Danish Royal Watchers

Wednesday 31 October 2007

The Queen, Frederik & Mary @ Alsion, Sønderborg

Photos: Ellen Bollerup, DR Syd ©
Today Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary have visited Sønderborg in southern Denmark to inaugurate the Alsion concert and conference centre. The Queen arrived by helicopter and the Crown Prince Couple separately by small plane. The development on the Sønderborg harbour front is a joint project by the University of Southern Denmark, the Bitten and Mads Clausen Foundation (Danfoss) and the Sønderborg Municipality. The new complex includes a knowledge and cultural centre combining education and research together in an innovative architectural precinct. Queen Margrethe has unveiled a plaque marking the inauguration of the new centre and after being shown around the complex, the Queen, Frederik and Mary attended a concert with 800 other dignitaries, guests and students in the new concert hall with the South Jutland Symphony Orchestra performing in their new home.

DR.dk Syd (Sønderborg) article 'Alsion indviet med manér' (Danish)
TV Syd article 'Kongelig indvielse af Alsion' (Danish)

TV Syd video clip (2:15)
TV 2 video clip (0:28)

Added: photos by Claus Thorsted/JydskeVestkysten:

More at the Claus Thorsted/JydskeVestkysten photo gallery

Added: Photo gallery from RadioAlsion.dk

...and a RadioAlsion.dk video clip (0:32) of the arrival indoors (very clear)

RealDania Foundation - has contributed to the project
Bitten and Mads Clausen Foundation (Danfoss)
University of Southern Denmark
Research park
Concert Hall
The South Jutland Symphony Orchestra (Prince Joachim is the patron of the orchestra)

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Tuesday 30 October 2007

Mary @ the Christmas Seal 2007

Today Crown Princess Mary has attended the presentation of the Christmas Seal for 2007 at the Restaurant Grøften in Tivoli. The Christmas Seal is a specially designed stamp launched each year and sold throughout Denmark as an extra 'seal' in addition to Christmas stamps. The Christmas Seal has a more than one hundred year history of sale of stamps (seals), pins, cards and also historical re-issues with a focus on children at Christmas time. Crown Princess Mary is the patron for the Christmas Seal Foundation which manages and uses the money raised to fund the four Christmas Seal houses. Children from 6 to 14 who have various kinds of problems have an extended stay for ten weeks free of charge. Around 700 children a year go to the homes in Skælskør, Ølsted near Frederiksværk, Hobro and Kollund, all located in beautiful surroundings, where good habits in nutrition, excercise and learning new skills are emphasised. Thomas Schrøder is this year's Christmas Seal artist.

Also, this event marked the first public appearance of Mary's new lady-in-waiting, Tanja Doky. Mary has known Tanja since first arriving in Denmark (she atteended Mary's 30th birthday party at Amalienborg) and she told B.T. she is happy about having the new job and that they have known each other for a long time. Tanja is married to one of Crown Prince Frederik's good friends, the jazz bass player Chris Minh Doky. Like Mary, Tanja is a mother of two, her children are Frida Anh, 4 , and Milo Tai, 3 years. Caroline Heering is continuing as a lady-in-waiting, but is also Mary's private secretary at the same time.

From the Christmas Seal Foundation:

Christmas Seal 2007
The Christmas Seal
order Christmas cards online
Ann Mette Heindorf's site '100 years of Danish Christmas Seals 1904-2003'
B.T. 'Mary sender flere hundrede julekort'
Added: See Madeleine Glindorf's gallery

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Sunday 28 October 2007

Princess Alexia of Greece has a new daughter Amelia

Princess Alexia of Greece has given birth to her fourth child, to be called Amelia, in Barcelona. The baby girl was born at the Clínica Teknon de Barcelona at 10:20pm on Friday night and weighed 3.9 kg. On Saturday morning the clinic said mother and daughter are doing well. Amelia is the fourth child for Princess Alexia and her husband Carlos Morales. Amelia has two sisters, Arrietta and Anna-Maria, and a brother, Carlos, who visited their new sister on Saturday. Queen Anne-Marie was also at the clinic to see her new grandaughter. On Saturday morning Alexia's cousin Infanta Cristina visited for half an hour together with her three sons Juan Valentín, Pablo Nicolás and Miguel (King Constantine is brother to Queen Sophia).
Danish royal cousin Alexia is the eldest child of King Constantine and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, was the first child born to one of the Danish royal sisters (Margrethe, Benedikte and Anne-Marie) and therefore was the first grandchild to Queen Ingrid and King Frederik IX.

