Danish Royal Watchers

Friday, 25 January 2008

Mary @ Elite Research Conference, Glyptotek

Photo: © TV2 /Scanpix

Yesterday Crown Princess Mary attended this year's Elite Research Conference at the Glyptoteket art museum in Copenhagen. The aim of EliteResearch as an organisation is to highlight and encourage the efforts and achievements of young Danish researchers. Mary was accompanied by her lady-in-waiting Tanja Doky. This is the third EliteResearch Conference, which was initiated by the Minister for Science, Helge Sander. Part of the proceedings is the award of prizes to outstanding young researchers, which Crown Princess Mary helped present with Helge Sandar. Among other items in the program was Swedish Nobel Prize winner, Emeritus Professor Bengt Samuelsson of the Karolinska Institute speaking about a career in research and how to go about reaching for the highest results in such endeavours. Part of the program also included a performance by DR's Radio Girls' Choir. The theme of this conference coincides with several of Mary's patronages, to encourage research and the virtues of research careers.

Photos © Tariq Mikkel Khan/POLFOTO

Elite Research Conference (in Danish)
Glyptoteket (English)
About the New Carlsberg Glyptoteket art museum, which was re-opened in 2006 by Frederik and Mary

From a TV2 news article 'Mary til prisuddeling for forskere' Mary at prize giving for researchers: Seven Danish researchers were today rewarded with DKK 100,000,000 each from the Minister for Science. Science Minister Helge Sander distributed this year's EliteForsk prizes to outstanding younger researchers, under 45 years old, involved in high-level international research which has contributed depth to Danish research.
"This year's award winners stand for the best that Danish research can achieve. They help to put Denmark on the world map and they are also role models," Science Minister Helge Sander said at the prize presentation.
Crown Princess Mary was also present at Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek in Copenhagen, where she distributed money to 43 recipients among the youngest researchers.
Nineteen of them receive a travel grant of 250.000 DKK, while twenty four receive an EliteForsk prize of 200.000 DKK.

See Søren Steffen's photo gallery

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Saturday, 19 January 2008

Private Crown Princess Mary reporting for duty

All photos Kronprinsparret.dk 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

DR.dk netTV (00:42)
TV2 news clip (00:30)
DR1 news clip (01:10)

TV2 photo gallery
Billed Bladet photo gallery

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Friday, 11 January 2008

Frederik @ Charlottenborg fine art museum

Crown Prince Frederik arriving at the restored Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Nyhavn in Copenhagen. The reception took place in the courtyard in front of a work by Jens Haaning, 5 by 18 meters, with "Danmark" written on it. Photo © Jens Panduro/POLFOTO

Last night (January 10) Crown Prince Frederik inaugurated the newly renovated Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Nyhavn in Copenhagen. The art museum is the home of the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and has been undergoing an extensive restoration. The opening exhibition in the new space will be Danskjävlar - a Swedish Declaration of Love, among other things. The Royal Academy has existed for nearly 250 years and is one of the most renowned institutions of higher learning and all kinds of art research in Denmark. The academy is a home for all disciplines in the creative arts including painting, sculpture, graphics, photography and new art forms including video and so on. It is also active in the theoretical and cultural historical disciplines in fine arts, with new facilities and an extensive collection of fine arts.

Politiken "DanskDjävlar – en svensk kanon"

TVLorry webTV (03:13) - clip about the museum and an interview with a Politiken journalist


Thursday, 10 January 2008

Mary hosts New Year reception

All photos © Steen Brogaard

Today Crown Princess Mary has hosted a New Year's reception for representatives of her many patronages at Christian VIII's Palace at Amalienborg. Mary has 21 organisations for which she is patron. There are many others she is involved with together with Frederik (various awards for special projects), or in specific areas such as skin cancer awareness (which is otherwise the Queen's overall patronage) or the anti-bullying project which is under the auspices of Save the Children, which is attached to the Queen and Frederik. The Mary Foundation is a new area established in late 2007 which has been busy behind the scenes (we know from off-calendar meetings in recent months) setting up the projects which will be the first to benefit from funding in the near future. Also present were members of the Crown Prince Couple's court, Per Thornit, Caroline Heering and Tanja Doky.

