Monday 10 July 2006

Danish Royal roundup # 7

Cousins Frederik and Gustav talking together with Mary and Carina Axelsson at a recent family wedding. Do we have another to come?

Time to roundup some more Danish royal news!

On Tuesday June 13 Mary made an unofficial visit to an exhibition of contemporary Danish jewellery called 'Glimpse of New Danish Jewellery Art' by the Danish Arts and Crafts Association which is one of her patronages.

KUNSTUFF the quarterly magazine of Danish Crafts and Design
Danske Kunsthåndværkere (in Danish)

On June 19 Prince Joachim was the featured speaker at the Forbes CEO Europe Forum at the Copenhagen Opera House.

The Forbes CEO Europe Conference

snippet from the trip to Bornholm. Netavisen Bornholm reported that at the reception on the first day at the Hotel Griffen in Rønne, Mary was told of a movie called »Bornholm's Stemme« made in 1999 by Lotte Svensden about a fishing community on Bornholm. Mary was interested in seeing the movie and so a copy was found and given as a gift. The movie is a tragi-comedy set in the early 80s when a fishing ban was imposed because of over fishing in the Baltic Sea. The film centres on the adjustment to a new way of life without fishing, but not without crisis. The film has been described as allegorical and emotionally tense. Unfortunately it seems the movie hasn't been sub-titled.

According to a report in Billed Bladet and also published on the Greek Royal Family's website, Queen Anne-Marie's and King Constantine's second youngest Theodora graduated from Brown University in Rhode Island in theatre arts. It seems Theodora has always been attracted to the theatre since she was young. For her final assignment she narrated 'My Odyssey' about the effect Greece had on her after her first visit in 2003 when the family was allowed to return, or for the younger family, go for the first time. Theodora will continue her studies in drama and the performing arts in the future.
Graduation photo gallery click on bottom left

Billed Bladet again writes positively about the good example Prince Joachim and Princess Alexandra give as role models for having a 'good' divorce. The emphasis on the well-being of six-year-old Nikolai and three-year-old Felix was maintained by keeping to the family habit of attending the annual circus fundraiser (over $200,000 was raised and presented to the Children's Cancer Foundation) in Møgeltønder. By continuing to do things together with their boys, Joachim and Alexandra are demonstrating to Nikolai and Felix that their parents are friends and that they are secure within the family.

Princess Benedikte of Denmark poses beside a painting displaying Danish king Frederik IV (1671-1730) in Halle, eastern Germany, on June 23, 2006. The Princess attended the 300th centenary festivities of Halle's missionary expedition to Tranquebar, East India, commissioned in the 18th century by Danish King Frederik IV.

Meanwhile, the non-royal side of the family keeps busy. On June 20 John Donaldson was at a Forbes CEO Europe Forum lunch at the end of the recent conference in Copenhagen.

John Donaldson also recently appeared on a Danish TV program called 'Deadline' and talked about the problem of mathematics education and attracting students to the discipline. Professor Donaldson appears to be critical of some of the recent changes in test-driven curriculums and prefers concept-based teaching. Professor Donaldson is an applied mathematician. You can see the interview in English in this DR TV video clip (5 mins). It would also appear that John Donaldson occasionally visits high schools to talk about maths, the photo is from a visit last December to Langkær High School in Tilst in Århus when he was still Visiting Professor of Mathematics at the University of Århus last year (he is now Visiting Professor at the University of Copenhagen).

On June 26 Crown Princess Mary attended a meeting with the WHO Regional Office for Europe which is based in Copenhagen. This is the second behind-the-scenes meeting with WHO (World Health Organisation) in two months. Mary is no doubt establishing her knowledge and relationships in the organisation as one of her patronages in preparation for the 56th Session WHO Europe due to be held in Copenhagen in September.

On June 29 Crown Princess Mary's father John Donaldson and step mother Susan Moody were together at the (slightly early) Independence Day celebration at USA Ambassador James P.Cain's residence in Charlottenlund, Copenhagen.

Princess Alexandra celebrated her 42nd birthday on June 30, so many happy returns to her from DRWs. She was in the south of France with Martin, Nikolai and Felix at the time. But, there are some earlier reports about Alexandra splitting with boyfriend Martin Jørgensen to mention. As always the truth is not in till it is in and it appears the reports by KIG IND and briefly online in B.T. before it was pulled off were the result of some tabloid madness. This is how it works..... tabloid stories 101!

You can see the cover on the left shows a not quite happy Alexandra. Two weeks ago KIG IND declared Alexandra "had thrown Martin out" in "breaking news" and we said we would let you know whether there was any truth in the story. Last week KIG IND's so-called breaking news was, ahem! "Sleeping together again - Alex cannot live without Martin!" The tabloid is so kind as to put a happy picture of Alexandra on their cover as their 'proof' that what they say is, um, true.

How to understand this? Well, it is most likely KIG IND made it up and then needed to save face to solve the problem they had made for themselves by making up the second story to undo the first! Other Danish media did not follow up on the story which indicates there was no substance to it. If it had been true, be sure it would have been quite a big story and all media would have been busy reporting it. So there we have it, no facts, no story but maybe some people bought the magazine! Ekstra Bladet reported KIG IND's little catastrophe as if it had never done such things itself. And that is the rather parallel universe known as the tabloids. Sometime we might visit the Australian tabloid women's magazines to see what crazy mixed up things they get up to. New Idea and Woman's Day already have an illustrious history where Mary is concerned!
(Thanks to commoner)

A little addendum to the visit to Bornholm. Billed Bladet reported how affectionate Frederik and Mary are with each other and that the Bornholmers got to see this during the visit. Frederik often put his arm around Mary and they frequesntly held hands. When they were departing on the Dannebrog Frederik was quite moved and as we have reported earlier, he joined in the singing farewell as they both waved goodbye (until the next visit). The magazine also reported that many children greeted Frederik and especially Mary with questions about how Christian was. Apart from the many flowers given to Mary, the couple also received many gifts for Christian. A little girl gave strict instructions to Mary that a lollipop was just for Christian, they were given teddy bears, childrens' books and drawings. A little girl dressed as a very fine princess who gave flowers to Frederik, became flustered when he patted her on the head and she promptly bit herself on the finger!