Actualidad Terra 'La Princesa Alexía de Grecia da a luz a su cuarto hijo, una niña que se llamará Amelia'
La Razón 'La Princesa Alexía de Grecia da a luz a su cuarto hijo, una niña que se llamará Amelia'

Danish Monarchy - Anne-Marie

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Friday 26 October 2007

Mary @ Integration prize 2007

Today Crown Princess Mary has attended the award of the Integration Prizes for 2007 at the Circus Rotunda in Copenhagen. The prizes honour a focus on fighting social exclusion and efforts toward developing more inclusive communities and work environments in Denmark.

TV2 news clip (0:32)
TV2 news clip (1:00)
TV2 news clip (0:58)
TV2 photo gallery
The Integration Prize program
Integration in Denmark (denmark.dk in English)
Integration Ministry press release (in Danish)

This year's integration award winners have been chosen and presented at Cirkusbygningen in Copenhagen today

Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary awarded the prizes.
It was festive at Cirkusbygningen in Copenhagen integration prizes for companies, municipalities, enthusiasts etc., which have made for special efforts for integration, distributed this year for the sixth time.
The integration Ministry supports the honours and a jury chooses the nominatees as well as the winners of each year's prizes.
The prize giving was a tribute to the five winners of the 2007 integration prizes and all the other praiseworthy efforts which happen country wide.
This year's winners have all made an extraordinary effort and they can be an inspiration for others.

The employment prize:
Oracle Denmark ApS with the project Mentorordning for new Danes.

The enthusiast prize:
The NTACT-fund, Betty Nansen Teatret and the C project

Integration Town prize:
Odense Integrationsråd,

The municipal prize:
Vejle Kommune and the Byen in balance project

The school and education prize:
Rådmandsgades Skole in København N with the project Ildsjæle on Nørrebro.

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Frederik @ Carpenters Autumn Exhibition 2007

Today Crown Prince Frederik, as
patron, has attended the opening of "The Autumn's Carpenter's Exhibition - a furniture for your senior life" at the "Plant for Art and Design", Copenhagen.

Madeleine Glindorf's gallery (12 photos)
About the exhibition
Cabintmakers Autumn Exhibition
This year's exhibit (including guests)
See what's on...


Thursday 25 October 2007

Mary @ Refugee Council 2007 fundraiser launch

Today Crown Princess Mary has attended the launch of the Danish Refugee Council's annual national collection for 2007 scheduled for November 11, to support the humanitarian work of the DRC both abroad and within Denmark. The DRC works to provide emergency aid, rebuild schools, clear landmines and support community development in 20 countries. Within Denmark the DRC is involved in various refugee integration services with its large network of volunteers. The launch at the Glyptoteket Museum in Copenhagen, is to bring the date of the national collection into the public mind and emphasise the objectives for the collection funds to be raised: for food, medicine, shelter, de-mining, rebuilding schools and hospitals in areas of operation abroad and also for refugee services inside Denmark.

Crown Princess Mary is patron
Where DRC works (Afghanistan, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia, Georgia, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Liberia, Russian Federation, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Darfur and South Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Uganda and Uzbekistan)
The 32 member organisations of DRC
DRC - Internal Displaced Persons in Dagestan and Chechnya
DRC on wikipedia

Søren Steffen's gallery

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Wednesday 24 October 2007

Danish royals mark new regions with concert

In the evening of Tuesday October 23, the Danish royal family marked this year's introduction of new administrative regions in Denmark, the so-called "new Map of Denmark", with a concert and supper for invited guests from the newly structured regions and the government at Fredensborg Chapel Church and at Fredensborg Palace. On January 1 this year the new regions came into effect. The government's restructure is intended to improve management of local services throughout Denmark, most particularly health services. The new regions are Northern Jutland, Central Jutland, which unites western and eastern Jutland (including Århus) into the largest region, Southern Denmark, conceived as the gateway to Europe, the Zealand region and the metropolitan (Copenhagen) region.

