The year 2022 will be one of the great anniversaries of the Danish Royal House. On January 14, 2022, Queen Margrethe II will be celebrating her 50th anniversary as a reigning Danish monarch.
Many preparations were made for the celebration of the Queen’s 80th birthday on April 16, 2020. All these events were, however, cancelled as Covid-19 hit the world like a thunderstorm. No wonder, therefore, that this remarkable anniversary is now being met with great enthusiasm.
In connection with this anniversary, Posta, the Faroese Postal Service, is issuing a miniature-sheet depicting Queen Margrethe II in front of the Faroese Cathedral ruins - colloquially referred to as the Wall - in the village of Kirkjubøur. The Queen is wearing the Faroese national costume, surrounded by verdant landscape and the blue sea. In this way, the mini-sheet also attests to her love for the Faroe Islands, its history, culture and nature.
The Queen studied archaeology in England in 1960-61, and archaeological research has shown that the Wall was completed around the time when Margrethe I started her reign as the Queen of Denmark in 1375. Just a few years later, in 1380, the Faroe Islands, together with Norway, became a part of the Danish/Norwegian kingdom. When the celebrations commence early next year the Faroe Islands have been part of the Danish Kingdom for 642 years, fifty of which have seen Queen Margrethe II as a sovereign.
The only king who has occupied the throne longer than Magrethe II is Christian IV. He was crowned as king of Denmark already in childhood and ruled for sixty years - from 1588 to 1648. Should Queen Margrethe II be able to celebrate sixty years as regent in 2032, she will set a record as the longest-reigning monarch in one of the oldest kingdoms in the world.
Queen Margrethe already holds another astounding record. Since the first official royal visit to the Faroes in 1874, no regent has visited the Faroe Islands more frequently than Margrethe II. To commemorate the first royal visit more than a century ago, a memorial - a so-called King’s Monument - was erected on a conspicuous hill in Tórshavn.
No memorial has been erected for Queen Margrethe II in the Faroes and no memorial is indeed needed. This became clearly perceptible when the Queen visited the Islands in 2021. In one Faroese town, care was taken to ensure that the Queen would stand in exactly the same place as when she visited the Faroe Islands as Crown Princess with her parents more than 60 years ago.
For many older people, this became a very special occasion reviving memories of times long past. These stories vividly show that the Queen does not need anyone to erect her a memorial in these shores. Having visited the Islands so many times, she herself has erected a proper Queen’s Memorial in the minds of most Faroese. The Queen’s husband, the now deceased Prince Henrik, strongly supported her in this official capacity and no one could entertain any doubt about his delight whenever he visited the Faroe Islands with the Queen.
The great interest shown by Queen Margrethe II in the Faroe Islands and Faroese culture has greatly enhanced her popularity in the Faroe Islands. Although not everyone agrees about the significance of the Danish Royal House in today’s society, one is bound to respect and admire a queen who has both learned the Faroese language and to dance Faroese chain dance. In addition, she wears the national costume with pride, has great insight into Faroese art and has visited almost every corner of the Faroe Islands. Even after so many visits, Margrethe II is just as heartily welcome to the Faroe Islands today as she was fifty years ago.
Erling Isholm, historian