The Palace in Denmark has announced that His Royal Highness the Prince Consort Henrik of Denmark will visit Solvang on Saturday, June 11, 2011. He will help celebrate the city’s Centennial as well as re-affirm the historic, cultural, and business ties between Denmark and the “Danish Capital of America.” Accompanying him will be Peter Taksoe-Jensen, Denmark’s Ambassador to the United States, and Torsten Jansen, Minister Counselor Culture and Public Diplomacy at the Royal Danish Embassy in Washington, DC.
Residents and visitors alike are eager to welcome Prince Henrik to Solvang and to meet the Danish dignitaries. “We are honored to have the Prince Consort come to Solvang,” says Esther Jacobsen Bates, Executive Director of the Elverhøj Museum of History & Art. “His visit will be a highlight of the Centennial year. We also have the pleasure of hosting His Royal Highness on his June 11 birthday. We want to celebrate both occasions in grand style!” Specific events being held during the Royal visit will be announced in the coming weeks.
The visit is the culmination of years of dedicated efforts between the Royal Danish Embassy and Bates. Local arrangements are being coordinated by the all-volunteer Solvang Centennial Committee, the City of Solvang, the Elverhøj Museum and the Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau. Ed Skytt, chairman of the Centennial Committee, calls the Royal visit, “An honor to the City of Solvang and to all Danes and Danish-Americans, many of whom have contributed greatly to the United States and to international goodwill.”
Past royal visits have been marked by community celebration and enthusiasm. In 1939, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Ingrid (later King Frederik IX of Denmark and Queen Ingrid, 1947-1972) came to Solvang. They attended a Good Friday service at Bethania Church, visited Atterdag College, and were honored at a reception at the Veterans Memorial Building. Young Princess Margrethe visited Solvang in 1960. She attended a reception at Palacio del Rio, had lunch at Bethania Church, and later toured downtown Solvang. In 1976, she returned as Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, accompanied by her husband HRH Prince Consort Henrik.
HRH the Prince Consort was born Henri Marie Jean André Count de Laborde de Monpezat on June 11, 1934 in Talence, Gironde, France. On June 10, 1967, he married the Heir Apparent to the Danish throne, Princess Margrethe. The couple has two children: HRH Crown Prince Frederik André Henrik Christian, born May 26, 1968, and HRH Prince Joachim Holger Waldemar Christian, born June 7, 1969. There are numerous grandchildren.
The Prince Consort studied law and political science at the Sorbonne, Paris, and Chinese and Vietnamese at École Nationale des Langues Orientales, with further language study in Hong Kong and Saigon. He has had a background in the French diplomatic service and holds the honorary rank of General and Admiral in the Danish Defense. He is interested in viticulture and operates the wine estate Château de Caïx, in Cahors, France.
Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II and His Royal Highness the Prince Consort will visit Washington, DC and New York City from June 6 through June 10. Prince Henrik will then continue on his own to Solvang, and then visit Stanford University and the Danish Innovation Center in Palo Alto, California before returning to Denmark.