Jyllands Posten 'Regionsformænd til souper hos dronningen' - The royal house will celebrate the new regions on Tuesday evening at Fredensborg Palace when the regent couple puts on a concert in the chapel and a supper served afterwards in the palace. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik have invited the chairmans of the five new regions, Kommunernes Landsforening, and a number of ministers. Together with the royal family they are to celebrate "the new Map of Denmark", which from January 1. meant that a number of municipalities was amalgamated so that the regions replaced the old counties. Along with the regent couple, Frederik and Mary participate, while politicians must do without the newly engaged Prince Joachim and Marie Cavallier.

From the The Copenhagen Post:
Hefty costs and citizen concern mark municipal reform

4 January 2007
The government has passed the technological challenge associated with redrawing the municipal map. Helping people over the mental hurdle is next.
Though few noticed it, the nation’s largest ever public project took effect Sunday midnight. But as New Year’s hangovers were wearing off, Denmark woke up to a new division of labour in the public sector that affects every man, woman and child in the country.
The plan to streamline government through decentralisation has been in the offing since 2002, when the Structural Reform Commission was created.
The structure in effect until 31 December dated from 1970. Its basic three-tiered division of state, county and municipality will remain in place. But while the state’s functions remain almost the same, radical changes are in store elsewhere.
First, the minimum size for the lowest tier - a municipality - has been set at 35,000, forcing the consolidation of the previous 271 municipalities into 98.
Second, the 16 counties have been disbanded, replaced by five regions, primarily charged with operating hospitals.
Though creating larger entities seems contrary to the PM’s stated goal of bringing government closer to the people, the commission found that many old municipalities, some with only a few thousand inhabitants, were too small to provide citizens with an adequate level of service.
Creating larger entities and giving them many of the tasks previously carried out by the county was touted as a win-win situation. The citizen would have a single point of contact for most public sector issues, and the new municipalities would be able to take advantage of economies of scale to trim their budgets without having to cut back on service...

Guest list from Kongehuset.dk

Added: and to continue the political note, Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced a general election will be held on November 13. See The Copenhagen Post

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Monday 22 October 2007

Frederik @ Red Cross refugee centre for kids

Today Crown Prince Frederik has visited the Red Cross children's refugee centre at Gribskov in Græsted, North Zealand. Frederik is a patron of the Danish Red Cross and the visit was to the Red Cross' Gribskov Centre which is a reception centre for young unaccompanied children who are seeking asylum in Denmark. Since such children are especially vulnerable, the centre is a refuge for children until they get a residential permit or leave Denmark. There are around 25 kids at the centre which has 24 hour security. For the first six weeks after arriving in Denmark, the children are able to get medical care if they need it, they are introduced to normal practices of everyday life in Denmark, get to know the local area and have a Danish language teacher who understands their special situation. After six weeks the kids move to another children's house where they live until their asylum case is decided.

The children go to the Danish Red Cross school at Lynge or to local primary schools. At the Gribskov centre there are different activities for kids in workshops, a gym and other activity spaces, as well as the possibility to join in activities in the local area. For all the children they learn how to make agreements with authority, they are able to talk about their feelings and they are given support to establish themselves in everyday life. Each child is appointed a public defender, who advocates on their behalf throughout the asylum process.

