This Tuesday saw the annual opening of Danish Parliament, or Folketinget as Danes call it. While the main reason for this event is to start off the political year in Denmark, the media focused primarily on Crown Princess Mary and her ever growing belly.
Crowds cheered as Mary arrived at Christiansborg Palace with husband, Crown Prince Frederik. She greeted awaiting officials and in-laws Prince Joachim, Princess Marie and Princess Benedikte. The Crown Princess then waited for the arrival of Queen Margrethe II and Prince Henrik.
When those two came, everyone lined up to bow or curtsy before the Queen and her consort. When it was time for Mary to curtsy, she did it very deeply. This, despite being about six months pregnant with twins!
Afterward, the Danish royal family entered Christiansborg Palace for the inaugural session of Folketinget.
Here is a video from Danish television about the Parliament opening:
On Saturday, Norway’s King Harald V officially opened the 155th Parliament session, or Storting. He gave a speech from the throne in front of the assembled politicians, with Queen Sonja and Crown Prince Haakon on either side of him.
Håkon Mosvold Larsen / Scanpix
Reading a speech written for him, the King laid out the government’s policies for the coming parliamentary year.
Following the completion of Harald’s speech comes the Report on the State of the Realm. That is read by the youngest member of the Storting, according to tradition. The report goes over what the government achieved in the past year.
Crown Princess Mette-Marit was not at this year’s Parliament opening. In fact, she never has and neither has any Crown Princess of Norway. Not even Queen Sonja attended when she was Crown Princess. This is because traditionally, the opening of the Storting was an all-male event because royal women have no real constitutional role in Norway. The Queen, however, attends almost by invitation from the King.
If you want a better explanation, click here. The reason why Crown Princesses do not attend is a bit complicated. But guaranteed, once Haakon becomes King, and his daughter and heir, Princess Ingrid Alexandra reaches adulthood, she’ll be by her father’s side.
Tuesday marked the opening of Swedish Parliament in Stockholm. Most members of the royal family turned up for the day’s event, first with a church service followed by the inaugural Parliament session.
King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel arrived at Stockholm Cathedral in the morning. Newlyweds Victoria and Daniel held hands as they entered the church while the Queen bundled up in a fur coat to deal with the frigid weather.
After the service came the official opening of Parliament, or Riksdag as Swedes call it. The King gave a speech before the assembled politicians. At one point, he thanked them for their support during the June wedding of his daughter and son-in-law. As the Riksdag applauded, the Crown Princess smiled and took Daniel’s hand into hers.
In the evening came the reception in which the royals dressed formally for the occasion – meaning they wore tuxedos and formal dresses, though no one wore any tiaras or military uniform.
Prince Carl Philip was not present for this year’s opening nor was Princess Madeleine, who is still in New York.
Sources: Svensk Damtidning, Expressen, TV4
Queen Beatrix Calls for Stable Government from Throne
The third Tuesday of every September is the day Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands opens Parliament on a day called Prinsjedag. She arrives at the Hall of Knights in The Hague in a golden coach along with most of her family, and delivers a speech from the throne.
This year, her speech focused on the country’s inability to form a government for almost the entire year, and a need for a balanced budget.
The Queen stressed the need for tolerance between the three political parties that are currently struggling to form a coalition government. She called those parties to work on social cohesion. The parties the Queen did not mention directly are the free market VVD, Christian Democrats and Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam Freedom Party.
Next, Her Majesty discussed the budget deficit, in which public spending will be lower this time around. The monarch said the Netherlands would have to take measures in order to remain competitive in the labor market and the world economy.
After her speech, Queen Beatrix joined most of her family, including Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, Princess Maxima, Prince Constantijn, Princess Laurentien, and her sister, Princess Margriet and her husband Pieter van Vollenhoven, on the balcony of Noordeinde Palace, where they all waved to the thousands who gathered below.
The Queen seemed calm and cool throughout the day, despite an upsetting disturbance when she rode her golden carriage to the Hall of Knights. A 29 year-old man threw a candlestick holder at the carriage and was quickly tackled by police. A spokesman for The Hague police said the man’s motive was unknown and no one was injured.
Security has been tight around the Dutch royal family since the attack of 2009′s Queen’s Day when a man narrowly missed ramming his car into a bus carrying the royals, and instead plowed his vehicle into the crowds, killing several people.
Sources: AP, Radio Netherlands Worldwide
Message of Austerity as Queen Elizabeth Opens Parliament
Queen Elizabeth II spoke from the throne at the House of Lords Tuesday during the state opening of Parliament. Wearing her crown and regal robes, the Queen gave her speech in regards to Britain’s new but rare coalition government, which formed after this month’s narrow elections.
AP Photo/ Leon Neal/Pool
Among the many things she spoke about were cuts to public spending and changes to the country’s centuries-old political system.
“The first priority is to reduce the deficit and restore economic growth,” the monarch said, reading from a speech drafted by government officials. “Action will be taken to accelerate the reduction of the structural budget deficit. A new Office for Budget Responsibility will provide confidence in the management of the public finances.”
She also confirmed the unpopular 5.1-billion-pound ($7.3 billion) plan for national identity cards will not take place. An initial package of 6 billion pounds ($8.7 billion) in other spending cuts were mentioned.
“Measures will be brought forward to introduce fixed term Parliaments of five years,” the Queen said about political changes. “A Bill will be introduced for a referendum on the Alternative Vote system for the House of Commons (the lower house) and to create fewer and more equal sized constituencies.”
The way things are now, it is the Prime Minister who decides when to hold elections and end parliamentary sessions.
Also in the speech were about the United Kingdom’s new relations with the European Union – “My Government will introduce legislation to ensure that in future this Parliament and the British people have their say on any proposed transfer of powers to the European Union” - and changes to its immigration policy.
“My Government will limit the number of non-European Union economic migrants entering the United Kingdom, and end the detention of children for immigration purposes.”
Sources: Christian Science Monitor, AP
Pomp & Pageantry as Queen Elizabeth II Opens Parliament
Despite economic problems in the U.K., full scale pageantry was on display today as Queen Elizabeth II opened Parliament at the Palace of Westminster. This was the final Parliament session before elections in 2010.
AP Photo/Paul Edwards, pool
The Queen arrived at Westminster in horse and carriage with her husband, Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. She was dressed in full royal regalia – gown, jewels, fur wrap, ermine robes and of course, the Imperial State Crown, which the Queen put on once she arrived at the Palace.
From the throne, Queen Elizabeth read the speech that was written for her by the government. The speech outlined the economic and financial struggles the British government has dealt with over the year, and how it will tackle it in the months to come.
“My government’s overriding priority is to ensure sustained growth to deliver a fair and prosperous economy for families and businesses, as the British economy recovers from the global economic downturn,” the Queen said.
“My government will continue to reform and strengthen regulation of the financial services industry to ensure greater protection for savers and taxpayers,” she went on to say. “Legislation will be brought forward to enhance the governance of the financial sector and to control the system of rewards.”
Also mentioned in the speech was legislation to protect communities from flooding, European collaboration on climate change, tackling discrimination at the workplace, and salary differences between male and female workers. Furthermore, the conflict in Afghanistan and peace in the Middle East were touched on.
This was the Queen’s 57th speech that opened Parliament – and one of the shortest. In June 2010, there will be Parliamentary elections. The Labour party has been in charge since 1997. According to some polls, that may change next year.