The day of celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the Queen of Denmark ended with a wonderful surprise for Margrethe II. His two children, his two daughters-in-law and his eight grandchildren had reserved a surprise gala dinner for him at Christian VII Palace in Amalienborg. For the occasion, the precious Flora Danica service was set up on the table.
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Two children, two daughters-in-law and eight grandchildren surprise Margrethe II
A gala dinner welcoming high dignitaries from the Kingdom of Denmark and royal guests from all over Europe was normally planned to celebrate the 50 years of reign of Queen Margrethe II. This gala dinner, as well as many other festivities such as a balcony appearance, inaugurations and a carriage parade in Copenhagen, have been canceled and are normally postponed to September 2022, due to the health crisis.
As a consolation, the children and grandchildren of Queen Margrethe II secretly organized a more modest gala dinner, at least in terms of the number of guests. Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary were present with their four children: Prince Christian, Princess Isabella and the twins who celebrated their 11th birthday a few days ago, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine.
Prince Joachim and Princess Marie have specially returned from France with their two children: Prince Henrik and Princess Athena. As for Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, the eldest sons of Prince Joachim, from his first marriage, they could not miss this dinner in honor of their grandmother to whom they are so close.
Finally, Princess Benedikte, sister of Margrethe II, sat next to her nephew and, like all the other members of the family, wore the commemorative Golden Jubilee medal received earlier in the day. All Court employees also received this decoration and wore it proudly during service. Only Queen Anne-Marie of Greece, the second sister of Margrethe II was missing, unable to travel to Denmark following the coronavirus infection of her husband, King Constantine II.
The dinner was held at Christian VII Palace, one of four buildings that make up the royal complex of Amalienborg in Copenhagen. The queen lives in the Christian IX palace and the heiress family in the Frederick VIII palace, this mansion, also called Moltke palace, is usually used for receptions and to welcome guests.
Queen Margrethe II was invited to parliament in the morning, then she went with her family to the tomb of her parents, King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid, next to Roskilde Cathedral. The field was therefore free in Copenhagen to set a beautiful table without her noticing. By observing the menus and the boxes placed on the table, we see that they are accompanied by the monogram of the heir couple, which indicates that Frederik and Mary are officially the organizers of the evening.
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Flora Danica service is used for the first time in more than 30 years
Denmark’s most expensive service was used for the occasion. The Flora Danica service had been carefully stored in cupboards (and displayed behind display cases) since 1990. It had been used that year during the gala organized for Queen Ingrid’s 80th birthday. It could have been used for Queen Margrethe II’s 80th birthday gala dinner, scheduled for April 2020 with European royal guests, but it too was canceled in the midst of the first wave of the health crisis.
The Flora Danica service was created at the end of the 18th century by the Royal Porcelain Factory in Copenhagen. Plants and flowers typical of Denmark have been painted by hand and life-size on the pieces of this service. The name Flora Danica, which means “Danish flowers” in Latin, refers to the title of the book of the same name which lists all the flowers in the country.
According to the Danish Court, the service was commissioned by King Christian VII who wanted to give it as a gift to Empress Catherine II of Russia. Catherine II died in 1796, even before the dishes were finished. The Danish king then continued its production but kept the dishes for his family. The service included 1800 pieces and there are still 1500 pieces. When the service is not used at the table, some of the items are displayed behind display cases in the parts of the Christian VII palace open to the public or to guests. We also notice the shimmering white tablecloth which reveals the design of the elephant attached to its tower, reminiscent of the symbols of the Order of the Elephant.