Danish Royal Watchers

Wednesday 31 December 2008

Happy New Year!

From the place where Mary and Frederik met, it is already 2009! Photo: Craig Greenhill/The Daily Telegraph

It is time to wish you all a Happy New Year! This is the anniversary of our third year, although many a loyal reader might have doubted the blog this year. As I have told many of you who have been kind and concerned and sent emails, this blog is a spare time activity, and real life does get 'in the way' at times. This has definitely been the case this year. We are still catching up back here, the many missing posts about DRF activities will appear eventually and we will let you know about them in a 'Dear readers...' post in the future. We do like to maintain the blog as an English language record of fact as far as possible. Thanks too to readers who have taken us past three million visits and five million page views - it is your interest which motivates our commitment to the blog. Thanks also to the Danish media which allows us to highlight their stories, photos and video/news clips.

As always, there are many friends of the blog to thank who make many things possible. It takes quite a community of people from all over the world to dig up information, links, photos, scans and videos in all sorts of corners, especially in Danish, for those who do not understand the language. A huge thanks go to the efforts of Valentine, jema, cph, Riki, bonsai, FrederikIX, Benedikte, ambiDK, mayflower, Tamriko, Leonie and gudinde. A special thanks must go to Muhler, for lots of stuff, always.

So here's to the New Year! It may be a difficult year for many because of the economic crisis, here is hoping that wise decisions protect us from the worst. Crown Princess Mary's trip to Uganda has shown there are always places where people have very hard lives indeed, and this is not a bad thought on which to end 2008. We should never be blind to the suffering of others, or to the possibility that it is within our capability to do something about it.

...and vale Jørn Utzon, who died a month ago - an enduring link between Australia and Denmark:
Sydney Opera House tributes
The Sydney Morning Herald 'Joern Utzon dead'
Artdaily.org "...The overrun and the scandal it created kept Utzon from building more masterpieces. This, according to Flyvbjerg, is the real cost of the Sydney Opera House..."
New York Times
London Times

Sydney Morning Herald Sydney fireworks gallery
The Daily Telegraph Sydney NYE 2009 gallery


Frederik @ 2008 Discovery in Danish Sport award

On Monday evening (29 December), Crown Prince Frederik awarded this year's Discovery in Danish Sport 2008 at Politiken House in Copenhagen. Rower Morten Jørgensen, 20, who was a part of Denmark's Beijing Olympic gold medal winning team in the lightweight fours, won the award. Jørgensen won in front of other contenders, including the silver medallist kayaker René Holten Poulsen, the racing cyclist Chris Anker Sørensen and the ice hockey player Mikkel Bødker.

Morten Jørgensen was chosen as a fourth team member in the lightweight-fours just a month before the Olympics. His preparation wasn't optimal, but the result at the Olympics is beyond dispute. With the rest of the team, Eskild Ebbesen, Thomas Ebert and Mads Kruse Andersen, Morten Jørgensen won a thrilling race. Crown Prince Frederik had visited the team at their training base before the Olympics to encourage their effort. The prize is Denmark's oldest sports prize, awarded since 1929 and voted on by Denmark's Sports Association, Team Denmark and the newspaper Politiken to elect the top ten nominees for the Year's Discovery in Danish Sport.

© Jens Dresling/Politiken (including top photo), Scanpix/Sj.dk, Claus Poulsen/SogH

Sjællandske.dk 'Næstved-roer blev »Årets fund«'
Folketidende.dk 'René Poulsen blev næsten "Årets Fund"'
Ekstra Bladet 'Kronprinsen hyldede olympisk mester'
TV2 Sporten 'Guldvinder kåret som Årets Fund'

Politiken photo series by Jens Dresling

DR news clip (01:21)
EB news clip (00:55)
Politken TV (02:06)

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Christian & Isabella @ the playground

All photos © Flemming Jeppesen/Billed Bladet

Billed Bladet has published photos of Christian and Isabella at the playground near Marselisborg Castle with their nannies Merete and Signe. Just as cousins Nikolai and Felix had proven (see post below), the playground at Memorial Park near Marselisborg was irresistable during the Christmas holiday.

