Pre-Christening: Mummy answers Freddles
Den 20. januar 2006
Cher darling Frederik,
I have received your recent, anxious letter. I do say, you indeed have quite a strong wife on your hands, much more stubborn than I originally guessed, but truly, darling, you must go deep, deep inside of yourself and find your inner royal Viking and start taking charge in your marriage and remind her of just who butters her rug-bread. We cannot allow her to actually prevail. It is one thing to lead her to pretend she has choices now that she’s in our family, but the dynasty must trump our little Scottish womb. I know you do your best, dear, but do try to remember your morfar King Frederik and how he was able to be the rock around which mormor Ingrid and your aunties and I rallied. He was a pillar of strength, finding comfort and respite in his many musical pursuits. Perhaps, darling, you should not have chosen to discontinue your piano lessons as a child. You did disappoint Papa and me with that decision. Cultural pursuits do bring such equilibrium to one’s life. We expected such a move from your brother, but from you, darling Frederik, we did expect so, so much more.
All that of course makes it more understandable why you may have felt that once I announced the engagement that you could actually pretend to love Mary until it actually really happened, but do know that it is your job to help and teach her, not the other way around. I am not dead yet, my darling boy. For all I know, one day the baby will come home when he’s grown and belch at the table or try to crush aluminium cans against his forehead, as you told us you witnessed once during one of your visits to Mary’s family in Australia. No doubt that grotesque behaviour eminated from the family felon; I do hope that ugly business has been resolved and swept under the rug. (Also, I’ve had assurances from the Royal Danish Secret Police and Investigatory Ministry that our jurisdiction does not extend to Tasmanian prosecutorial influence. Tant pis, as your father would say.) Remember, darling, we can only stretch Danish goodwill so far before the “gig is up” as Mary says and our glorious dynasty is, what other expression does she use, “kicked to the curb”. Whatever in the world that may mean although I suspect it predicts our demise. Well, she sorely misjudges the Danish appetite for our royal family. This country will never be republican, they enjoy the show and the bragging rights to our long historic line all too much! Keep Them Blinded by Glitter should have been my sub-motto.
Regarding the flowers, I will hold my breath and pray hard to our bountiful Lord that Kirsten will properly incorporate Mary’s wishes for flowers into a respectable and effective decoration for the church and reception hall. Blue flowers! Honestly, it is January and this is not my first rodeo. That is why I became a bit apprehensive when Mary forcefully interrupted my conversation with the florist. I am still in shock that you tell me she was quite unpleased with the kur gowns I so studiously designed for her. Do try and convey to her, Frederik, how much work I put into our presentation to the world. I understand that she seems to need to assert herself more and more, and in a brilliant stroke of insight, instead of fighting her, I decided that she really should just be allowed to choose her own flowers. The messages in them will be enough symbolism for people to see if, in fact, her little floral venture has been successful. Does she know the phrase, be careful what you wish for? Dearest Frederik, does she really not know that anemone = forsaken, larkspur = fickleness, iris = message, white rose = I am worthy, blue hyacinth = constancy, white hyacinth = I’ll pray for you, forget-me-nots = ditto, white tulips = fame & charity, and buttercup = ingratitude & desire for riches. Well! What a message that our dear girl feels forsaken to the extreme of constantly shouting fickle (and insecure) worthiness with a passive-aggressive promise to pray for us to not forget her while trumpeting her fame, ingratitude and desire for our riches. If only my original design for the christening were to proceed with imperial lilies for majesty, nasturtium sweetly representing patriotism and maternal love, heliotrope to remind Mary of faithfulness to one’s meal ticket, red camellias for excellence which I do wish she would start to strive for, flowering almond for the hope that I often feel is lost and a scattering of oleander since it means beware. Beware beloved Denmark, beware!
Thank you, darling, for at least being amenable regarding the menu. I’m proud of you. As food is not your wife’s forte, she really had no stocky leg to stand on, now did she? I shudder at your recollections of dining chez Donaldson on your visits to them in their natural habitat – no wonder you insisted upon cooking. Papa is so pleased and proud that you have ultimately excelled in one of his areas of interest; you do your French genes proud, darling. Don’t forget the Danish ones, now! At least on your extended tour Australia last year you were able to slip away with your sailing friends and eat in nice restaurants. Papa has heard through his culinary connections that there are actually quite clean and decent ones in that country with actual vegetables and that it’s not all bangers and mashed grub worms swimming in lard with a side of red dirt. I do always have to phone Charles to tease him whenever he pays a visit there – oh, the things those rough outback types make him swallow! It always makes me think of Mary’s little friend Annie and her romantic life. Anyway, it does make one wonder since Mary used to look so cute and healthy even if her clothing did resemble sausage casing? But the entertaining rituals that the Donaldsons employ are quite strange. Do people really fill garbage cans up with beer and ice? Isn’t that completely unsanitary? Why would a reputable caterer do such a thing, and how does the staff distribute to the guests? Honestly, sometimes I am so happy and grateful that the Good Lord blessed me with the honourable burden of being born a royal, a Dane, and a national symbol. There is nothing like living in the safe, white cocoon of beautiful privilege and complete absence of vulgarity, well, at least until your wedding came along. No wonder your Mary chose to purify, bleach, and emaciate herself once out of her former, vile living conditions, and it explains her initial kindness to us. She really did need rescuing, though I dare say her confidante Aimee would have been a much more deserving candidate for our sympathy and makeover money. You two do seem to get along so well.
