We all know royals have style. But now, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark has taken things one step further, working as the costume and production designer for the new Netflix fantasy film, Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction. The film, which is an adaptation of the fairy tale Ehrengard by Karen Blixen, is set in a fictional kingdom, and follows a woman named Ehrengard who becomes a lady in waiting and foils a royal court painter’s plot to woo her. Blixen initially published her work under the pen name Isak Dinesen to conceal her true identity as a Danish baroness.
The film has been years in the making and has taken more than a decade to reach completion. The Danish production company behind the project approached Queen Margrethe as she had already worked with them as a production designer for two shorter films: The Snow Queen and The Wild Swans, which were both adapted from Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales. The films were released on Danish television in 2000 and 2009.
For Ehrengard, the Queen had the task of designing 51 costumes and made 81 decoupages – a type of cut and paste artwork – that were used as the basis for the sets. Her drawings, along with the finished clothes, are being shown at the Karen Blixen Museum just outside of Copenhagen until April. Afterwards they are due to go across to America to be displayed in New York, Washington and Seattle.
To design the decoupages, the Queen spent ‘hours’ putting together images of different landscapes and interiors to create new scenes. ‘It is a kind of puzzle,’ she says. But Queen Margrethe, who is currently the longest serving female head of state, is no stranger to creative pursuits. Her paintings have previously been shown in museums, including a recent exhibition at the Musée Henri-Martin in Cahors, France. And her illustrations have previously been adapted into artwork to supplement the Danish translation of The Lord of the Rings.