King Frederick IX of Denmark was not like most other monarchs. Whereas most of the kings and queens throughout European history have ruled over their people from afar, Frederick enjoyed being in touch with the common man. As such, he did things that other monarchs often didn't do, including getting a series of tattoos over the course of his life. Now, for the first time, we can get a good look at the king's collection thanks to the work of historians, a tattooer and the memories of one of Frederick's daughters.
The project, created by Danish public broadcaster DR, takes viewers on a tattoo tour of Frederick's work, telling as much of the story behind each tattoo as is currently known. It starts with Frederick in his full naval regalia, as it is that history with the navy that led the king to his first tattoos—a pair of dragons he had inked in Japan and Siam (modern-day Thailand).
There were essentially two major phases of the project. First, a team of historians including Søren Dalager Ditlevsen worked on learning everything they could about the monarch's tattoos. Then, they took what they learned to tattooer Frank Rosenkilde who helped recreate the art for the digital recreation by hand-drawing all of the king's tattoos.
“It was relatively difficult because there are only a few photographs and films in which (the King’s tattoos) can be properly seen," Ditlevsen told The Local DK. "Many written sources, such as in newspapers and old books, proved to be quite unreliable and probably based on rumours and myths."
Given the limited resources, it was impossible to have a 100% accurate recreation of Frederick's tattoos, but under those circumstances, the DR team still created a stunning website.
Head over and learn all about the fascinating King Frederick IX and his collection of tattoos.