Thursday, 26 January 2017

January State Visits: Denmark hosts Iceland's President

Queen Margrethe of Denmark has got this year's European State Visit schedule started
(photo detdanksekongehus Facebook still)

The State Visits for 2017 are underway. Not surprisingly, as they've been leading the way with getting the regal year started, it's Denmark's royals who have been first to roll out the red carpet. This week, Queen Margrethe II and her family welcomed the President of Iceland and his wife on a two day State Visit. There were business and innovation discussions, a chance to see Frederik eat his way through a whole restaurant kitchen and a State Dinner with four, count them, four tiaras. Welcome to State Visits for 2017, starting with Denmark hosting Iceland.

The official welcome that started this year's State Visits was all very stylish. On a cool, grey morning in Copenhagen, a rather elegant vintage car swept up to the Amalienborg Palace, dropping the President of Iceland, Gudni Johannesson and his wife, Eliza Reid off just as Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik stepped out to meet them.

Then it was inside for official photos and a chat before the President of Iceland and his wife were given a tour of Christiansborg Castle and met Denmark's Prime Minister, Lars Lokke Rasmussen, and his wife, Solrun, 

The afternoon of January 24th 2017 included the handing over of a very nice present indeed from the guests who handed over a a complete translation into Danish of the Icelandic Sagas while President Johannesson gave his first speech of the State Visit.

The first day of a State Visit means a State Banquet which means gala dress and tiaras with Queen Margrethe leading the way in her rather unusual golden diadem - there's a full run down of all the sparkle from it here but why not have another tiara, just to keep you going.  Yep, Mary got out her new diamonds again. Well, when they're that pretty, why wouldn't you?

There were speeches from the Queen of Denmark and from President Johannesson with Margrethe mentioning the friendship between the two countries, touching on the history of saga poetry in both nations and looking to the future and ongoing strong relations with Iceland which was ruled by the Danish monarch until 1944.

Day two started off with more literature as the President of Iceland headed to Copenhagen University to see their collection of medieval manuscripts and hear about preservation work. Then it was all eyes to the future as he joined Crown Prince Frederik at a seminar on innovation in industry.

His wife, Eliza Reid, accompanied Crown Princess Mary on a visit to Tante Orne school in Copenhagen to see how a programme developed by the Mary Foundation helps children to learn confidence and improve language through reading.  The two also visited UN City which houses nine UN agencies in Copenhagen.

Day two, January 25th 2017, saw Frederik and Mary take on most of the hosting duties - in the afternoon, the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark accompanied their guests to Copenhagen University for a round table discussion on globalisation before heading off for some food. Presumably, Frederik was hungry as during the visit to the Hospitality College in Valby he ate his way through pretty much every dish offered by the students there. And there was still a huge dinner to come.

Yep, more food for Fred in the evening as he and his family attended a thank you reception for them given by President Johannesson and his wife at Nordantlantens Brygge in the Danish capital.

No tiaras this time round and this gala evening saw the official welcome take place, rather bizarrely, by a lift and a small cupboard under some eaves.

There was another speech from President Johannesson and flowers for his host, Queen Margrethe, as well as entertainment and then the official part of the visit was over. All that remained was for a bit more tradition with the guests joining Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik at Amalienborg on the morning of January 26th to sign a window. Yes, a window. Well, OK, a small window pane. It's going to join others at Fredensborg Castle, all signed by visiting heads of state. A rather lovely way to end a very successful visit.

This first State Visit of 2017 was short and sweet but it's got the official ball rolling in a rather elegant and glitzy way. Denmark's royals began January with their traditional gala receptions and they're ending it with a State Visit under their belts. The royal year is well and truly up and running now.

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