King Harald & Queen Margrethe’s New Year Speeches
While most of Europe’s monarchs give their annual speeches during Christmas, King Harald V of Norway and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark give theirs on New Year’s. Just like their European counterparts, the New Year’s speeches of these two monarchs are popular because they are written by them, not by any member of government.
The Norwegian King delivered his speech during the day, hours before midnight local time.
King Harald discussed such issues as the environment. Norway itself is a very eco-conscious nation, and its monarch urged for the continuation of that mindset.
“Perhaps we have been better to count our money, than we have to count our days. Are we not to deal better with the imbalance in the planet’s climate, we will be faced with very serious consequences,” Harald said.
He also mentioned the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago, and how there are still many walls dividing people in the world, including Norway.
“We see increasing examples of intolerance, extreme views and violence that do not harmonize with the core elements of our heritage. Such things, we must not accept. Yet we must stick to that most are decent, honest people who will do their best to make our world a better place to be. It can cause us to lose footing and it is rootless. At the same time we must not reject the new as alien and hostile.”
Like all of other heads of state, the King talked about the economy, and how Norwegians could learn from it.
“The financial crisis has many causes, but on one level it seems to be related to a short-term rush for profits. In this sense, the crisis can perhaps serve as a useful reminder that the economy and society could not unilaterally based on material values,” he said.
With that, King Harald V wished his people a happy and healthy 2010.
Over in Copenhagen, when the clock struck midnight, Queen Margrethe welcomed the new year, and the new decade, with her annual speech.
“New Year’s Eve is the evening when we look back at the years passed and look forward to the new year, with what wonder will bring. We are hopeful, but anxious because we live in a world where everything that happens can be felt here in Denmark and has consequences for our country and for each of us,” she said.
The Queen talked also discussed how the economy affected young people’s dreams, and she talked about how adventurous youth can be.
“Young people want to address and explore new avenues. They educate themselves…They travel and get the impression back from distant countries worldwide. It gives them a broader horizon than perhaps my generation had when we grew up. We must show young people that need them. We must create space that they can make the experience needed to bring our society forward.
“For many it is getting older that is hard to accept. As a child, we have been scrambling to adulthood, as adults will like to continue to feel young, yes it is almost a requirement to keep not only youthful, but young in ten, twenty years longer than you really are . Our time has been fixated youth. It is both good and bad.
“While it is still to be nice to one another and overcome the other, but it can also be satisfying to sit down calmly and told that there is less to chase after, and that perfection is not always so important.”
Next, the Queen touched on the recent UN Climate Change summit which Copenhagen held in December.
“The Climate Summit in Copenhagen was the culmination of a long and busy process. Many have contributed in different ways. Diplomats and other officials have worked sober and committed to put everything to right. Skilled employees at all levels have tried everything could slip as much as possible for the thousands just incoming. Police have had the difficult task of ensuring security and order around the meeting, and have solved it responsibly and in good conditions,” Margrethe said.
The Queen’s speech also mentioned to troops serving in Afghanistan.
“Right now my thoughts go to all our broadcast and especially to our soldiers in Afghanistan. The Crown Princess has just visited them and meeting with the Danish soldiers and our allies made a deep impression on her. The problem they have is not easy, but they do it with determination and skill, and they show a courage that we must admire. They must know that they and their relatives often are in my thoughts and that their loss affects me deeply. Together with Prince Henrik and Crown Prince Couple, I send them all my warmest greetings and good wishes for the new year.”
In addition, the Danish Queen discussed Greenland’s autonomy which occurred this year. She also wished a happy new year to the Faroe Islands.
Finally, Queen Margrethe touched on some personal family moments she experienced for 2009.
“When I look back at what the year is now nearly over, has meant to me and my family, I primarily think of the great pleasure it was Prince Consort and me again to become grandparents. Together with Prince Joachim and Princess Marie, we would like to thank you for the warm sympathetic heart of Little Prince Henrik’s birth in May and his baptism in the summer. The heater, as did the Prince Consort is touched by all the kindness expressed by his 75th birthday. To see his family grow and prosper is a great joy for him as for me. During our visit to Vietnam in November, he has further been pleased to show both me and the Crown Prince Couple the country where he experienced his earliest years, and where he spent some of his youth. It was as if a call was connected.”
