ArticleChanging of the Guard
High places have always drawn attention and piqued curiosity. Personalities like Christian IV and Christian X ensured that in Denmark those attention and curiosity would remain warm and friendly. In other countries, including England, the relationship between the Crown and its subjects has over centuries been more complex (and often - rather formal). One might say the English and Danish monarchies have different auras - and that difference is easiest to feel on a huge square in front of Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen - the home of the Danish royal family - where a ceremony known as "the changing of the guards" takes place on any given day at noon sharp. All you need is a couple of Englishmen waiting for the ceremony next to you and recalling details of a similar event held at Buckingham Palace in London.
The London show is a magnificent pageant featuring 300 mounted guards and the Royal Regiment wearing traditional red uniforms and bearskins, and marching to military-band timpani. No wonder that the pageant attracts quite a few locals, let alone multitudes of tourists. Danish guards also have bearskins - completely unique pitch-black ones custom-ordered in Canada where the population of bears in question is so limited that hunting them is strictly state-licensed. Actually, the bearskins is the one and only feature the two ceremonies have in common. Crashing waves and screaming seagulls replace the timpani; a couple of policewomen, politely reminding the spectators not to block the guards' path, come instead of the horse guard. Quite likely, those policewomen are the only Danes on the square otherwise attended by a handful - a far cry from those multitudes in London - tourists. As for the most lasting (and even somewhat troubling) impression produced by the ceremony, it's a weird discrepancy between the guards' baby faces and their gigantic size. All my attempts to solve that riddle remained unsuccessful...