Princess Mary and Prince Frederik left ‘shaken’ after ‘heartbreaking’ reports of son Christian’s school bullying
Princess Mary and Prince Frederik say they are “deeply shaken” by an explosive documentary which details allegations of “systematic bullying” and a “culture of abuse and violence” at their eldest son’s school.
In the documentary, broadcast Thursday in Denmark, former students denounce “the violence, sexual abuse and intimidation” they allegedly suffered at the Herlufsholm school.
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The eldest son of Mary and Frederik, Prince Christian, 16, is a student at the prestigious boarding school, 80 km from Copenhagen. He began his studies there in August 2021.
Following the release of the documentary, the royal couple released a statement on their official Instagram.
“As parents of a child who goes to Herlufsholm, we are deeply shaken by the testimonies that appear in the current school documentary,” they said.
Christian’s younger sister, Princess Isabella, 15, is also expected to attend school, where she will start ninth grade.
“It is heartbreaking to hear of systematic intimidation and the culture of abuse and violence that many have been part of,” the statement read.
“It is completely unacceptable.”
The couple ended the post with a call to action, demanding change.
“As parents, we expect the school to be effective in ensuring a culture where everyone is safe and part of the community, and we will follow in the coming times the changes that are obviously needed.”
The TV2 documentary describes the culture as “violent”, with “punishments” and “sexual abuse”.
A former student explained that it was “normal for older students to beat younger ones”.
It was also reported that staff turned a blind eye to the ongoing incidents.
The documentary looks at “the violence and violations” that have allegedly taken place in Herlufsholm over the past 30 years.
The school announced the launch of an “independent investigation” on its website.
In August, when Prince Christian started at Herlufsholm, he posed on the pitch with his proud parents.
Prince Christian is the first future king to attend the school, but the Danish royal family has previous ties to the institution.
The prince’s cousin, Prince Nikolai, the eldest son of Prince Joachim, was a student there until 2018.
According to Princess Mary, Prince Christian himself chose Herlufsholm after completing his studies at Tranegårdskolen in Gentofte, where he attended Years One to Year Nine.
“We support her choice of high school,” the Australian-born princess told local media in August.
The school’s rector, Mikkel Kjellberg, released a statement May 3 ahead of the documentary’s release.
“In the 30 years the show was cut, there have been instances of illicit behavior, but we cannot at all acknowledge that violations are part of the culture in Herlufsholm,” the statement read.
He said that over the past five years the school has come across “an average of four cases per year”, all of which are classified by the school as “unacceptable behaviour”.
“Bullying, violence or sexual abuse is not acceptable at Herlufsholm School – and we will continue to do all we can to overcome all forms of abuse and the seeds of negative cultural life,” said said Kjellberg.
“Regardless of how the TV2 broadcast is oriented, and that in our opinion very old cases were used in another era – where the culture in Herlufsholm was different – to give new cases much more serious weight, so we are incredibly sad if a single student experiences a violation at Herlufsholm.
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