Who is King Christian in Number the Stars and why do people look up to him?

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King Christian X is the king of Denmark, and his people love him because he acts like everyone else and because he stands up for his country against the Nazis.

King Christian was well-respected and beloved by his people. They considered him a strong leader because he stood up to the Nazis. Denmark was a small country without the military might to avoid German invasion. King Christian did not just bow down and let the Nazis take over his country without a fight, though. He supported clandestine operations to undermine their war efforts.

How the people of Denmark loved King Christian! He was not like fairy tale kings, who seemed to stand on balconies giving orders to subjects, or who sat on golden thrones demanding to be entertained and looking for suitable husbands for daughters. King Christian was a real human being, a man with a serious, kind face. (Ch. 2)

King Christian is an everyman. He doesn’t put himself above his people, and he is very visible. He used to ride through the streets greeting people every morning. Annemarie’s father tells her a story of a Nazi soldier who asked why the king did not have a bodyguard.

“[All] of Denmark is his bodyguard.”

Annemarie had shivered. It sounded like a very brave answer. "Is it true, Papa? “She asked. "What the boy said?" …

 "Yes," he said at last. "It is true. Any Danish citizen would die for King Christian, to protect him." (Ch. 2)

After King Christian X had gotten old, and was injured riding his horse, he still remained king. He was still beloved, and still in charge of Denmark even though the Nazis occupied it. Unlike many other countries, Denmark actively supported the underground that helped the Jews escape. In 1943, Denmark sank its navy rather than let the Nazis have it.