Danish Royal Watchers

Saturday 29 September 2007

Frederik inaugurates new Metro rail link

Crown Prince Frederik has attended the inauguration of a new Metro 3 rail link. The Metro in Copenhagen is a new-technology driverless rapid transport system and this extension to the airport will increase the number of stations from 17 to 22. The Metro serves Copenhagen and Frederiksberg and opened in 2002. This system has been developed in response to the cross border Øresund region development and is separate to the long established traditional rail network in Denmark. Ørestad is a new city development on the island of Amager and the Metro connects it to existing metropolitan Copenhagen with plans for further development of a city circle. Each train has three carriages and can carry 300 passengers, running every few minutes at 80km per hour.

JP video (0:35)
Kronprinsen åbner metro i lufthavn TV2 article in Danish (Crown Prince inaugurates metro-line to Copenhagen Airport)
TV2 photo gallery
CPH.dk image gallery

Copenhagen Metro Expands (press release) - "In October the third stage of the Copenhagen Metro system will open, connecting Copenhagen Airport with the eastern and northern part of downtown Copenhagen in only 14 minutes...
Driverless Rapid Transport, Copenhagen
See Copenhagen Metro on Wikipedia for more info
Queen Margrethe opened the first section in May 2003 (see B.T.)


Friday 28 September 2007

Mary presents exchange scholarships

Today Crown Princess Mary has presented this year's recipients with the Crown Princess Mary Scholarship at the Amager campus of Copenhagen University. The scholarship is a wedding gift for a five year period from the University of Copenhagen. It is an exchange student scholarship for two Australian students from the University of Copenhagen's Australian partner institutions, with DKK 10,000 to go towards the costs of studying in Denmark. The first scholarships were awarded in 2005, which makes this the third year of the awards. The awards this year are going to Pheobe Downing, Art History student at the Australian National University and Sam Christensen, a law student from the University of Tasmania.

This year the award of the scholarships is part of a conference called Australia: What’s Left? The conference is convened by the Centre for Australian Studies in the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Copenhagen.

Crown Princess Mary's sister Trish Bailey (right) presents the award to Sam Christensen at the University of Tasmania on 31 March, 2007. Mary's eldest sister Jane Stephens was also present, she had done the honours for the UTAS recipient last year.

Read Crown Princess Mary's speech at the awards (in English)
Phoebe Downing, ANU is one of the recipients.
University of Copenhagen

Australia: What's left? program
Australian keynote speakers

Madeleine Glindorf's gallery (20 photos)
Søren Steffen's photo gallery (11 photos)
Hello magazine 'Princess Mary presents fellow Aussies with student award'
Hola.com 'Mary Donaldson cambia la vida de los estudiantes' (Mary Donaldson changes the life of students) - the Princess presented the awards named after her and in a missive to the chosen students she gave "big sisterly" advice ... the rest as per this post and Mary's speech in the form of a letter to Phoebe Downing and Sam Christensen (link above)

