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  #1  
Old 09-10-2008, 09:49 PM
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September 2008 Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark

For the month of September the Royal Book Club will be discussing the book, Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark by Palshoj and Redder. If you have read the book, about to purchase it via Amazon or from another source (which there is still time to do), or are simply interested to read what your fellow members have to say about it, please join us.

The schedule:

Sunday 1pm PST

September 14
Chapters 1-4

September 21
Chapters 5-7

September 28
Chapters 8-11
Overall discussion of the book



See you then,
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Old 09-14-2008, 02:12 PM
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Welcome to this month's book club discussion, Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark by Karin Palshoj and Gitte Redder.

In this week's discussion we will focus on chapters 1-4 which includes:
A Happy Girl
The Secret Romance
The Exam
Mary and the Monarchy

For those who are unfamiliar with the story of Crown Princess Mary this book by Palshoj and Redder is a good starting point to learn about her early life and romance with Crown Prince Frederik.

There are some factual tidbits in chapter one which I was unaware of; such as the history of the Donaldson family and their reasonings behind their move from Scotland to Tasmania (noted on page 2-3). The chapter also highlights her days at Taroona High School, her activities whilst there, Mary's interest in riding horses, her years at the University of Tasmania through her subsequent move to mainland Australia -- Melbourne and Sydeny. The chapter also covers the death of her mother.

Chapter two, is pretty much a well known story by now, even for those who casually know about the relationship between Frederik and Mary. One of the reasons for this: It has been covered ad nauseum in the tabloids as well as "respected" newspapers both in Australia and Denmark. The authors tend to have a sort of Disneyesque style when detailing the "secret romance" between the couple. Not much is new, but their fluffy fairytale style of writing is extremely entertaining to read after awhile... Another problem that I had with this chapter is their total dependance on re-hashed articles. It would have been refreshing to read something new about the so-called "secret romance", but alas this was not to be.

All in all, the chapter covers how they meet, where, when, and so forth. One gripe that has discussed on royal watching message boards has been whether or not Mary learned Danish prior to her engagement and well before the major public kiss in Hobart whereupon journalists confirmed her as the official "girlfriend". Well, according to this book and their sources, she did. The authors confirmed that she did and quote that Mary confessed that, "...learning Danish was a struggle." It goes on to confirm, that she, "...receieved intensive lessons..."

Furthermore, the authors note, "Back in Denmark after the visit to Tasmania, Marty engrossed herself in the job at Microsoft..." (49) [confirming again, to some on royal watching sites, that she did indeed work whether in office or outside from home. Some gossipmongers firmly believe that she never worked whilst at Microsoft. Well, they are wrong. Next!]

Chapter three, The Exam, reviews the intense pressure Mary was under leading up to and during her engagement. Again, not much anything we don't know...more fluffy fantasy fairytale and how everything was perfect and how everyone in Denmark adores her. Yeah, okay. Next chapter.

Mary and the Monarchy, chapter 4, was again vaguely interesting. I just wish the authors would get their heads out of the fluffy little clouds and truly exam her then upcoming role as Denmark's future Crown Princess.

So, what were your thoughts about the chapters so far? We would love to hear what you have to say.
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  #3  
Old 09-15-2008, 08:07 AM
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I am finding this book a bit too admiring, as well. Is this woman perfect? It would be more believable if the authors found even a little fault with her - maybe she has a tendency to be sharp sometimes. I am not saying that - I don't know if she does!

I was also under the impression that Mary lived with her boyfriend of seven years, but I'd like to think that she didn't - just because I'm a bit old-fashioned.

The analysis of the monarchy was a bit more interesting. This is a little bit OT but I was quite annoyed at the implication that well-educated people would have voted for a republic in the referendum in Australia. I also don't care for their somewhat sneering attitude toward the British monarchy.
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  #4  
Old 09-15-2008, 11:45 AM
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Well, it provides a contrast with Trine Villemann's book, that's for sure! I agree - in a lot of ways it reads a lot like the plot of a Disney film rather than a real-life story, but I gather that Danish journalists are on the whole a lot less intrusive and a lot more respectful than some of the British tabloids, who live to dig dirt.

