Thursday, 9 February 2006

Business as usual for Princess Mary

From correspondents in London
February 09, 2006

SCHEDULED trips within Europe for Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark are going ahead this month despite ongoing security concerns about Danish targets around the world.

International outrage over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, published by a Danish newspaper last year, has led to widespread protests by Muslims in various countries, attacks on Danish diplomatic missions overseas, and increased fears of a terrorist attack in Denmark.

However, the schedule for Prince Frederik, Australian-born Princess Mary, and their baby son and heir, Prince Christian, is unchanged. Their itinerary for February includes events in Denmark, Italy and Germany.

"It is business as usual and there is a normal schedule," Lis M Frederiksen, chief of information for the Danish Royal family said.

"Nothing has been changed or cancelled as a result of this situation - for any member of the Royal family."

Travel plans are doubtful for some Danish sporting teams because of the dangerous situation in some countries as a result of the published cartoons.

A Danish table tennis team has cancelled its planned trip to Qatar and Kuwait next week, but Denmark is still sending athletes to the Winter Olympics, which kick off on Saturday in Italy.

Crown Prince Frederik will visit the Winter Olympics in Turin on Thursday and Friday next week.

On his return from Italy, he and Princess Mary will travel to northern Germany for two days from Saturday, February 17, first to Hamburg and then to Kiel in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.

Prince Christian, who was christened amid great fanfare last month in Copenhagen, will make his first official visit outside Denmark at the age of four months when he travels with his parents to Germany next week.

While in Hamburg, Prince Frederik and Princess Mary will be special guests at the Matthiae-Mahlzeit, a traditional annual banquet that dates back more than 600 years to medieval times.

This week, Princess Mary, who celebrated her 34th birthday last weekend, is attending the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair tomorrow in her role as patron of the fashion event.

The Danish Security Intelligence Service would not confirm whether security had been stepped up for the Danish Royal family, including the Crown Prince and Princess, as they said it was their policy never to comment on specific matters of security.

Director-General Lars Findsen released a statement on the Security Intelligence Service website last weekend which said the "general terror threat level has been higher in the West, including Denmark, for some time now".

"Obviously, recent events have contributed to exposing Denmark," he said in the February 5 statement.

"However, it is difficult to be more precise about what this exposure will mean specifically to the threat level in this country.

"We are, of course, monitoring the situation very closely ... through a close cooperation with our partners, in order to counteract and prevent any possible events that may have the purpose of further escalating the situation."


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