Omnibus prik

AU – and the royal connection

Both Queen Margrethe and Crown Prince Frederik have studied at Aarhus University. Queen Margrethe lived in the park dormitories while studying at the university from 1961 to 1962. Crown Prince Frederik completed his entire university education at Aarhus University, and later went on to become AU's first distinguished alum and have a research center named after him.

The Queen's most recent visit to Aarhus University was in June 2022. Photo: AU Foto

Disclaimer: This text was translated by ChatGPT and post-edited by Marie Groth Andersen and Lenore Messick

Calling Aarhus Universitet ‘purveyor of education to the Court’ might be a bit of an overstatement. But both Queen Margrethe and Crown Prince Frederik did study political science at the university, and the royal connection goes further back than that: in fact, the Queen's grandfather King Christian X laid the foundation stone for Aarhus University's first building in 1932 – the building that now houses the Department of Political Science.

Heir apparent in the residence hall kitchen

Queen Margrethe studied political science and archaeology at Aarhus University during the academic year 1961-1962. The heir apparent lived on campus like any other student; her digs were in room 402 in Residence Hall 9 in  in the University Park. Her lady-in-waiting Wava Armfelt lived right next door, in room 403.

The Queen also studied at the University of Copenhagen, the University of Cambridge, the Sorbonne, and the London School of Economics.

In connection with Queen Margrethe’s Golden Jubilee in 2022, Aarhus University presented her with a commemorative plaque which was set up at Residence Hall 9.

Crown Prince Frederik also studied political science at Aarhus University. He completed his entire university education here at AU, which also included a year abroad at Harvard University from 1992 to 1993. The Crown Prince graduated with a Master's degree in political science in 1995; the topic of his thesis project was foreign policy in the Baltic countries. Unlike his mother, the Crown Prince did not live in a residence hall; instead, he lived in an apartment at nearby Marselisborg Palace.

Crown Prince Frederik the first to receive AU's Distinguished Alumnus award

Since then, Aarhus University has emphasized the royal connection on several occasions.

Crown Prince Frederik was the first to be awarded the title of Distinguished Alumnus at Aarhus University when the award was first given in 2008, in conjunction with the university's 80th anniversary. The annual award is given to a graduate from Aarhus University who has "made an extraordinary contribution to the national or international community and who has drawn positive attention to his or her field and the university".

During the award ceremony, then-rector Lauritz B. Holm-Nielsen highlighted that "the Crown Prince contributed with energy and enthusiasm to the unique academic environment at the university and in Aarhus."

Holm-Nielsen also said: "By earning of a Master's degree in political science, the Crown Prince has prepared himself for the significant tasks for Denmark that he performs."

Travel grant for students

In 2010, the university established HRM Queen Margrethe II's Travel Grant as a gift to the Queen on the occasion of her 70th birthday. Every year, in conjunction with the university's annual celebration in September,five travel grants of DKK 25,000 each are awarded to one student at each of AU's five faculties. At the faculties of Arts and Aarhus BSS, the grants are awarded to students of archaeology and political science, respectively - the subjects the Queen studied at Aarhus University. The grant are financial support for research stays abroad.

Crown Prince lends his name to a research center

In May 2018, the Crown Prince Frederik Centre for Public Leadership opened at Aarhus University to mark the occasion of Crown Prince Frederik's 50th birthday. The center is located at the Department of Political Science and is an interdisciplinary research center that generates, disseminates and applies research-based knowledge about public leadership.

Crown Prince Frederik, 29 years ago a rather shy poli sci student at AU, opens new centre for public management on his 50th birthday 

Both the Crown Prince and the Crown Princess participated in the center's inauguration. Crown Prince Frederik is a member of the center's governance committee, which has an advisory function. In May 2022, the Crown Prince visited the center in connection with the conference Public Leadership in the Future.

Both the Queen and the Crown Prince have visited the university regularly over the years. The Queen's most recent visit to Aarhus University was in June 2022, when she visited the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics and was also shown plans for the AU's new campus extension in Aarhus, the University City.