I hadn't known much about the history of Mary's family and why they moved right across the world, so that was interesting to read about. The authors are putting such a positive spin on all of Mary's job-hopping that it's almost comical. I don't know if they really think that criticism of Mary would be the beginning of the end of the monarchy or what, but she can't have been that perfect.

I also found it interesting that these authors were playing up the advantages of Queen Margrethe abdicating, which seems rather a bold step for the deferential Danish press. Since Frederik and Mary have only been married for four years and have a couple of young children, to say nothing of Joachim being newly married and probably not wanting a larger royal role just at the moment, I don't honestly see the advantages of an abdication. These authors seem to be saying that the blame for any negativity about the Danish monarchy is due to a backlash from negativity about the Swedish and Norwegian monarchies, but I'm not convinced that these problems, such as they are, will be solved by having Frederik and Mary take over the throne, considering that the Queen is still very popular by all accounts.
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Old 09-16-2008, 05:58 AM
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The book is not an in depth piece. It was basially written after their marriage as an intro to Mary. It was purposely written to go along with the public's idea of a fairytale.

I don't think Mary changed jobs too often. In fact, it seems that her job pattern is very normal for her age group at least by US patterns.

I think if a book today was written about her it would be much more interesting, much more personal. I don't think she's perfect, but I don't think she has any major problems or faults.

I don't think Margarthe will ever abdicate unless, she becomes mentally or extremely physically impared. I don't see that happening. Royals don't retire. It is a life long job.
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Old 09-17-2008, 05:53 AM
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I agree with you, Fashionista. I can't see Margarthe retiring either.
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  #7  
Old 09-17-2008, 12:46 PM
Imperial Majesty
 
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Well, Dutch royals do retire, and I have a feeling that journalists would rather cover a glamorous young king and queen than an elderly monarch and crotchety old consort; I think there's more than a little self-interest in some of these calls for abdication by the press. As you said, in countries where there isn't the tradition of abdication, it would just be disruptive.

It's also really selfish of these journalists to want to stick parents of young children on the throne. I suppose they might look at it as though if the kids end up having emotional problems later because their parents didn't have time for them when they were young, it'll be more for the journalists to talk about.

I think it would have been nice if this book had included something about the children, but I realise it was written early in the marriage. Even so, that gives me the impression of a rather incomplete picture now we know there are a couple of youngsters in the family.
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Old 09-21-2008, 04:12 PM
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This week we, rather I, had a chance to re-read chapters 5-7.

Overall, these three chapters highlight what she had to endure (yes, overdramatic word here) during her time in "Princess school", Connections, and "Heart or Throne".

In chapter five, "Princess School", Palshoj and Redder, detail what is expected of Mary and the challenges she faced and will continue to face as the Crown Princess of Denmark. They note what her duty is and always will be: A representative of Denmark. Now, how hard can that be? Depends on who one asks. Personally speaking, it sounds like a fairly easy job. Smile and wave, smile and wave. Give birth to heirs. Travel. Learn the language. Be prepared for all individual events. Meet with your chosen patronages privately and publicly. Behave in a "dignified manner". Don't betray your fellow royal family members. Be relatable to your new subjects. Don't chew gum in public. Don't embarrass yourself.

Chapter six, "Connections", is fairly interesting, but I'm not sure as to why it is all that important within the book.

Finally, chapter seven addresses the issue, "Heart or Throne". The authors compare Mary to the other Crown Princesses and the challenges they faced as commoners marrying into a royal family. The chapter is interesting, but they made it seem as if Mary was better than the other Crown Princesses in what they went through... did that make sense? Essentially, the authors need to take off their rose colored glasses and examine the situation fairly. Glossy and fluffy writings, such as this book, do not fair well with those who are interested in a fair and balanced account of any public figure.

