They take Fred down, too, but in this very revealing political cartoon, there is one over-riding theme: Crown Princess Mary Donaldson of Denmark is a distraction and detriment to the health and welfare of the continuity of the monarchy, as embodied in her husband, Crown Prince Frederik. The caption under the cartoon asks, "Are Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary superficial and oblivious to the crisis that the whole world is experiencing?"
Surrounded by portraits of Denmark's most spendthrift king, Christian IV, the royal couple are seen lounging in an overstuffed chair covered with a loud and exclusive crown logo (reminiscent of the loud and obnoxious double-barfing-antlers logo that Derf and Yrma have printed on virtually everything, including environmentally-insensitive plastic shopping bags), with Mary showing off her expensive, extraneous and repetitive luxury shoe purchases, while reclining in the chair in an almost sexy pose (this most unsexy woman gets most excited by expressions of materialism - take that, Taroona!), skirt petticoats up à la Toulouse-Lautrec's can-can girls (an earlier incarnation of the modern showgirl), fishing for compliments from her drunk husband using a mix of Danish and English ("and these are nice and festive, too, eh?" - the same question every time for the same shoe!). Frederik is not portrayed as a spendthrift person, but as the stunted, immature, emasculated man that he has allowed his wife to make him. In the cartoon, he doesn't reprimand his wife's purchases, but instead chooses to humour Mary by agreeing with and reinforcing her emptiness ("Yeah, veeeeery elegant, expensive and festive!" - at least he is shown as calling out the expensive part), while Fred's desparately desired - and far too political - Olympic rings are hung up on the wall, out of use, except for the black ring - the one that represents the African people - which is notably ignored on the floor. Ouch! A very scathing rebuttal to Madam La Boganista's Marie-Antoinette-like attempts to bring insincere smiles and expensive cameras to the poverty-striken natives under the guise of helping feed and empower Africans, while staying in Addis Ababa's only 5-star, water-wasting, luxury hotel. The black ring is on the floor because Mary keeps Fred's back turned from it; it is more important to indulge Madam instead of doing his duty. Oh, Fred, you're such a sucker! Not a nice place to be, but one that can be rectified, if he and his supporters ever find the strength and will. Was the escapade in Greenland with Mummy all for naught?
A note about Kong Christian IV: this is the monarch most responsible for the glorious built environment and patrimony of Denmark. No 'bout a doubt it. Danes are aware of his enormous, lasting contributions to the aesthetics and cultural life of the nation. However, what often gets lost is how this king threw Denmark to the brink of financial collapse and misery in order to pay for the architectural and cultural delights that inspire today's Danes and visitors to the country. He never met a war he didn't like. It is a very pointed political commentary to link Mary 'weekly orchids delivery' Donaldson to Christian IV: both had/have the clear disdain for the money that is freely given to them from the very high taxes that are paid by the Danish people.
However, the cartoon seems to be implying that Christian IV's reign was much more fruitful than Derf and Mary's would be: Christian was required to bow to the pressure of the nobility who opposed his involvement in war, and the king was additionally successful in increasing trade and shipping. Mary, at least, doesn't seem the least bit interested in cultural pursuits; never in her time in Australia or in Denmark before the ruby ring, did Miss Donaldson show any inkling of curiosity about the soulful pursuits of art and music, nor the more cerebral ones of history and science. Never did her plastic shoe or blue Nike free-with-purchase bag cross the threshold of a museum, gallery or concert hall. King Christian was ambitious and intelligent, and bemoaned the too few philosophers in Denmark. Mary only seems to bemoan the lack of Jimmy Choos.
**For wonderful, historical fiction based on King Christian IV, please refer to Music and Silence by Rose Tremain, wherein the king consoles himself in music, much like Crown Prince Frederik's mélomane grandfather, King Frederik IX. Derf dropped his piano lessons.