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Thursday 25 December 2008

Danish Royal Family @ Christmas service

© Se og Hør/Hans Bølcho
The Danish Royal Family has celebrated Christmas at Marselisborg in Århus and attended a Christmas service at the 800 year-old Århus Cathedral. The whole family attended church together this year with the exception of Isabella, who remained at home since she is still too little to last through a full church service. It is Marie's first Christmas as a princess of Denmark this year and she arrived holding Nikolai's hand. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary attended with Christian. After the service he family returned to Marselisborg to a Christmas table of hot rice pudding and crisp duck. As Queen Margrethe told Midtjyske Medier, Christmas is an ecclesiastical festivity first of all, and then everything else is secondary. "When we...sit in the cathedral I also think now you can really think about what Christmas is really about...". The crowd gathered at the church to see the royals were given a greeting by Prince Christian. Christian was happy when he arrived, holding Mary's hand and saying "hi" to those waiting outside the cathedral.

Just as other families do, the Danish royals have their own traditions on Christmas Eve. The Queen decorated both the castle and the rather big Christmas tree, while she brought back English plum pudding when she did her Christmas shopping in London recently. Unlike most other Danish families, the Danish royals don't dance around the Christmas tree, but recite psalms and sing songs together in front of the tree. The Regent Couple's old friend Reverend Peter Parkov joined the family for Christmas as usual. The adults returned to the cathedral today, Christmas Day, without the little ones.

© Århus Stiftsidende/B.T./Martin Ballund, Århus Stiftsidende/Jens Thaysen, Se og Hør/Hans Bølcho, BilledBladet/Flemming Jeppesen/Fokus

Billed Bladet 'Marie og Nikolai i kirke hånd i hånd'
B.T. 'Jul på slottet - De kongelige tog i Århus Domkirke'
Se og Hør

Today the adults returned to the cathedral for a Christmas servic December 25:
Århus Stifstidende 'De små fik lov at blive hjemme'
The little ones stayed at home while the adults went to church on Christmas Day.
Nikolai, Felix, Christian and Isabella stayed at home to play with their Christmas presents. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik were driven right to the door by their driver, while Crown Prince Frederik drove Joachim, Marie and Mary in a Renault.
The bells were ringing as the royals arrived and they wished the small crowd outside the cathedral a merry Christmas as they entered. Bishop Kjeld Holm gave a Christmas sermon to a full church.

Billed Bladet's front cover has Frederik's and Mary's Christmas card on its cover - taken for Frederik's 40th birthday in May this year

Århus Stifstidende photo gallery - Royal Family at Århus Cathedral
Århus Stifstidende photo gallery - the Royal Guard at Marselisborg

Billed Bladet - Joachim and Marie Christmas shopping in exclusive shops in Copenhagen, joined by Marie's friend Britt Siesbye
Marie and Joachim doing Christmas shopping in Copenhagen (PurePeople.com)
DR.dk news clip (01:00)
TV2 clip (00:51) - from the service on December 25

Danish Christmas traditions
Århus Cathedral on Wikipedia, note the Marselis family, familiar to us from the name of Marselisborg Palace, have their family vault in the cathedral

Århus Stifstidende's Pia Richter has interviewed Queen Margrethe about the royal house's Christmas traditions. The Christmas presents are bought and many Christmas cards are written by the time the Queen and Prince Henrik set out from Copenhagen to drive to Århus and Marselisborg. The Queen believes that the Christmas traditions at Marselisborg are important, exactly because they are not at Marselisborg all the time. Margrethe can't imagine celebrating Christmas in Copenhagen because she doesn't associate it with Christmas atmosphere. When she was a child the royal family celebrated Christmas Eve at the Trend hunting lodge in western Jylland (where Frederik and Mary spent Christian's birthday for the past two years).
The successor couple, Margrethe and Henrik, were given Marselisborg in 1967 by Frederik IX. Since 1969 they have spent Christmases at Marselisborg with the exception of some spent with Queen Ingrid and the big family Christmas in 2006 at Fredensborg. The Christmas tree is a spruce tree which reaches to the ceiling and is decorated on Christmas Eve morning. The Queen doesn't climb a ladder any more - "I am not 40 any more" - but everyone participates in the decorating, including the princes, Frederik and Joachim. The Queen has the last say on the colour scheme and if decorations are too old and shabby, they are thrown out. The decorations for Christmas are generally handmade by the family, by the Queen of course, and also some which Frederik and Joachim made in 1976.
Little Prince Christian made his first attempt at decorating last year with a cone. Christian stuck it on one of the lower branches, which was all he could reach... "It is claimed that I control the Christmas tree decoration relentlessly. But in fact one has to allow [participation] from early on because the tree is so big that otherwise it destroys the traditions," says the Queen of how to build involvement in the family decorating traditions.
"Otherwise it's just 'we need a little more red there', 'the blue one would go well in there', and 'there we can also use another colour', but 'we will have more red there', so that it all hangs together," as the Queen describes the process...
The Queen sees Christmas as an ecclesiastical celebration first of all, and everything else is of secondary importance. "When we come and sit in the cathedral I think that's when you can really think that it's Christmas and not all the other stuff which rushes round in one's head."
...The Queen goes down at about six o'clock and greets those watch walkings guards at the guardroom with a small Christmas present. "They have a small glass, and we wish each other happy Christmas, and then we do the same with our staff...
At eight o'clock in the evening the Christmas menu is served on Marselisborg...