What are your thoughts? Specifically chapter seven.
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Old 09-22-2008, 07:28 AM
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I think that Princess Mary did have an easier time than some of the other princesses. Mette-Marit still seems to be judged because of her wild past.

This is a different topic, but I disagreed with the authors that Australians have more in common with Danes than with other Europeans and Americans. I usually like the Danes but I can't see how they can see that.

Parts of this book are really annoying me so I won't buy it. I got it from the library.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:57 PM
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I concur with your last statement, AG.

When I first bought the book, right after their marriage, I was excited as well as very interested to read it. Unfortunately, I found myself bored and annoyed. More than have of their information, it seemed to me, was pulled from old newspaper articles as well as tidbits found on royalty sites. Furthermore, I was annoyed that they did not analyze their material in more detail. I completely understand that was not their aim with this book (hence they had a specific audience in mind; however, it would have been more interesting for the reader even for those who are interested in the DRF and Mary specifically if they did.


Overall, I don't mind fluffy material here and there within a book; nonetheless, it seemed to become worse and worse with each chapter.
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Old 09-22-2008, 09:50 PM
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I think people who compare Mary with the other crown princesses aren't comparing like with like, except possibly for Maxima, who also moved halfway across the world into a new culture in the process of marrying the heir to the throne (and also had the problem of her father's political connections). Even so, Letizia and Mette-Marit had personal histories that were unorthodox to say the least, and Mathilde has the problem of being married to an apparently not terribly popular crown prince of a bitterly divided county. And then there's the baggage that Camilla's having to deal with, which is in another league altogether, and Masako has had to put up with pressures that most Europeans (and Australians) couldn't begin to really appreciate. So I don't think Mary had it any harder than any of them, and she's had it easier than some. Like you say, the authors aren't really doing her any favours with this uncritical reporting, although maybe it made more sense at the time than it does in retrospect, since it was part of the process of introducing Mary to her new country and people.
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Old 09-27-2008, 07:26 AM
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I agree to a certain extent, but it's interesting to compare them anyway!
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  #13  
Old 09-28-2008, 02:40 PM
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For this week we covered chapters 8-11:

Beginning with chapter 8, Mary's Many Castles, which are not technically "hers", but it makes for a nice title, right) reviews the castles in Denmark as well as discussing the home she and Frederik will occupy once married... and then some.

Chapter 9, Yes!, reviews the wedding day and who Mary "is." It's a nice chapter, but I haven't learned anything new.

Chapter 10, Mary Mania, well that's obvious. This "Mania" mainly happened in Denmark and Australia and of course on royal watching sites, blogs, and so forth. The chapter also covers the royal cruise aboard the Dannebrog as well as the "many organizations..." who approached the "...Danish court seeking Mary as their patron."

Finally, chapter 11, The Wedding Album, which again basically covers the wedding, yet again. Why the authors believed this was necessary was beyond me. They should have merged it with chapter 9 instead. Moving on, this area of the book details all the things we, here on TRF already knew: Who designed the dress, wedding speeches from the family, the flowers, guest list, presents, food, Mary's favorite poem, and of course the details about Mary's monogram.

Overall, the book Mary: Crown Princess of Denmark was just okay. Nothing new was learned, at least on my part. In fact, I learned more about Mary here on The Royal Forums, which is free, than this book by Palshoj and Redder (which cost me twenty bucks plus shipping and handling.) Was it worth it? No, not really. But hey, that's okay.

What are your thoughts about this book?
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Old 09-29-2008, 03:37 PM
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I agree, the book doesn't tell you anything a newspaper article would have. I bought it too right when it first came out. At that time we didn't know much about Mary. It is an okay book. But the photos were nice and it had a few interesting bits. I am waiting for a more in depth book at some point in the future.
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Old 10-04-2008, 06:29 AM
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I preferred the book about Mary's style. The photos were better in that book.

Parts of this book were interesting but some of it annoyed me!
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Old 10-01-2011, 02:28 PM
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This book is in English right ? And could they possibly be selling it in bookstores or only online?
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