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Monday, July 25, 2011

The Father-in-Law of Europe

European history has always fascinated me particularly the history of various monarchs, how they are intrinsically connected and the impact they still have on our lives today.  I was reading the history of the Scandinavian countries Norway and Denmark today and learned that Harald V is the current king of Norway. It makes for a very interesting read to see who he is related to.

Harald V (born 21 February 1937) is the king of Norway. He succeeded to the throne of Norway upon the death of his father Olav V on 17 January 1991. The son of the then-Crown Prince Olav and of Princess Märtha of Sweden, Harald was born at the Crown Prince Residence at Skaugum, Akershus, Norway.

King Harald V is the great-grandson of Edward VII of the United Kingdom, and 68th in line to the British throne. He is a paternal second cousin to Elizabeth II and the late Princess Margaret, a maternal first cousin to Baudouin of Belgium, his successor Albert II of Belgium, and their sister the late Josephine-Charlotte, Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
King Harald V's grandfather  was known as the father-in-law of Europe and as you read on you will readily see why.



Christian IX (8 April 1818 – 29 January 1906) was King of Denmark from 16 November 1863 to 29 January 1906. He became known as "the father-in-law of Europe", as his six children married into other royal houses; most current European monarchs are descended from him. King Harald V of Norway, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Sofía of Spain and Constantine II of Greece (the former and last King of the Hellenes) are all male-line descendants of Christian IX.  Four of his children sat on the thrones (either as monarchs or as a consort) of Denmark, the United Kingdom, Russia and Greece. A fifth, daughter Thyra, would have become Queen of Hanover, had her husband's throne not been abolished before his reign began. The great dynastical success of the six children was to a great extent not the favor of Christian IX himself, but due to the dynastical ambitions of his wife Louise of Hesse-Kassel. Some have compared her dynastical capabilities with those of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.  Four of his children sat on the thrones (either as monarchs or as a consort) of Denmark, the United Kingdom, Russia and Greece. A fifth, daughter Thyra, would have become Queen of Hanover, had her husband's throne not been abolished before his reign began. The great dynastical success of the six children was to a great extent not the favor of Christian IX himself, but due to the dynastical ambitions of his wife Louise of Hesse-Kassel. Some have compared her dynastical capabilities with those of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.
Christian's grandsons included Nicholas II of Russia, Constantine I of Greece, George V of the United Kingdom, Christian X of Denmark and Haakon VII of Norway. He was, in the last years of his life, named Europe's "father-in-law". Today, most of Europe's reigning and ex-reigning royal families are direct descendants of Christian IX.
There is a story that, while on an outing with his children and their families, they happened across a lost man whom they helped to find his way. Upon reaching the road, the man inquired as to the identities of Christian and his family. Christian replied truthfully, stating the names and titles of all present. Not believing Christian but instead taking it in humour, he proclaimed himself to be Jesus Christ before thanking them and departing.

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