Birkebeiner ski race

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Prince Frederik will both be skiing the Birkebeiner race this Saturday – so of course the newspaper have titled it the duel of the Crown Princes.

The Birkebeiner ski race is 54 km long, and goes from Rena to Lillehammer. It commemorates the rescue in 1206 of the young Håkon Håkonsson – the heir to the Norwegian throne, according to the Birkebeiner faction. The rescue went on skis from Lillehammer to Østerdalen, as two warriors carried the young prince on his way to safety. To further symbolise the event, all the skiers will carry a backpack weighing 3.5 kgs, about the same as someone the age of the prince would have weighed.

Catholic private school for Prince Henrik of Denmark

Before Easter the Danish court sent out the following announcement:


Their Royal Highnesses Prince Joachim and Princess Marie’s son, His Highness Prince Henrik, starts school in August 2015 at Sct. Joseph Søstrenes Skole in Ordrup.
Published March 25, 2015


A Catholic private school for Prince Henrik. Honestly, I find it surprising, and yet, very true to expectations at the same time.

BT.  remarked that with this change the royal family is breaking yet another tradition when it comes to education, but one likely possibility it is a much shorter distance  by car (2.2 km) to that school from where they are living now, than to Krebs school (11 km) where Felix attends and Nikolai, Joachim and Crown Prince Frederik attended. It is also a much shorter distance to this school than to the one Prince Christian and Princess Isabella attends (5.6 km).

Of course, it is only 1 km to the local public school… so Joachim’s desire for exclusitivity and Marie’s Catholic background probably firmly joined together on the choice of school.

The surprising thing is that Ekstrabladet did not comment anything negative about the fact that it is a Catholic school, or anything negative about the choice at all, immediately at least..


Book review Mary and Frederik 10 years

ItemImage.aspxI picked this up in October when I was in Denmark.

It’s a nice book filled with lots of nice pictures.

It details how they met, their wedding, the children, and their work over the past ten years.

If you have followed them for the past ten years, there is next to little new.

If you haven’t, or am new to royal watching, the book gives a nice overview.

Another review comments on how the book tries to show their everyday life. The down-to-earth of making breakfast for the children, and picking them up at daycare, but gloss over the details that doesn’t necessarily show the family off as the down-to-earth Danes that just happen to live in multiple palaces – such as the nannies.

Overall, the writing gets a bit sugar-sweet, but as an overview it is a decent enough book.


Review: Royale Rejser: Bag kulisserne med de kongelige

The book Royale Rejser: Bag kulisserne med de kongelige by John Lindskog depicts the story in 15 chapters of various photographers who have been following the Danish royal family through the years.

It tells the story of King Frederik who did not much care for the photographers, but had one he tolerated. Prince Henrik who was taught how to sail by a photographer. The photographer who got the scoop of Mary and Frederik together on holiday in Australia, based on something Mary had said in an interview a lot earlier. It also tells of how they might not publish something because the royal family asked them not to.

Of course, the stories in the book are subjective – as the last chapter’s interpretation that Queen Margarethe will abdicate any day now. (The book was written in 2009.)

The photographers share the stories of how it is to travel with the royal family. How they can joke with them one minute, and be very formal the next.

And the story of how one of them – Martin Jørgensen married into the family, sort of.

As more and more newspapers and magazines are starting to rely on pool photography and buy from a limited number of photographers, it seems like the type of photographers in this book, who photograph the royal family for so long that they get a relationship with them, may be a dying race.

I found the book fascinating, and if you read Danish, it is definitely worth a read.

Amalienborg – a book review

Amalienborg by Jørgen Larsen, Thomas Larsen, and Bjarke Ørsted

The book is heavy, and filled with pictures and history. There are interviews with Queen Margrethe, Prince Henrik and Crown Prince Frederik and on their relationship with the palace.

Continue reading “Amalienborg – a book review”

Interview with Princess Marie in Costume

IMG_2235.JPGPrincess Marie was interviewed in the Danish magazine Costume for the November issue. I bought the issue when I was in Denmark last week, and below are some translated out-takes of what she said.

In general, it is a nice enough interview, but as it is in a fashion magazine, it does not get too deep, or ask too many critical questions.

Continue reading “Interview with Princess Marie in Costume”

Queen Margrethe’s life in a comic book

September 16 the publishing house Cobolt releases the first in a series of new comic/illustrated books. The topic of the series is Queen Margrethe and her life. The first in the series follow her from birth to when she becomes the Queen of Denmark.

