Queen Margrethe, Denmark's good-humored, much-loved monarch

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No matter how they feel about the institution of royalty, almost everyone likes Denmark’s Queen Margrethe, who is celebrating 50 years on the throne this week.

Every New Year’s Eve, the streets of Denmark go quiet as the Queen makes her annual televised speech to her subjects. I find the speeches pretty much the same every year, they’re about being kind to each other, taking care of the environment, and such.

The real entertainment is in the Queen’s wardrobe - she designs her own clothes, and often chooses rather un-Danishly bright colors - and whether she’ll get her carefully written note cards mixed up.

Every year she thanks the Danish military for its work, and every year she makes sure to shout out to the Faroe Islands and Greenland, the farthest flung parts of her kingdom. And she ends every annual speech with “GUD BEVARE DANMARK” – God Save Denmark.

The Queen is the head of the Danish state church, and the Danish state – she still signs all the laws, including the specific law that made me a citizen. But the Queen is also an artist. She paints, and draws, and has designed stage sets for the Royal Ballet.

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