  • Downloadable versions of these pics are available on the Crown Prince Couple's website for personal use. Media go to Steen Brogaard's site

  • Representatives from Mary's patronages were present at the reception.
    The Children's Choir of the Royal Danish Academy of Music
    The Danish Arts and Crafts Association
    The Danish Cultural Institute
    Copenhagen International Fashion Fair
    Designers Nest
    Humanitarian Aid:
    The Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
    Research and Science:
    The Danish Youth Association of Science
    Research Day
    Social and Health:
    Children's Aid Foundation
    Danish Association for Mental Health
    Mothers Help
    Rare Disorders Denmark
    The Alannah & Madeline Foundation
    The Christmas Seal Foundation
    The Danish Brain Injury Association
    The Danish Heart Association
    The Danish Kidney Association
    The Danish Mental Health Fund
    The Danish Stroke Association
    World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe
    The Danish Golf Union
    The Danish Swimming Federation

    TV2 news clip (03:05) - shows Mary arriving by car at Christian VIII's Palace and then a story about the Brain Damage Association. The woman doing the art work explains she has brain damage, but has been helped by the association. The man from the organisation explains it was in a real crisis because of lack of funds before Mary became patron. The "Mary effect" caused a quadrupling in the amount of media coverage, and
    1. 30% increase in members
    2. 5 million DKK increase in funding
    3. a significant increase in donations from various foundations.
    The report says 60, 000 Danes suffer from some sort of brain damage.

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    Wednesday, 9 January 2008

    Alexandra & Jefferson: an interview

    Here's a bit of a wrap on the always elegant Princess Alexandra zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg and her family. In a recent interview with Billed Bladet we have an insight into the very busy life they have these days. Alexandra is the second child of Princess Benedikte and her German husband Prince Richard zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg. This last November Alexandra turned 37 years old. In 1998 Alexandra married Count Jefferson von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth (40) at Gråsten Palace and so by marriage the princess became Countess von Pfeil und Klein-Ellguth. During the past year we have seen her at various family events, but there have also been suggestions her marriage was in trouble. These murmurs seem to have begun last Christmas. It coincided with her husband Jefferson's new job as managing director of the Paris branch of the Sal. Oppenheim Bank in January 2007 when Jefferson did not appear in public too often with Alexandra. Jefferson had previously worked within the finance industry in London, Paris and Frankfurt. For the big Danish royal family Christmas gathering at Fredensborg Palace in 2006, Alexandra, Jefferson and children Richard and Ingrid did not attend because a close friend was gravely ill with cancer in Germany and so they decided not to go to Fedensborg.

