Melbournes fair dinkum Danish royalists gather to celebrate new king and queen


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Melbournes fair dinkum Danish royalists gather to celebrate new king and queen
Melbournes fair dinkum Danish royalists gather to celebrate new king and queen

Melbourne’s ‘fair dinkum Danish royalists’ gather to celebrate new king and queen

A sea of red and white flags appeared among the sleek Scandinavian furniture at Denmark House in the CBD on Sunday as Melbourne’s Danish community gathered to welcome in a new king and queen, the latter none other than Australian-born Crown Princess Mary.

Revellers were treated to canapes, Carlsberg and rousing rounds of Klask, a Danish tabletop game in which opponents use magnetised pieces to bat around a tiny ball.

Clara Kynne Schmidt helps three-year-old Ella with a crown at the King’s Ascension Day event in Melbourne on Sunday.Credit: Jason South

While a bevy of tiny princes and princesses donned their best crowns and Viking helmets to mark the occasion, some older royalists wore home-made shirts emblazoned with the understated phrase “Congrats to Fred and Mary”.

Crown Prince Frederik’s accession to the throne is to take place early on Monday morning (AEDT) after his mother, Queen Margrethe, formally abdicates at a Council of State meeting at Christiansborg Palace. Frederik will be accompanied to the palace by Princess Mary and their son Prince Christian.

Dane Clara Kynne Schmidt met her Melbourne-born husband, Mark Hocking, while studying architecture in Copenhagen. The pair, who are based in Denmark, have two little Danish-Australian princesses of their own, three-year-old Ella and one-year-old Ida.

“We’re taking the best of both worlds, just like Frederik and Mary. [Ella and Ida] eat rye bread for lunch, but they also eat Vegemite for breakfast,” Kynne Schmidt said.

Kynne Schmidt met husband Mark Hocking while studying in Demark. They are pictured with children Ella, 3, and Ida, 1.Credit: Jason South

“We were feeling so sad that we didn’t get to be a part of it at home … so we thought why not come here and celebrate this union, and also our relationship as a family – Denmark and Australia coming together.”

While Denmark House is not usually open to the public on weekends, an exception was made to commemorate the accession of the new monarch.

Even after 35 years living in Australia, Jorgen Berg said he was a “fair dinkum royalist” when it came to Queen Margrethe II. He fondly remembers shopping in Denmark with his Australian wife and spotting Margrethe happily browsing nearby – no security, no pretence.

Crown Princess Mary will be the queen consort when Crown Prince Frederik ascends to the Danish throne.Credit: AP

Berg said public sentiment had always been behind the 83-year-old monarch, so much so that a popular saying in his birth country is that if all the seven monarchies in Europe fall, Denmark will be the last.

The crowning of King Frederik and Queen Mary would mean “even better relations” between Denmark and Australia, he said.

“I would say that Mary is 5 per cent more popular than Frederik. She has had a really good impact on him.”

Margrethe has ruled Denmark since 1972, following the death of her father, King Frederik IX.

Denmark House vice-president Lykke Borup said the Danish population was in a unique position, as the accession of King Frederik was not occurring during a period of mourning for the previous monarch.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Queen Margrethe has been on the throne for 52 years, and she has been the only queen I’ve ever known,” she said. “Her willingness to pass it on to the next generation is quite honourable. Today is all about celebration and happiness.”

Borup has her own cross-continental love story. Backpacking around Australia in 2004, she watched Frederik and Mary’s wedding from Cairns. Little did she know, she was going to fall in love with her own Aussie and eventually move Down Under.

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“I’m Danish, so I came here and Mary has done the opposite. We’ve got a very strong connection,” she said. “I think by both the Danes and Aussies [Frederik and Mary] are very well liked. They really are very personable and approachable, and very down to Earth.”

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