Danish Royals mark Greenland’s New Self-Government Laws

  June 22, 2009 at 2:57 am by

Members of the Danish Royal Family are currently in the Arctic nation of Greenland, where they marked the geographically large, populous small country’s new self-rule. Queen Margrethe II, Prince Henrik and Crown Princess Mary arrived on Friday June 19th, and were joined by Crown Prince Frederik on June 20th. The royals attended several events on Saturday, before yesterday’s ceremony in which the new self-governing laws were transferred to the Greenlandic parliament.

View the image at PPE

On Saturday, Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik visited the University of Greenland, where the royal couple toured the campus before the publication of the Prince’s Blue Marks on the Soul poetry collection occurred in a small ceremony. Henrik read an extract of one of his poems, “Ice”, which is dedicated to Greenland. “I’ve been here ten times and every time I feel an attraction to this vast country,” the Prince told a reporter from Sermitsiaq.

Meanwhile, Crown Prince Frederik accompanied his wife Crown Princess Mary to Mælkebøtten, an institution which provides shelters for children. The event was in connection with The Mary Foundation, as were Mary’s meetings on Friday with various government departments concerned with families and children. As the centre, Frederik and Mary met with the staff and children of the centre. The Mælkebøtten Children’s Choir performed three songs for their royal visitors, a medley of Greenlandic songs.

And yesterday the reason for the royal visit came: the transfer of the new laws which allow Greenland self-governance. The day began with the hoisting of the Greenlandic flag, and then the Queen, Prince Henrik and the Crown Princely Couple appeared in traditional Greenlandic dress and walked to the church which overlooks the Nuuk port. From there, it was on to the official ceremony, headed by Queen Margrethe.

View the BT Gallery

In the presence of the Greenlandic Parliament, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen, her immediate family, and representatives from 17 countries and nations; Queen Margrethe II solemnly presented the Chairman of Greenland’s Parliament with official documentation which declared Greenland self-governing. The laws come after last year’s referendum in which 75% of those eligible to vote out of Greenland’s 58,000 population approved the new laws; which end Denmark’s 288-year rule over the nation.

Greenland’s new official Prime Minister, Kuupik Kleist, called the new law a “relationship based on equality” between Greenland and Denmark, and likened the change to that of a marriage where a bossy wife henpecks her husband: “From today the man in the house has as much say as the wife,” as was reported by The New York Times.

A gala banquet was held in yesterday evening to celebrate the self-government. Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik will stay on in Greenland until June 24th, undertaking cultural and economic engagements, while Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary will head home to Copenhagen today.

More information on the official visit to Greenland can be found here.

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