Like a lot of the Queen’s life – this is a dual collaboration between Denmark and France. Erik Svane, a Danish author living in France, and Thierry Capezzone, a French artist living in Denmark, have worked together to produce this. DAISY – EN PRINSESSE I DANMARK

Prince Nikolai starting boarding school

As news came from Norway today that the children of Haakon and Mette-Marit are switching schools, so come the news from Denmark.

Prince Nikolai – the oldest son of Prince Joachim and Countess Alexandra – is finishing 9th grade this year at Krebs school. Krebs is the school his father and uncle attended, and his little brother also attends it. (Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary chose a public school for their children).

The news is that he is moving to the school Herlufsholm, where he will be a boarder. He will start 10th grade there.

He could have gone straight from 9th grade on to high school, but apparently there have been a consideration that he wants to take that extra 10th grade which is meant as a preparatory year for upper secondary education. Herlufsholm states that the intent of the year is to prepare students who feel that they might not be mature or ready academically for high school.

Prince Nikolai started school in Møgeltønder at five, and had to relocate to Copenhagen after a couple of weeks, when his parents separation became public. He then started at Krebs school.

He was one of the youngest in his class then, and that might be the reason for why he is choosing to take an extra year before continuing on. To let the others of his age group catch up, and be the same age as the ones he will be starting high school with.


Royal Food: Documentary – 2/3 (2014

The documentary with Prince Henrik has now gone on to France and the Château de Cayx.

Two Danish food personalities, the Price brothers, join him in the kitchen.

Henrik is really in his element when discussing food, shopping for food… He is also talking about eating seasonally and how he grew up with a mother who did it that way.

He is also shown as participating in the winery there.

In this episode, the Queen also pops by the kitchen, and Prince Henrik comments that his wife enjoys gastronomy, but that she’s not much of a cook. “I assume. I have never asked her to cook anything.”

At Cayx, the prince says that they come to get away from the routines. They’re almost a normal regular family there.

Royal Food: Documentary – 1/3 (2014)

DR has made a documentary in three parts with Prince Henrik cooking in the kitchen. The three episodes are reputed to take place in three different palaces. The first one is Fredensborg.

“What does the regent couple eat for dinner? Get the answer and all the recipes when HRH the Prince Consort exclusively invite into the palace kitchen where he and the chef Jesper Vollmer plan and make the regent couple’s dinner.”.
Part one:!/

Available online until June 26.

Favorite part: When Prince Henrik gives the chef mushrooms he has picked, tells him how to prepare them, and then tells him: “If I die, it is my own fault.”

The chef refers to him in third person as “The Frenchman”.

Henrik’s poor Danish accent is kind of cringe-worthy compared to the chef’s Danish, but he is sounding really into what he is talking about, and he has a great vocabulary.

May 18 – Unveiling of the Statue of Christian Frederik

Pictures from May 18, when Queen Margrethe, King Harald and Queen Sonja came down to the parliament to unveil the statue of Christian Frederik.

Since I had not got good pictures of the royals the day before, I got a decent enough spot at this unveiling. At least enough to photograph the arrival.


Danish royals under surveillance by magazine

In 2007, it was revealed through a book written by a former employee, how the Norwegian magazine Se & Hør was using bribes to keep tabs on the Norwegian royal family. The bribes went to employees in the airplane companies, banks, the Norwegian defense, the police…

It got to the point where Ari Behn and Princess Märtha Louise went on their honeymoon with cash in a suitcase instead of using credit cards, because they suspected that their credit cards were under surveillance.

Now a former employee at the Danish magazine Se & Hør has also written a book. Allegedly, according to the book, the Norwegian version of the magazine was not the only one keeping illegal tabs on its core material. The book alleges, according to BT, that the magazine has, for at least four years, paid a Danish IT specialist to keep tabs on the charge cards of the royal and the famous. The IT specialist worked for the Danish provider of credit/debit card systems.

The book claims to be fictional, but according to BT, behind the fiction is truth. They have confirmed with celebrities who have been named in the book that the information about them, whether Se & Hør published it or not, is correct. They also claim that the information is not something that would have been publicly available.

It is also claimed in the book that the magazine got their information about the honeymoon of Prince Joachim and Princess Marie by receiving information when Joachim’s credit cards were used. That’s how, a short while later, the magazine was able to get exclusive photos and information to share with its readers.

