King Christian X of DenmarkKING CHRISTIAN X

Christian X was born Sept. 26, 1870 in Charlottenlund, and died in Copenhagen on April 20, 1947. He reigned Denmark from 1912–1947 and symbolized the nation’s resistance to the German occupation during World War II.

The eldest son of King Frederick VIII and Louise of Sweden and Norway, Christian became chief of the royal guard in 1898 and married Alexandrine of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He assumed the throne on his father’s death in 1912.

In June 1915, Christian signed the new constitution that provided for a two-chamber parliament with equal suffrage for men and women; he also gave his assent to the federal act of 1918 making Iceland an independent kingdom. In July 1920 he received a warm welcome in North Schleswig, the part of Schleswig-Holstein ceded to Denmark by Germany under the Treaty of Versailles (1919).

In April 1933, Christian X was scheduled to appear at the central synagogue in Copenhagen to celebrate its centennial anniversary. When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in January, the community leaders suggested that the king postpone his visit. The king insisted, however, and became the first Nordic monarch to visit a synagogue.

When Denmark was occupied in 1940, Crown Princess Ingrid urged her father-in-law to maintain his daily habit of riding his horse through the streets of Copenhagen. These morning rides became a powerful symbol of national identity, and throngs of young Danes gathering in solidarity around their monarch.

The King’s horseback rides through the streets of Copenhagen, showed that he had not abandoned his countrymen, and may have been the source of the myth that he wore the yellow star when he went out on his horse.

No one in Denmark was ever required to wear the star.

The King rejected the Nazi demand for anti-Jewish legislation in September 1942 but was forced in May 1943 to condemn Danish sabotage of munitions works and railways. His speech against the occupation forces in August 1943, after fighting had broken out between the Germans and Danish resistance fighters, led to his house arrest until the end of the war. He was succeeded on his death by his eldest son, who became Frederick IX.