The Queen then ended her speech with a “God Save Denmark.”
Crown Princess Victoria Picks Wedding Dress Designer
Reports are going around that Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria chose the designer for her upcoming wedding. According to Aftonbladet, the lucky fashion designer is Par Engsheden, who already made several of Victoria’s dresses over the years, including the purple gown she looked ravishing in at this year’s Nobel Prize ceremony.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
The Crown Princess once said she wanted a Swedish designer to create her wedding dress to promote Swedish fashion. Her mother, Queen Silvia, wore a Christian Dior gown when she married the King in 1976.
If the name Par Engsheden sounds familiar, it is because it was he who made the revealing red gown Princess Madeleine wore at the 2002 Nobel Prize ceremony, better known as the “Baywatch” dress.
But have no worries, Victoria’s wedding gown won’t be showing a lot of skin. Tradition holds that royal wedding dresses are to be high-necked, long sleeved and have a train. One will only have to look at what other recent royal brides wore on their big day to get an idea of what the Crown Princess will wear on June 19, 2010.
In addition, it is also being reported that Victoria and her husband-to-be, Daniel Westling, will honeymoon for three weeks after their nuptials. Where that would be, no one knows as it is a tightly guarded secret.
Former King of Greece Announces Son’s Engagement
Today, former Greek monarch, King Constantine II, announced the engagement of his second son, Prince Nikolaos, to longtime girlfriend Tatiana Blatnik. The 40 year-old Prince has been dating the Swiss-born Tatiana for six years, and many royal watchers have been wondering when the two will make their union official.
All Over Press/FILE
But now the answer has finally come. The announcement was made on the Greek Royal Family’s website, with one simple message: “HM Queen Anne-Marie and I are delighted to announce the engagement of our son Nikolaos to Tatiana Blatnik.”
Prince Nikolaos is the third child of the deposed King and Queen of Greece. In the past, he reportedly romanced with Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria. But instead, the two found love elsewhere.
With this announcement, 2009 has been an exciting year with a total of three wedding announcements: Victoria’s and her younger sister, Princess Madeleine, and now Nikolaos.
It is not known when the Prince will marry Ms. Blatnik, but rumor has it that it will take place in 2011. Also, the location will be a mystery. Whether it will be in Greece or London or elsewhere, only time will tell.
Bhutan King: “World Must Progress Together or Fail”
The world’s youngest monarch, Bhutan’s Jigme Khesar Wangchuk, recently spoke at India’s National Defense College during a state visit to the country. His speech covered the issues of an increasing globalized world, and how important it is for nations and people to depend on each other.
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“I truly believe that the only way to observe the most important things in life and in this world is by putting them through the lens of ‘Simplicity’. For in the end, no matter what country we may be from, we are human beings – no matter what our cultures and beliefs may be, we share the same needs and abide by the same fundamental values,” the King said.
“This is a world that is shared – not between governments and nations but among us, the people. It may sound idealistic – but this is a natural and practical way of approaching things that seem intractable and inflexible – no matter how big the problem. The image of a shared planet must always be present in our minds – and especially in the minds of those who are in positions of leadership.”
This is coming from a young man who’s Himalayan Kingdom has been emerging from centuries of isolation over the past decade. Bhutan only recently allowed television and the Internet into its borders, and is slowly opening itself to the rest of the world.
King Jigme went on to talk about the dependence of nations on one another.
“Individual or even national success is a ship that cannot carry everyone together to the same place at the same time”. Rich nations must stop to be mindful of the poorer ones left behind. Successful people must stop to remember those who didn’t make it. No nation today can stand alone in achievement. (…) The world must progress together or fail together,” he said.
The 29 year-old monarch then brought up what his father promoted during his days as King of Bhutan – GNH, or Gross National Happiness, over Gross National Product.
