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Queen Mary and King Frederik's youngest children receive incredible gift

It's been a big week for Princess Isabella, and 13-year-old twins, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine

Danish royals on balcony
Gemma Strong
Online Digital News Director
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King Frederik and Queen Mary's four children are adjusting to their new royal roles after watching their father become Denmark's new monarch on Sunday.

Frederik, 55, was proclaimed King on 14 January following his mother Queen Margrethe's decision to abdicate in his favour after 52 years on the throne.

Both he and his wife were visibly emotional as they greeted the crowds who had gathered outside Christiansborg Palace. They were joined by their 18-year-old son, Christian, the new Crown Prince, and his younger siblings, Princess Isabella, 16, and 13-year-old twins, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.

Princess Isabella, Crown Prince Christian, King Frederik X of Denmark, Queen Mary of Denmark, Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent wave after the proclamation© Getty
King Frederik is joined by his family to greet the crowds as Denmark's new king

And it has now been revealed that the three youngest royals have received a very special gift following their father's ascension.

Isabella, Vincent and Josephine are now all proud recipients of the Order of the Elephant -  Denmark's highest honour of chivalry.

When Crown Prince Frederik became king on Sunday, he also replaced his mother as the sovereign of the Order of the Elephant. The laws dictate that the sons, and now daughters, of the Sovereign of the Orders are born members of the order. 

Prince Christian poses with parents Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary© Dennis Stenild, Kongehuset
Frederik, Mary and Christian wore their Elephants on their sashes in the official portraits for his 18th birthday

That means his three youngest children, HRH Princess Isabella, HRH Prince Vincent and HRH Princess Josephine, became Knights of the Order of the Elephant from 14 January 2024 onwards. They are likely to be presented with the Order of the Elephant’s insignias on their 18th birthdays. 

Similarly, Frederik and his brother, Prince Joachim, became Knights of the Order of the Elephant upon the accession to the throne of their mother, HM Queen Margrethe, on 14 January 1972, and were presented with the insignias when they turned 18 years old.

Crown Prince Christian, meanwhile, was presented with his Order by his grandmother when he reached the same landmark birthday, in October last year.

Members of the order are given a very distinctive emblem - a colourful and beautifully crafted elephant. 

Close up of the Order of the Elephant, Denmark's highest honour of chivalry© Getty Images
Member of the order receive an elephant emblem

The elephant is made of white-enamelled gold with blue housings and stands at about 5 cm high. A number of large cut diamonds adorn the elephant, along with a crowned monogram of the monarch reigning when it was made. 

At the top of the tower on the elephant’s back is a gold ring, from which the badge can be hung from the collar or tied to a sash. And on the elephant's back sits a turbaned ‘moor mahout’.

Between 1580 and today, around 890 persons have been bestowed with the Order of the Elephant; with Queen Margrethe adding 68 people during her 40 year reign, according to Tatler. 

The recipients are almost always royal persons and foreign heads of state – though in a rare exception, the order was given to a commoner in 2000. That person was the deceased shipping magnate, Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, who was recognised for exceptional contribution to Danish economic strength and Danish society. 

Danish Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort Henrik pose at the Palace of Fredensborg north of Copenhagen 02 June 2007.© Getty
Crown Prince Christian received his late grandfather Prince Henrik's elephant order

It's interesting to note that the elephants are only on loan to recipients and must be returned to the Chapter of the Royal Orders of Chivalry when a member of the Order has passed away. 

It means that elephants are inherited and used many times by different members, with some dating back hundreds of years. Previous owners are not disclosed to current members - although there are lines of inheritance. The elephant recently bestowed on Prince Christian belonged previously to his grandfather, Prince Henrik.

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