Thyra, also known as Thorvi or Thyre, was the wife of King Gorm the Old of Denmark, the first historically recognised king of Denmark who reigned from c936 to his death c958.
She is believed to have led an army against the Germans. Gorm and Thyra were the parents of King Harald Bluetooth. While Gorm the Old had disparaging nicknames, his wife Thyra was referred to as a woman of great prudence. According to popular tradition, Thyra’s daughter was captured by trolls and carried off to a kingdom in the far north.
Asteroid 115 Thyra is named in her honour, as is one of the four playable characters in the Nintendo game Gauntlet II.
Danish historian Finn Wodschow says that this 1899 Rambler was owned by Princess Thyra of Denmark. So I looked up Thyra on the internet, and the above information is what I found. Like usual with royalty, names were shared by more than one generation: of course, this Rambler is not from the 10th century but the 19th century, and Princess Thyra of Denmark was born in 1853. She would have been 46 when she owned this bicycle.
In 1863, when Thyra was 10 years old, King Frederick VII died, and her father succeeded to the throne of Denmark as King Christian IX. Earlier the same year, her brother Vilhelm had been elected King of Greece and her sister Alexandra had married Edward, Prince of Wales. In 1866, her other sister Dagmar married the tsarevich of Russia, Alexander. On 21 December/22 December 1878, she married Crown Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover, and Thyra became Duchess of Cumberland and Teviotdale. Below, you can see the The Duke and Duchess of Cumberland with their children.
1899 Gormulley & Jeffrey ‘Rambler’
26″ Wooden Wheels with Pneumatic (Danish) Tyres
Danish historian Finn Wodschow provided a 1900 article, from the newspaper ‘Cyclen’, illustrating the 1899 Rambler that was owned by Princess Thyra of Denmark. Royal endorsement helped to popularise the model in Denmark and Ramblers became popular bicycles in Denmark in the early years of the twentieth century. Finn Wodschow suggests it could be the same one. Although it is similar to Princess Thyra’s Rambler, there are some subtle differences.
The frame style of this example is that of the pre-1900 Gormully & Jeffery model. That company, once one of America’s leading cycle manufacturers, was merged into ‘The Trust’ in 1899, and after 1903 it became part of the Pope Mfg Co. This company focussed heavily on exports. I believe that this Rambler was sold around 1904 in Denmark, using a leftover 1899 frame with the latest style of chainwheel.
The bicycle is nicely preserved condition, retaining its original skirtguard and wooden wheels. It’s fitted with vintage Danish pneumatic tyres. The wooden wheels have a lovely appearance, though the front rim is out of true. This would make a wonderful museum exhibit, as a classic example of the type of bicycle that helped to liberate women from the constraints of a conservative era by providing them with personal transportation.
PRINCESS THYRA’S RAMBLER