Berlingske Tidende also published the interview.

Århus Stifstidende's photo gallery - photos by Axel Schütt

Update: From Billed Bladet on Nikolai and Felix out in the fresh air on December 26 enjoying themselves with their dog Winston and their nanny Merete. The princes went to the playground near Marselisborg at Memorial Park

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Friday 19 December 2008

DRF to have Christmas @ Marselisborg

Isabella, Christian and Mary in the Marselisborg replica doll's house, a christening gift to Isabella from Århus Municipality presented earlier this year.
Christmas will be a cosy affair for the Danish Royal Family this year. The Danish royals traditionally spend Christmas at Marselisborg Palace in Århus. Spokesperson for the court, Lene Balleby, has confrimed the Regent Couple will move from the winter residence of Amalienborg to Marselisborg Palace in Århus on December 22. This year Nikolai and Felix spend Christmas with Prince Joachim (they have alternate years with their mother or father), so the Regent Couple will enjoy the company of all their grandchildren, their sons and daughters-in-law. The Queen will leave Marselisborg for Copenhagen shortly before she is due to give her New Year address for television and to be ready for the series of New Year courts for 'official' Denmark, the diplomatic corps and the top echelons of the defence forces from January 1, 2009. According to Billed Bladet, Jesper Vollmer will be in charge of the royal Christmas menu. He has arranged the menu with the Prince Consort. When the Queen made her recent trip to London to do her Christmas shopping, she returned with Christmas puddings for dessert.

JydskeVestkysten.dk 'Fætter-kusinejul på Marselisborg' - Cousinly Christmas for Marselisborg
Presents will lie under the big Christmas tree at Marselisborg in Århus as the Queen gathers children, daughters-in-law and grandchildren Christmas Eve.
Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik will have the company of their four grandchildren, when they celebrate Christmas according to traditional practice at Marselisborg.
Christian, Isabella, Nikolai and Felix will have Christmas with the Regent Couple, says head of communication and public affairs for the royal house, Lene Balleby.
The two youngest, Christian, three, and Isabella, 20 months, comes in the company of their parents, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.
The two oldest, Prince Nikolai, nine, and Felix, six, are going with their father Prince Joachim and their step-mother ("bonus mother") Princess Marie.
The Christmas holidays will start for the Regent Couple on December 22nd, when they move residence from Amalienborg to Marselisborg.
Shortly before New Year the Queen returns to Copenhagen to be ready for her New Year speech.

Added: We know Prince Joachim has a Christmas tree production business and exports trees to Hong Kong, among other places, but Billed Bladet reports that Prince Joachim selected a specimen from his property in south Jylland and felled a Christmas tree for Alexandra. Prince Joachim chose a beautiful, big Christmas tree when he went out on his own lands to fell a tree for his ex-wife, Countess Alexandra. The tree for Alexandra was of course was a gift. The tree was then sent to Svanemøllevej in Copenhagen where Alexandra lives together with his children, Nikolai and Felix, and her husband, Martin.

