Friday 9 May 2008

Frederik & Mary in Iceland

This last week Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary made a four day official visit to Iceland following an invitation from the Icelandic President, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (May 5-8). President Grimsson is the fifth president since Iceland's independence from Denmark in 1944. Before the visit began Billed Bladet reported that Crown Princess Mary was looking forward to the trip very much. Frederik and Mary arrived in Iceland in a Danish Air Force Challenger jet and Mary had her lady-in-waiting Tanja Doky with her and the Crown Prince Couple's Chief-of-Court, Per Thornit was also in the Danish party. They were received by the Icelandic president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and his Israeli born wife Dorit Moussaieff. After a lunch with with 30 guests, Frederik and Mary went to work. Christian and Isabella remained at home.
They arrived at Bessastaðir, the Icelandic Presidential Residence on Monday morning.
Later in the afternoon Frederik and Mary visited Áslands School in Hafnarfjörður where, after some ceremony, they learned about how Danish is taught at the school. After the school, Frederik and Mary visited the Saga Centre, a cultural centre featuring Icelandic history, culture, mythology and Viking voyages. The saga theme comes from the prose sagas which are histories of the Norse and Celtic inhabitants of Iceland from medieval times.

Billed Bladet reported that at the lunch for around 30 guests on the day of arrival, Frederik said:
"I've been here four-five times in connection with the Navy. This time Mary is with me and I'm really delighted about that. It's lovely to share the experiences and we very much look forward to beginning the exciting schedule, to get out into nature but also to see the historic places which my ancestors, the Danish kings, have visited. We have talked for many years about visiting Iceland together. Now it has finally come true."

In the packed program, Mary and Frederik continued on to a mini-conference on vulcanoes and glaciers at the Icelandic University, then an art museum before a gala dinner in the evening. In a visit on their own, Crown Princess Mary and Mrs Dorrit Moussaieff (the First Lady) visited Icelandic design products by local artists and designers. On the second day Frederik and Mary visited a farm at Íshestar where Icelandic horses are bred and had a ride, then on to the Nesjavellir geo-thermal power station (using the volcanic energy of Iceland), a walk through the town of Almannagjá to the Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and his wife Inga Jóna Þórðardóttir at their summer residence for lunch. After lunch it was a viewing of the Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir thermal springs with a look at the restored “Royal Stones” that are engraved with the monograms of three Danish kings, Christian IX, Frederik VIII and Christian X to commemorate their visits in 1874, 1907 and 1921. They visited an old church at Eyrarbakki which has a painted altar table which was a gift from Christian IX's consort, Queen Louise, in 1891. Frederik and Mary then visited Húsið, the town museum afterwards. Here is a link to a page about the geyser area visited by Frederik and Mary (Geology and tectonics of Þingvellir), which is also where Christian X and Queen Alexandrine lunched in the historical note below.

On the third day Frederik and Mary visited another school, Grunnskóli Stykkishólms, where they were received by a brass band. There was an interesting and unexpected exchange at the school when one of the students, a young boy, asked Frederik whether he had ever had any homosexual fantasies. "Probably not" replied Frederik, "Not that I know of."

Frederik and Mary visited another art museum and a local history museum located in a restored merchant house. They then went on a sailing trip on Breiðafjörður aboard ”Særún” and had a taste of the local fish while having lunch onboard. Later there was a reception onboard the Danish patrol frigate (inspection ship) Vædderen in the harbour of the capital Reykjavik. Readers will remember Vædderen is the Danish ship which circumnavigated the world on the Galathea 3 Expedition. In normal times she patrols the waters of Greenland and the Faroe Islands, while Iceland has its own patrol ships, these are as close to anything miltary they have.

On day four Frederik and Mary visited the genome research institute Decode Genetics where Icelanders are building up a genetic record of all Icelandic nationals to establish genetic histories. This was followed by a visit to the Danish Embassy before departure.

For those interested in Icelandic and Danish and how much they can understand each other, Icelanders learn Danish from age twelve. Danish was the second language after Icelandic until recently, with English the third language. This has been transposed now with English the second language taught from age ten and Danish the third language, taught from age twelve. Icelanders can generally read Danish and speak it (with Icelandic accent). Many young Icelanders go to Denmark for additional higher education, but it seems Danes do not understand Icelandic so easily since it is a difficult language to learn. (special thanks to Guja)
A little note: For Australians, SBS has shown two series of the Danish/Scandinavian co-production of the TV series The Eagle in which the lead character is Icelandic and speaks multiple languages during the course of his action-packed investigations from Copenhagen.