    In February Billed Bladet (no. 5, 2007) reported the couple attended an Armani fashion show:
    Alexandra så på mode – Alexandra checked out the fashion
    Princess Alexandra brought her newly appointed bank manager, Count Jefferson, to a distinguished fashion show in Paris. Count Jefferson has a lot to do since he was appointed manager of the Swiss bank Sal Oppenheim's new branch in Paris last month. But the 39 year-old count found time to go with his wife Princess Alexandra... when the French fashion house Georgio Armani invited them to a Spring 2007 fashion show... for a select audience who are able to buy. Princess Alexandra is very interested in fashion and she enjoyed watching the elegant mannequins on the runway. Alexandra was up with the fashion herself in a white silk blouse with a dark blue velous jacket and a long pearl necklace and a pair of elegant long pearl earrings. Count Jefferson followed the spring show with interest as well and perhaps it was he who was invited, due to his new title as bank manager? Which ever way, Jefferson wasn't the only man among the audience who was wearing a suit.
    Then from Billed Bladet (nr. 31/2007) from Gråsten in South Jutland in July 2007:
    Ingrid nyder ferien på Gråsten Slot – Ingrid enjoys the holiday at Gråsten Palace
    Lady Ingrid follows in Queen Ingrid’s footsteps and enjoys the summer holiday with the royal family at the palace in South Jutland. Little Lady Ingrid is a sure guest at Gråsten Palace every single summer and she knows to step forward on the stairs to follow the weekly change of guard at Gråsten Palace. Lady Ingrid is only four years old, and this year is the first time the little girl has become aware that she is a member of a very special family.
    In previous years, Ingrid has been a bit perplexed and has stayed close to her mother when she stood with the other members of the Royal family to listen to the military music and to watch the soldiers marching by. This year Lady Ingrid was much more independent and she listened to advice from her older brother, seven year-old Count Richard... Lady Ingrid is Princess Benedikte’s youngest grandchild so far, the daughter of the 37 year-old Princess Alexandra and her husband Count Jefferson, who also have a son Count Richard (now eight)...The family lives in Paris, where Princess Alexandra of Berleburg works for UNESCO while her husband has a big job as the general manager of the bank Sal Oppenheim. So the holiday at Gråsten Palace is a highlight for the two children, who can do everything they want to around the big palace and its huge park and swimming pool if the weather allows it. Often, they can also play with their second cousins Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, who are around the same age (but not this year as they were on vacation with their mother)...
    Wedding in the chapel of the palace
    Instead Richard and Ingrid will have the chance to get to know Prince Christian and little Princess Isabella better, as they will be staying at the palace for a few days with their parents, the Crown Prince Couple. While Count Richard has always been a careful boy, Lady Ingrid is much more fearless and often throws herself into new adventures though she might get a bit knocked about. In that way Ingrid is a lot like her grandfather Prince Richard...To begin with, this year Ingrid and Richard had a good time with their grandmother, as both Princess Alexandra and Count Jefferson had to work for a few more days. Actually, their father wil not even make it to Gråsten this year, and Benedikte was also away from the Palace for a few days. Along with Prince Richard she was at the Danish Championships in dressage at Broholm Estate on South Funen. The two Queens, Margrethe and Anne-Marie, acted as nannies to Ingrid and Richard together with Prince Henrik, and then on the Monday Princess Alexandra joined the holiday group. To her, Gråsten Palace has always been a very special place, and she has a lot of happy memories from her childhood and later in her life too... During childhood Queen Ingrid was the unshakable centre of the gathering, and now she can enjoy how both Lady Ingrid and Count Richard enjoy their holidays to the full in the same way. To Princess Alexandra, the love of Gråsten Palace is unique. This was also where she was married to Jefferson in the chapel of the palace in the summer of 1998. (written by Ken Richter and kindly translated by ambiDK!)
    Photos from the album at Gråsten 2007: 1) Alexandra at Legoland with her children Richard and Ingrid, 2) helping out with Christian on the slippery dip at Legoland, 3 & 4) on the steps at Gråsten, 5) going to the customary concert in the palace chapel with brother Gustav and Carina Axelsson following.

    From Billed Bladet (no. 52, December 2007) an insightful interview by Annelise Weimann about their life these days. Lykkelige som aldrig før – Happy as never before

    Alexandra and Jefferson after nine years of marriage - Our love is just as strong as it was on our wedding day, says Princess Alexandra, 37, and Count Jefferson, 40.

