QMII on the family gatherings at Gråsten Slot:
Q: Is it your mother's tradition your continue, when you gather the whole family at Gråsten in the summer?
QMII: "Yes, but it's also because there are so many rooms at Gråsten, so we can really have many guests staying. The number of rooms where you can have guests staying are far more than here at Amalienborg and endlessly many more than at Marselisborg. We would never have been able to have an entire swarm of the young there.
But Gråsten also has the special significanse that not only have my own sons, but my sisters and their children as well have come to Gråsten all through the years and it's there these cousins have gotten to know each other. So we all think it's great to meet at Gråsten.
I have never really spoken with mother about how it should be with Gråsten, when she was no more. But it was so obvious that we should continue. Because it was one of those ways, my sisters and our various children could be together - without obligations in regards to duties/jobs.
We all love to be at Gråsten and the CP-couple very much so, fortunately, because in time they shall inherit the place. It will happen already while I'm alive, because it sure is the idea that they shall have Gråsten one day, if they can manage it. But now we'll see. For the time being they need to get their footing. (*)
Q: Your are mostly at Gråsten in the summer, but you have also celebrated Christmas there once?
QMII: "Yes, that was mother's last Christmas in '99. My mother used to take turn at celebrating Christmas at her daughters or host Christmas herself for all of us at Kancellihuset at Fredensborg.
But in summer of '99 we could sense that mother was too tired to be able to manage to travel either to London or down to Berleburg or to Marselisborg, because that's a house where you can't avoid stairs (**) and she couldn't manage that anymore at that time, so that summer my sisters and I said:
We shall try and convince mother that we will gather all those who can come to Gråsten for Christmas, and we will help her with that.
There were a few who couldn't make it, but apart from that we were there all of us. And it was utterly wonderful.
We had made the basic plans for how Christmas should take place, before we presented it to mother. And mother thought it kinda sounded really nice - to be together with all of us and not having too much trouble because of that.
Mother had went down there well in advance, and then I came with all the Christmas decorations from Marselisborg in big cardboard boxes. I arrived a little before the other in order to have everything planned and in place. And then the rest of the part arrived.
We decorated the Christmas tree together. (***) I decorated the Christmas table and we had an utterly wonderful Christmas. It was really good that we did that.
(*) Yes, M&F are running out of palaces for all their children. Let's imagine 25 years from now:
Christian is setteled in a renovated mansion at Amalienborg.
Bella takes over Kancellihuset at Fredensborg.
Vincent at Marselisborg.
Josephine at Gråsten.
Then they can use Trend as a weekend cottage and Cayz as a summer cottage. That'll fix it and all the palaces are permanently occupied.
(**) There are two floors at Gråsten. Three floors at Marselisborg and loads of floors at Berleburg.
(***) I've seen a picture of that. It was a huge tree!
An interesting article from BT, which sheds light on things that are new to me as well. Margrethe ydmyget af statsminister - Royale - BT.dk
The article is based on the recently published portrait book of QMII and the diaries of a late Prime Minister.
In 1972, the Social Democrat, Jens Otto Krag, was PM and he and QMII had a very strained relationship. (1)
QMII talks about their relationship in the portrait book. She was relieved when Jens Otto Krag resigned in 1972: "Krag had percieved me as a fumbling teenager, Anker Jørgensen didn't. (2) That in a sense I felt was pretty nice".
QMII adds: "It was a relief no longer to feel hopelessly behind such a seasoned MP and minister, but instead (feeling) a little step ahead of such a, on a ministerial level, completely inexperienced Prime Minister". I.e.
A fact backed up by excerpts from Jens Otto Krags diary, where he wrote about the clothes QMII wore when she was proclaimed Queen: "A bizarre Icelandic fashioned matronely-dress with high headgear and long head-scarf. Wonder if that was a Magrethe-uniform"? - Referring to the style of dress worn by QMI and other women in medieval times.
He added in his diary after the funeral: "We drove home. An event had ended. A pseudo-event? A family occasion. A happening. But well executed. Even those nearest to the royal family, were, I guess, surprised over the scale of sympathy from the population".
In contrast QMII's relationship with the next PM, Anker Jørgensen was much more friendly.
"Poor Anker Jørgensen had never attended any of that (3) and therefore I should ensure that it didn't become worse for him than stricktly necessary".
She compares the two: "While Krag was the polit (4), at least in the sense you then imagined polits to be, then Anker Jørgensen was a man of the old workers movement. Kinda very straightforward. He became very enthusiastic about my mother, because her name was Ingrid, just like Anker's wife (5) - and that meant something to him. My mother was fantastically good with people of his carat/background. And my father would have been very fine with him as well, no doubt about that". (6)
(1) Jens Otto Krag was a republican with a big R. He once said about the then princess Margrethe: "I hear she's intelligent. A pity". - Meaning it would be a waste of her intellect to become a monarch.
Apart from that he was a competent and shrewd politician.
(2) Anker Jørgensen succeeded Jens Otto Krag as PM in 1972.
Anker Jørgensen has been labelled the last true Social Democrat PM in Denmark, perhaps indeed the last true Social Democrat leader at all. He had a working class background and was brought up in an orphanage. He came directly from the unions before he entered politics on a high level.
Because of his background he appealed and still appeal to many as the
representative of the working man.
Personally I think he made a lot of mess, but then things weren't easy back then with the Oil Crisis in '73 and shortlived coalition governments.
(3) Protocol, state dinners, hosting state visits, diplomats, the State Council and so on.
(4) Old expression. Polit = professional politician from the ruling elite, not a populists as such, but more like an apparatnjik, a man of the system.
(5) Two things worth noting. QMII is using Anker Jørgensen's first name and she is using the informal word for wife.
Anker Jørgensen with his background had much more in common with those ordinary Danes who gathered in front of Amalienborg and Christiansborg and who stood along the funeral procession in these days in January '72, than Jens Otto Krag and his like ever had.
(6) Oh, yes. Frederik IX had, in contrast to his daughter, an excellent personal rapport with blue collar workers. And he was frequently greeted fairly informally by blue collar workers who passed by on their bicycles, when he was working on his boat, with only an adjutant around. Nor had he any problems at all about sharing a "bajer", a beer drunk from the bottle, with the odd worker who offered him one.
There are plenty of those stories around.