Thursday 18 January 2007

Danish royal roundup # 13

Queen Margrethe sat through the New Year court for ambassadors. It appears the Queen will be having a second knee replacement operation this year. Among ambassadors she greeted was the (relatively) new Australian ambassador to Denmark Sharyn Minahan, who was greeted warmly by the Queen and who spoke a little longer than most with Mary. Sharyn Minahan, below.

Queen in pain
It has only been seven months since Queen Margrethe underwent surgery on her left knee and had an artificial knee-joint inserted. Now her health is poor again and it was obvious that the Queen was suffering from severe pain, when she attended the Little New Year's Court at Christiansborg Slot two weeks ago. Usually Her Majesty stands and personally greets all the diplomats and their spouses, but the Queen had hardly entered Riddersalen (The Great Hall) with Prince Henrik and the Crown Prince Couple, before she asked a waiter to bring a chair. It was ready in an adjacent chamber and Queen Margrethe carried through the rest of the court sitting down.
The Queen could have chosen to cancel the court, but she wouldn’t have any of that. The New Year Court where the diplomats working in Denmark greet the Queen and wish a happy New Year is so important that as far as possible, it must be carried through. Only in 2002 when the Queen had broken some ribs and could neither stand nor sit, did Prince Henrik stand in for his wife and attend the court together with Crown Prince Frederik.
It is however not a good sign that the Queen can no longer go through an official event without having to sit down. Even though in her New Year address a few days before talked about her “generally speaking excellent health”, is it clearly something of an exaggeration. Shortly before the Queen had a new left knee on the June 1st last year she was asked, “On which knee are you to have surgery?” And the response was “I think we’ll take the left knee this time”. Whether the Queen already then knew that the other knee had to be operated on is not known. But there are strong indications that an operation will soon be necessary.
It is arthritis which has tormented the Queen for years and she has had pains in her right and left knees and has undergone surgery to both of them, the first time 15 years ago in 1992. But also her back has caused problems, and in 2003 Queen Margrethe was operated on for arthritis since she was suffering from a so-called spinal stenosis, a constriction of the spinal cord. The pattern of illness is always the same. The Queen is in pain, but tries to fight it, perhaps with medication. The illness gets worse and instead of cancelling her many official duties, the Queen has to sit down to go through them, just like now. Finally surgery is the end result.
The Queen definitely does not like to be ill, and she will hold out for as long as possible before she accepts having to undergo an operation. But it may nevertheless be necessary because of the pain the Queen now suffers. She can get all the help she needs but no one can cure her of the arthritis. And the inconveniences can be alleviated no longer. It helps to be fit and not too heavy, and the Queen is in accordance with both. She has for many years danced ballet at a private class with good friends, she has been skiing and handled the toughest slopes for many years, and she has lately become so slim, almost thin, that her weight certainly can’t put a strain on either knees nor back.
Everyone hopes that an operation can be avoided. But should it become necessary, then Queen Margrethe knows that the entire family is ready to help her and take on all her official duties, until her hopefully speedy recovery.
By Annelise Weimann of Billed Bladet and kindly translated by Muhler.

15 December 2006. Princess Alexandra and Prince Joachim handed out grants from their Fund at Amalienborg Palace, Copenhagen. The fund and the annual grants they award is one of their wedding gifts, so perhaps difficult for them to give up, but also a proof of the amenable and responsible approach they take together.

more photos at: Steen Brogaard's site

19 December 2006. Queen Margrethe with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen at Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen. Merkel was in Denmark for talks on Berlin's preparations to assume the European Union presidency in January.

20 December 2006. Princess Alexandra read Christmas stories for sick children with cancer at Copenhagen University Hospital. Princess Alexandra connected with the children in the cancer ward seven years ago at the time she gave birth to Nikolai at the same hospital. The children sent her drawings and so she payed them a visit to thank them with Prince Joachim. This is the third year in a row that Princess Alexandra has visited the children at Christmas. "I love this traditon, I get so much back. When I see the children smile, it gives me a Christmas present which can not be wrapped in paper. It comes from the heart and goes directly in to my heart," said Princess Alexandra. The book Princess Alexandra took to read was from home which is a favourite of Nikolai and Felix.

Berlinske Tidende
Children's Cancer Fund

6 January 2007. Prince Joachim arrived as a guest at a DR1 Look at Sport 2006 show in Herning.
DR.TV video clip (in the first part of the clip)

5-7 January 2007. Frederik, Mary and Christian travelled to Norway on the weekend 5-7 January to visit Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit and their children at their home at Skaugum near Oslo. Haakon picked up Frederik (who flew separately) and Mary and Christian at the airport before driving them to the Skaugum estate. There were conflicting reports that Christian was not with his parents, although there was no actual information, only supposition, a common media practice when official information is not given. However, it appears Christian was with his parents according to Danish Her og NU. Frederik arrived in Norway first and waited together with Prince Haakon at the airport for Mary and Christian to arrive. There is only one distant paparazzi picture of them in a vehicle, probably driving from the airport. So it seems they were able to stay off the media radar for the rest of the weekend. (thanks to commoner for this information)
This visit was reported in Norway's 'Hemmelig Norges-besøk' and by TV2 'Frederik og Mary på hemmeligt besøg'
Also offline in Her og NU (Denmark)