    "Of course you change over 10 years. We have as well. Life itself changes. But our love for each other is just as stong as the day we were married and our relationship is also just as strong."
    Princess Alexandra of Berleburg and her husband, Count Jefferson, sit with arms around each other at home on the big white sofa in their apartment in Paris. They have known each other since 1985 where they attended Louisenlund Boarding School in Northern Germany together. They were married in Gråsten Palace Church in June 1998, and they have been inseparable ever since then.
    Rumours of divorce
    "A year ago there was rumours saying that we were getting a divorce, we were surprised by that ...Perhaps the rumours arose when we cancelled on the big family Christmas at Fredensborg Palace last year, and because we weren’t seen so much together for a while. But there was a good reason. Last Christmas, when the Royal Family was gathered at Fredensborg, one of our very good friends was passing away in Germany. Instead of going to Denmark, we decided to visit him and support his wife, who is the same age as me," Princess Alexandra explains. "We are glad that we did it, because the man, who also had a young child, passed a way soon after."
    "At the same time, I had said no to some invitations due to my work," Count Jefferson continues. "On January 1 this year I began as the chief executive director in a new bank and that was a deep secret until then. Sal. Oppenheim is the biggest privately owned bank in Europe, and it was opening a branch in Paris for the first time. Nobody was allowed to know anything about this, but I was working a lot. In the beginning, I was the only employee, today we are 11, and we will be even bigger in the next two years."
    Q: How do you keep the love alive?
    Alexandra says "We make sure that we have time to be together. It can be hard with two young children and an exhausting job. But sometimes I pick up my husband from work and then we go to a café and have a good time for an hour or so before we go home. We might also drive off on our own on a Saturday afternoon, we enjoy that."
    "Yes, and then we email each other at least four or five times each day. And we also call each other from work," the couple says. "We make sure that we have time with the kids as well," Jefferson explains. "Every morning all four of us lie in the same bed and have a nice time before I have to go to work, it is really lovely that the kids are awake so that I can say goodbye to them. They are usually up when I get home as well. Richard is up no matter what, so even though I don’t see them for so many hours during the week, we still get some quality time together. My working week is 70 hours long because a usual day at work is 14 hours, but I try to have the weekends off."
    Princess Alexandra also works a lot. When the kids were smaller, she worked half time at UNESCO, where she is responsible for the department which preserves cultural and natural assets in Iran, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives.
    " I spend more time at work now and only have Wednesday and Friday afternoon off," says the Princess, who is happy with the Danish au pair who lives with them. The family also gets help with the cleaning three times a week.
    Ingrid is an allergy sufferer
    Q: Do you have time for hobbies?
    " We like playing golf but don’t think that we’ve got enough time for it. But we love to cook together, Thai, Japanese, all kinds," says Alexandra.
    Q: Who is the best chef?
    "That is definitely my husband, he is more creative than I am. And then he is good at sauces. But we both love shellfish and fish."
    Every day two kinds of food has to be made in the home as four year-old Lady Ingrid suffers from allergies.
    " She can’t have eggs or flour, and she is allergic to fish and shellfish, mustard and nuts," Count Jefferson says. Princess Alexandra is also an allergy sufferer, she is allergic to cats and horses as well as other things, and her son is also allergic to these as well.
    Q: Previously, you have said that you want more children. Is the third one on the way?
    " I am happy that there’s four years between Richard and Ingrid, in that way I have had the time to enjoy both of them while they were young. I think I have enough to do with my work, the children and their school right now, but if I didn’t have to work so much some day, I would definitely like to have another child," says Princess Alexandra and emphasises “I am not pregnant now.”
    The couple lives in the heart of Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower and only a 15 minute walk from Count Jefferson’s work.
    "We love living in Paris and have settled well. But we are not French and will probably move someday. It is exciting here but it is also a stressed life, and we would like to live in the countryside. But right now, our work is here. Who knows, if we were offered work in Denmark some day, if there is a bank who can use me, we are definitely willing to move," Count Jefferson says.
    Summer holiday in caravan
    Princess Alexandra is naturally the one among Princess Benedikte’s children who sees her parents the least. Her siblings, Prince Gustav and Princess Nathalie, live at home at the palace in Berleburg.
    " Earlier on, Jefferson and I often drove to Berleburg with the kids, but that was a long time ago. Richard attends school until 4.30pm, and it takes six hours to drive to Berleburg, so it is too much for an ordinary weekend. My parents could of course come and visit us here, but my father hates big cities, he thinks Copenhagen is okay in size, and his dentist is there, but Paris is too big. My mother comes here sometimes but she is so busy and her last visit was two years ago now," Princess Alexandra says.
    With a busy everyday life, the family looks forward to the holiday.
    " We have already begun to plan our summer holiday. We have plans to go to the US and driving around in a caravan. That would give us a chance to be together all four of us all the time, which is the exact kind of holiday we enjoy the most," Alexandra says. (written by Annelise Weimann and kindly translated by ambiDK)
    From Billed Bladet:

    Some more photos from the album: 1) Princess Alexandra's childhood home Berleburg Castle 2) Gråsten wedding in 1998, 3) leaving University Hospital in Copenhagen (Rigshospitalet) after the birth of little Ingrid in 2003, 4) Ingrid's christening (Frederik and Mary are there pre-wedding)

    1 & 2) In January 2006 at Christian's christening with brother Gustav and chatting with then Countess Alexandra, 3) in Norway last summer for the birthday celebrations of Queen Sonja (in the rear of group photo), 4) Alexandra with Ari Behn, 5) Jeffersen with Sweden's Crown Princess Victoria and 6) on another occasion Alexandra with Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit

    With Frederik and Mary before their wedding:

    At Isabella's christening at Fredensborg last July, Richard went up to the font with Nikolai and Felix at the moment of baptism and the family was very much part of the ongoing celebrations at the Chancellery House afterwards (swimming and barbecue party):

    Gråsten 2006: 1) Alexandra and Princess Benedikte at the ballet in the park, 2 & 3) royal grandmothers and cousins at Legoland with the third generation, 4 & 5) family photocall and watching the guards march past

    Many thanks to ambiDK, cph and Muhler!

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