Thursday 28 December 2006

2006 mini media wrap & links & mad media moments

We can't cover all the stories about Mary, Frederik, Christian and the Danish royals, there are far too many, but we thought we would have a little look back at some of it. It started with the christening of Christian last January and a lot has happened since then. What is clear is that sometimes there are misunderstandings between Danish and Australian media. Some Danish media perhaps does not understand that Mary's story is an Australian story regardless of her citizenship, and it always will be. And, on the other hand, the Australian media suffers from a lack of knowledge of the Danish language and frequently gets many facts wrong about Mary, Frederik, the Danish Royals and Denmark and its customs.

In January, even before the christening, Woman's Day got an early start on saying Mary was pregnant (right).

Top prize for craziest story of the year goes to Ekstra Bladet!

On 1 August 2006 Ekstra Bladet proclaimed the news that Prince Joachim had a new girlfriend, Maria Groenlund. Maria, 22, is a Danish law student who has lived in France for 2 years and does tennis coaching. She was asked by Ekstra Bladet whether she was Joachim's girlfriend and she said "no comment". It turns out she said no comment to protect her tennis clients, but Ekstra Bladet took that to be a "yes"! Maria has been on Danish television to say not only is she not Joachim's girlfriend, has never coached him in tennis, but has never even met him.

Meanwhile, the Australian media tried to reconcile Mary's good work and the attacks on her.

The Hobart Mercury:
Princess Mary keeps common touch

August 30, 2006 12:00am

STUDENTS gave a cardboard crown to Australian-born Danish Crown Princess Mary as she visited one of Denmark's best-known immigrant neighbourhoods yesterday.
Resident Leyla Haji Yusuf and Odense mayor Jan Boye guided the popular princess as she travelled through Vollsmose, a suburb west of Odense, Denmark's third-largest city.
The visit was organised at Mary's request. She wanted to meet residents in a less formal way than two years ago with husband, Crown Prince Frederik.
Mary stopped several times to shake hands and talk with residents, lunching with the Jomaas, of Palestinian origin.
All seven of the family's children were at the informal lunch.
But the tide of Danish adoration may be turning against our Mary.
Tabloid Ekstra Bladet has labelled her a "fashion dictator" for her antics at the Copenhagen fashion fair.
Hobart's No.1 export stirred up controversy after apparently making demands of organisers and giving short shrift to a 12-year-old flower girl and her doting public before making a beeline for the front row of the catwalk.
"Two years and three months after Mary Donaldson became the Danish Crown Princess, she points her nose to the sky and rules like a queen when she is on duty," the tabloid says.
"Regent the 34-year-old commoner-born woman will never be. That is a job for the consort, Frederik, born to take over for his mother, Queen Margrethe."
with additional reporting from The Australian/AP

We can assume Mary is surely cognisant of the fact that she is Frederik's consort. Doesn't everyone know?

Another theme were the unknown people in Denmark who are against Mary. Who are they? We don't know. If you have any information on these diabolical people, drop us a line (you can do it anonymously!)

Princess Mary betrayed: enemies in the palace shatter her fairytale
Princess Mary has been betrayed by a group of spiteful critics who are determined to undermine her position in Denmark. Palace insiders say she is heartbroken by vicious claims that her husband, Prince Frederik, is doing more than just sailing in America. Forced to flee Denmark for America to be by her husband's side, friends say it's no wonder the princess dreams of what it would be like to come home and have a normal life. Woman's Day

The current issue of Her og Nu:

(Margrethe) Finished with Alex!! Evidence?

Some Danish magazine covers this year: Alexandra and Martin, Gustav and Carina and Joachim and Marie:

This one was fun. Perhaps Kig Ind deserves a special prize for creative journalism? First they made up a story that Princess Alexandra had 'thrown Martin out', then the next week, as it was so patently not the case, they showed a smiling Alexandra and proclaimed she had 'taken him back'. A case of not letting a fact or two get in the way of a good story.

In Australia.....

Australia's Woman's Day has had regular stories on Mary through the year. For sticklers about the correct title for Mary, keep in mind that in the Australian media Mary is routinely referred to as 'Princess Mary' rather than Crown Princess Mary. Some may find this annoying, but perhaps it is also a sign that the finer points of royal protocol are not so important in the Australian context because royalty is not an everyday feature of the culture. The pleasure is in following someone regarded as 'one of us' who now leads an unexpectedly extraordinary life. You can see some Woman's Day stories which are still online:
Meeting Mary's Look-alike Sisters
Princess Mary's Australian holiday is a photo gallery
Princess Mary's beauty secrets
Princess Mary pregnant!
The little Prince's big day

New Idea uses Mary's correct title in its stories, but not in headlines. Follow the links below, if you try to go back and forth on this website the page expires. Some of the New Idea stories on Mary still online:
Princess Mary in hospital (while pregnant with Christian before Mary was due to deliver)
Baby boy for Princess Mary
Mary home from hospital
New Idea/Sunrise poll - For Australians, there’s definitely something about Mary – and now that she’s a mum, the thoroughly modern Crown Princess is winning even more fans. The results from a combined New Idea/Sunrise (morning TV show) poll reveal our overwhelming interest in everything royal – as long as it’s Danish! (date of this poll seems to have been 2005, after Christian's birth and before the christening)
Still no name for baby prince
Pregnant Princess

The Australian Women's Weekly is a monthly magazine despite its name and tends to have less current material. Has had some problems with inaccuracies, although it tries to give respectful and informative stories to its readership. It publishes on better quality paper and so the photos are of a better quality and it makes a virtue of good photos.
Majestic Mary
Mary's dilemma: duty or desire

Well, in Australia it has been an up and down kind of year for Mary through the tabloid lens. She has had tears, joy, palace insiders who say strange things (perhaps these are people who are thinking more of the British Royal Family?), a secret hide away in Tasmania... so many things from week to week, it is way too many to mention. Following Mary everyday here on the blog defies the tabloid version of events, but, hey, that is their job!

