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.”