Next week will see the publication of Roger Lundgren’s book Ingrid – Prinsessa av Sverige, drottning av Danmark, marking the centenary of the birth of Queen Ingrid of Denmark. In the country of her birth the book will be published by Bokförlaget Fischer & Co, while a Danish version titled Ingrid – Prinsesse af Sverige, dronning af Danmark will be published by People’s Press.
This is not a full-scale biography of Queen Ingrid; the book is more concerned with the person than with the queen. What makes this book stand out from the others already written is that the author allows Queen Ingrid’s closest family to tell most of the story.
The author, who has earlier written a biography of Princess Sibylla of Sweden and founded the now extinct magazine Queen, quotes extensively from the interview Queen Ingrid gave to Anne Wolden-Ræthinge in 1996. In addition he has interviewed her three daughters, six of her ten grandchildren, her son-in-law the ex-King of the Hellenes, her sole surviving brother, Prince Joachim’s ex-wife, the Queen of Sweden and Princess Christina. Queen Ingrid meant the world to her husband and she was the centre of the family for her children and grandchildren. In this book they make you see why.
What I found perhaps most interesting about this book was what Queen Silvia and Princess Christina say about Queen Ingrid’s on-going involvement with the monarchy in her native land. Princess Christina speaks about how their aunt guided her and her brother Carl XVI Gustaf in their new roles as, respectively, first lady and monarch following the deaths of their mother and grandfather.
Queen Silvia speaks with warmth about the support and advice Queen Ingrid gave her when she came to Sweden as the bride of King Carl Gustaf in 1976 and how they continued to seek her advice on issues big and small until the very end of her days. In this, the Queen of Sweden even makes an interesting revelation about the separation between state and church, which came into force in Sweden in 2000, the year of Queen Ingrid’s death.
It has later been revealed that King Carl Gustaf, like his Norwegian counterpart would also do some years later, made a political intervention insisting that also future monarchs should be required to belong to the Lutheran church.
Queen Silvia says that she and the King wondered how things would be after the separation of state and church and rang up Aunt Ingrid for advice. Having thought it over, her answer was: “Sweden is a democracy. The majority decides in democracies. A majority of the Swedes belongs to the Evangelical faith, so naturally the country’s head of state should also do so”. It is very interesting that Queen Ingrid was so directly involved in an issue in which King Carl Gustaf was accused of meddling in politics.
As this is mainly a personal family portrait of Queen Ingrid, there is comparatively less about her public role or her influence on the development of the Danish monarchy. But if one wants to know what she was like privately and what she meant to her family, this is the book one should read.