Danish Royal Watchers

Monday, 31 July 2006

Gråsten Palace

Tomorrow there will be a Danish royal family gathering at Gråsten Palace so we thought we would give some background. As Danes well know Gråsten Palace was Queen Ingrid's favourite place. Queen Ingrid loved gardening and she left her mark on the gardens at Gråsten. The palace is also closely associated with Queen Ingrid because, although it belongs to the state, it was renovated as a summer residence for Crown Prince Frederik (Frederik's grandfather, later Frederik IX) and Crown Princess Ingrid when they were newlyweds. The state presented Gråsten as the gift from the people in 1935 and it has been used as a summer residence ever since. It remained Queen Ingrid's until her death in 2000 and since then it has been used by Queen Margrethe at this time of year for family gatherings. After the death of Queen Ingrid November 7, 2000, Queen Margrethe gathered most of Queen Ingrid's descendants in the place which was so strongly identified with her for a special family Christmas.

The interesting thing about this castle is the assumption (stated by the Queen in 2004) that Frederik and Mary will take it on as their summer residence. They have received wedding gifts specifically for the castle, such as the county Sønderborg gift of a tennis pavilion to Frederik and Mary last year.

The garden was designed by Queen Ingrid and now has tens of thousands of flowers and plants which are cared for today by a large staff and the Royal University of Agriculture. This is a link to Her Majesty Queen Ingrid's Herbarium (it is in Danish though).

So, from Tuesday to Friday of this week many members of the family will be at Gråsten. Queen Ingrid enjoyed the company of her daughters, their husbands and all her grandchildren at Gråsten every year, but since her death some of the family have dropped away (for example, some of the Greek side of the family). Some reports have it that 50 family members will be present, while other reports have said far fewer than that.

We will have to wait and see. We do know that Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik have been there since July 21, and so has Princess Benedikte. Frederik, Mary and Christian will join them tomorrow.

Billed Bladet no. 29 has a feature about the gathering, headlined 'Christian to meet the whole family'. Billed Bladet suggests there will be many cousins and their children, so many, many little ones once again running around at Gråsten. There are many paragraphs about all the Greek side of the family being present, some Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg's and Joachim with Felix and Nikolai. We will have to see if everyone is free to go to Gråsten, as while it would be a great family moment, it is not at all clear that everyone can be present. So, we wait and see.

Gråsten Palace and Palace Gardens (in English)
Gråsten Gardens (in English)

At Gråsten Palace in 2004:

At Gråsten Palace in 2005 (Frederik and Mary receive the gift of the tennis pavilion):

Photos of the palace, the chapel and the gardens. On the maps you can see Sønderborg/Gråston south near the German border:

Queen Ingrid at Gråsten:

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Danish Royal roundup # 8

Crown Prince Frederik at the H.C. Ørsteds Youth Laboratory in the Science Faculty at the University of Copenhagen last April. See below for the story.

Yes, although it has been quiet during the summer holidays, it is time to roundup some Danish royal news before August gets underway!

Kig Ind reports while at the Château de Cayx earlier this month, Prince Joachim threw a birthday party for one of his old school friends from Øregaard Gymnasium (high school). He raised the Danish flag the Dannebrog in typical Danish fashion for the celebration, with many invited friends and their families. That ensured lots of kids were around for Nikolai and Felix to play with in the château's swimming pool.

Prince Joachim and Princess Benedikte are keen on opera and they will be at a concert to be performed by Placido Domingo in Esbjerg on July 30. After the concert they will go backstage to greet their idol. (offline in Billed Bladet # 29)

Queen Margrethe and Prince Consort Henrik wave from the royal yacht Dannebrog as they arrive in the southern Jutland city of Sønderborg near the German border on 21 July 2006. The royal couple will spend their summer vacation at nearby Gråsten Castle.

TV2 Syd video clip (just under 4 minutes) of the arrival of Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik in Sønderborg Harbour on the Dannebrog.

Prince Henrik cancelled July trips to Madrid and to Mongolia but he did make it to Århus Harbour for some Dragon class sailing while at Marselisborg. TV2 Østjylland video clip (just under 3 minutes). Visit East Jutland to check out about this area.

B.T. reports Queen Margrethe is a fine summer mood and has almost discarded her crutches.
The Queen arrived on the quay in Sønderborg and showed she is now able to walk without crutches. There were lots of locals to greet the regent couple as they arrived on the Dannebrog to begin their summer stay at Gråsten Castle on Friday (21-07-06). The Queen didn't disappoint the locals as she was given flowers and smiled and waved and greeted people. The Queen especially greeted those in wheelchairs.
The Queen has learned the hard way, even for a short time, what it is to be unable to walk. But the Queen is fortunate because her new knee is working well and her recovery has gone to plan. The hardest thing for the Queen is going down stairs, so she used her crutches a little to disembark. But everyone knows the Queen is determined and dislikes fuss.
After the greetings, the regent couple went by car to Gråsten, where the royal family will gather together for the holidays.
Prince Henrik, who has had a problem with an ulcerated wound on his leg is now rested and fine again.

Both Prince Henrik and the Queen have carried out a few engagements during the holiday period. Left, Prince Henrik opens a European falcon championship in Forum Horsens July 8, 2006 where 400 attended from six European countries.
Prince Henrik cancelled a few things including a Europa Nostra conference in Madrid and a trip to Mongolia while his leg healed (the photo, right, shows said leg!)