Added: From The Copenhagen Post:
A warm g’day from Crown Princess Mary

4 October 2007
Welcome to Denmark! Welcome to Copenhagen University.
Party-crashing was how vice-chancellor Lykke Friis put it! She was speaking in her usual energetic and forthright manner to the participants at a day of lectures about Australia in the new auditorium at Copenhagen University.
She was also speaking to two young Australian students who had won the Crown Princess Mary Award to study for a year in Denmark. And she was speaking in the presence of the Crown Princess herself.
The award presentation ceremony was held as the culmination of a conference organised by the European Association of Studies of Australia, which The Copenhagen Post reported from last week.
It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and the auditorium was packed when the sleek black cars slid up to the red carpet.
As the slender figure of Crown Princess Mary arrived, she was met with a megaphone barrage - a "happening" as the Danes call it, from across the canal calling haplessly for her attention to cost-cutting at the university. Slightly puzzled, she smiled and waved - also to the demonstrators - and then sat down with the two Australian students and Lykke Friis.
Situated as it is besides a canal with bridges linking the various departments of the university, the parallels with the Sydney Harbour bridge, and bridging culture and knowledge between Denmark and Australia, was clear.
Lykke Friis welcomed Sam Christensen from the University of Tasmania and Phoebe Downing from the Australian National University to the campus and warned that with the new dormitories, where one in eight occupants will be international, borders may be crossed in all kinds of ways!
She pointed out that Sam’s grandfather had emigrated from Denmark to Australia, so this award allows him to return to his roots.
The Crown Princess then congratulated both students warmly and sincerely. She said that an increasing number of Australian students are coming to study in the "exotic" land of Denmark, which delighted her.
She was proud that the academic distinction and outstanding skills of the two award-winners would stand them in good stead for their year of study here.
‘They show drive and enthusiasm that will take them far beyond textbooks,’ said the Crown Princess, ‘and this will give them deeper cultural understanding of both the Danes and of Europe in general.’
She also knew that they had arrived three weeks earlier in order to take intensive Danish lessons. ‘How’s it going with that?’ she said with a wry grin. "Det går fint,’ responded Phoebe.
Crown Princess Mary ended by hoping that this award would allow them both to attain mutual objectives and give them the necessary qualities for the global market.
‘Enjoy yourselves!’ she said, and moved upstairs to a private reception for guests of the vice-chancellor, and a chance to ‘have a natter’ with her young countrymen.

Report on the presentation and the recipients from the University of Copenhagen

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Wednesday 26 September 2007

Alexandra has new board position with pharmaceutical company

Alexandra, Countess of Frederiksborg, will become a member of the board of the Swiss company Ferring Pharmaceutical. According to the financial newspaper Børsen, the chairman of the company, Frederik Paulsen, believes Alexandra's previous experience with non-profit organisations will be invaluable regarding ethical issues and social responsibility. The company produces infertility, obstetrics, urology, gastroenterology, endocrinology and osteoarthritis drugs, among other things. Alexandra's profile has the potential to be a public relations plus for the company. Being a member of a board of this kind is not a full-time job and should not affect the appanage Alexandra recieves independently of the Danish royal family, although we will see with time the full extent of her involvement. The company has an International Pharma Science Center in Copenhagen (pictured), production facilities in Kiel in Germany and in Prague, Czech Republic. The name Ferring comes from the island of Föhr.

about Ferring
Alexandra i Ferrings bestyrelse DR.dk news article inDanish
Alexandra ind i medicinalfirma TV2 article in Danish
Alexandra har fået job Jyllands Posten article in Danish
DR news update (clip 0:28) 'Grevinde Alexandra får bestyrelsespost'


Tuesday 25 September 2007

DR.dk program about New York trip

DR.dk broadcast a program in Denmark last night about the trade mission visit to New York by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary. Thanks to DR1 posting it on their website, we can see it outside Denmark. Click on the links below, the program is 30 minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee or tea or whatever is appropriate for your time of the day and enjoy. It is in Danish of course, but there is some good vision and some is in English, including clips from the press conference on the final day. Again, as they have so often in the past, thanks to DR1 for coming up trumps and broadcasting to the world!
Crown Prince Couple in New York
broadcast 24 September 2007 8pm on DR1

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news.com.au 'Princess Mary enjoys sneaking around incognito' (article)

You also might like to catch the 30 minute program DR1 broadcast a week ago of the state visit by President Lula and Mrs Lula of Brasil which includes the the Royal Family and the gala at Fredensborg Palace.
State Visit from Brasil broadcast
17 September 2007 at 8pm on DR1

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Note: if you have a problem with the connection, retry after a few minutes. A bit of perservence might be needed in heavy traffic periods.

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Monday 24 September 2007

Frederik & Mary award their Culture Prize

Tonight the Crown Prince Couple have awarded their annual Culture Prize at the Opera House in Copenhagen. At this awards and concert evening, the couple honour the work of idividuals and humanitarian organisations with large donations. This year Danish actress Sonja Richter and the charity organisation Ventilen have been awarded the prize. See the Danish Crown Prince Couple's Award for the details of how the funds for this award come from a wedding present to Mary and Frederik from the Bikuben Foundation and its history since 2004.

