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Intimate details of Queen Margrethe's younger years revealed in new books

12 APRIL 2010

As Denmark prepares to celebrate the April 16 70th birthday of Queen Margrethe, the publishing world has paid its tribute to the sovereign in the form of two books.

They are Margrethe, My Life in Images and Three Sisters, which is about the Queen and her two younger sisters Princess Benedickte and Anne-Marie of Greece.

The first book is based on various conversations the queen had with the author along with hundreds of photos from her life, some chosen by her. In it she speaks of her childhood, her adolescence, her middle age, the love of her life, her pride in her children and the wives they have taken.

For example, of Prince Frederik's other half, Princess Mary, she says: "I have to say I am very happy with Frederik's choice. Now the princess has spent various years in Denmark and I think she is doing so well… I am so happy with her and the two of them are so happy together."

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Three Sisters is full of revelations about the relationship between the three daughters of King Frederik and Queen Ingrid (pictured with their children – from left – Benedikte 13, nine-year-old Anne-Marie and 16-year-old Margrethe), especially concerning their childhood and teenage years, when they spent the most time together.

 Readers may be surprised to learn of the bad temper of little Princess Margrethe, who once bit her sister Benedikte on the arm. Or how it affected her, aged 13, when the law of succession was changed and the fact that her mother couldn't have any more children meant that she was now heir to the throne.

"Mother and father talked with me about my future as queen, but for the others, nothing will change," she said. "They talk more about it in school, and I find that very unpleasant."

The queen also revealed that she wasn't allowed to wear lipstick until she was 15, and it was only when she was 17 or 18 that she could wear eyeshadow "from time to time".

On the subject of jewellery she tells how she sometimes wears a ruby horseshoe brooch. It is her lucky charm – a present her father gave her when she was officially named heir to the throne, aged 13.

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Margrethe's two sisters haven't only participated in the writing of the book, they've also given extensive interviews to the national magazine Billed-Bladet to celebrate their older sister's landmark year.

In the magazine, Queen Anne-Marie talks about how her sister has battled with and overcome shyness over the years, and also of the strong bond between all three sisters that was strengthened by the death of their mother in 2000.

"We've always been very close, but maybe it's more important now because she isn't here any more to be the one that draws us all together," says Queen Anne-Marie. "Now we have to fix things ourselves."

For her part Princess Benedikte expresses her "admiration" for her sister and her "unlimited creativity". She says: "She can do so many things. I'm not creative at all – she got all the creativity and the artistic ability."

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