Why republicanism would get short shrift in Denmark

Britain's royal family might well envy Queen Margrethe, writes Imre Karacs

The souvenir stalls of Copenhagen are groaning under royal memorabilia. Almost every day a new book appears, promising another revelation, but delivering little more than insights into the sovereign's passion for embroidery.

Still, the commemorative issues and kitsch marking the silver jubilee of Queen Margrethe II are selling well. Not all Danes will be celebrating this week's anniversary with frenzied passion, but most will be quietly rejoicing that, after 25 years on the throne, she is still going strong.

Of referendums to end the monarchy there is not a whisper. Margrethe and the institution she embodies is popular, to the extent that, if Denmark were to become by some act of God a republic overnight, "she would be elected its president," according to a royal-watcher.

Margrethe's relationship with her subjects and the press might well be envied by her second cousin in England. Instead of pursuing her relentlessly, Danish tabloids meekly follow her weekly agenda, and are first to leap to her defence when her honour has been slighted.

This happened last week, when a Swedish paper denounced her because of her smoking. The Swedish ruler, the journalist noted, smoked out of the range of the cameras, whereas Margrethe puffed away publicly even while visiting a care centre for asthmatics, ashtray-bearing servants in tow.

"Let the Queen smoke in peace," thundered a Danish tabloid; "Mind your own business, Sweden", screamed Copenhagen's equivalent of the Sun. The Swedish press had to apologise, hiring an electronic billboard in Copenhagen to flash the message: "Our readers beg the Queen's pardon".

Today Margrethe hosts a thanksgiving service for her closet-smoking relatives in Scandinavia, and tomorrow she will ride through Copenhagen in a carriage procession, and attend a command performance of the Danish Royal Ballet in the evening. That will be the end of the pageantry - a small celebration for a no-frills household that prides itself on its low cost to the tax- payer and even lower profile.

The royal family consists of six people - the Queen Mother, the Queen and her Consort, two princes and one princely wife. They all go about their business without fuss, on foot rather than bicycles, and conduct themselves admirably. The abiding image is of the Queen returning to the Amalienborg Palace from a day's shopping, laden with carrier bags.

Margrethe meets her ministers every week, and while she does not intervene directly in political matters, she can be outspoken on moral issues. In her New Year messages she often scolds Danes for their shortcomings, urging them repeatedly to open their society to foreigners. She is married to one herself, a French aristocrat named Henri de Monpezat, and her daughter- in-law hails from Hong Kong.

Unlike some of her relatives abroad, the Queen combines moral authority with intellectual prowess. She speaks English, French, German and Swedish fluently, has studied archaeology, philosophy and law at Cambridge, the LSE, the Sorbonne and Danish universities. Her CV also credits her with the translation of a book by Simone de Beauvoir, illustrations for the Danish edition of Lord of the Rings, and abstract paintings that have been exhibited and favourably reviewed.

There are, naturally, some flaws in her character but she makes no attempt to hide them. She is headstrong, has a sharp tongue, keeps her family on a tight rein, and admits that, in the 57th year of her life, she is showing no sign of mellowing with age. With no major scandals lurking, the Danish press can only fawn. "I wish I could tell you about some bad things, but there just aren't any," said Bo Draebel, court correspondent of Copenhagen's leading broadsheet, Berlingske Tidende. "Our royal family know how to behave. In a small country, we would know if they didn't."

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker