With the newspapers still full of Royal Wedding pictures, I thought I’d draw
CoffeeHousers’ attention to something remarkable: a visit by Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (pictured, left, at Westminster Abbey last Friday) to Helmand Province. That’s right, the 71-year
old Danish monarch visited the her country’s troops in late March this year, accompanied by the defence minister. Crown Prince Fredrik persuaded her mother to visit the troops after his own
previous trip to the region.
In this YouTube clip recorded in Helmand, Queen Margrethe talks to the camera (sorry, it is in Danish) about her experiences in the war-torn
province. She pays tribute to the two British soldiers who died while she was visiting, saying the loss is also her loss. She then goes on to talk about how important it is to support the troops,
as well as their families back home. I know from friends in Denmark that her visit was appreciated by a lot of people, whatever they may have thought of the military intervention itself.
The British like to talk about the “bicycling monarchies” in Scandinavia and the Low Countries, both as a mark of respect for their relaxed, people-friendly-style, but also as a
criticism of the lack of pomp and pageantry that characterises the British Monarchy. Yet to survive in the future, the Royal Family will need to do both pomp and practicality. Prince William and
the Duchess of Cambridge look like they know this instinctively. But they might still learn a thing or two from Queen Margrethe II.
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