Crown Princess Mary's speech (in Danish)
Crown Prince Frederik's speech (in Danish)

Crown Prince Couple's Culture Prize (in English)
Sonja Richter fik kongelig kulturpris DR1 article in Danish
Ventilen.dk (Danish)
Bikuben Foundation (Danish)

Frederik og Mary gav pris til Sonja Richter TV2 article in Danish (Frederik and Mary give prize to Sonja Richter)
Kronprinsparrets kulturpris til Sonja Richter B.T. article in Danish

Madeleine Glindorf's gallery (15 photos)
Søren Steffen's gallery (53 photos)
B.T. photo gallery

From The Copenhagen Post:
Royal awards recognise actress
24 September 2007
For the third year running, the crown prince and princess have awarded the cream of Danish culture.
Actress Sonja Richter joined the ranks of internationally-recognised Danish artists like Olafur Eliasson and Per Fly on Sunday evening as she received the royal couple’s third annual Culture Prize.
Ricther, 33, enjoyed her breakthrough in the 2002 Susanne Bier movie ‘Open Hearts’, and has since showed her versatility, performing on the small and silver screen as well as the stage in a wide range of roles.
Presenting the DKK 500,000 (EUR 67,000) award, Crown Prince Frederik praised Richter's ‘incredible ability to reach out to the audience and touch us with an inexplicable strength that opens a path directly into the human mind’.
Referring to a recurring dream Richter's character has in which she envisions herself invisible on top of a massive diamond that reflects the audience’s emotions, the crown prince called Richter a ‘diamond girl who has just begun to shine’.
In addition to recognising an artist for their work, the royal couple also donates DKK 250,000 to a humanitarian organisation. For the third year running the award went to a charity that helps children.
Crown Princess Mary presented the award to Ventilen, a group that helps to build self-esteem. The organisation’s name is a play on the Danish words for ‘vent’ and ‘a friend to someone’.
The previous winners of the award were Save the Children for its anti-bullying programme, and the Danish Christmas Seal organisation for its on-going effort to prevent child obesity

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Sunday 23 September 2007

Christian in box seat for kindy

Photos: Kasper Wenstrup/Her&Nu with thanks!
Her & Nu (På Cykeltur med Christian, no. 37, 2007) has a report by Sarah Køhnke that Crown Prince Frederik took nearly two-year-old Prince Christian to day nursery recently in a style of bike popular in Denmark called a "Christianiabike" on September 5. While Dad did the pedalling along the cycling lanes, Christian had a cool time riding in the box in front of the bike in his helmet, strapped into his seat, with his little anti-bullying backpack at his feet. Ziggy the family dog (she is a girl!) ran alongside, obviously pleased to stretch her legs. (thanks Muhler!)

A note: During the live coverage of Isabella's christening, the TV commentators said that Crown Princess Mary has been seen by locals cycling Christian to nursery school. Apparently this bike is quite lightweight and easy to ride.

The bike: Nihola Bikes

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Breaking news! Tabloid journalist prefers Mary's babies to be home alone!

An editorial writer at Sydney's Newscorp daily The Daily Telegraph has written an editorial "Nanny state haunts Mary". From the blog's eye view, it would seem the only haunting going on is the Telegraph's editorial writer haunting royal message boards and grabbing onto random translations from the notoriously slippery Danish language!

The Daily Telegraph By Sarrah Le Marquand
September 22, 2007 Nanny state haunts Mary

OH how quickly they forget. Only two years ago Princess Mary was making headlines - both in Denmark and Australia - for vowing not to hire a nanny to help bring up her as yet unborn baby.
Heavily pregnant with her first child, Mary confidently told reporters: "My children will not be brought up by nannies."
Much was made of her declaration, particularly as the Tassie-born royal was so outspoken about not wanting her children to experience a childhood like that of her husband, Crown Prince Frederik, who was often left in the care of nannies while his parents attended to public duties.
Like many a new parent, it seems Mary has now discovered she spoke too soon. There was no sign of their eldest child as the couple toured New York this week. Although accompanied by five-month-old daughter Isabella on the trans-Atlantic jaunt, two-year-old Christian remained at home - was presumably under the watchful eye of a nanny.
This is not to suggest for one second that Mary and Frederik should be admonished for hiring a nanny. Like any modern couple, they're understandably eager to access the best childcare they can afford.
It's just a shame Mary felt the need to make such sweeping statements before she even gave birth. Until you've actually become a parent - and I say this as someone without children - it's best to refrain from judging both those with nannies and those without. It will only come back to haunt you later.
Sarrah, Christian was not just in the care of his nanny but primarily with his grandparents. John and Susan Donaldson stayed with Christian for the four days Frederik, Mary and Isabella were away. Mary and Frederik were hardly on a "trans-Atlantic jaunt", they were working.

