Thursday, April 9, 2009

Things are different when you have a queen!

Every day, just before 11:30 AM the Danish Royal Guard gathers in front of the Rosenborg Castle to begin their march through Copenhagen to Amalienborg Palace, where Queen Margrethe II lives. They look just like the tin soldiers of storybooks with tall black fur hats, pressed black jackets, blue pants, white gloves and fancy tassels on their swords. The procession is accompanied by music- at least flutes and drums, but an outright marching band on weekends- and is guarded by the city police. Apparently, it's hard to draw your ceremonial sword when you're playing the piccolo.

Once they arrive in the palace square at noon, there is an elaborate changing-of-the-guard ceremony to provide replacement guards for the royal residence for the next 24 hours. The now-retired group marches back to the palace by 1:00 to go off-duty. The whole process seems very quaint, bordering on silly, and straight out of history. But it is tradition and it was neat to see an age-old ceremony still being honored.

The one part of the Royal Guard's accoutrements that is not quaint is the automatic rifle they carry as they walk back and forth in front of the palace. They are all young men but they are very stone-faced and serious about their duties, even when crazy tourists stand beside them for photos (not us, of course). I'm not sure who would be out to harm Denmark's 70-year-old figurehead monarch but they are not taking any chances!

1 comment:

MOM said...

Ohhh...I loved this post. Long Live the Queen! The guards remind me of tin soldiers...Wonderful!