Prince Christian’s elite boarding school Herlufsholm has been making headlines for several days with an abuse scandal. Now not only was the Rector dismissed and the police investigated, Queen Margrethe’s important connection also became public.
Events in Denmark are currently overturning: The elite boarding school Herlufsholm, which the heir to the throne Prince Christian, 16, has been attending since 2021, has been in the headlines for a week because of reports of systematic violence and sexual abuse. After the sensational TV documentary “Herlufsholms Hemmeligheder” (Eng. “Herlufsholm’s Secrets”), which was broadcast on TV2 on May 5, 2022 and in which 50 ex-pupils reported scandalous experiences among themselves, the school became active.
Herlufsholm itself called the police and principal Mikkel Kjellberg had to vacate his post. In addition, it turns out that the connection between the Danish royal family and the scandalous boarding school is even closer than previously assumed. But from the beginning.
Princess Mary and Prince Frederik’s statements cause discussions
- Princess Mary and Prince Frederik’s statements cause discussions
- Vague statement from Prince Frederik The boarding school scandal has not “yet” had any consequences for Christian
- Herlufsholm dismisses rector and turns on police
- Queen Margrethe has great influence on the scandalous boarding school Herlufsholm
- Princess Isabella goes to boarding school She will have to adjust to that
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Even before it was broadcast, the documentary made waves in Denmark. In it, 50 former students reported bullying, violence and sexual assault. One student speaks of a culture and hierarchy that was “destructive, exclusionary and oppressive”. The older students determined the rules, and there were penalties for non-compliance. Elders came into the bedroom in the middle of the night, pulled a boy out of bed and beat him up. It was also revealed that the school did not properly address these acts. The boarding school did not expel the perpetrators, they only received light sentences. The police were not notified either. After the broadcast, further cases of abuse became known.
Princess Mary, 50, and Prince Frederik, 53, were then shocked, but have so far left open whether son Christian should be taken out of school. It is also not known whether her daughter Princess Isabella, 15, will be enrolled there as planned from autumn 2022 or not. Alexandra von Frederiksborg, 57, the ex-wife of Frederik’s brother Prince Joachim, 52, is also shocked, as her spokeswoman Helle von Wildenrath Løvgreen told the Danish media. Her son Prince Nikolai, 22, also visited Herlufsholm for several years.
The public statements of the crown prince couple caused discussions in Denmark. The camps are divided: on the one hand there are those who would find it impossible for the Danish royal children to continue attending the scandalous school. That was the result of a survey by the tabloid “BT”. On the other hand, many parents whose children visit Herlufsholm express their anger in a press release, according to the daily newspaper Berlingske. They particularly disliked the fact that the Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, 44, was shocked by the conditions.
Herlufsholm dismisses rector and turns on police
On May 9, the boarding school issued a press release on its school website, announcing the dismissal of Headmaster Mikkel Kjellberg. Torben Lowzow, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Herlufsholm, has issued a public apology and announced further measures.
“We need to fundamentally address any issues at the school that may have contributed to the unhealthy culture described in the show,” it said. The sleeping concept should be changed: dormitories become single bedrooms. In addition, old traditions that can lead to physical or mental abuse are to be abolished. In addition, students affected by violence should receive help.
As a further measure, the school itself called the police: “The board and the school management are of the opinion that the police should investigate whether there are one or more incidents that need to be investigated more closely,” the press release continues.
Queen Margrethe has great influence on the scandalous boarding school Herlufsholm
Some have wondered why more and more Danish royal children attend the luxurious and prestigious Herlufsholm boarding school. In addition to Nikolai and Christian, Isabella also wanted to go there from autumn. That could have to do with the relationship between her grandmother Queen Margrethe, 82, and the school, which is closer than previously thought.
As “BT” reports, the monarch has the final say in the appointment of the CEO. The court now confirms this to the tabloid. First, the Queen receives a proposal from the Ministry of Education. She then puts her signature under the certificate of appointment. This looks like a formality, but the newspaper points to the close bond between the court and the boarding school. The current board, Torben von Lowzow, was appointed in this way, as were his predecessors.
There is no such connection at any other school, emphasizes court expert Sebastian Olden Jörgensen, and points out that there is even a portrait of the queen in the school’s dining room. This makes it even clearer why the royals send their children to Herlufsholm. A statement from the Queen about the current scandal has not yet been published.
Sources used: Dana Press, bt.dk, berlingske.dk, herlufsholm.dk