Crown Prince Frederik himself had a harsh experience at boarding school: ‘It was certainly not layer cake’

It was probably the few who had imagined that Crown Prince Frederik would send his own children to boarding school.

Nevertheless, Prince Christian ended up at Herlufsholm, which is now hit by a huge scandal in the wake of TV 2’s documentary, ‘Herlufsholm’s secrets’.

But the Crown Prince has previously stated that his children should not have the same upbringing as he himself received. And a strict upbringing he got.

Crown Prince Frederik was sent with Prince Joachim to the French boarding school, École des Roches back in the early 1980s, and in the book ‘Under the bar’ by Jens Andersen from 2017, he tells openly about his harsh experiences in Normandy.


Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary with their eldest son, the future king, Prince Christian, in front of the boarding school Herlufsholm, where he is enrolled.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary with their eldest son, the future king, Prince Christian, in front of the boarding school Herlufsholm, where he is enrolled.
Photo: Keld Navntoft, Kongehuset

show more

“It was my father’s wish that we came into more direct contact with the French, and the mother did not oppose it. But it was certainly not layer cake. The experience with the boarding school in France was not bad, but it was tough because you were solo, “says the Crown Prince.

He was happy to have Prince Joachim with him, even though the two princes did not go to class together.

“The actual stay down there was the same as at any boarding school. A lot of strict hierarchies – also among the students. And new ways to prove oneself, “he says.

In the book, the Crown Prince’s meeting with the school is called ‘survival of the fittest’. The author, Jens Andersen, also states that Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim keep ‘the harshest experiences in the boys’ hierarchy to themselves’.


Princess Isabella, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary pose for photography after Princess Isabella has been confirmed in Fredensborg Castle Church in Fredensborg, Saturday 30 April 2022 .. (Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix)

Princess Isabella, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary pose for photography after Princess Isabella has been confirmed in Fredensborg Castle Church in Fredensborg, Saturday 30 April 2022 .. (Photo: Philip Davali / Ritzau Scanpix)
Photo: Philip Davali

show more

In February 1983, after the princes had gone to school for six months, the French weekly Point de Vue published a story about the princes being unhappy at school. A story that was, however, rejected by the court back home in Denmark.

But Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim were introduced to a so-called ‘boys’ hierarchy’ at the school, which can perhaps be compared a bit with the prefect system that has now been phased out at Herlufsholm.

The French school had three groups in which the royal boys were to commit themselves.

“Hierkiiet’s rules are governed by the law of the jungle and are often practiced with the fists,” says Prince Joachim in the biography, ‘Frederik’.


Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Joachim, Queen Margrethe and Princess Marie during the opening of the Folketing at Christiansborg in 2018.

Crown Prince Frederik, Prince Joachim, Queen Margrethe and Princess Marie during the opening of the Folketing at Christiansborg in 2018.
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen

show more

The author Jens Andersen directly asks the Crown Prince in ‘Under the Bar’ if he and Prince Joachim were up and fighting with the boys during their stay at the École des Roches.

“I do not think my brother was up for a fight. He ended up in a more homogeneous class than I did. And if you were pushed into a corner, you just had to strike more and be a little harder, “said the Crown Prince.

In the summer of 1983, the Crown Prince and Prince Joachim returned to Denmark and started at Øregård gymnasium in Hellerup – and Écoles des Roches thus became the princes’ only encounter with the harsh boarding school life.

The Royal House has previously stated that both Prince Christian and Princess Isabella herself have chosen to go to Herlufsholm Boarding School in Hellerup.


Herlufsholm boarding school a little outside Næstved.

Herlufsholm boarding school a little outside Næstved.
Photo: Asger Ladefoged

show more

Leave a Comment