“Today, GNH has come to mean so many things to so many people but to me it signifies simply – Development with Values. I am confident that the noble goal of Gross National Happiness will be key to Bhutan’s success in maintaining our unity and harmony – indeed our character as a nation,” King Jigme said as he ended his speech.
The King was only crowned as King of Bhutan in November 2008.
Kings & Queens Deliver Christmas Messages
Some of Europe’s Kings and Queens gave their annual speeches this Christmas. Besides wishing their subjects the best during one of the biggest holidays of the year, the monarchs encouraged their subjects in being better citizens, and also touched on the difficulties many faced in 2009.
AP Photo/Angel Diaz, Pool
Spain’s King Juan Carlos delivered his speech on Christmas Eve. On national television, the King called for unity in order to have a better country. He asked his people to “overcome tensions and difficulties”, follow the Constitution’s values, and “to strengthen the internal cohesion and the international image of the country,” and to “make economy grow up again to create jobs as soon as possible.”
As every year, Juan Carlos remembered the victims of terrorism and gave his condolences to their families. “They count on the support, solidarity and affection of the Crown and also of the Spanish society. Finishing with terrorism is a target for all democrats in defense of freedom and basic human rights,” he said.
On Christmas Day, three other European monarchs spoke to their people. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II called 2009 a “difficult” year during her speech which was broadcast at 1500 GMT.
“2009 was a difficult year for many, in particular those facing the continuing effects of the economic downturn,” the 83-year-old Queen said. “We may ourselves be confronted by a bewildering array of difficulties and challenges, but we must never cease to work for a better future for ourselves and for others.”
She went on to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflicts in Afghanistan.
“I am sure that we have all been affected by events in Afghanistan and saddened by the casualties suffered by our forces serving there,” she said. “Our thoughts go out to their relations and friends who have shown immense dignity in the face of great personal loss.”
Queen Elizabeth also praised the Commonwealth, which celebrated its 60th anniversary this year, and called it the “face of the future.”
“In many aspects of our lives, whether in sport, the environment, business or culture, the Commonwealth connection remains vivid and enriching…It is important to keep discussing issues that concern us all — there can be no more valuable role for our family of nations.”
Another Queen, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, chose to discuss technology and human interaction in her Christmas speech, airing first in the morning, and then in the afternoon.
“Real contact consists of words and deeds.In the past, people knew each other but today people are mainly busy with themselves. We tend to look the other way and close our eyes and ears to what’s going on around us. Nowadays even our neighbours are strangers,” she said.
Beatrix did not mention the tragic events on Queen’s Day this past April, where a motorist deliberately plowed into crowds at the celebrations in Apeldoorn, killing about a dozen people.
Last but not least at giving the annual Christmas speech was Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf. Like the British Queen, the King talked about the economic difficulties many Swedes experienced this past year.
“Many are young and many are immigrants. They are a great asset as we in our society find it difficult to fully take advantage of. I sincerely hope that we succeed in protecting these groups and their opportunities. It is hoped that all who are out of work soon to get to know the security of having a workplace to go to.”
The King shared with his people his dreams and hopes for young people.
“I and the Queen has for some time resulted in a common dream. To provide a forum for children and young people in the world – a World Child and Youth Forum – which aims to inspire and support so that the UNCRC is complied with. We hope that it might become as known as the Davos Forum, but with the light directed at children and young people’s situation.”
But perhaps the highlight of King Carl’s speech was him mentioning the upcoming weddings of his two daughters, Victoria and Madeleine. The Crown Princess will marry in June 2010, while her younger sister may marry either later in the year or early in 2011.
“To marry his heart’s choice was not always obvious when I was growing up. I am therefore very happy that my daughters, like me, may be the person they love most at his side. I would like to express my sincere and humble thanks for all the support and encouragement shown to us by the Swedish people.”
One of the reasons why many royal fans enjoy the Christmas speeches is because it is one of the rare moments the monarchs write their words, rather than have them written by someone from the government.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
I’d like to take this opportunity to wish all those who celebrate, a very Merry Christmas!
Also, Happy New Year to all of you who make this blog possible. I look forward to giving you more royal news in 2010, and I hope next year will be a happy and healthy one for everyone!