The Red Cross Asylum Department
Red Cross and unaccompanied minors

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Thursday 18 October 2007

Mary @ Rare Diagnosis Conference

Today Crown Princess Mary has attended a conference focused on rare diagnosis as its patron at Christiansborg Palace. The convenor is Rare Disorders Denmark, an alliance representing more than 30 national rare disease organisations. In Denmark 20-30,000 people suffer a serious rare disease which can be life threatening and untreatable. The Rare Disorders alliance works to improve conditions of life for sufferers and support networks to help overcome the isolation of patients and their families. Rare conditions can produce a lot of suffering without correct diagnosis and quality health care and some patients suffer because of delays in diagnosis. The alliance members and Rare Disorders Denmark, and similar organistions forming throughout Europe, hope to increase awareness, improve diagnosis, treatments and quality of life for sufferers and their families. Most rare disorders affect children and are genetic.

Rare Disorders Denmark
Member organisations
Rare Disorders Denmark is a member of the European Organisation for Rare Disorders

Added: See Søren Steffen's gallery

and Madeleine Glindorf's gallery (MG direct)

Added: From Medical News Today 'Medicines For The Few - How Can Society Better Understand The Reality Of Medicines For Rare Diseases?' One in 33 babies is born with a rare and serious genetic disease - most of which have no treatment(1). Yet the burden of rare diseases is immense and affects millions of individuals across Europe(2). This week more than 120 stakeholders from patients' organisations, academia and the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries came together for the 8th EPPOSI Workshop on Partnering for Rare Disease Therapy & Development in the Danish Parliament, in the presence of HRH Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, to assess how European society can better understand the reality of rare diseases in Europe.

During the workshop, participants identified the following key areas that need to be addressed to tackle the continuing issue of rare disease treatments and their availability to patients.... (thanks m!)

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Christian's private birthday in Jutland

From Billed Bladet via TV2 a statement from the court confirming reports that the Crown Prince Family spent Christian's birthday in the royal hunting lodge Trend.

The little prince's trendy birthday

18 October 2007 by Peter Schiødt

When prince Christian turned two years old last Monday, it was without a birthday song from his pals from "Spiren" in Børnehuset in Fredensborg [the Sprouts group at his nursery school in Fredensborg].

The little prince was with his parents at the Trend royal hunting lodge to celebrate the day outside in lots of fresh air.

The royal spokeswoman Lis M. Frederiksen said "The Crown Prince Couple had gone on a short autumn holiday with their two children."

"It was their wish all along that Prince Christian's birthday was to be celebrated completely privately this year," the court's information manager Lis M. Frederiksen told Billed Bladet.

The hunting lodge in Northern Jutland is used primarily when the royals want some peace from prying eyes.

The property is surrounded by thick forest making it impossible to see in.

Trend is in 637 hectares of forest in North Jutland:


Mary's new lady-in-waiting: Tanja K. Doky

Tanja Kjaersgaard Doky and Chris Minh Doky arriving at Princess Isabella's christening on July 1. Photo: Billed Bladet

It has been announced on the Crown Prince Couple's website that a new lady-in-waiting (hofdame) has been appointed for Crown Princess Mary. She is Tanja Elise Kjaersgaard Doky and she will take up her position from 27 October 2007.

Caroline Heering will continue as a lady-in-waiting, but from 1 November 2007, she will function as private secretary to Mary. We can only assume that since the two year contract of Caroline Heering finished recently, new arrangements have been negotiated to take account of an increasing workload to do with Mary's activities and for Caroline it includes membership of the Board of Trustees of the Mary Foundation and Mary's increasing number of patronages. Caroline Heering and her husband Peter Heering have two young daughters.

In her career Tanja K. Doky has worked for Burson Marsteller, one of the largest PR companies in the world, and for Mach as a communications manager. Tanja appears to have specialised in high tech telecom PR for these companies and worked on campaigns for Cisco with BEC, Total Telecom and with Sonus Public Relations to promote Mach. This is what we can find, the Danish media will no doubt fill us in with more info.

Tanja's husband is Chris Minh Doky, the very well known jazz musician. The couple are obviously friends of Frederik and Mary, since they attended Isabella's christening and other royal events including Alexandra's and Martin Jørgensen's wedding, according to B.T.. You can hear a little of Chris Minh Doky here on myspace including a composition called "September for Tanja".