I agree, of course, that Mary must make sure the baby is getting his proper nutrients, even if, heaven forfend, those Donaldson genes would prevail in the end. In fact, perhaps with proper nutrition, the Donaldson genes will not be so bad. Now that the family is out of Scotland and living in an era of health-consciousness we have less to worry about. Interesting, is it not, that those sisters clearly prioritize gym attendance and look what is has wrought to their bodies. Since the baby is a boy, this has more appropriate implications. I do hope to be blessed one day by a grand-daughter, but I shall have to hope that she is delivered to a future spouse of Joachim’s, since he seems to have a preference for slight, feminine creatures. Much more suitable. (I received such a strange email the other day from your American geneticist. He called later to assure me that it could have been worse, and that the baby would ordinarily have been a girl since you, darling, provided the X chromosome. In other words, if you spurt out a Y with the next child, we will be making medical history, to say the least.) We must, however, be sure to separate Joachim from Mary’s dear Angie during the christening. Benedikte, too, is quite worried and nervous about this girl’s proximity to Gustav, as is Anne-Marie to Nikolas. It’s bad enough that she got mixed up with that Hessen boy, she doesn’t need to be the knobby-kneed seed-catcher to our little family. We’ll have to make sure that we plant plenty of sturdy blond waiters and stable boys and guards near here. That should surely distract her and keep her busy. I’ve instructed Ove to seat her at the table nearest the far corner by the kitchen entry, behind the oleander, as a message to all to tread carefully. Is it possible to require a physical exam of her before she enters Christiansborg and starts eating off our plates and leaving her DNA on the silver? I’ll phone the Australian Ambassador again, he is most amenable in his efforts to ensure me that there are many and better specimens of Australian womanhood. He showed me photos and offered university and professional statistics to back up his argument. Yet, I’ve met quite a few of Mary’s gang in the last couple of years and all I have to say is that I’ll be the judge of that!
Thank you again, of course, dear, for remembering the importance of the character of the baby’s sponsors and not choosing Annette. I know Mary wanted her to take part in the religious upbringing of the baby, but as we are God-fearing, humble Lutherans and she is a husband-grabbing, fame-whore, harsh-faced walking petrie dish and Church of England reject, it really was quite clear that Allison’s influence would not be exactly desirable. I am pleased that you want to honor both aunties Benedikte and Anne-Marie by choosing one of their children each. Gustav and Pavlos are such good boys, even if they have trouble choosing suitable wives, too. Perhaps since you’ve asked Jane Donaldson to be godmother that you might gently suggest to Mary that they have a nice girl’s day at a salon and try for a softer, more feminine look. We don’t want to confuse the reporters into thinking that she is a godfather. She is such a nice girl, though, I do not understand why her father and step-mother are upset about including her as a sponsor and not them. Is Susan still upset that I will not again call the jeweler to lend her something proper and dignified for the christening like I did for the wedding? Have they not been appeased enough with the wonderful, I suppose, work opportunities at the university? Isn’t it bad enough that I’m still having nightmares after sitting across from John and his open kilt at the wedding? Why did they call me a fair dinkum arsehole, and what, pray tell, does that even mean? I will assume for the time being that it means “we are ever so grateful to Your Majesty for the generosity you have shown our sorry, undeserving family and we humbly implore you to accept our thanks and goodwill.” Shudder.
I am pleased, of course, to hear that Mary is taking very good care of her skin now. I am still hearing the sarcastic jokes echo about the addition of her makeover to the wedding costs from the Prime Minister’s office. I believe the Royal Treasury had to sell quite a few bonds just so that our little Tasmanian devil could attempt to roll back the clock on her looks. I had Ove just send them a photograph of her sisters as justification of the costs. Not surprisingly, I never heard another complaint. As shocking as it was to discover that a young woman of her age from such a sunny country had never heard of sunscreen, it is at least reassuring that now that she is armed with the proper knowledge about skin care, she can be careful not to take on the shade of her little barnacle friend Agnes.
See you tomorrow, darling. Do promise me, Frederik, that the names you and your wife have chosen for the baby will do the family proud. Our family, darling. Ours. I’ve been honouring your request for secrecy, please don’t disappoint me and Papa. I’m not anxious to go back on the valium drip until I’m sure that everything will proceed well tomorrow. Also, dear, I’ve just instructed the staff to have some jewels sent over to Mary for her to choose something, of course, only if she sees anything she likes. She should have something new to wear because of the baby. Tell her to please not to share with her friends and family. They are not the contents of a piñata, splayed out for all and sundry to just grab up and do with what they please. Please stress this especially to Susan and Abby. I was very uncomfortable with the way Mary and hers were looking at me during the wedding as if they hadn’t eaten in three days and my jewels were ham sandwiches. That’s hardly the way I responded to her father’s jewels that same day!
Darling, I’m afraid that my next craft project after your tissue holder is finished is a nice cross stitch cummerbund with dancing penguins for Papa. He’s been hinting for one for quite a while now. But you do have a point about little Sverre. I’ve written to Sonja to tell her just how happy I am for her that he is such a handsome and healthy boy, trying not to let my disappointment in my own grandson come through. I’m grateful that she is understanding and does not allow me to feel too much pity about the baby.
Your loving and devoted,