Small Talk

Dinner with the Queen, part 1

June 24th, 2011

Denmark’s royal couple made a quick visit to the states, and I was lucky enough to be a part of it. Queen Margrethe and her French-born husband, Prince Henrik, stopped into the nation’s capitol in early June. Their packed schedule included some tourist must-sees like a visit the Capitol, Library of Congress and city museums, a cruise up the Potomac, a night at the ballet, plus a special reception for all her public servants in America.

The Queen in white, Prince on far right

The Queen in white, Prince behind her

My husband Claus is one of those public servants, as an official representative of her government. He’s the Honorary Consul of Denmark in Hawaii. Here’s what the invitation said:

“His Excellency Ambassador Peter Taksoe-Jensen requests the pleasure of the company of you and your spouse for dinner in honor of the visit to the United States of America by Her Majesty the Queen of Denmark and His Royal Highness the Prince Consort, to thank the Honorary Consuls for valuable contributions to Denmark on Wednesday June 8th 2011 at 7:00pm, Ambassador's Residence, Embassy of Denmark.”

We were excited to receive the invitation, but had to think about if we could go. We had six weeks to plan the trip, get time off from work (thank you, Boss!), and figure out about babysitting needs, as the dinner did not include children. Consuls are normally extended the opportunity to meet the queen at some point during their tenure, but it’s usually in Denmark.

We decided it was easier to fly to Washington DC than it would be to Europe. As it is, the travel time to DC involved a minimum of two planes and about 13 hours. The average trip to Denmark involves at least three planes and 23 hours. The jet lag is also a killer the further you go.

The Royal Danish Embassy organized the reception, and over the weeks, sent Claus many e-mails with instructions, directions, and information. The question people seem to want to know is how to address her, so I’ll share what I was told:

Protocol for meeting the Royal Couple

Please address Her Majesty the Queen as "Deres Majestæt" or "Your Majesty". Queen Margrethe and the Queen are not used.

Please address His Royal Highness the Prince Consort as "Deres Kongelige Højhed" or "Your Royal Highness" upon first greeting. Later HRH may be addressed as "the Prince Consort". Prince Henrik and the Prince are not used.

When greeting the Royal Couple it is appreciated that ladies curtsy and gentlemen bow.

Dress code and decorations

The dress code for the dinner is formal attire- black tie and evening dresses. HM the Queen will wear a long dress.

Decorations: With formal attire, you may wear the badge that was presented to you, or, if it suites you better, the miniature.

The official Danish language instructions for wearing of decorations are attached. The most important information is this:

Decorations should be worn in one horizontal row on the left side of the chest (over your heart), in or at the level of the buttonhole of the lapel. If you have more than one decoration, they should be worn so that they cover each other slightly with the rightmost decorations slightly over the leftmost. The decorations should be worn in this order from right to left:

1.  Dannebrogordenens Hæderstegn (The Grand Cross).
2. Ridderkorset af 1. grad/Ridderkorset af Dannebrogordenen (Knight 1. class/Knight).
3. Fortjenstmedaljen i Guld.
4. Medaljen Ingenio et Arti.
5. Fortjenstmedaljen i Sølv med spænde.
6. Sølvbryllupserindringsmedaljen.
7. Den kongelige Belønningsmedalje med inskription eller spænde.
8. Fortjenstmedaljen i Sølv.
9. Den Kongelige Belønningsmedalje.
10. Andre danske hæderstegn, medaljer m.m. i rækkefølge som anført i Hof- og Statskalenderen.

This whole decoration thing is why Claus went on a huge crafting binge to make his own decorations. He's new and he doesn't have any medals for service, but wanted to show some kind of Danish pride. Was it worth it? That's for another blog.

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6 Responses to “Dinner with the Queen, part 1”

  1. theDman:

    Whew! That's a lot of do's and don'ts.

    Kinda tough for this Hawaiian to get into that type of protocol.

    I take it using the bottom of your tshirt as a nose wiper is not looked upon too favorably?

    Hope it was fun...

    ...I would have been standing way in the corner...

  2. hawaiiobsessed:

    very cool! Looking forward to the rest of the story!

  3. kuunakanaka:

    aloha Diane:
    it seems like a lot, but it'll b natural b4 ur third time.

  4. zzzzzz:

    Aren't you going to take Olivia to Denmark from time to time to see Claus' family there, and for her to see where her dad grew up?

  5. Rosette:

    yes send in double for me .. all that do and don't I forget what to do...omg! CLAUS can craft that funny!

  6. Mary:

    Loved hearing about Denmark....many many years ago I was an exchange student to a tiny island in Denmark called Feju and lived with a doctor's family. They had an apple orchard and an old windmill as well as two horses that were their lawn mowers (they would tether the horses in the yard and let them eat the grass). Living there helped prepare me to live on an island later in my life. Definitely take your daughter!

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