The President of Iceland
Iceland Review map - of areas visited with haunted forests and trolls marked to keep you out of trouble!
Njáls Saga Exhibition - on the Mediaeval world view and the Viking mindset, sailing, writing, manuscripts and manuscript collection, heathen beliefs and Christian traditions. Also Viking weapons and clothing, photographs of artifacts that have been found during archaeological excavations of the area, a replica of a manor house from around A.D. 1100, and a replica of the Icelandic Parliament, Alþingi, at Þingvellir, as it is believed to have been around the year A.D. 1000.
Icelandic Saga Database - this website has all the extant Icelandic family sagas. The sagas have an easy, readable format using modernized Icelandic spelling, with the Old Norse versions and translations into English and other languages made available where these exist.
Egil's Saga

Madeleine Glindorf's Iceland photo essay from a visit she made in April 2007 'Krónprinshjón á Bessastöðum' 'Friðrik og Mary á Bessastöðum'
Ví 'Dorrit klappaði á óléttubumbur blaðakvenna' (you can see the stunning dress the First Lady wore to Frederik's and Mary's wedding here.) 'Vel tekið á móti dönskum gestum'
Iceland Review (in English) 'Iceland’s President Gets Royal Visit from Denmark'
Ví (Icelandic) 'Kynntu sér kosti íslenska hestsins'
Suðurlanið.is 'Kongafólkið við Suðurströndina: Friðrik og Mary í Húsinu á Eyrarbakka'
Photos in the church
Ví 'Tekið á móti kóngafólki með lúðrablæstri'

The Sun-Herald 'How Mary and Fred handled the gay question'
Hello! magazine 'Mary experiences splendour of Iceland's geothermal landscape'
¡Hola! - Federico y Mary de Dinamarca: trabajo y placer en Islandia

Photos © the President of Iceland's website, Albert Nieboer/Royal Press Europe, HerogNu, Rex/Hello!, ¡Hola!,, TV2/scanpix, SeogHør.

A little bit of historical perspective. The following postcards are of a visit King Christian X and Queen Alexandrine made in 1921. They stopped to have lunch at Thingvellir and the last shows Queen Alexandrine in Icelandic national dress.

Madeleine Glindorf's galleries
Royal Portraits Photo Agency day one (3 pages), day two (6 pages), day three (4 pages)
Boat trip gallery
President's gallery six pages of photos on the President's website (click on 'Meira' to go to next page)
Grunnskóli gallery large gallery of photos of Frederik and Mary at the school on day 3

Video clips:
Ví (01:08) - Mary and Frederik arrival (opens in WMP)
Rù (01:24) 'Fréttir: Konungleg heimsókn frá Danmörku'
Ví (01:52)
Rù (01:20) - shows the reception at Bessastaðir on the first evening
YouTube/mbl (01:49) - day one in Iceland (01:12) - 'Friðrik og Mary kynntust íslenska hestinum' (Frederik and Mary horse riding)
Ví (01:09) - Frederik and Mary riding
Ví (01:22) - riding, photoshoot, visit on day 2
YouTube (01:07) - before setting out for the ride, a demonstration of the Icelandic horse's skills
Rù (01:28) - 'Friðrik krónprins og María prinsessa í siglingu' visiting a school, bird watching, sailing, eating fresh caught seafood, watching dolphins...

TV2 news clip (00:22) 'Kronprinseparret på Island'
TV2 end-of-news clip (00:40)
TV2 - long clip on this page of arrival by Danish Air Force jet, press meeting
TV2 (01:22) 'Bøsse-spørgsmål til Frederik på Island' - Prince Frederik: never had gay fantasies
It was a totally unexpected question Danish Crown Prince Frederik faced during a visit to an Icelandic school. "Have you ever had homosexual fantasies?" a youngster asked Frederik. It took a few seconds for the question to sink in. When the question was repeated and translated Mary and Frederik had to laugh. But Frederik did not dodge the question. "Probably not," was his answer. "Not that I know."

Added: - photos at the horse farm
Gallery at thermo energy plant
Gallery at hot springs & "royal stones"
TV2 photo gallery

Many thanks to gudinde, Muhler, FIX, Guja, jema, mayflower, Leonie, mitchell, cph and many others who have helped find info and links!

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Blogger Sternchen said...

Wow, I am so glad you are back! I will now sooth my sunburn with a cold shower, and then I will read your article, while soaking in aftersun :)

7:21 pm  
Blogger lotte said...

He hee, thanks Sternchen. Haven't you been paying attention to Mary's sun safe message? :D Hope the burn feels better soon!
lotte :)

7:07 am  
Blogger Clare said...

I'll join in on the chorus with Sternchen! Every post, photograph, link, and line is much appreciated!

7:17 am  
Blogger lotte said...

Thanks Clare!
lotte :)

2:21 pm  
Blogger Lynette said...

So enjoyed your coverage of the tour of Iceland. Don't Mary and Frederik look happy?

12:55 am  
Blogger Sternchen said...

Lol, Lotte, I must have missed her email, while I was in the garden with my Miss-Silver-Book :)

1:48 pm  
Blogger Maggie said...

I must add to the thank yous! All the links, news clips, and photos are very much appreciated. Very beautiful pictures, and loved seeing the orca whales in the video too.

2:48 am  

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