“We were always on their backs. It was bizarre. One second after Jokke had dragged his card through at, for example, a restaurant, the transaction would come through on my cell phone. So even though we lost them in the throng of Vancouver a couple of times, the credit card would always find them again.” – from the book, according to BT.. 

It is also mentioned by BT that Prince Henrik was one of the people under this type of surveillance.

The two former and the current editor of Se & Hør either denies the allegations or refuse to comment.

Review: Ingrid: prinsesse af Sverige, dronning af Danmark

Book cover: Queen Ingrid by Lundgren
Ingrid: prinsesse af Sverige, dronning af Danmark by Roger Lundgren

This is actually a rather decent book on Queen Ingrid of Denmark. I read  Sibylla: En biografi by the same author a while back, and didn’t care for the writing style at all, which I why I am surprised that this one worked for me.

The reason for why this works is mainly that Lundgren has used, liberally, quotes from interviews and other books on the subject. His own writing voice has also seemed to mature in the three years between the two books, and it doesn’t feel so fawning and childlike.

With the overflow of the quotes, it feels like a television documentary with Lundgren as the narrator, and the royals as the subjects.

Some of the things that come up are new information, and some isn’t. We learn that both Queen Margrethe and her son Crown Prince Frederik learned Swedish from Ingrid, at their own request, to speak with their Scandinavian relatives and friends. I knew from before that Queen Margrethe spoke Swedish well, but I had never heard the tidbit about Frederik. And now it came from his own “mouth.”

At the same time, the quotes can be a bit duplicating in their information – why is it necessary to have quotes from Queen Margrethe and Princess Benedikte iterating almost word for word the same information, for example? (And this happens a lot throughout the book.)

There is a literature list in the back, but I wish that he would have made it clear throughout the book when he was quoting from another piece of royal biography or when it was in direct interviews with the royals.

For example, the story from Ex-King Constantine of Greece that his father-in-law locked Constantine into a bathroom when he came to ask for Anne-Marie’s hand in marriage, first came to my light with the DR television series about King Christian’s descendants (or other biographies, for all I know). If Lundgren did not get his information from there, but from an interview with Constantine, it would have been good to have that cited in the material.

When there is not quotes to liven the material, from Ingrid’s younger years, or when her parents met each other, the story falls a bit flat because everything is so sugar glossy and nice.

Overall, I don’t regret reading (or buying) the book, but there are some definite room for improvement. And while I, after reading the Sibylla book, had not planned on reading Lundgren’s newest book on Queen Silvia, I am now planning to do it.


Scandinavian royals to celebrate Norwegian constitution

The Norwegian constitution will celebrate its bicentenary on May 17. (Trust me, I will probably mention this a lot during the coming year…).

The committee, who is arranging the celebration, sent an invitation to the Swedish and the Danish court (in addition to the Norwegian, I would presume.) to invite them to the celebrations at Eidsvoll on May 17.

Eidsvoll is the place where the constitution was signed in 1814.

NRK revealed that the Danish Folketinget passed on the acceptance from  Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik.  They had accepted the invitation and would participate. Nobody from the Swedish royal house was listed as attending. The arrangement committee demurred, and said that they wouldn’t comment on it.

Acting PR person at the Swedish court said that the Swedish king has a principle, that he does not visit other countries on their special days, such as their national day.

Both the initial revelation and the Swedish court’s justification received criticism, on both sides of the border. An editorial in Expressen called the decision “lacking in history knowledge.” Especially, the writer points  out that since it was the King’s ancestor,  who invaded Norway in 1814, and ended up uniting the two countries…  It seemed particularly wrong to call the bicentenary celebration just a national day.

(Swedish politicians who were invited to the celebration accepted, citing the brotherhood between the two countries.)

After much back and forth in the media in the two countries, the Swedish court has made a historic turnaround. The King and Queen will be attending the celebration after all. The court is citing that they’ve received new information – it will  be a special event in the evening. And not part of the standard celebrations. Which of course, makes all the difference.

They’re also announcing that the royal palace in Stockholm will host a special seminar on May 5 about the 200 years of peace between Norway and Sweden.

Happy 3rd birthday to Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine

The twins are growing up. Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine turned three years to day.

Prins Vincent og Prinsesse Josephine
The Danish court released these pictures for the occasion. This lovely photo, with both of them, is probably my favorite. It feels a lot less airbrushed and more spontaneous than what we might normally see from the Danish court.

Continue reading “Happy 3rd birthday to Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine”