Tuesday 18 September 2007

Crown Prince Frederik & Crown Princess Mary in New York in 2005

Here is a little retrospective look at Mary's and Frederik's last trip to New York in January/February 2005. It was to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen and they had been married for eight months. The couple were accompanied by their Chief of Court, Per Thornit, and Mary's lady-in-waiting at the time, Countess Victoria Bernstorff-Gyldensteen, who was with her for her first two years and is a native of New Jersey but settled in Denmark since she married.

First stop was to visit the Danish Seaman's Church in Brooklyn, on the first day of their official visit to New York, on Sunday, January 30, 2005. They also posed for photographers in front of the East River with Manhattan in the background. They had had a few private days in New York before the official part of the visit began:

They visited Scandinavia House in Park Avenue. Crown Princess Mary visited with children in the Hans Christian Andersen room at Scandinavia House, a Nordic center on Sunday, January 30, 2005, in New York:

Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary are greeted by David Rockefeller, chairman emeritus of New York's Museum of Modern Art, as they arrive for a tour of the art museum known as MoMA on Monday January 31, 2005. They were escorted by Glenn Lowry, the director of the Museum of Modern Art during their tour and stood before "Mural Painting" by Joan Miro for photographers:

Crown Prince Fredrick of Denmark and his wife Crown Princess Mary read to children at the Hans Christian Andersen School Complex in Harlem in New York, February 1, 2005. The royals were in New York to celebrate the Bicentennial of Hans Christian Andersen:

Professor Harold Bloom spoke to an audience including Denmark's royal couple after Crown Prince Frederik presented Professor Bloom with the Odense city Hans Christian Andersen Award for 2005, on February 1, 2005, at the New York Public Library. The Danish royal couple were in the United States to commemorate the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenary. Professor Bloom teaches at Yale University in New Haven, CT.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and Crown Princess Mary greet guests at the Hans Christian Andersen bicentenial Gala Dinner held at the Public Library on the third day of their official visit to New York on February 1, 2005. Guests included actress Connie Nielsen and Helena Christensen:

They also visited the Blue Smoke Jazz Club:

The Copenhagen Post 'The royal couple takes Manhattan'

Why all the fuss about Hans Christian Andersen?

Sometimes it is interesting to know about the culture of the country we focus on most here at the blog. The Danes had a year long celebration of the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen in 2005 which the whole Danish royal family participated in. We also know the Queen has done many production designs for theatrical and ballet versions of HCA stories. The culture of a nation includes literature and history, and so (hopefully) there may be interest in this article. In the case of Hans Christian Andersen’s “Fairy Tales” for Adults...and How To Fight Terrorism by Norman Berdichevsky, we learn Hans Christian Andersen's stories have been translated into more languages (60) than any author, including Shakespeare, and second only to the Bible. Berdichevsky translates Danish texts and has worked at the University of Aarhus and Aalborg University.

...The subjects of many of these stories also come as a surprise for those who have always regarded him as a kindly old grandfather telling his fairy tales to adoring grandchildren, the theme of a sculpture in New York’s Central Park that portrays Andersen reading to children perched on his knee. The themes of his lesser known short tales include time travel, adultery, murder by decapitation, death, grim poverty and social inequality, child psychology, intense drama, split personality, husband-wife relations, snobbery, social climbing, Jewish identity, and a deep abiding love for his Danish homeland.

Your children may have enjoyed the colorful characters, wizards and creatures of the Harry Potter series or The Wizard of Oz but what have they learned of any value for later life? Most Andersen short stories have left a moral legacy about life, its struggles, human nature and the beautiful innocence of childhood. It is ironic that his work is much better known and appreciated to tens of millions of children in China or Russia who continue to love Andersen, than in America or Britain.

When Leningrad was under siege in World War II and the city surrounded and starving, the production of all consumer goods was reduced to the absolute minimum. People were eating sawdust and paper could not be spared to publish literature. The publication of only one book was allowed in 1942 - The Tales of Hans Christian Andersen...
To read the complete article click here on the New English Review

1. Hans Christian Andersen was from Odense on the island of Fyn, 2. Mary and Frederik unveiling a bust of Hans Christian Andersen in Sydney in March 2005 on Observatory Hill overlooking the harbour, and 3. King Frederik IX, Victor Borge and Queen Ingrid at the Hans Christian Andersen statue in Central Park in New York in October 1960.

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