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Denmark

“My father was a fish out of water in the military,” reveals Prince Joachim in new project

Prince Joachim revealed in an interview for a new project that Prince Henrik’s time in the French military was not a great time for his father. The discussion was made for the Udsendt af Danmark (‘Sent by Denmark’) project which aims to tell the stories of the Danish soldiers sent abroad for a year. The project started on 6 September 2018, the day after Flag Day which is a ceremony commemorating the soldiers sent overseas, and will end on 5 September 2019 for the 10th anniversary of Flag Day.

Prince Joachim’s interview was cut into three short stories that were published between November 5th and March 19th.

In a story released on 13 February, the day of the first anniversary of Prince Henrik’s death, Prince Joachim talked about his father’s relationship to the military and wars: “It was natural for him to go in and be soldiers. He first became a soldier after he graduated, and he was a graduate of three different subjects. And one said it was unusual for a 25-26-year-old high-intellectual to be called to military duty. He was at a mental, but also social level, where he was a fish out of the water. It wasn’t fun for him.

“He also became a commander while he was in Algeria. And he saw the horror of war and experienced the soldier’s life. He has spoken a lot about it, but in the end, he doesn’t have any soldier comrades from there. So it has been pretty much a parenthesis in his life. In return, he says it is every man’s duty to serve his country. He said, ‘It is just that. It is one of the duties of humanity. We cannot agree on everything. And once in a while, we will disagree with weapons.’ He was also the first to say that war is something really bad. He didn’t glorify it, but he said: ‘Once in a while, that’s the only tool.’ “

In another video, Prince Joachim – who is currently Colonel of the Reserve and a special advisor to the Chief of Defence – also talked about the current modernisation of the Danish Defence and the impact civilians can have on the reserve: “The modernisation of the defence must also be in its approach to its task solutions – for the part that states that is non-doctrinal. But this is the desk defence. Therefore you can learn a lot from civilian task-solving models because they do not have a prescribed result.

“They have a wish for a result. And so the way to go and the time you spend on it is decisive for whether it is a success. You try to analyse your way to within, and then you go all in. Before talking about corporate management, you have to say that this is not a state in the state. It’s not Colonel Hackel’s defence. [Note: Colonel Hackel is a character from the Danish TV Show Matador.] This is the modern defence.”

Since last year he also works at the Center for Reservestyrken which aims to facilitate the implementation of the renewed and increased use of the Home Guard’s volunteers and the defence personnel of the reserve. Prince Joachim chose the centre’s motto and helped designed their badge. The motto is ‘ex civilis, ex militaris, extra ordinaria,’ and their badge combines elements from the badges of all the branches of the Danish forces: the wings of the Air Force, the anchor of the Navy, the laurel of the crown of the Home Guard and the three lines of the general Danish Defence badge.

This last clip was released in connection with the ‘From Military to Civil’ conference which Prince Joachim attended on 21 March. Prince Joachim’s work is currently very focused on the military as he will attend another military conference on 3 April and an event for NATO’s 70th anniversary on 4 April.

Prince Joachim will also follow a year-long military training in France next year.