Mary has never said "My children will not be brought up by nannies." This has been a recurring tabloid distortion and has popped up again this week during Frederik's and Mary's official visit to New York to promote Danish design and innovation.

To set the record straight for once and for all, here is the specific quote on nannies from the book by Anne Wolden-Raethinge (Ninka). The book is in Danish and has only ever been informally translated into English. In the context of talking about balancing work and children, Mary said:

In a family, the children have the highest priority ... Now, I am in a situation where I'll get a lot of help. Consequently I'll be able to work as much as possible in the time there is left. I'll consider myself to be a working mother, but I'll be 100 percent mother. My children won't be raised by nannies - definitely not. On the other hand, I am not a clinging mother-hen type of person. That may change, of course, when I actually have children myself.
Mary clearly states she doesn't know what the future would hold for her as a mother but is indicating a definite desire for herself and Frederik to be the main caregivers for their future children. The notion of not hiring nannies to assist Frederik and herself was never expressly stated. As a working couple it would have been a profoundly unrealistic statement to make... unless Sarrah Le Marquand thinks it would be fine to leave the babies home alone when Mary and Frederik are attending to their duties!

Frederik's background appears to have affected the parenting philosophy of the couple. Frederik and Joachim were cared for by the legendary nanny Else Petersen. She looked after Frederik and Joachim until they went to boarding school in France in 1982 when Frederik was 14. Frederik has spoken of her very fondly. Else Petersen attended Christian's christening, and was seen sharing warm interaction with Frederik, Mary and Christian in the DR1 coverage at the time. Frederik and Joachim apparently did not have a childhood which was as enmeshed in the everyday life of their parents as Frederik's and Mary's children are. Frederik and Joachim did not eat with their parents at the dinner table until they were four years old, according to Frederik's own account, and the Queen has confirmed in remarks of her own that she might have done some things differently in retrospect.

The decision to take Isabella to New York is the same approach Mary and Frederik have had with Christian - that she will go everywhere possible to minimise separations and maintain breastfeeding and their bond with her. Had Christian gone to New York it would have been a very complex operation. Christian and Frederik cannot fly together for security reasons, they would have needed both nannies, a different schedule of events and more PET security. As it was, Christian maintained his familiar routines with familiar people around him, his grandfather and step-grandmother, John and Susan Donaldson, his nanny Mette Hansen and many others he encounters in his everyday life, including at day nursery.

So to sum up the FYI on the nannies for the record:

1. Mette Hansen was employed just before Christian's birth. She is in her early 30s. She had worked at University Hospital as a paediatric nurse and was highly recommended by Mary's obstetrician. She was originally employed on a two-year contract, which has probably just been extended since we have not heard that she is leaving.

2. In January 2006 a nanny's assitant/nursery assistant was employed part time. She is a 22-year-old student, Mie Damgaard Kristiansen, known as Misse. We saw her walking Christian in his pram at Marselisborg last Easter while the grown ups were at the Easter Service at Århus Cathedral.

3. In February 2007 Frederik and Mary employed Ann-Alicia Thunbo. Alicia had worked for Joachim and Alexandra since 2002, caring for Felix primarily. Contrary to some tabloid press reports earlier this year, she was not fired by Alexandra, but seems to have had a flexible arrangement between the two families until Isabella was born. Alexandra retains the services of Merete Metz as a nanny for Nikolai and Felix. Alicia has not been seen much at all since Isabella was born, since Mary has done all the normal maternal care. The New York trip illustrates why two nannies are required.

There is little difference between the arrangements Frederik and Mary have and most middle and high income working parents in both Denmark and Australia and elsewhere in OECD countries. Parents who have their children in child care, school and the many other forms of care are not considered to be leaving the upbringing of their children to others.

