I have made a map of the tour of the Faeroe Islands.
Which you can find here: https://app.box.com/s/hnrjrcf1ogjhnvhw85onb72j2hnxg9xy
It's good for references, so you may wish to download it. Because the Danish, English and Faeroese spelling will not be the same! - And soon you will have no idea even what planet M&F are on! - And nor will I!
On this visit M&F are going to meet the islanders, almost every single one of them... With special attention on who's who on the islands...
And perhaps less so on seeing the truly spectacular scenery. But perhaps Mary will publish some snaps when she is sailing past something aboard Dannebrog?
And this is an example where a royal yacht really comes in handy!
And she will look very beautiful surrounded by the fjords. Her bright colors will be a spectacular contrast to the green and blue-grey nature.
Hooowever, I see the two mayor southern islands are left out from this tour. They are gonna be pretty miffed about that!
There is, I understand, an ongoing feud up there between the southerners, who feel left out, and the rest of the islands.
The southern islands can be a problem because the weather and sea around the Faeroe Islands is totally unpredictable! They are simply more exposed, even though you may not think so simply looking at a map.
One thing I am looking very much forward to, is M&F wearing traditional costumes. Daily Mail is going to love it!
And with just a tiny bit of luck At least Christian and Bella will wear traditional outfits as well.
Josephine won't mind I think. But Vincent may be preoccupied shouting at sheep. As we all know, he has a fondness for shouting at livestock...
- In fact that's still the talk of the town in south-west Australia, I've heard. - Or perhaps I dreamed it?
It's not always easy to distinguish...
Lets have a little look at the Faeroe Islands (or Faroe Islands if you prefer. That is if you don't prefer the Danish spelling: Færøerne. Or the Faeroese: Føroyar.) prior to M&F visiting.
Located far out in the north Atlantic it's hardly surprising they were only inhabited by the 600's, By Irish monks who somehow made it ashore. (Many probably didn't!) And they live there as hermits. - They pretty much had no choice!
The waters around the Faeroe Islands is not for boats or coastal shipping, if you plan on actually getting there alive that is! But by the 700's Scandinavians had developed ocean going ships, both warships and freighters, better known as Viking ships, which could go there and back routinely and now the islands were colonized in earnest. Mainly by ethnic Norwegians. The islands were back then a convenient stepping stone between Norway, Iceland, Scotland and Ireland. As such the Faeroese today, just like the Icelandics, speak a language that would enable them to maintain at least a not too complicated conversation with a Yorkshire man or someone from Dublin, should they somehow be propelled 1.000 years back. Fascinating, Isn't it?
In fact the traditional ballads the Faeroese sing today, would have top of the pops in Ireland and Yorkshire as well as Scandinavia back then.
Time flies. The Viking Age came and went. And the Faeroe Islands became a place far away, where people had three options career wise: Fish, sheep or go to Copenhagen and seek hire aboard a merchant or warship. There was however a lot of cultural contact between the Faeroe Islands and the Shetlands and Orkney Islands. In fact the Faeroe Islands and the Sheltland Islands initially belonged under the Norwegian crown, later the Danish crown. The Sheltland Islands were presented to Scottish crown as a dowry to the later James I of Britain. And as a curiosum I can add that a few years ago the Sheltlanders asked if they could come back to Denmark as a part of a local political protest. But that's another story.
There was a fourth option, except that it really wasn't an option! Up until well into the 1700's pirates and North African slaver-hunters were a genuine threat! Sometimes raiding an island and taking the locals they could get their hands on back to North Africa for the slave markets there. - In contrast to sailors and merchants who were captured by North African pirates there was no system in place for ransoming far away poor islanders, so they stayed in Africa...
After WWII an independence movement has sprung up on the Faeroe Islands. And with the logic being that you can't be fully independent while still being subservient to a foreign royal family, they are republicans. (The Greenland independent movement take a different view.) So while the DRF itself, and certainly QMII, is still pretty popular, we must expect some protests during this visit.
The Faeroe Islands today have autonomy and that IMO is as close to independence they are realistically going to get. The Danish Parliament has made it very clear that the Faeroe Islands can become independent if they wish - in four years to be exact, and then they are on their own!
That is of course a problem, because with a population of 50.000, they are simply not enough to fill out all the multitudes of functions that an independent nation has to have. The Faeroese look to Iceland, but their population is about 8 times larger and they rely on foreign nations for advanced medical treatment, specialized education and not least upholding and securing their sovereignty.
The Faeroe Islands rely on Denmark for most education above high school level. Most specialist (not even particular advanced) medical treatment and Danish naval protection and controlling the territorial waters for illegal fishing. And for money when the Faeroese Parliament overspend - which they have done a couple of times...
As it is now the Faeroese has political autonomy, meaning that they are self-governing in everything but foreign and security politics and maintaining territorial sovereignty. On top of that the police and courts are, if not directly controlled by Denmark, then certainly under a benevolent guardianship from Denmark.
In return Faeroese males are not required to be called up for conscription, even though they can volunteer to serve in the Danish military.
There is basically only one town on the Faeroe Island, Thorshavn. Almost half of the total population live in Thorshavn and satellite-villages.
As you can imagine a cluster of islands far away is not ethnically diverse. In fact beforehand it must have been bordering on inbreeding. And consisting of islands, that due to the weather used to be much more isolated than today, the individual islands (some say individual hamlets!) developed their own sub-cultural variant of the Faeroese culture.
Now, when you very much depend on the sea, and climbing up and down sheer cliffs after sheep and eggs, life is hard and often short! So the Faeroese take their Christianity very serious! And interestingly due to the isolation, each hamlet or at least parish, developed their own sub-sect so to speak of Christianity and that is prevalent to this day. Which explains that being an open homosexual or even an atheist is pretty frowned upon, even to this day.
When you see the reports from the islands, you will apart from the truly stunning scenery, see a very old and rich culture, the islanders do their very best to preserve. That includes a cultural aspect that is very controversial. Hunting pilot-whales. The whales are driven towards a beach, where they strand and are then killed with long knives. Pilot-whales are not that big, so the knives are stuck into their hearts or brains. But it's a very bloody sight and combined with the traditional yelling/whooping also very disconcerting for many.
The islanders maintain that it's a part of a centuries old culture and that the meat is actually eaten. - Against that some will argue that the Faeroese today hardly need extra meat in the fridge in case the fishing is bad or the sheep die off. And that there are perhaps better ways, in today's world, of disposing of whales than stabbing them to death.
Anyway, it's a very hot topic! And one that M&F will be very careful to sidestep completely. With the Faeroe Islands having autonomy this is a political issue, to be addressed by the Danish Parliament only. And that's considered interfering in the internal affairs of another country, in the eyes of the Danish government. (No need to rock the boat with the republican movement on the islands! Which could lead to the Faeroes actually voting for independence, which would likely end up in a lot of mess, which Denmark would be morally obliged to help them out of. And that'll be difficult to sell to the average Danish voter!) The DRF will say nothing
! It is a huge no, no!
the DRF were to comment on the hunting of pilot whales, it will be QMII who will do it. Perhaps even Frederik, but you will have to break both of Mary's arms for her to say a word!
If you feel strongly on the subject, I will encourage you to address the issue to the Parliament in Thorshavn. And with that I think I have made my own opinion on this matter clear...
The name of the Faeroese Parliament is the Lagting, and it was democratic many centuries before Denmark became a democracy in 1849.
With this brief background note, I will look very much forward to the footage from the Faeroe Islands.