Danish politicians to consider the possibility of adopting absolute primogeniture. Formerly Denmark’s throne followed agnatic primogeniture; this was altered by the 1953 Act of Succession, which introduced male-preference cognatic primogeniture, which gives daughters a place in the succession, but behind their brothers. This change allowed the present Queen to become heir presumptive and eventually inherit the throne. While the Crown Princess was still pregnant with Christian, the Folketing began the lengthy process (which would need in the end the approval of two parliaments and a referendum) to change the Danish constitution to allow absolute primogeniture. The birth of a boy removed some urgency from this drive.
On 11 September 2006, Per Stig Møller, Denmark’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, formally wrote and signed a hand-written document confirming Prince Christian’s place in the line of succession. The prince’s full name, his dates of birth and christening, and the names of his godparents were recorded as dictated by the Royal Law of 1799.
Should he succeed to the throne, Prince Christian will become the first monarch of Australian ancestry to hold the throne of any dominion.
Christian was the first member of the Danish Royal Family to attend nursery school. At the same age, the Crown Prince had a nanny at the palace. He is also the first member of the Danish Royal Family to attend a public state school.
Christian attended the opening of the new elephant house at the Copenhagen Zoo with his grandfather, Prince Henrik, who is a patron of the zoo, and who laid the foundation stone for the new elephant house in October 2006. Christian was the one who opened the elephant house by pressing a button on an interactive console. The elephants were a gift from the King and Queen of Thailand to the Queen and Prince Consort of Denmark on their last visit to Thailand. The elephant house was designed by Norman Foster and Partners.
On 19 June 2010, he served as a page boy at the wedding of his fourth cousin and godmother, the Crown Princess of Sweden, to Daniel Westling.
Christian accompanied his parents on most of their engagements during the family’s official visit to Greenland on 1–8 August 2014.