Saturday 19 January 2008

Private Crown Princess Mary reporting for duty

All photos and © Steen Brogaard and © Jørgen Kølle/Politiken/Berlingske Tidende

A press release issued today by Per Thornit, the Crown Prince Couple's Chief of Court, announced Crown Princess Mary's entry into basic training in the Danish Home Guard. The basic training at the Home Guard Training Centre in Christiansminde has been conducted these last three days, with Mary's private secretary and lady-in-waiting Caroline Heering joining in too. Queen Margrethe trained in an earlier form of the Air Force Home Guard and achieved the rank of major. Princess Benedikte is in the Navy Home Guard. Mary is a private and will do her training in increments rather than in a block. All trainees have flexibility (Mary possibly a little more than usual) since many are working, parents, etc.

Queen Margrethe is the comander-in-chief of the Danish Defence as monarch but has no rank. As we mentioned recently, Prince Henrik's rank of general and admiral in the army, air force and navy is honorary for protocol reasons (that is, he has no command). Frederik and Joachim currently hold the ranks they have earned and been promoted to and are genuine commands should they be called up to serve. Since April 2004, Frederik has been a commander, senior grade, in the navy, a lieutenant colonel in the army and a lieutenant colonel in the air force. Also, as we mentioned before, Frederik will become a general (army and air force) and admiral (navy) when he becomes regent. Joachim is a major of the reserve and is active in the defence reserve at Headquarters Danish Division. The press release suggests Mary is following in the family's footsteps by taking this on since it is not only the men who are involved.

When Mary's basic training is completed she will be attached to the Army Home Guard in Copenhagen. The weapon she is seen with in the photos is the standard weapon of the Danish Army and Home Guard, an M95 with scope which she will learn how to use, strip and clean.

The Danish Home Guard has a distinguished history. It was created after World War II and took its inspiration from the Danish Resistance Movement during the war (Denmark was occupied by Germany). The virtue of the Home Guard is in its local knowledge.The Home Guard is not a reserve force but a territorial defence force. Since 9/11 the emphasis has gradually shifted to also become an agency to help in counter terrorist attacks. Should there ever be some kind of terrorist attack, the Home Guard would help to maintain order, help carry out rescue work, seal off contaminated areas, secure regional headquarters, hospitals and supply depots and so on. In case of disasters or floods the Home Guard is also called out. The Police Home Guard assists the police all the time with traffic control at various events or to assist in seaching for missing persons. The Home Guard is an unpaid all-volunteer force, although there are a few specialists and high ranking officers employed (i.e. transferred from the army) at the top of the hierarchy.

Since most members keep their uniform, equipment and, when possible, also their personal weapon and ammunition at home, they can be mobilised and at their designated position in a very short time. The Home Guard is currently undergoing structural change to make it more effective for new national needs. The plan is to to reduce the number of inactive or less active members and instead put more emphasis on the active members by giving them more and better training and better equipment.

Mary will also go through the C drills during her basic training. That means entering a gas chamber (always called a C chamber). Mild tear gas will be released and only when she can feel the gas will she be allowed to put on her gasmask and later on, additional C equipment. If she doesn't do it in time she will be far from the first one to throw up on the grass outside and arrive home with red eyes. She will also be familiar with administering three doses of Antropin or a similar anti-nerve gas-agent by slamming a needle into her thigh and injecting the contents into her leg (naturally not using real Antropin). (thanks Muhler for the particularly vivid FYI!!)

Jyllands Posten 'Mary skal lære at stå ret' - Mary's basic training will be use and care of her personal weapon, physical training, basic first aid, drill, signalling (reporting, receiving and sending radio messages) and a course in rescue, fire fighting and environmental issues...The chief of the Home Guard, Major General Jan S. Norgaard says, "We are incredibly happy about the interest of the Crown Princess."
Queen Margrethe was a member of Kvindeligt Flyverkorps (Women's Flight Corps) which eventually became the Air Force Home Guard (Flyver Hjemmeværnet).
Princess Benedikte is a member of the Navy Home Guard.

B.T. 'Mary forsvarer landet'
Billed Bladet 'Mary i Hjemmeværnet'
Politiken 'Kronprinsesse Mary trækker i trøjen'
Berlingske Tidende 'Kronprinsesse Mary i trøjen'

The Sun-Herald 'Quite the contrary, it's Military Mary'
The Mercury 'Mary answers call to arms' (congratulations to The Mercury! Finally, not one "our Mary"! or, "former Tasmanian"! - Tasmanians probably know Mary is from Tasmania by now!!)

Danish Home Guard (in Danish)
Danish Home Guard (in English)
The Danish Home Guard - Ministry of Defence (in English)
Home Guard - Foreign Affairs
Danish Home Guard on wikipedia netTV (00:42)
TV2 news clip (00:30)
DR1 news clip (01:10)

TV2 photo gallery
Billed Bladet photo gallery

Labels: , , , , , ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: Your comment
The Mercury 'Mary answers call to arms' (congratulations to The Mercury! Finally, not one "our Mary"! or, "former Tasmanian"! - Tasmanians probably know Mary is from Tasmania by now!!)

Well I think you might be well and truly surprised at how many Tasmanians don't know who Crown Princess Mary is.
I recently attended a couple of “Trivia Nights” where there were 250+ guests, some of the very basic questions about Princess Mary were not answered at all, also a few about Prince Christian and Princess Isabella. Not only those nights but on a national TV quiz show a very basic question about the Danish Royal Family went unanswered, no one pressed their buzzer.

1:08 pm  
Blogger lotte said...

Hi Betty,
Aren't you confusing name recognition and knowledge?
I wouldn't expect anyone but Danish speakers with an interest and close followers of factual information to do with Mary to know any facts for a trivia night ;)
There is not one newspaper or magazine which has ever published accurate information in stories about Mary in Australia, so how could the general public know anything? New Idea has made an effort to publish good updates without distortion in the past year to its credit, but I haven't noticed anything else. There is nothing at all of any significance about the monarchy in Denmark or even Denmark in general in the Australian media except tabloid stuff, which is hardly reliable for facts!

3:59 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home