Saturday 2 December 2006

Sydney's turn to 'go Danish'

TV networks in Australia this evening have reported Frederik, Mary and Christian arrived in Sydney via the airport yesterday. Today they were spotted on a cruiser out on the water off Sydney (helicopter shot) on a cruise to Pittwater, with Christian seen standing on his own and a group of friends with them on board, including Amber Petty and Chris Meehan. The Sun Herald reports Frederik, Mary and Christian are staying in an apartment in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Frederik is due to leave Australia by Monday at the latest to be at a State Council meeting at Christiansborg (home of the parliament) on Wednesday morning. Mary has an engagement scheduled for December 17 (so far, other things may be scheduled). The Sunday Telegraph reported also that there is certainly no rift between Mary and Amber Petty as they were seen out and about in Melbourne shopping and dining together. It seems clothes for Prince Christian have been top of the shopping list and in one suburban shopping spot shopkeepers emerged to press Christmas gifts on the Danish royals.

In other news from Denmark, the tabloid Ekstra Bladet has reported that Frederik and Mary signed a new marriage settlement just before leaving for the visit to Australia. Other newspapers have reported the story too and Ekstra Bladet claims to have seen the documents. It is being widely reported in the Australian press today. It is not unusual for royal couples to sign new agreements throughout marriage as circumstances of assets and family change. Unlike the British, Dutch, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg royal families of Europe, the Danish Royal Family is not super wealthy. This would seem to indicate that the arrangements for Prince Joachim's ex-wife Alexandra have been more expensive than could have been anticipated for long term financial security of the Royal Family's assets. Apart from the house bought for Alexandra by Joachim , Alexandra receives an appanage directly from the state and not through the Royal Family, which is worth more than Mary's share of Frederik's appanage, she gets a VAT rebate (as do other Danish royals i.e.: they don't pay sales tax) and Alexandra also has child support paid to her by Joachim from his appanage. In effect Alexandra receives more income from the state than either Joachim or Mary who both fulfil many more royal duties. The assets problem has obviously triggered a rethink of the arrangements for Frederik and Mary. It should not be interpreted as too negative for Mary. In the unlikely event of divorce there would undoubtedly be arrangements for Mary to live in an under utilised royal mansion (there are a couple floating around) as the mother to Frederik's heirs. Alexandra's house in Østerbro, Copenhagen, has appreciated in value since its purchase along with real estate in Denmark in general. There are no clauses about custody of children in either Joachim's and Alexandra's marriage settlement nor Frederik's and Mary's, which was based on Joachim's and Alexandra's. There are a couple of errors in The Mercury/Sunday Tasmanian story: first, Mary has not actually signed away rights, and secondly, she did not sign her pre-wedding marriage settlement the day of the wedding. Frederik and Mary mutually signed their marriage settlement on 30 April 2004 (see copies below) and probably so the media did not get a hold of it, the Royal Family's lawyer did not register it in an Aarhus court until the wedding day.

For the legally and detail minded readers the three page document is still on the newspaper Berlingske Tidende's website:

The story is in B.T. (in Danish)

Sydney's Sunday press, The Sun Herald (SMH) and The Sunday Telegraph:

Seven Network - Today Tonight (2:34 video clip)
Danish Royals spend a day at the zoo
Denmark's Crown Princess Mary is in Tasmania with her husband Prince Frederik and their son Christian for a well deserved holiday (this is from last week interviewing Billed Bladet's Anna Johannesen). (Thanks jema)

Added: Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark take their son Prince Christian for a little shopping spree at 'Mon Bebe' store in Melbourne, Australia on November 30, 2006. Photo by Photonews/ABACAPRESS.COM

An editorial in today's The Daily Telegraph (Sydney):

