Wednesday 10 May 2006

Two years ago...let the wedding festival begin!

Mary and Frederik and each of their families, many royals and other wedding guests were involved in a whirl of events in what was effectively a Royal Wedding Festival this time two years ago. On May 14 (next Sunday) Mary and Frederik will celebrate their second wedding anniversary. But the celebrations began long before that day two years ago. Here is a little reminder of some of those events. These are the very public ones we know about, there were many other more private events, some of which we have heard about such as private dinners and family gatherings, but no doubt there were many we didn't hear about. Frederik was 'kidnapped' by Joachim and his friends and taken to the Pyramids in Egypt for his bachelor party, while Mary's hens party began at Caroline Heering's place in Copenhagen and moved to her family's Lystrup Manor. Princess Benedikte hosted a party on the Royal Yacht Dannebrog and Queen Margrethe hosted a pre-wedding lunch for Mary's family, plus a lunch for family and guests at Fredensborg the day after the wedding. Everyone must have been exhausted after the wedding day, not least of all Mary and Frederik. But what fun days they were, especially in Denmark and Australia and for all those following in other corners of the world!

April 20 Reception at the Australian Embassy
On April 20, 2004 HRH The Crown Prince and Miss Mary Donaldson get started on the serious end of the pre-wedding calendar and attend a reception hosted by the Australian ambassador for Australians living in Denmark and Danes with close ties to Australia. The receiving line was a marathon!

May 5 Military Parade at Langelinie

This was a very formal tribute to the Crown Prince and his future Crown Princess by the combined Danish Defence. Crown Prince Frederik and Miss Mary Donaldson arrived to go by barge to the Royal yacht Dannebrog. There was a 21 gun salute fired from the Sixtus Artillery Battery. The Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Home Guard proceeded through a very formal salute in honour of Crown Prince Frederik and Miss Mary Donaldson on land, at sea and in the air. Mary was smart. She wore a pencil skirt with a jacket and a hat which would not take off in the wind, or have her doing an impersonation of Marilyn Monroe!

The Danish Monarchy 'Tribute to the Crown Prince and Crown Princess-to-be on 5 May 2004'
The Danish Monarchy 'The Royal Danish Guard Hussar Regiment' got into the spirit of the celebrations.
The Danish Monarchy 'The Royal Danish Life Guards' about them and their role in the wedding celebrations at Fredensborg and Amalienborg.
Army commando photo gallery

May 7 Rock'n'Royal at Parken, Copenhagen
The Rock'n'Royal concert at the Parken stadium was Crown Prince Frederik's idea. Danish and foreign rock bands performed in front of a crowd of 40,000 to mark the upcoming wedding. One of the performances was by Mary's favourite Australian band (at the time anyway) Powderfinger. Altogether 5.4 million Danish kroner was raised for charity which was distribited to various organisations and projects in Denmark and Greenland.

The Danish Monarchy 'Rock 'n' Royal in the Park'

May 8 Australian Govenor General's Dinner
Australian Governor General Michael Jeffery and his wife Marlena hosted a dinner for the Royal family, Mary's family and various other guests at the Store Inn (a hotel) in Fredensborg to mark the the royal wedding. The eminent Australian chef Luke Mangan was invited to Denmark to prepare a special 'Australian feast'. There were various Australian seafood specialties and wine from each of the Australian states on the menu and some angst for poor Luke because the delivery of all the food and wine from Australia was late! That is not good for a chef of course, but he coped with his usual good humour and got very busy once the produce did arrive.

May 9 Match Race
What more can we say? Mary won!

The Danish Monarchy 'Match race in the Port of Copenhagen on 9 May 2004'
The Sydney Morning Herald 'Mary beats Frederik in pre-wedding regatta'
The Age (Melbourne) 'Plain sailing for princess-to-be' about Mary trying to avoid bruises and wounds before the wedding.
TRH The Crown Prince Couple photo gallery of the match race on their website.
And, Crown Prince Frederik has a recently announced new patronage 'Patron of the ISAF Women´s Match Racing World Championship 2006' which will no doubt remind him that Mary has won both the match races they have sailed against each other (first in Copenhagen in 2004 and then in Sydney in 2005 - Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!) or, on the other hand, he can take comfort knowing he is a gentleman.
The Age (Melbourne) 'Donaldson wins pre-wedding yacht race' (with some interesting remarks from Mary)
Hello! magazine 'Mary beats Frederik in pre-wedding regatta'

Receiving gifts at Amalienborg Palace
HRH The Crown Prince and Miss Mary Donaldson receive deputations on various occasions during this period at Amailenborg palace, in connection with the wedding. Read about the gift-giving deputations on TRH The Crown Prince Couple's website.

May 13 Final wedding rehearsal in Copenhagen Cathedral

and an earlier rehearsal on May 11:

May 11 Gala Dinner at Christiansborg Palace
SBS - The World News (Australian national public broadcaster) 'Danish PM welcomes Mary'
The Sydney Morning Herald
TV 2 panorama

May 12 Official Reception at the Copenhagen Town Hall
Mary and Frederik were greeted by a very large crown outside the Town Hall and warm speeches inside, this was an occasion attended by all the Danish royals, dignitaries and Mary's family visiting from Australia and Scotland for the wedding.

The Danish Monarchy 'Welcome and Reception at Copenhagen City Hall on 12 May'
TRH The Crown Prince Couple 'Welcome and Reception at Copenhagen City Hall'
Crown Prince Frederik's speech 'HRH The Crown Prince’s Reply at the Reception at Copenhagen City Hall'

May 12 Party at Vega
A private party at Vega (a night club in Copenhagen) for the young royals and friends of Frederik and Mary. There was a concurrent dinner at Amalienborg for the older set.

May 13 Official Reception in Parliament (Folketinget)
This was the day Mary's hat took flight. Fortunately it was rescued but not before a lot of laughs. We haven't seen that hat since, maybe it is kept to be recycled on a very still day! (Mary is otherwise very good at recycling her clothes and accessories!)
TRH The Crown Prince Couple 'HRH The Crown Prince’s Reply at the Reception in the Danish Parliament (Folketing)'

May 13 Gala Performance at the Royal Theatre
This gala at the Royal Theatre to celebrate the wedding was the evening before the wedding day...
ABC Tasmania 'Mary and Tasmania pass the test as the wedding day nears'
7.30 Report transcript of a story on this Australian current affairs program on ABC TV (the national public broadcaster)

TRH The Crown Prince Couple's website 'the pre-wedding events'
Pre-wedding events wedding links (Danish television - give some of the links a try even if you don't understand the Danish)
TV 2 royal page (again in Danish)
B.T.'s royal page (sorry, only in Danish!)
Included are a number of Australian media reports from the time, yes! because they are in English:
The Age 'Once upon a time'
The Sydney Morning Herald 'Denmark's future crown princess hopes for children' quotes the 'Ninka' interview in Politiken.
The Age (Melbourne) 'Danish wedding souvenirs defy ban'
The Age pre-wedding photo gallery
The Sydney Morning Herald royal wedding countdown - photo gallery

*please note - there are many references to Mary in the Australian press as having been a real estate agent. This is not correct. Mary's career specialty was marketing and she worked in this area for an expanding corporate real estate company in Sydney when she was 'discovered' by the Danish media, and before she left to work briefly in Paris and then Denmark.

Look for more on Sunday, we will re-visit the wedding for the anniversary itself!

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