Sunday, February 5, 2012
Mary 40: Politiken's Tribute
Denmark's most serious and republican broadsheet Politiken has an article and photo gallery (of many unflattering photos) in Sunday's newspaper for Crown Princess Mary's 40th birthday. It's not scathing, as one would expect of an intelligent, critically thinking newspaper. It's so much more sly than that. They rely on good, dry and subtle Danish humour, but they get the point across. Mary is no asset to Denmark. She is a stiff, uptight woman more obsessed about not getting a step wrong than being a hard-working, modern woman of the 21st century, ready to break barriers and taboos. The photo of Fred cringing as he tries to cover Mary with an umbrella while Mary just looks like the Queen Bee of all time was chosen to illustrate the point about just who among this pair wears the pants in the relationship.
Photo Gallery: 40 Years Old and Mother of Four
A Natural Talent in Royal Etiquette Turns 40
When Crown Princess Mary and Crown Prince Frederik last year in January became parents of twins, they followed the tradition of the royal house and showed off the newborns in the Rigshospitalet lobby.
Bathed in television lights Mary replied patiently to the press's questions about Frederik's support during labour, the differences in the twins' temperament and the little prince's jaundice.
A task that most women who have just gotten out of her confinement, probably prefer to see themselves free from doing.
But Mary knows what is expected of her as a princess and even future queen. Or, as Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council Andreas Kamm puts it, she lives more than up to her commitments.
That is what she experienced when she was a patron of the organization will visit a refugee camp in the world, or at home when she sits in a circle with a group of refugees and says she also thinks that Danish is a difficult language.
"She always gives more than we have previously agreed with the court. She provides several interviews, making them longer and in general available beyond what you can expect. It is very admirable," said Andreas Kamm.
Also historian Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen, Copenhagen University, praises Mary for having met expectations:
"She meets all the requirements that the Danes can make. She is classy, and so she understands how to talk to all people."
"That kind of intelligence can be learned only in limited circumstances. It is something you are born with and it is a big plus for the royal house that Mary possesses the ability," he said.
No one could be in doubt that Crown Prince Frederik had followed his heart when on 14 May 2004 he was waiting for his future wife before the altar in Copenhagen's cathedral.
What few could know was that woman from the other side of the globe would be as much a scoop not only for him but for the entire royal family.
With four children in a row she has fully secured the succession, and besides, she of royal family experts, together with Queen Margrethe its large share of the monarchy's popularity.
When it comes to the crown prince, his smile widened, his back straighter, and perhaps it is by leaning on her naturalness that dealings with the press gradually made him less awkward.
Or, as the queen put it, when she in her speech at the wedding was talking about when he found his true self:
"It happened when you met Mary. Then there was spring in your mind, and it flourished around you."
Perhaps the Crown Princess, who in Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen's words, "never got caught on the wrong foot," seems almost too perfect.
Gender Researcher at Roskilde University Karen Sjørup would like that she showed more solidarity with her sister peers.
"When Mary comes with a model figure after giving birth to twins while expressing that she fits in all her other tasks gives other women inferiority complexes."
"She is an unattainable icon," said Karen Sjørup who calls for more honesty.
"The conflict between work and family is a big dilemma in other women's lives, and therefore it would be good if Mary also allowed himself to express the vulnerability," she says.