Loving the mummy in Mary

By Naomi Toy
December 02, 2006 12:00

ALL hail Crown Princess Mary, Queen of the Yummy Mummies.
While the concept of the yummy mummy normally rankles my inner feminist, in the case of Mary Donaldson I can't help but use it.
During her Australian holiday, the future Queen of Denmark has looked her impeccably stylish self as her son Christian has got in touch with his Aussie roots.
Be it in long, flowing skirts, jeans and runners or summer dresses, the pregnant princess has looked elegantly casual at every single outing.
And that's really as you'd expect. After all, she's not short of a quid and, if she needs it, no doubt she can get a little help packing her bags for her trips. Right, from last week's Sunday Telegraph
I'm sure there's a special suitcase courtier on hand if she needs.
But being glamorous only covers the yummy side of things - it's her mumminess that has been so impressive.
What has really seen Mary jump in my estimation - and I must confess she was up there anyway - is that she acts like she would slot right into any mother's group.
Too often the images we see of famous mums are of them wielding their offspring like an accessory or auctioning them off for a six-figure contract with a glossy mag.
Others take their babies on outings with Paris Hilton, which I really hope is not a sign that she's getting clucky. But Mary just seems to be delighting in having a family holiday and getting a thrill out of seeing Christian experience his first Australian adventure, starting a collection of tales that will become part of the family folklore.
I can imagine that every family function will now feature Mary acting out the story of how she dodged a spray of echidna urine thanks to skills picked up changing nappies.
At Christian's 21st birthday, he will still be trying to live down kicking a wallaby in the head in front of the world's press.
Far from wrapping her heir to the throne in cotton wool, Mary let Christian splash in a fountain and was there with a loving cuddle when he bonked his head as little ones tend to do.
Then there was the budget Jetstar flight - and you've got to be a brave woman to endure those conditions with a child - as well as crashing with her sister Jane Stephens in her modest Hobart home.
But it was watching Mary put her back into pushing a stroller weighted with the roly poly Christian up a steep hill that completely won me over.
I'm sure she could have called on the services of one of the burly blokes who are never from her side to do the hard yards.
Instead the Princess laughed and smiled as she pushed and dragged him up the slope, enjoying the challenge - not to mention the free physical workout on the thighs.
And it wasn't one of those fancy-pants prams either that other home-grown celebrities score just so that everyone knows their little ones have got the best.
It was just a trusty Maclaren. Even I've got one of those.
She loaded it up too when she took Christian for a spin around the shops in Hobart, slinging her handbag over the handles and using her scarf to shield him from the sun while he had a kip.
And at the end of day, while good husband Prince Frederik loaded Christian into the car, Mary folded up the pram and stuck it in the boot.
All very normal behaviour, I know, but that is what makes it so unusual.
I'm not used to seeing the rich and famous being so wonderfully suburban.

From The Sunday Tasmanian:

Mary signs away rights

In London
December 03, 2006 12:00am

PRINCESS Mary has been forced to change her prenuptial agreement in an embarrassing backdown to the Danish royal family.
Days before flying to Australia for her recent tour, Mary agreed to remove passages from her original agreement that ordered Prince Frederik to pay for a "new suitable house" if they divorced.
A clause saying Frederik had to pay a one-time sum of money to his wife as a supplement to her new household was also removed.
The embarrassing details have been leaked to Denmark's racy ,Ekstrabladet morning newspaper and reveal the fragile nature of the Danish royal family's finances.
The new prenup, it is believed, is a response to the recent bitter experience of Frederik's younger brother Prince Joachim following his divorce from Princess Alexandra.
Joachim was forced to sell a 399-year-old historical inn belonging to his estate in Southern Jutland, Schackenborg Castle, to pay for a $2million mansion his ex-wife demanded in one of Denmark's most exclusive suburbs.
It is also a response to the startling revelation that Prince Frederik would be unable to pay for a house, in or out of Denmark, if he ever faced a divorce.
Despite being heir to the throne, he has no assets.
The state pays him a civil list annuity of $3.75 million a year, most of which is spent on running his household and paying for his staff.
He will not accrue any assets until he inherits the throne from his mother, Queen Margrethe II, in the event of her death or when she hands over power.
Mary signed the original pre-nup on the day she married Frederik in May 2004, which was registered in the court in Aarhus.
It was a similar document that was signed by her former sister-in-law and father-in-law, Prince Consort Henrik, which limited any claim on the assets of her husband and the royal family.
The new prenup was registered in court the day before the couple flew to Tasmania and is the same as the original except for the two removed passages.
The only good news for Mary, pregnant with the couple's second child, is that despite the removal of the clauses, section 56 of Danish law promises her alimony if the pair split.
The new agreement was drawn up by Henrik Wedell-Wedellsborg, the same lawyer who handled the original.From
end ST (same story is in other News Ltd newspapers around Australia)

Also in The Sun Herald:

Princess Mary 'changes pre-nup details'

December 3, 2006 - 5:59AM

Princess Mary has been forced to change her pre-nuptial agreement.
In the embarrassing backdown to the Danish royal family, Mary has agreed to remove passages from her original agreement that stated Prince Frederik was to pay for a "new, suitable house" if they divorced.
The amendment occurred just days before her Australian tour.
A clause that said Frederik had to pay a one-time sum of money to his wife as a supplement to her new household was also removed, News Limited newspapers say.
The embarrassing details were leaked to Copenhagen morning newspaper Ekstrabladet, revealing the fragility of the Danish royal family's finances.
It is believed the new agreement is a response to the experience of Frederik's brother, Prince Joachim, after his divorce from Princess Alexandra.
Joachim was forced to sell a 400-year-old historical inn to pay for a $2-million mansion for Princess Alexandra in an exclusive Copenhagen suburbs.
Despite Frederik being heir to the throne, he has no assets.
The state pays Frederik $3.75 million a year from the civil list, but most of the money is spent household costs, including staff wages.
When Frederik inherits the throne from his mother, Queen Margrethe II, he will receive assets.
© 2006 AAP

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