February saw Woman's Day proclaim Mary was "so lonely".

The Mercury put paid to the lonely and depressed Mary, who a week after these reports made an official visit to Germany with Frederik and, shockingly, she looked happy!

Mary visit quells talk


TASMANIAN-BORN Crown Princess Mary of Denmark has put paid to rumours she is depressed and lonely by making an official visit to Germany.
The glamorous new mum also defied warnings she could be a terrorist target after the publication of cartoons by a Danish newspaper that have outraged Muslims around the world.
Princess Mary was missing in action while husband Prince Frederik cheered on Danish athletes at the Winter Olympics last week, sparking concern for her wellbeing.
Royal watchers claimed she was holed up in one of the couple's palaces feeling isolated and homesick as palace advisers worked to cut her off from her old circle of friends.
Domineering palace staff believe only young European royals are suitable company for Denmark's future queen, royal magazines have claimed.
But if there is any trouble in the royal court, former Hobart commoner Princess Mary was not giving anything away during her German visit.
She delighted a flag-waving crowd of children in the city of Kiel in the German federal state Schleswig-Holstein, which shares a border with Denmark.
She smiled as she greeted children, chatted with them and accepted flowers before strolling with Prince Frederik.

In the real world Danes and Australians seem to be getting along just fine if travel figures are any clue. Danish exports are up in Australia and vice versa, although Danish exports to Australia outdo Australian exports to Denmark by about 4:1.

The Woman's Day of April 3 (left) followed the Danish media in drawing the parallel between Mary and Marie Cavallier. Um, yes, they both have long dark hair.

Australian media reports keep calling Christian 'kingaroo' and saying that is what he is called in Denmark. Nuh, he's not. He is referred to as Christian.

In May Australian Reader's Digest had Mary as the fourth most trusted Australian (she was third in 2005 in the same poll).

Then in late May came the reproduced stories in the Australian media following Jan Körner in Ekstra Bladet calling Mary the 'Nordic Imelda'. This was based on some whacky and creative financial interpretations of the Danish Royal Family Annual Report 2005. The 'Nordic Imelda' stories were widely reported in Australian newspapers, TV tabloid news shows and women's magazines. Just goes to show how easy it is to go from a most trusted Australian one week to a shoe fetishist the next!

Tide turns against Princess Mary (video clip 4:00)
Princess Mary's big spending habits may see public support for her swing from Australian Nine Network's A Current Affair.

For the record there are no details in the annual report about personal spending and none whatsoever about Mary's. The Crown Prince Couple are expanding their household as they are doing more official duties and the budget includes expenditure for staff and court/household running costs. The truth is the Royal Family has brought all financial issues under control following a period of extraordinary expenditure for the royal wedding and the establishment of a new home and court for Frederik and Mary. The annual report explicitly states the reason for the deficit of $167,000 is... "atypical in several respects. In particular, the build-up of a Royal Household and substantial traveling and representative engagements led to signficant expenditure". Frederik paid this deficit from his own private funds, which means there is no deficit any longer. The court has phone calls and correspondence with royal patronages, state/government/municipalities, institutions, organisations, companies, not only in Denmark, but also outside Denmark, for instance when preparing official visits abroad (to Japan, New York, Germany, Thailand, Australia, Lativa in 2005, for example). None of the expenses for Frederik and Mary were exceptional, are far less than the Queen and Prince Henrik (who have greater court/household running costs) and they are less than other comparative royal households. (thanks commoner)

At the end of July New Idea had Mary and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway having something special in common because Mette-Marit was on student exchange in Australia (Wangaratta in Victoria) during her teens, and Woman's Day had Mary seeing fertility experts to conceive (evidence? there is none!).

In August Ekstra Bladet criticised Mary (she would never be Queen!) but all other Danish media and Australian media were full of Mary's visit to Vollsmose, although Ekstra Bladet was reported as "Danish media". What a pity the Australian media takes its lead from this tabloid!

There has been coverage of Mary and Frederik in South America (Vanidades), in France (Point de Vue) , in Germany (various media), in Britain's Hello! magazine, in specialty royalty magazines and a few other publications in Europe and Asia. There has been news coverage in all major newsagencies, particularly during visits and also during the re-burial of Empress Dagmar.

The 'special' prize for the most errors of fact goes to the whole Australian media. Probably many errors are unintended, but a bit of fact checking would be good! This is probably more a case of distance, language and unfamiliarity with royal ways, but it is Mary's story, an Australian's story, and it deserves to be told a little better. Media sales in Australia would indicate the interest is there, so good reporting should follow.

May this Danish and Australian story be better told in the coming year, for Danes, Australians and others interested all over the world. A special good luck to Ekstra Bladet and Kig Ind!

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