Not royal but related, Professor John Donaldson has been appointed a 'wind ambassador' by the windmill industry in Denmark, which has launched a campaign called 'Crazy about wind'. The idea is to promote wind power as one of the alternative energy sources to overcome the effects of fossil fuel energy production and consumption (coal and petroleum) on the environment. As an applied mathematician Professor Donaldson expressed interest in one of the important components in windmill design: the wings, which have similar aerodynamics to aircraft wings. Among other ideas about targets for energy efficiency in a number of countries, he said he finds the turning windmills meditative.

Denmark is a world leader in windmill production and controls 50 per cent of the global windmill market which has been growing rapidly since the late 90s. Denmark has a long tradition for developing green technologies and sustainable resource management.
Marys far ny ambassadør 'Mary's father new ambassador for windmills' (in Danish)
Danish Windmills photos with some info.
(Thanks to Muhler and cph)

Left, Professor John Donaldson giving a lecture at the University of Copenhagen last April (reported in the current University News (page 6, pdf). The lecture was about chaos theory, its mechanism and practice. Professor Donaldson's wife and Mary's step-mother, Susan Moody, is also a visiting fellow at the University of Copenhagen. She is teaching in the Institute for English, German and Romance Languages.

We don't always know about all the things Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary do because they don't always announce it in their calendar. Just such a thing happened last April when the Crown Prince Couple visited the University of Copenhagen. We know about it now because it has been reported in the just published University News (page 7, pdf in Danish). The story also reports on the Crown Princess Mary Scholarship and the recent presentation of awards to two Australian students by Mary at the university (we posted this news here).

Frederik and Mary visited the university on 24 April 2006 and looked at newly inaugurated university buildings and a new nano technology laboratory. They had a guided tour of historic university buildings at the inner Copenhagen campus which is right next to the Copenhagen Cathedral where they married. They also visited the Science Faculty, where John Donaldson works, and all together they toured the H.C. Ørsteds Youth Laboratory.

Both Frederik and Mary have various science-based patronages and last year during their visit to Australia they signed agreements on behalf of the University of Copenhagen and the University of Aarhus for reciprocal bi-lateral relationships with the Australian National University in Canberra.

In its last edition SE og HØR did a tabloid 'treatment' of Mary's friend Amber Petty. The story is a rehash of recent reports in Australia concerning Amber Petty's love life and career moves. National Nine News 'Amber Petty tries not to embarrass Mary' and The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) 'Amber's bikie ban' touches on some of the recent gossip. Amber is about to appear in a reality TV show in Australia and has apparently formed a new relationship with a New Zealand crew member she met on that show. It is difficult to say what is and what is not right about the recent reports, because it is all in sensationalistic tabloid mode and as always we cannot know what is what. One thing which does stand out is Amber herself stated at least three times she did not expect to be a godmother to Christian before the christening. It has always been obvious that conjecture about Amber being chosen as a godmother was media speculation, so that part of the recent reports can be taken with a grain of salt. As always, we will keep a weather eye out for news. Right, the latest - click on thumbnail (sorry for the quality -- it is scanned from a newspaper).

Still on a tabloid theme, SE og HØR is reporting that Martin Jørgensen has proposed to Princess Alexandra. This is a tabloid. Enough said perhaps. Remember Kig Ind had Alexandra throwing Martin out one week and taking him back the next a month ago? Also, Martin has denied it and the editor of SE og HØR was embarrassed on Danish television last week by the denial. Not a reliable source, so we'll wait for the good oil on this one!

Politiken has reviewed a book of accounts of 17 refugee experiences collected by Charlotte Torpegaard. The proceeds will go to the Danish Refugee Council and as patron of the Refugee Council Mary has written the forward. The review says it is kind of using Mary's pulling power but it is in a good cause. There is a scheduled visit by Mary to Vollsmose, in Odense, at the end of August where she will be shown around by a Somali woman (refugee) and have lunch with a family of Palestinian background.

There is extensive reporting in the Danish media following Billed Bladet's scoop this week that Prince Joachim and Marie Cavallier have parted ways. Some of the reports are suggesting Marie had talked to the media too much and Prince Joachim did not approve. (Of course, we can't know what the real issues are.)

July 27, 2006 Prince Joachim out and about in Copenhagen, Denmark.

On 28 July 2006 Prince Henrik inaugurated the new neuropsychiatric ward in Sønderborg. Click to watch a 2 minute video clip TV2/TV SYD and you can see royals forget to turn off their mobile phones like the rest of us! (Many thanks to Jema for link and sreencaps.)

*Not at a all royal but some might find this of interest.
University of Leicester 'World map of happiness' - Denmark is the happiest.
*This is old (from 2004) but if you would like to see U.S. ABC's 20/20 story on Frederik and Mary it gives a chance to look back. Reporter Deborah Roberts gets a few things wrong and the comparison with the rather diabolical Julia Stiles movie is cringeworthy. Roberts says, for example, that Frederik used the name 'Frederik Henderson' at Harvard. Not true, he was Frederik Henriksen (son of Henrik). Thanks to MihoshiMarie for uploading this to YouTube:
20/20 'Cinderella Story'. It is about 8 minutes long and Roberts interviews Frederik and shows something of his history.

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