About Chris Minh Doky on Danish Music.info (jazz)

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Tuesday 16 October 2007

Danish monarchy: Politiken interviews Trine Villemann

Still on the controversial book 1015 København K, Politiken has published an interview with Trine Villemann. This is a translated summary from the interview by Tommy Grøn titled 'Forfatter: Vi fortjener et bedre monarki' (15 October 2007)

Author: We deserve a better monarchy

Here a reporter from Politiken questions Trine Villemann about her new book:

“I call it a loving and critical portrait because it describes the DRF for better or for worse. It shows with some bite and grounding what the royals are like as people. It shows a side of them of which most Danes are not aware.

All in all I believe the DRF are doing well, but they could do much better. The Queen has been a formidable Regent who has done fantastic work for Denmark, but it’s time that she hands over 'the shop' to Crown Prince Frederik. She would serve the monarchy best by doing that,” says Trine Villemann, the Enlightened One, and adds that it should happen in 2012 at the latest.

”I don’t think the Queen was a particularly good mother. She had to raise a Crown Prince – to make him comfortable in the role that awaits him. I think she has failed as both mother and Regent and that failure is a major reason why today we have a Crown Prince who does not want to be king. In time he has come to terms with the idea of becoming king, but he is not at ease about it. He is 40 years old but he is lost in his role. He doesn’t know what to do.”

Trine Villemann asked for an interview with Frederik, but he declined, ostensibly because he didn't wish to discuss his future, because it corresponds with his own role in relation his mother's death.

The episode about Mary breaking down in tears on the dance floor is also mentioned.
“I tell that story to show how difficult it is to be a little, quite ordinary Australian girl from Hobart, who is catapulted into a royal menagerie. With all the expectations and all the pressure resting on her shoulders, it’s no wonder she breaks down. Who wouldn’t?”

Trine Villemann also describes Mary as a reserved, emotionless person presenting a facade and acting in a way she believes a princess should act.

Alexandra and Joachim are also treated lovingly.

”Alexandra is a very un-Danish, determined woman with pointed elbows. She wants something with her life and her family life. She comes from a tradition where you have responsibility for your parents. When she met Joachim, Hong Kong was in panic due to the Chinese take over. Stocks were crashing and many fled abroad. Alexandra saw Prince Joachim as a man who could secure her own and her parents' future.

On the other hand, was Alexandra just the right foreign girl Joachim knew they would love at Amalienborg? He had just ended a five year long relationship with a Danish girl (Iben Detlef), who would never become princess. I don’t say Alexandra and Joachim didn’t like each other, but the whole basis for the marriage was wrong. They should never have been married.”

Unfortunately Trine Villmann will not disclose the reason why Joachim and Alexandra got divorced out of concern for Nikolai and Felix. She will leave that to some other writer… But the divorce had to be mentioned after all, because people talk about it anyway.

As to the question about not finding sources willing to stand up [publically], she replies:

”I would bloody well have liked them to, and that has been my major concern about this book. It hasn’t been an easy decision to continue working with the project when it dawned on me that people would not stand up out in the open. But I decided to push on, because the Danes deserve to be told why we have the monarchy we have today.

However I must say – as a journalist – that I’ve been surprised about the indignation the use of anonymous sources has caused. All other journalists also use anonymous sources. No one is yelling about that, but because it’s the DRF, it’s a big scandal”.

”Listen now. The royals could just reply. It says nowhere in the Constitution that they cannot defend themselves. … It’s a myth that the royals cannot defend themselves. If the Crown Prince will say that he is not bone-idle, or if he will present his plans for the monarchy for the next 30 years – let him come out and say it. Let’s have a dialogue.”

”The Danes do not have the monarchy we deserve and I don’t understand why we tolerate it. While other monarchies develop and adapt, the Danish one stands still. Most other regents pay some sort of income tax and the Belgian king, for example, turns in a tax form every year. We give 200 million DKK to the monarchy, while there isn't money for hospital equipment and cancer treatment. Of course the DRF contributes something, but not enough.”.