7 January 2007. Sydney's The Sun-Herald (the social page) has reported:

Mary's mate to wed
He's been on Crown Princess Mary's two most important guest lists and now her old friend, the handsome Hamish Campbell, has a chance to reciprocate. The princess's Sydney-based ex-flatmate and godfather to her firstborn, Prince Christian, will marry his long-time partner, Genevieve Taubman, in late March. As Campbell, a financial advisor, and PR executive Taubman attended both the royal wedding and christening in Copenhagen, it's likely they'll invite the royals to their own nuptials - but even the bride can't confirm it yet. At the time of print, she and her mum were still finalising their 150-strong guest list.
In any case, an invitation may be a mere formality, as at the time of the wedding Mary will be seven months pregnant with her second royal roo [!!] and unlikely to risk a long-haul flight. The location, however, does provide extra incentive for a royal visit. The nuptials will take place at a friend's property in picturesque Evandale, Tasmania, an easy drive from the princess's family home in Sandy Bay. Both she and Campbell are Tassie-raised, and met at university there.
Taubman, who has been engaged to Campbell since June, will wear a wedding gown designed by Toni Maticevski. The couple will honeymoon in Tasmania before taking a longer trip to Europe and Africa later in the year.SMH/SH

10 January 2007. Princess Alexandra attended the information day for the MERMAIDs cancer research project at Deloitte House in Copenhagen.
(Photos by Carsten Snejbjerg/POLFOTO)

11 January 2007 Prince Joachim participates at the 100th anniversary of the Tønder Business School.

From Kongehuset the donations to organisations by Queen Margrethe's and Prince Henrik's Fund have been announced by the Lord Chamberlain Ove Ullerup. Altogether 885,000 kroner has been awarded to 37 different organisations and individuals for the year ending 2006. The fund began as Frederik's and Mary's is now, as a wedding present, when Margrethe married Henrik and was the heir to the throne.

From the Greenland Collector (stamps) (pdf) A second photo, taken when the new Greenland stamp photo was taken of Frederik, Mary and Christian, by Steen Evald.

15 January 2007. Prinsesse Alexandra attended a function at Frederiksberg Gymnasium concerned with a campaign for women and kids in violent family situations. The campaign is "Break up - before you break down".

Some sad news. A little boy called Elias who Mary met last August at a family course in Horsens for kids with heart problems and their families has died. At the time, Mary greeted little Elias aged eight months, who was born without a left ventricle. During the first six months of his life the little fellow had been through five quite complicated operations and with some more treatment he was expected to do well.
"How sweet and cute you are. You are at a curious age," Crown Princess Mary said encouragingly at the time. Unfortunately Elias became ill unexpectedly and he died at the end of last year. His parents have written to Crown Princess Mary expressing their view that her visits and support greatly help the spirits of the children and the families and by also raising awareness of the problems of children with heart problems. The grieving parents have been very positive and continue support for sick children in circumstances such as their Elias. The photographs are of them at the family course last August when Crown Princess Mary visited.
The Heart Association Newsletter (in pdf)

B.T. 'Marys hjertebarn død'

16 January 2007. Crown Princess Mary attended a working meeting at the World Health Organisation, Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen, for which Mary is patron.

17 January 2007. Crown Princess Mary attended a working and planning meeting of the Heart Association. Mary is the Heart Association patron.

15 January 2007. Princess Alexandra was involved with the official inauguration of Hillerød as a UNICEF City 2007. Prinsesse Alexandra was a guest at Frederiksborg Castle on Monday afternoon in her capacity as a sponsor for UNICEF Danmark. Princess Alexandra revealed the UNICEF City Logo, and gave out badges to the local UNICEF ambassadors who will work on initiatives to collect money for UNICEF projects.
With thanks to Madeleine for the photo - you can see more at her website Madeleine Glindorf

TV2/Lorry (2:07) video clip

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Blogger Unknown said...

It's just so nice to see a divorced couple as friends and handling things with respect for each other. Was their marriage problems so hard to work out? I wonder. I was sad to see the fairytale end.


4:21 am  
Blogger Unknown said...

Crown Princess Mary does not have a family home in Sandy Bay, nor is Evendale an easy drive from Sandy Bay if there was a family home there. Evendale and Sandy Bay are at opposite ends of Tasmania.

4:32 am  
Blogger lotte said...

Hi Grace,
It is admirable that Joachim and Alexandra are able to continue to be good parents for their boys and be able to move on from their divorce. There are many conflicting rumours about their divorce and we prefer to report on what actually happens rather than go down the path of talking about what we cannot know. Certainly the fact they did divorce means it was not a 'fairytale' for quite some time before the announcement. There are various comments by reputable royal reporters that Joachim was very hurt by whatever happened between them. Rather than dwell in the past, maybe there is a new 'happy ending' for both Joachim and Alexandra with new partners? Let's hope so.

Hi jackj2_63,
Thank you for pointing out the discrepancies in the Sun Herald report. Your correction highlights one of our bugbears -- inaccurate and sloppy reporting by the Australian media. We reproduced the Herald's report -- very poorly written by the way, so not our words and not our wonky facts or geography! Yesterday's SMH had a feature story about fear of flying and used the stuff about Frederik and Christian not being able to fly together. There were two errors of fact in the first paragraph!

Thanks to you both for taking the time to comment.


12:39 pm  

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