The magazine reports on the many sweet moments between children and the Crown Prince couple. Mary sang along at the official reception in Rønne after arrival (Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' and George Michael's 'Freedom'), and was very encouraging when greeting children at each place they visited.

Of course the trip was remarkable for Christian's first trip by sea (getting a good start on the family tradition?) and his appearance to greet the Bornholmers with his parents on arrival in Rønne. Billed Bladet asked the Dannebrog captain Kai Rash Larsen about how he thought little Christian had managed the trip. "Fine, fine," he replied. "I definately think there is a sailor in him." Frederik is a commodore in the navy and wore his dress uniform on arrival. It seems Frederik is not a stranger at the helm on cruises on the Dannebrog, but this time, the captain says Frederik was busy entertaining his son on his first sea voyage. (Many thanks to gudinde, Thor and Muhler.)

Se og Hør reports Prince Nikolai was as 'proud as a peacock' on the last day of school at Krebs in Copenhagen (also alma mater of Joachim and Frederik). As the summer holidays began, Prince Joachim was waiting with other parents as the students appeared with their school reports. Nikolai eagerly greeted Joachim and apparently had a report with top marks to show to his father.

In another offline report in Her&Νu (no. 27) Joachim is already at Château de Cayx with Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix. There is other speculation too about Marie Cavallier selling her apartment in Geneva to move to Denmark. The article also claims Joachim and Marie SMS each other all the time and that the romance between them continues to develop. Except for the part about being in Cahors (where Château de Cayx is), the rest is speculation.

Billed Bladet also reports that Prince Joachim arrived at the airport in the south of France (Nice) to pick up Nikolai and Felix and was met at the airport by Martin Jørgensen. The boys had spent the first week of their holiday with their mother and her partner Martin. Billed Bladet continues with its theme about how amicable the relationships are between Alexandra, Martin and Joachim for the benefit of the boys and for the happiness of the adults as well.

B.T. reports that the trip to Bornholm was practice for Prince Christian's first summer holiday. In past holidays Frederik and Mary have been with their friends who all have children. This summer, Christian will have cousins, the two boys of Holger Foss and Rose Gad, the two girls of Peter and Caroline Heering, Birgitte and Jeppe Handwerk who had a baby at the same time as Christian was born and other littlies to play with. B.T. quotes some family therapists who suggest the contact with other children to be good for Christian's development. Mary, Frederik and Christian are expected to spend their summer in Skagen and Skagen 2, Château de Cayx and finally at Gråsten Castle before the official schedule swings into action again at the beginning of August. At Gråsten Castle Christian will be spending time with grandparents and cousins.

TV 2 and B.T. report Frederik went to Wimbledon 3-4 July to support the young Danish tennis player Caroline Wozniacki. Frederik is the patron of the Danish Tennis Association. Fifteen-year-old Caroline did very well indeed and finished the tournament as Wimbledon's girls' singles champion. After competing in the U.S. Open junior title Caroline will begin playing in the senior competition. See Wimbledon 2006 'Wozniacki Wins Girls' Title'

Billed Bladet is confirming the romance between Princess Bendikte's son Prince Gustav zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and children's author and ex-model Carina Axelsson. Apparently Carina has moved into the castle at Berleburg and was introduced to the local town's folk of Berleburg which had its festival a week ago and raised money for charity. Billed Bladet suggests an engagement is in the wind and from the photographs and other details in Billed Bladet it looks like that is how things will go. This is nice to see Prince Gustav happy, as he previously had an unhappy time following a broken engagement. There are some unresolved questions concerning his grandfather's will which decrees he cannot accede to the hereditory position of his father unless he marries a royal. There is legal precedence in Germany which challenges such wills, so it is no doubt already legally worked out by lawyers for a marriage to be possible.

Ekstra Bladet, which is not the most reliable source at the best of times, is reporting that Princess Alexandra's secretary Christine Lyng has confirmed Prince Joachim has given the tiara she wears to Alexandra as a gift. There had been some speculation that Alexandra would have to return the tiara but it is now hers unencumbered. As it was a part of the Danish jewels (not crown jewels) it was Joachim's. Alexandra will be able to pass it on to Nikolai for his wife to use in the future. It would have been difficult for any other partner of Joachim's to wear the tiara in the future because of its close association with Alexandra since their 1995 wedding.

Left, then Princess Margrethe wearing the tiara.

The tiara has a distinguished history. Queen Alexandrine, Queen Margrethe's paternal grandmother, was given it as a gift from her parents as an 18th birthday present. It passed to King Frederik IX on the death of Alexandrine and was given to Princess (now Queen) Margrethe on her 18th birthday. The Queen and Prince Henrik gave the tiara to Alexandra to use upon her marriage to Joachim.

On July 3 Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik attended the sports meet Landsstævnet. Queen Margrethe is the patron of the Danish Gymnast and Sports Association. They were at the opening of the 4 day meet and you can read about it here at Copenhagen Post.

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