1.) Mette Hansen returns to Chancellery House with Christian and Isabella the day before Isabella's christening while a rehearsal was still going on at the Palace Chapel, 2.) Mette Hansen in command of Isabella's pram, with Mary and Christian in Fredensborg Palace Park in July, 3.) Mie (Misse) Damgaard Kristiansen walking Christian last Easter at Marselisborg while Frederik and Mary were at church with the Queen, Prince Henrik and Prince Joachim, 4.) Ann-Alicia Thunbo (right) with Nikolai and Felix last June for the Circus Arena charity performance at Schackenborg. The ongoing nanny for Nikolai and Felix, Merete Metz, is holding Nikolai's hand (dark hair), 5.) Ann-Alicia Thunbo at Isabella's christening

Frederik and Mary shouldn't be in the position of being criticised for having a nanny by the press because they have openly stated their desire to leave distant royal parenting in the past. Unless Sarrah Le Marquand thinks it would be okay for the kids to stay up past their bedtime and go to, say, a state dinner? Christian could sit next to the visiting head of state in his high chair as Prime Minister Rasmussen feeds Isabella her mystery mash, while their parents and grandparents attend to the guests. Crown Princess Mary could burp Isabella before the toasts, keeping Christian entertained playing zoos with various Orders of the Elephant. (This sounds like a fun idea actually! You know, we'd love the photos!)

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Saturday 22 September 2007

Frederik, Mary & Isabella say farewell to New York

Photo: Stuart Ramsen/AP
Yesterday was Frederik's and Mary's final day of Denmark's Creative Nation trade and design promotion mission in New York. Frederik, Mary and Isabella left their hotel in Manhattan mid-afternoon for a flight back to Denmark from Newark NJ, which arrived Saturday morning Denmark local time. They are already reunited whith Christian. As they left the hotel Frederik carried Isabella to the car in her baby capsule and both Frederik and Mary took great pains to ensure she was buckled into place securely before getting in themselves and leaving with a smile for a special correspondent (thanks a!) who saw them off.

Before departing Mary and Frederik had visited the newly opened Bikuben Foundation Academic Guest House in New York. The house provides rent-free housing for 25 elite Danish students, artists and researchers working to upgrade their professional skills and further the internationalisation of Denmark. In past years, Denmark has experienced a boom in Danes being accepted for prestigious educational programs in New York, but many have been hindered due to high tuition fees and lack of affordable residences in New York City. The 1200 square meter townhouse dating from 1910 has been renovated using Danish materials and Danish design. The Crown Prince Couple met with the first generation of residents as well as representatives from Danish companies who contributed to the project with materials and products.

Bikuben Foundation NY (in Danish)
Kollegiefonden Biluben (in Danish)

Afterwards Frederik and Mary went to the Tavern on the Green in Central Park for a press conference (hopefully we will find more of this to post later).

Politiken 'Mary kastede glans over erhvervsfremstød' (Mary throws some shine over industry push)
Politiken 'Kongelig hæderspris til Vestas i USA' (Royal prize to Vestas USA) about the award of HRH Prince Henrik's Medal of Honour to the American arm of the windmill firm Vestas. This was presented at the gala dinner.
Politiken 'Mary og Frederik i USA: Trætte men tilfredse' (Mary and Frederik in the USA: Tired but Satisfied)
On the last day of engagements promoting Denmark's Creative Nation initiative in New York, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary visited the Bikuben Foundation's academic guest house in Manhattan in bright sunshine. At a press conference immediately afterwards in the Tavern on the Green in Central Park Frederik said that he and Mary were quite tired as it seems Isabella had been wakeful during the night, but very pleased by the work of the trade mission, which allowed them to meet many interesting people. Mary said there was a good platform to build upon for exchange of ideas and solutions and development of new networks and relationships between Danish companies, research and know-how and the US. Asked whether she had done any shopping, Mary replied their schedule had been very tight and she had only seen shops from a car window. Since Isabella had been waking very early she did have the chance to go out on early walks to SoHo and Central Park with her. Isabella was with them since she was still breastfeeding and they had talked to Christian on the phone, who is at home in Denmark with his grandparents. They were missing Christian very much and when on the phone with him, he mostly said "ja" (yes) when they asked him things and "find Daddy (far), find Mummy (mor)". Mary had worn mostly Danish designed clothes during the visit. Asked whether there was anything they would have liked to have done they replied, yes, to have seen a broadway show. They returned to Denmark from Newark airport on Saturday morning.
Frederik og Mary: Vi har savnet Christian Avisen.dk (Frederik and Mary: We have missed Christian)
Frederik and Mary have finished the official visit to New York and most look forward to returning home to be reunited with Christian. With Isabella's first visit to New York and a packed schedule for the visit, the couple were tired (with Isabella waking frequently) but were looking forward to return to Fredensborg and Christian. They said it is wonderful to have children however, as Frederik said, it can be a challenge but Mary added that good routines and structure allow things to get done. Christian was with his grandparents. ... Then the partners/colleagues in royal duties, friends and lovers comment by Frederik, Mary walking with Isabella in the early mornings in SoHo and Central Park and that they would have liked to have seen the broadway show Mama Mia which they had heard was good, but didn't have any free time. They flew out on Friday afternoon for Denmark.

