22 January 2012

The royal subject

Every time we have a royal birthday or anniversary (which is pretty much all the time), we face the same discussion: does a monarchy even fit in the 21st century? Is it reasonable that we have someone overspending public funds because they were born-, or simply married someone royal? I have always had a soft spot for our Queen Margrethe. For some strange reason I consider her untouchable, even if she only pops into my life for about ten minutes at the end of the year. But she is the only character left standing in this fairy tale, as far as I am concerned. When she retires (from the look of things not any time soon), you will probably find me closer to the other camp, rooting for a change. I don't exactly see us as a republic either, but clearly the concept of a monarchy is ripe for a modernisation. I recognize that they do work for the country, and as such should be compensated, but 340+ million crowns a year? 

I might have felt more protective about our royalty if I sensed they were sincerely engaged in our society. They may be, but it doesn't really show. The show mainly consists of flashing expensive wardrobes, having babies (another one rumored to be on its way as I write this)(it annoys me that I even know this, but there is no escaping these updates), cutting ribbons and waving from boats, balconies, luxury cars and golden coaches. Financed by a country with an overwhelming share of citizens struggling to get by. As much as I love Queen Margrethe, it just doesn't seem right.

Margrethe II Princess of Denmark 1966

Once upon a Princess, 1966.

This year marks the 40th on the throne for Queen Margrethe II, celebrated with a ride in the golden coach through the streets of Copenhagen, the balcony appearance, parties, dinners, concerts and most importantly cake:

1972-2012 40 years for Denmark

The Margrethe cake by La Glace, since 1972.

(Someone and her big mouth just got themselves crossed from the royal Christmas list, hahaha)


  1. Er det mig, eller ligner hun lidt Elvis Presley på det billede?

  2. Hahaha, åh, du er altså sjov. Måske er der lidt Elvis dér, nu du siger det. Et af de bedre Margrethe portrætter, synes jeg.

  3. Yeah - I think the idea of a monarchy in a sense is a good one, as long as the royals can kind of align themselves with the values of the people. Because the monarchy, the royal family, the hierarchy of society kind of lends a cohesion and purpose to life. But it only works if the royal family is a group of people that the "commoners" feel they can look up to, if they feel like, by giving to the state, they are contributing to a higher cause that matters. If you have royals who are just taking money and using it to buy fancy cars and that's all you ever see in public, it's pretty hard to feel like that's beneficial in any way.

    It's like Antoine de Saint-Exupery talks about - the world is kind of structured around unfairness. That is, for instance, pearls (before they were grown and had to be found randomly) are incredibly rare, and not everybody can have them, and that makes them valuable. But in a sense, that is good, because that imbues life with a sense of mystery, hope, a sense of something to pursue. If we all had pearls, we'd just throw them away and there would be nothing to admire.

    In the same sense, a majestic family as the representation of the state, if indeed the family is majestic, beautiful, and shows an obvious care for the people, makes the citizens of the state feel they are part of something meaningful, that they are giving their lives in the service of a great thing, a community, something that binds everyone together.

    I suppose probably that can work somewhat in a republic as well, but it seems like not quite the same thing, as you then just have a random group of politicians who are the representation of the state.

    1. Yeah, it is a still touchy subject to a lot of people. If you had asked me five years ago, I would probably never have come up with the insane idea of adjusting the monarchy. Maybe I just lost that lovin' feeling. It is not really magical to me, I see them more and more like "regular people" with massive privileges, they marry among us, and all of a sudden the wives, picked from a random location at some part of the world, and offspring are instant royalty. I mean.. come on?

      In that way the monarchy have been modernized because they no longer have to choose a spouse from a narrow selection of royalty in other parts of the world. But at the same time that was part of the stuff the illusion was made of. To me true greatness and majesty is to be found in the likes of visionaries who fight for their dreams. True greatness is not handed to you by anyone.

    2. Yeah, and in a sense, originally the monarchy was the family protecting the common people from the invading monarchies of other countries, and so they really did act as that kind of representation of the country, the head and protector and the group that kept everyone together.

      Nowadays, the international relations have changed a bit, and you don't really have France marching into Germany with soldiers too often (you just have the U.S. trying to control 3rd world countries with certain natural resources), so there's not that same sense of being huddled within the protection of the castle walls so much. In a way, there are no enemies now, no "them", at least not in the same sense.

  4. Ja, det var jo så pænt meget mine følelser omkring monarkiet på skrift. Sådan.

    1. Åh, tak for det. Fik pludselig sådan en fornemmelse af at have trådt hele nationen over tæerne.


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