Added: Billed Bladet also reports that Princess Benedikte and Queen Anne-Marie arrived in Copenhagen last Monday so that the sisters could spend some Christmassy time together. Two years ago the three sisters brought all the family together for a big Christmas at Fredensborg Palace. It won't be this way this year and each will have Christmas in their own country. But the three sisters want to share that Christmas spirit with each other, and so, for the last four days they have been together at Amalienborg. Last Monday Queen Anne-Marie arrived from London and Princess Benedikte came from Berleburg and with their big sister, Queen Margrethe, have they had a Christmassy and pleasant time together. The sisters don't meet too often. Queen Anne-Marie was not at Gråsten Palace this last summer and so it was extra important for the sisters to get some days together in December. Copenhagen is 'dressed up' up beautifully and both Queen Anne-Marie and Princess Benedikte have been on quite a few Christmas shopping trips. Queen Anne-Marie and Princess Benedikte have both stayed in Christian VIII's Palace, where they each have their own apartment. The Queen lives just on the other side of the the palace square in Christian IV's Palace, so it has been easy for all three to disappear together and meet.

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Sunday 14 December 2008

Christian @ Christmas ballet The Little Snow Girl

Crown Prince Frederik has taken Prince Christian to see his grandmother's handiwork at Susanne Heering's Ballet School's annual production in Copenhagen yesterday. Queen Margrethe has designed costumes, sets and posters for her long time friend's annual productions for more than 28 years. The production is often of a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, but this year there is a departure so Christian saw a Russian fairytale, The Little Snow Girl, set to music by Russian composers.

Main photo Susanne Heering greeting Frederik and Christian on arrival © Berlingske Tidende, October press conference photos, Susanne Heering and the Queen, and taking a bow, Frederik, Christian and the Heerings, B.T./Liselotte Sabroe, Billed Bladet/Birger Storm and Hanne Juul, Amtsavisen.dk

Berlingske Tidende 'Prins Christian med far til juleballet' - Prince Christian with Dad at the Christmas ballet
Crown Prince Fredrik and little Christian at grandmother's Christmas ballet.
December 13th 2008
Crown Prince Frederik Saturday took Prince Christian to the annual Christmas ballet designed by Queen Margrethe and put on by the Queen's long-time friend Susanne Heering on Saturday.
The production of
The Little Snow Girl was performed on Saturday and again on Sunday in Pakhu's 11 in Frihavnen.
Queen Margrethe has been a set designer for Susanne Heering's Ballet School over 28 years, and this time the ballet students perform a Russian folk tale
The Little Snow Girl.
Queen Margrethe has designed the costumes, done the set design and drawn the poster for the production for
The Little Snow Girl.

B.T. 'Dronningen på vej med ny juleballet' - Queen Margrethe has designed the new Christmas ballet costumes
October 28th 2008
Children and young people from Susanne Heering's ballet school tug at costumes designed by Queen Margrethe when they perform
The Little Snow Girl in December.
The Christmas ballet is based on a Russian folk tale and is danced to music by Russian composers.
At a press conference this afternoon the Queen spoke about the fairytale about the little snow girl who is kept in the heat with an elderly childless married couple...
The Queen has been a set designer for Susanne Heering's ballet school in Næstved for more than 28 years.
Last year the Queen worked with Susanne Heering in the production "Tolv med posten" [Hans Christian Andersen's Twelve by the Mail]./ritzau/

Billed Bladet 'Dronning Margrethe og årets juleballet' - Queen Margrethe and this year's Christmas ballet
Queen Margrethe designs the costumes for this year's Christmas ballet to be performed in Copenhagen in December.
Again this year Queen Margrethe has designed the costumes with her long-time friend Susanne Heering for the Christmas ballet production for this year in Copenhagen.
Queen Margrethe has been a set designer for Susanne Heering's Ballet school for over 28 years, and this time the little ballerinas are to perform a Russian folk tale called
The Little Snow Girl.
As usual Queen Margrethe and Susanne Heering introduced this year's Christmas ballet production at a press conference [on 28 October] in Copenhagen.
At the press conference Queen Margrethe spoke about the fairytale about the little snow girl trapped in the heat with a childless married couple. The performance is accompanied by music by Russian composers.
The fairytale about
The Little Snow Girl will be performed in Pakhu's 11 in Frihavnen in Copenhagen on Saturday and Sunday December 13th and 14th.

Billed Bladet - Frederik and Christian having a boys' outing. At the ballet! Includes a photo gallery below the story.

Jyllands Posten and JPtv clip of the Queen and Susanne Heering at the October press conference (00:55)

Prince Henrik, Prince Joachim, Princess Marie, Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix attended The Little Snow Girl on Sunday. Princess Marie said she is feeling great during her pregnancy and Prince Joachim revealed that Nikolai's red mark under his eye was the result of a quarrel with his brother.

Huge thanks to Valentine :)

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