TV2 photo gallery

TV2 news video (2:29) part of the press conference in the Tavern on the Green in Central Park (part Danish, part English)

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Thursday 20 September 2007

Frederik & Mary on day 4 of Creative Nation mission in NYC

"Working Together Towards Sustainability" Conference at the Hilton New York. The conference is the culmination of the Creative Nation campaign to promote the debate on creativity and sustainability. The conference has addressed sustainability from many perspectives, including energy, design, lifestyle, and business, and has focused on the collaborative efforts between U.S. and Danish enterprises.

Crown Princess Mary on a tour of the Design for Life exhibition where she was presented with a monogrammed set of gloves made for peeling potatoes:

CP Frederik's speech for the Creative Nation conference
CPss Mary's speech for Design for Life

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary attend a Danish theatre performance at The Shelter Studios:

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary attend the Creative Nation Gala Dinner at Cipriani. Here the HRH Prince Henrik Medal of Honour was presented to the windmill producer Vestas America for export excellence and very much in keeping with one of the themes of the week, green approaches for problem solving and environmental sustainability.

Photos: Jens Dige/DI

Mary fik designer til at græde Avisen.dk ('Mary made designer cry with happiness') about Mary's visit to the design exhibition 'Design for life' in New York. Fashion designer Christine Schertiger was very moved when Mary spoke to her during her visit. It is Christine Schertiger's first tiume in New York and she said Mary is just so nice. Mary wished Schertiger good luck and said she was sure that the key to success was to be in New York.
Frede og Mary spiste dansk i New York Avisen.dk ('Frederik and Mary ate Danish in New York') about chef Claus Meyer cooking for Frederik and Mary during their trade promotion visit to New York. He has been doing a TV cooking show called "Scandinavian Cooking" in the US for PBS for six months and for Frederik's and Mary's visit his wife Christina and daughter Elvira were there too. It was not the first time Claus Meyer had cooked for royalty, although he didn't say who he had cooked for before. Mary said the food smelled very good indeed (it was obviously a bit too whistle-stop to sit down and eat!)
Danmark indtager New York Times Avisen.dk about the Danish know-how that has taken seven years and $640 million to transform the New York Times building in Times Square into a green and environmentally friendly building. The project has had a lot of Danish input with design and product solutions for one of the flagship newspapers of the world. The Times has proven to be a good example because the Chicago Tribune is doing the same sort of transformation for its skyscraper in Chicago.
TV2 news story 'Kronprinsparret i New York' (in Danish)
B.T. photo gallery
DR1 NetTV (2:28) 'Fuldt program i New York'
TV2 news clip (0:43) Frederik and Mary arriving at the Gala Dinner


Dear readers, please continue to check on the posts for each day of the visit. We will continue to add new pics, links and info. Because of time zone differences new links from reporting in Denmark and in reaction have generally been long after the events in New York.

Scroll down a few posts or click here to see a retrospective look at the visit to New York in 2005 by Mary and Frederik to mark the bicentenary of Hans Christian Andersen.

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