Princess Marie was at the Belgian Ambassador's residence yesterday to hand out the annual literary prize - le Prix littéraire des Ambassadeurs - to a Danish writer who has translated works into French. How nice that this little organisation made up of the eleven francophone countries represented in Denmark - not just France - can have such a dignified patron as Marie. (Can you imagine Mary sharing Australia with other anglophone countries? Me neither.) Dressed professionally, soberly and in no way so as to identify the designer, the Paris-born princess put the focus on the winner and the other guests, and not on herself. She gets down to the level of the little flower girl (I wonder if she attends Prins Henriks Skole, the local French school?) No hair flicking, no posturing, no pushing the laureate aside during the group photo. It was almost as if she understood implicitly that there was a job to do, some representation to offer, royal behaviour to express. What a relief! Denmark should be proud of this young woman who has done her part to learn the complicated - especially for a native speaker of a romance language - aspects of Danish, while still able to celebrate the contributions of Danes to the French lexicon. In other words, this isn't an event where France or other francophone countries were front and centre, but rather this was another bridge being built between two cultures, putting the focus on disseminating Danish literature and writings into the libraries and learning centres of French-speaking countries, not the other way around. Brava!
Photo Gallery: Belga
With the daughter of Belgian Ambassador Jean-François Branders
Marie with winner Sissel-Jo Gazan
With the winner, and the Prize Committee
Photos: Hasse Ferrold