Saturday 21 January 2006

News update

There isn't heaps of news because the Danes, as we know, can keep things pretty close to their chest. It is early morning in Denmark and the arctic conditions affecting Russia and northern Europe in the last few days has dumped a lot of snow and low temperatures on Denmark. It would seem logical that most Danes will watch the christening on television and everyone else via computer links, which we will post here later when they are active.

So here are a couple of edited stories as a pre-christening wrap.

From The Copenhagen Post:

Is Christian Henrik John Naqqoq the name of a king?

Preparations for the royal christening this Saturday have shown that despite their royal titles, the royal couple is no different from many other new parents.

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have been deeply involved in planning the christening for their first-born son on Saturday. That involvement has allowed them to put a personal touch on the royal event.

The question on everyone's lips in advance of the christening is what name the couple have chosen for the young prince... For centuries, Danish kings have been named either Christian or Frederik one after the other. Few doubt that the prince will be called Christian, one day becoming Christian X, King of Denmark...

One dark horse candidate could be a Greenlandic name. The crown prince has a close connection to the former Danish colony, having participated in the island nation's Sirius dogsled patrol...
Not announcing the name of the child until the christening is more than just royal theatrics: by keeping the name a secret, the royal couple is honouring a tradition that most other parents have long since abandoned.

'According to an old superstition, a child's name could only be said aloud at the baptismal font. At most, it could be whispered to the godmother just before the baptism. Otherwise, people felt the child wouldn't live long,' said Rev. Lone Hindø, a minister in a parish near the city of Århus.
The first person to announce the name to the kingdom on Saturday will be Erik Norman Svendsen, the bishop of Copenhagen. Svendsen, who also married the royal couple in 2004, has come to be the preferred minister of the royal couple - edging out the Royal Confessor as the Crown's family minister.

Royal experts call the choice natural: 'The crown prince needs to mark his territory by making his own decisions. The royal couple feels confident with Norman Svendsen. He comes off as a well-rounded and friendly man,' said Steffen Heiberg of the Fredensborg Museum... 'Eric Norman Svendsen isn't judgemental. Not even when people are in doubt or sceptical,' Heiberg said...Svendsen himself downplayed any special role he might have taken on for the royal couple.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the planet there is interest in the Danish events today, and no more than in Australia. From The Sydney Morning Herald

B-B-Baby, you ain't seen nothin' yet (even your name)
By Annabel Crabb Herald Correspondent in Copenhagen
January 21, 2006

A TYPICAL Aussie christening it will not be. For starters, the baby's name is still a secret, with Knud still an outside chance.
Furthermore, when the child arrives at church in his mother's arms, he will be struggling through temperatures of an estimated 6 degrees below zero.
A lacy swirl of snowflakes descended on the Danish capital, Copenhagen, on Thursday, driving temperatures steadily downward as the final touches were put on the nameless royal heir's christening plans.
It's enough to make the child's planned outfit - a 137-year-old, heavily embroidered christening gown - look a little flimsy, but this ceremony, the first welcoming an Australian child into the world of European royalty, is nothing if not traditional.
This week a solid silver baptismal font was lugged into the Christiansborg Palace chapel. The gilded font was crafted in 1660 and has been used for all royal christenings since. When called into service at about 9pm Sydney time today, it will be flanked by a solid gold christening basin, candlesticks and a water jug.
The event is not expected to fill Copenhagen's streets with revellers the way the royal wedding did in May 2004. Apart from being too cold for extended revelry, the city is more accustomed to viewing christenings as private events.
Nonetheless, Denmark's dedicated band of royal-watching newspapers and magazines closely monitored the preparations for signs of conflict between the Tasmanian-born Crown Princess Mary and her mother-in-law, Queen Margrethe.
The weekly royalist magazine Billed Bladet has awarded an early victory to the princess, reporting that she had claimed the upper hand in the crucial matters of music, flower arrangement and guest seating.
Consequently, contemporary music by the Danish electronic composer Fuzzy will be incorporated, as well as Australian flowers and a seating arrangement that has Princess Mary's sisters close to the action.
One sister, Jane Stephens, is viewed as a strong candidate for godmother, given her appearance at a christening rehearsal on Wednesday.
Princess Mary's father, John Donaldson, and her stepmother, Susan Moody, will also be attending the ceremony.



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