Denmark’s Queen Margrethe has looked to the future and the past in a very personal New Year’s address. Making reference to her own childhood as well as the adventures that still await her grandchildren, she urged her fellow citizens to come together as they tackle some major issues facing their country. And she did it all while dealing with the pressures of live TV as she was forced to briefly pause to deal with a runny nose.
Margrethe always gives her address live and as she delivered her traditional speech, she had to stop as she rummaged in the desk at which she was sitting before producing a tissue and dabbing her nose. It didn’t put her off as she completed her 48th address as monarch with moving words for her country and her family.
The whole speech was a poignant mix of personal and public. Queen Margrethe, like many of Europe’s monarchs this festive season, put the focus on environmental issues, referring to growing concerns over the vulnerability of the Earth and the worry this causes, especially among younger people. She urged everyone to be aware of how they live and the impact that can have on the world around them.
She also spoke of the prevalence of loneliness. Less than two years after the death of her husband, Prince Henrik, she mentioned how many older people find emptiness in their lives with the passing of spouses and friends but also warned against the loneliness that the younger generation face.
And her own experiences led to another talking point in her speech as she remembered the joy she felt, as a five year old, as her country was liberated at the end of World War Two. Looking ahead to commemorations of that historic moment in 2020, she said that no one who lived through that time could forget either the happiness that swept across the country with freedom or the terrible sadness that came with the loss of life in bombing raids. And she asked all those listening to hold on to the ideals and courage that had led a generation to fight against Nazism. She attacked the rise of anti-Semitism across Europe and in Denmark and had harsh words for those encouraging any kind of division saying that behaviour belonged nowhere.
But her family were also at the heart of this New Year’s address as Margrethe said ”every day…they make me happy and proud”. She talked about the packed schedule of Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary and how they balance that with creating a warm home for their four children. And she had more praise for her younger son, Prince Joachim, lauding him for his recent foray into TV history.
The New Year’s address came to a poignant end as Queen Margrethe looked ahead to her own, imminent 80th birthday and announced that her grandson, Prince Christian, would be confirmed in the months to come. She said Christian, second in line to the throne, has ”life ahead of him” before adding ”I have many years behind me”.
And she finished with words of hope as she described the year to come as a ”new acquaintance with new opportunities” and urged all those listening to go into 2020 ”together” before saying ”may it be a good year for Denmark”.