Indholdet på denne side vedrører regeringen Anders Fogh Rasmussen I (2001-05)

Speech by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen at the dinner at Christiansborg Palace Tuesday 11 May 2004

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Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Miss Mary Elizabeth Donaldson, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

”Once upon a time there was a Prince”. This is how the great Danish poet, Hans Christian Andersen, began many of his fairy tales.

And there is no doubt that we are experiencing a fairy tale at the moment; but also a reality; a fairy-tale reality.

In his story about the Princess and the pea, Hans Christian Andersen tells how the Princess slept in a bed with twenty mattresses and twenty eider-downs, under which a small pea was placed.

In the morning, the Princess awoke black and blue, and the Prince then took the girl as his wife, for now he knew she was a true Princess; since only a true Princess could be that sensitive.

Dear Miss Donaldson,

I don’t know if the Crown Prince has exposed you to the pea test, but if he had, he would have reached a conclusion in direct contradiction to the moral of the story. For the Crown Prince is a thoughtful man. And he knows that nowadays, a true Princess must definitely not be so thin skinned. On the contrary, the modern Princess must be somewhat thick skinned.

The current events must be overwhelming for you. You have come to Denmark out of love for another human being; your love for Crown Prince Frederik. And now you see yourself as the centre of official events; your life has become subject to intense public interest.

Coping with this demands strength and resilience; both qualities I am convinced you possess.

You are a woman with a special radiance, bound in considerable human and intellectual qualities. I have no doubt that you possess whatever is needed to fill and leave your mark on the role you are to take on for our country; the role of a real Princess of our times.

Dear Miss Donaldson,

You have already taken the Danish people by storm. The whole nation bids you welcome as the future wife of the Crown Prince.

You are coming to a country with a history of several thousand years. You are coming to a country which has a strong national identity and a deep awareness of the Danish language, culture, and traditions. But you are also coming to a people who are outgoing, and open to impulses from the outside. Denmark has developed in this way over the centuries, a friendly cohesion between that which is Danish and that which is foreign.

For more than a thousand years, the Monarchy has been a uniting symbol for the Danish people. I am convinced that you will make a great contribution to ensuring that the Monarchy continues as a national and uniting institution, linking the past with the present and the future.

Our Danish forefathers, the Vikings, travelled widely, but not quite as far as Tasmania.

And yet! A Dane, the explorer and adventurer Jørgen Jürgensen, took part in the foundation 200 years ago of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. He became known as ”the Viking from Van Diemen’s Land”, as Tasmania was known at the time.

Jürgensen was a very colourful person – and probably quite a rogue. Amongst other things he managed to proclaim himself King of Iceland for some weeks in 1809.

This early link between Denmark and Tasmania reflects the turbulent and harsh foundation of Australian society.

Today we know Australia as a country with unique animal and plant life and a friendly and open people. Over the years, thousands of young Danes have backpacked across Australia. They have been greeted with exciting experiences and Australian hospitality.

Dear Miss Donaldson, we will do our utmost to see that you also feel welcome and at home in our country.

Your Royal Highness, dear Crown Prince Frederik,

When Hobart, the capital of Tasmania was founded in 1804, the Crown Prince of Denmark was also called Frederik. And his wife’s name was Marie. Later, the Crown Prince became King Frederik the sixth – with Queen Marie at his side.

It is a strange and wonderful thing how the lines of history can meander and become entwined.

Now, as Crown Prince, you and your future wife must carry the historical line forward into a new time.

It is hard for me to imagine anyone better equipped for the job than yourself. We know that you have challenged the extreme limits of physical endurance by completing the toughest military training, by travelling 3,000 kilometres by dog sled across Greenland, and by taking part in demanding sports.

You have successfully completed an academic education in political science in Denmark, supplemented by studies at Harvard University.

But most importantly of all, you have demonstrated very positive human qualities. An exceptional ability to talk with other people, listen, and relate to their situation.

You have already managed to set a new framework and limits for a modern Crown Prince. You have done this in your own way and earned widespread respect, not least amongst the younger generation.

Dear Crown Prince Frederik, you are an example for many, and a book of interviews with you rightly carries the title ”A Crown Prince of our Times”.

In this book you describe how a Monarchy is to survive in the future. You emphasise the importance of keeping up with what is going on. And you summarise this philosophy in the following way: ”Keep your ear to the ground, your foot in the water, and an eye to the sky.”

Doing all these things at the same time can be a little tricky, and most of all it reflects your military training with the Navy, Army, and Air Force.

But in the end, you have hit upon the truth with your metaphor. The job is just as difficult as you describe it.

In a modern democratic society, the Monarchy rests on the support of the people. The Monarchy must simultaneously reflect society and set a good example for the people.

Appearing as the man with his feet on the ground and one with whom the people can identify, while at the same time rising above the commonplace to present a person for society to look up to is a difficult balancing act.

Dear Crown Prince Frederik, I am convinced that you master this balancing act. You are a superb representative for the Monarchy and for your generation. You have made a great contribution to ensuring that the Danish Monarchy remain a national rallying point for the generations to come.

Your Royal Highness, the first time I met you and Miss Donaldson together was on an aeroplane from Paris – before your relationship had been officially announced. It is typical of your straightforwardness that you introduced me to Miss Donaldson with the words: ”This is my girl-friend, Mary”.

Dear Bride and Groom to come,

A wise woman – Her Majesty the Queen – once said that marriage is composed of “you, me, and us”. I agree. Marriage is a partnership – us – where we accommodate each other, show consideration for each other, and share life’s experiences with each other.

But marriage is also you and me, where there is freedom and space for both you and me. For neither of us can flourish in each other’s shadow.

In his book ”The Prophet”, Kahlil Gibran writes, inter alia, the following about marriage:

“Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.”[1]

Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, allow me to drop formality and say:
Dear Frederik, dear Mary,
According to the indigenous Australians, the Aborigines, all living things on Earth were created in the “Dreamtime”. Allow me to wish you both a ”Dreamtime” for you to create a life together.

We extend to you our heartfelt congratulations on your forthcoming wedding.

May I now ask all of you to rise and join me in a three-fold toast to the happy couple.


[1] Here quoted from Johannes Møllehave, ”Så forskellige sind”, published 1978 by Lindhardt & Ringhof.