”I cannot understand either why we tolerate the underhand payoffs in the monarchy. If for example you make sure that the royal wine cellar is full, you are invited to all the fancy parties. How can Danes tolerate those with economic interests buying their way into the monarchy? Why don’t the royals have to report the gifts they receive? (To the IRS) Why don’t they pay taxes? Why is that bad? And why don’t we have a debate about that? It’s like this, just because I use anonymous sources, you can’t take my book seriously and that’s a pity.”

The reactions to her book here on the day of publication have been harsh, but she claims she has also received ”sweet e-mails” commending her for the book. (written by Tommy Grøn, and summary translated by Muhler, thanks! and edited by lotte)

Some notes for context. Politiken is a newspaper with more or less a social democrat/republican viewpoint and is one of the 'serious' Danish newspapers. Danish humour can be very dry, most Australians will get that since their humour can be similar, but readers should keep that in mind since it is there in the way the journalist has written the piece.

Referring to Alexandra as "un-Danish" seems quite below the belt. To accuse someone of being un-fill-in-the-nationality is a common enough refrain from people in many countries with supposed "pure" notions of national identity. We know this from history and we know it in the present and its name is intolerance.

We at the blog are not Danish, so there are issues relating to ideas and debates in Denmark we cannot comment on. We can say the Queen is on record as having reflected on and being critical of her own mothering. At a common sense level, who is a perfect parent and who doesn't learn from their mistakes? The Queen has commented on these matters for all the world to hear. In her favour, it is not likely to be an easy job to raise a crown prince and king. Most of the rest of us do not have to do this or reveal our most intimate family matters to the world, so this would have to fall into that strange category of what it is to be royal in a constitutional monarchy. Likewise Frederik's reluctance to talk of being king. It only happens once his mother has died and it is a comfort somehow that he might find that a painful and difficult subject.

Paying tax is a political issue to be dealt with or not as Danes and their politicians see fit, just as it has been in other countries where this change has happened.

A difference between what Villemann says in Denmark and what she has said in Australia about Mary?

Today (5:38) interview in English with Trine Villemann on the Nine Network

Talking of humour, here's another Australian response at Crikey.com

'Princess Mary: Diana with a Dane'
Monday, 15 October 2007
Guy Rundle in Uppsala, writes:

Members of Scandinavia's Australian expat community are currently in training in a secret location for a daring raid to rescue one of our own - our Mary, Princess of Denmark, prisoner of the casttle.

According to Copenhagen 1015-K, an expose by veteran Danish royal watcher Trine Villemann (the title is the royals' postcode, it's a 90210 reference), Crown Prince Frederik never really wanted to be married, doesn't want to be King, and won't stop visiting his old girlfriends, a string of blonde, long-legged great Danes. Big women I mean, not dogs. This is Frederik, not Charles.

Mary hides in the castle from her dysfunctional in-laws, and from the Danish vowel pronunciation system, which even Danish children find impossible to learn.

According to reports in Denmark's Kvallposten, after being with Frederik when he met old girlfriend Bettin Odum at a fortieth birthday, "Mary bröt samman av svartsjuka och började gråta inför alla gästerna."

Which either means she bought salmon and then was sick all over it, or broke down and began to cry in front of all the guests. The latter I think.

Apparently Fred just wants to hang out with friends, while his younger brother Prince Joachim is more kinglike.

Our Mary is being unfavourably compared to Joachim's regal ex-wife Alexandra, and it's all wearing her down Diana-style, which is why first Kon-Tiki force is going in. Mind you, she should have realised on first meeting that her future in-laws' family were the raw material for Hamlet - at which point it would have been smart to slip out of the Slip Inn.

Many are saying that contrary to tradition it might have been better if Frederik had chosen a wife from among the Danish. Person not pastry. Though Princess Neenish was much loved before the First World War before being tragically eaten by Edward VII.