Denmark; past and present

Denmark is small. If you visit only the Copenhagen area it will seem a mix of urban and rather dense suburban; green for sure, but easily seen to be (or have been) under the hand of old time agriculture and modern economy. It has a very nice vibe however; a smallish city, historic sites all over the place, and pleasant welcoming people.

We spent a couple days here before heading to Norway and got a look at several royal locations. The Danes enjoy their royal family and the royal family is pretty much a group of normal Danes. They ski, they shop, they wander about town. But, there are also estates, castles, and parks. We had the opportunity to see the arrival of some national ambassadors at the Fredensborg Palace. Just by chance we swung off the main road to see the summer palace which just happened to be near our route north. We parked and walked up the cobblestone roadway toward the palace when there was a clatter of hooves and a phalanx of glorious horses entered, followed by a shiny horse-drawn carriage. As they went past the red-jacketed driver and footman were on either side  a passenger inside the carriage. It turned out that the Queen was welcoming, and receiving the papers from, several new ambassadors to Denmark. The images below show the pomp and spectacle of this occasion – as done in a European monarchy.

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Our first view of Fredensborg Palace was rather typical of a history-based semi-tourist site in much of Europe. Those countries with monarchies parade their guards in costumes based on 18th century (or other) wars and 21st century cameras do much of the real security work. We saw a placid scene with few people, a patrolling guardsman, and no sense of impending activity.
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First to arrive were the horsemen (actually many were horsewomen). They preceded the arriving politicians and the staff members escorting them to the palace. The horses were quite stunning and the tack was equally shiny. I am sure the horses, the horse color, the headgear on the riders, and the uniforms all have a story – sorry, I don’t know the whole story.
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These three are horsewomen. The saddle cloth is similar to the leaders’ saddle cloth but a bit different in the  rear lower corner. Perhaps the saddle cloths are like stripes on your sleeve. The uniforms, in general, represent tasks and assignments. In all these photo note the trees in the background. They are all pollarded in order to maintain a specific height and shape. The next blog may well be on coppicing and pollarding; two methods of creating needed wood products and maintaining trees for economic purposes.
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Then came the carriage. We think that the person inside was a staff member with the papers to be presented to the Queen. The new ambassador rode out in the carriage as an ambassador but probably didn’t ride in as a “mere” citizen. The carriage ride (we figured) was special.
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The procession went up to the palace doors and the soon-to-be-ambassador was taken inside to be officially welcomed by the Queen. This is a royal function and a symbolic political function. The Queen, and the royal family as a whole, are not deeply (daily) involved in politics. Except to say, in Denmark, the royal family is respected and their opinion matters. The black Audi seemed to be transporting the family of the new ambassador. Denmark is a bit like a small town, or an island community; where everyone knows everyone and they tend to work toward the common good. I never heard our saw an inkling of cynicism.

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