HRH The Crown Princess’ speech at the Gala Banquet at Christiansborg Palace, 26 May 2018, on the occasion of HRH The Crown Prince's 50th birthday.
Your Majesties. Your Royal Highnesses. Excellences. Ladies and gentlemen. Family and friends.
All the things I would like to say. All the things I could say. All the things I shouldn’t say. And all the things there is room to say.
50 years old today.
Father of four. Naval Special Force Soldier. Art lover. Music lover. Military man. Sportsman. My man. Business ambassador. Son. Adventurer. Greenland explorer. Brother. And a good friend.
How does one in words capture a person like you? Without leaving out too much of what makes you, you…
I have pondered over this many times as this day has approached. You are a person of many dimensions. - Complex and straightforward at the same time.
You come in many guises so to speak. You are in constant movement. Nevertheless, you stand firm. Because in tact with the iconstant movement, you, if any, are a person who truly knows yourself. You are yourself. And therein lies the strength that binds everything together.
It takes courage – and time – to find oneself. You have done so and you continue to do so. You have trod your own path since you were a very young child, despite the fact that your course in life had been charted in many ways, and at times you encountered opposition and particular expectations along the way.
You have always pushed the boundaries and you have insisted on shaping the world around you to fit the person, and have not allowed the structures in that world to define you. Your passion has been your compass. You have lived by your father’s approach to life: That in the unconventional and in the surprising there is often a hidden treasure.
You meet people with directness and an openness that gives you access to hearts and minds in an extraordinary manner. Your impact on people is unique. And I really don’t think that you realise that you have this gift.
You can talk to anyone and you believe that we all can contribute, that we can always learn from each other because we all have different perspectives. You perceive people as connected despite differences. And the greater the number of perspectives, the greater the potential.
You take pleasure in the success of others. You are a positive person and you are easily moved to laughter. And you are not stingy with your laughter … or your jokes for that matter. And often the two come together; you always laugh (a lot) at your own jokes.
And I have quite simply lost count of the times I had to hear you tell the same jokes over and over again. It is as if you are trying to continuously perfect how they are delivered…
Those who have had the pleasure of eating out with you, will know for example that if a waiter asks, “Are you finished?”, you can be dead certain that you will answer, “No, I’m Danish”. Every time. And laugh. Every time.
“To dare is to lose one’s footing for a moment. Not to dare is to lose oneself.”
With these words you invited me into your world and the world of the Danes, after we had only known each other for a short time. And there were, indeed, many unsure steps when we started our common journey, side by side and separated at one and the same time.
We dared to lose that part of our heart, which we allowed the other to hold in their hands.
It takes courage to dare, but without daring we lose what could have been. I am so happy that you swept me off my feet and that we dared to fall for each other – not for a moment, but for life.
And life with you, is never boring. As I have already said: You come in many guises. We never know if you’ll come through door dressed in uniform, a business suit, a wetsuit, or as a “Mamil”.
For those of you who are not familiar with the concept “Mamil”. I can tell you thatit is an English term now officially recognised in the Oxford English Dictionary for a growing sub-culture of “Middle-aged men in lycra, who ride expensive racing bicycles, wearing professional style body-hugging jerseys and shorts.”
Opinions differ as to whether lycra and men 40 plus are a good combination. And in this case we are actually talking about 50-plus …? Darling, you still look rather sharp in lycra.
I do, however, find it a bit difficult when it comes to the combination of lycra, helmet and roller skis. And when you and your teammates for your first Vassaloppet (Swedish ski race) decided to participate wearing white lycra … To be brutally honest… it simply didn’t work.
And I believe you could see it yourself, afterwards.
You challenge yourself physically, and you definitely don’t compromise when it comes to gear. You have demonstrated physical strength, yes, but behind that lies an incredible mental strength. You have an iron will which most people have witnessed from your physical accomplishments. As I see it, you carry this mental strength with you, in all aspects of life.
You find great satisfaction in pushing your physical and mental limits. You live by the motto “it is the will to want, that fosters the ability to do
” and you have passed that on to me and our children: The conviction that we can, if we want – no matter the expectations.
Lycra or not. I got to know you in shorts and T-shirt, and I remember very clearly the first time you changed from casual to gala.
It was during my first visit to Denmark where we had celebrated our first New Years together. I was sitting in the couch in your living room when you said that you should get ready for dinner, a dinner that is always held on 1st of January.
At that time, I really didn’t know so much about that part of your world. So, I didn’t give it much thought.
You left the room, as the man I knew, and came back in full gala uniform. And if I had known Danish at the time, I would probably have thought to myself “aij, hvor har jeg scoret over evne” (wow – I’ve really scored above my league).
It was suddenly a very different image of you that was new to me. Deeply impressive and daunting at the same time. But your eyes and your smile were the same. Gala or not.
And that’s the way you are. You have found the roots of your being by making a diversion from your Childhood Street (ref. text from a Danish song and novel) –by going your own way. You are a determined person. You go after what you set your sights on. And you usually succeed.
And according to your children, you are also a very successful father. They describe you as sweet, fun, wonderful, wise, brave, helpful, cool and handsome.
You are their hero.
They describe you as being true to yourself and your beliefs are not easily changed.
They know that you believe in them – also when they doubt themselves. You encourage them to believe in themselves. And when on the rare occasion you get cross, you quickly put it behind you, just as your father did.
They know nothing better than being together with you – it is not a matter of what you do together, but that you are together.
You allow yourself to be carried away by our children. You easily find your inner child and your children love it when that side of you takes over through imagination, play and games.
But you should also know that they think you are a bad loser. And they agree that Vincent is the one who has inherited this trait strongest from you.
For me, it is in our family moments that I feel most grateful, most united, most in love.
Sometimes we hit the target without even aiming. That is how I think of our first meeting. A stroke of good luck that became a choice.
We have become so close by giving each other space. And you in particular have supported me in finding a foothold and my way in the world that was yours and is now ours.
You love your country and you have long ago imparted this love to me.
So much that I’m deeply moved when I sing “I Danmark er jeg født, der har jeg hjemme” (“In Denmark, I was born, this is my home”).
Well aware that although I’m at home here, I belong here, I was not born here...
My own explanation is that our roots continue to grow throughout our lives. We can always find our home.
I started my speech by asking: How does one in words capture a person like you? The answer is: You simply cannot.
You can dare to walk together.
On our wedding day, you invited me to come and to see what awaited us in love and I have loved every step and every view.
Of all the things I have chosen to say, I choose to finish with the words from another beautiful song:
“When I look into your eyes, I see a new day rising
Of all the things she said,
She said, this is our time, she said, this is our place
This is the space my heart wants to be.”