Danish mayor complains at flag-free royal palace

A Danish mayor is to complain at the lack of flagpoles at Fredensborg palace, the royal family's autumn retreat, which makes it impossible to fly the beloved Dannebrog.

Danish mayor complains at flag-free royal palace
The Danish flag has never been hoisted at Fredensborg Palace. Photo: Royal Court
Patriotic Danes can frequently be seen forlornly scanning the grounds and battlements of the 18th century palace for a glimpse of the flag, but in vain. 
Unlike Denmark’s other royal residences, such as the Schackenborg Castle, the Amalienborg Palace, and Gråsten Palace, no flag has ever been flown there.
Thomas Lykke Pedersen, the mayor of Fredensborg municipality, said he understood local concerns about the lack of flags .
“I have have respect for the Royal Court’s decisions, but this is something I will raise with the palace’s representatives next time I meet with them,” he told the local Helsingør Dagblad newspaper. 
Thomas Elgaard Larsen, the deputy mayor of Fredensborg municipality, is leading the campaign to bring flags to the palace. 
“I believe it is fitting that the world's most beautiful flag should also be hoisted on the royal residence,” he told the paper. “We should raise the Danish flag as often as possible, so I will ask the palace’s representatives for an explanation of why this is not the case at Fredensborg.” 
In a statement given to Denmark’s TV2 broadcaster, The Royal Court asserted that there was no tradition of flag-raising at the palace. 
“No flagpole exists at Fredensborg Palace and there has never been a tradition of raising flags during the Queen's residence at the palace, or at any other occasions,” it said. 


Denmark’s Dannebrog flag ‘fell from sky’ 800 years ago today

It was 800 years ago this Saturday that a banner sporting a white cross fell miraculously from the sky as Danish crusaders were losing a fierce battle against pagan Estonian tribes.

Denmark's Dannebrog flag 'fell from sky' 800 years ago today
Denmark's Dannebrog flag fell from the sky as Valdemar I (centre with sword) was losing a battle against Estonian flags in 1219. Photo: Christian August Lorentzen/Statens Museum for Kunst
When Denmark's King Valdemar I seized the banner and held it high, his troops were filled with renewed valour and went on to vanquish the Estonian defenders.
This helped them establish Danish Estonia around the fortress of Taani-linn, or Tallinn, which literally means “Danish castle”. 
This story of the 'Dannebrog', Denmark's beloved national flag, may not be fully backed up by the historical evidence.
But as Torben Kjersgaard Nielsen, Associate Professor in Medieval History at Aalborg University, points out, that's hardly the point. 
“We don't talk about whether it's true or not,” Kjersgaard Nielsen, author of the book Dannebrog, told Denmark's Ritzau newswire.”We talk about whether it's a good story, and that it brings a mystical and divine element.” 
As part of the celebrations on Saturday, a parachutist recreated the historic scene, bringing a Dannebrog slowly to the ground. 
The Dannebrog being brought once again from the sky on Saturday. Photo: Keld Navntoft / Ritzau Scanpix 
Denmark's Queen Margrethe II is sailing to Estonia on the royal yacht 'Dannebrog', where she will take part in joint celebrations over the founding of Tallinn, which also shares its 800th anniversary on Saturday. 
Queen Margrethe will sail to Tallinn on the Dannebrog yacht. Photo: Keld Navntoft / Ritzau Scanpix 
The flag began as a royal symbol and trading banner, then became regimental flag in the Danish army in the 18th Century. It only started to be seen as representing the entire nation in the first half of the 19th century. 
Kjersgaard Nielsen said that Danes' use of the flag for birthdays and other celebrations was mostly about creating a sense of occasion. 
“We are not thinking especially nationalistically when we put the birthday flag in a home-made cake or when young people come back from a backpacking holiday,” he said. 
“But we probably are thinking politically when we for example see political parties using the flag as part of their communications.”  
Back in 2016, there was a dispute over politicisation of the symbol when Pia Kjærsgaard, the Speaker of Denmark's parliament, who represents the Danish People's Party, wanted to have a three-meter Dannebrog hung behind her chair. 
Christian Juhl, from the Red Green Alliance, complained that this was “close to an abuse of power by the Speaker”, and succeeded in having the size of the flag dramatically reduced.