While Paris Fashion Week is in full swing with major VIPs gazing at stunning designs by some of the world’s most famous designers and another VIP is in town. His name: HRH Prince Henrik of Denmark.
So why is the Prince in town? Well, one thing is for sure, he’s not in lovely old gay Paris to attend the fashion shows. Nope, he’s in town to pimp his new autobiography that he co-wrote with Danish journalist, Stephanie Surrugue. This is the second time a book about the Prince’s life has been written (they last one was in 1995.) The current book entitled, Enegænger – Portræt Af en Prins, recalls the over-privilaged life of a gluttonous and otherwise self-entitled French born turned Danish Prince. I’m sure there is other important information within this latest book, but honestly I cannot imagine would Prince Henrik would want to share with the world this time.
So, you are still curious as what the contents within the book cover, no? Okay, here it is:
Descriptions of his very different childhood in Indochina and France, the son of a patriarchal father who consistently said to his children and also reluctantly allowed himself to say the opposite. A childhood so far away from the welfare state of Denmark, which you can almost get in Europe.
An aristocratic family with possessions in Indochina, as the young Henri dreamed of returning to what turned out to be an impossible dream. Instead, he sought a career in diplomacy and dreamed of becoming ambassador, not only to act on polished floors, but very little to represent France and be where war is declared. As he himself puts it in the book.
It was not sung by the young Henri de Monpezat cradle that he should be the figurehead of Lilliputian country, but whether it was love (as he himself says it) or ambition (as his father did in the beginning), so went that way, and he came here without following his father’s advice: “Henri, I advise you to clarify your position!”
The Language Problem. Henri e never quite done, and it was probably his destiny as it unfolds nicely over the sides. Excellent told, though the story is a bit bumpy for quite escape unscathed from a writer not to enter gobelinsalen.
It is as if language thickens into the mouths of people when they’re confused tripper into the salons and allowed to be part of honor, where princes ‘chuckles’ Krabasken ‘dancing’ on the children’s backs, and older married people ‘riposte laughing’ when arguing sociable.
One can hardly breathe in these very Fidele passages, but perhaps it is in reality a part of the royal house’s existence, it can get even young, free-growing staff of Hørup old newspaper to curtsy so deeply that it squeaks completely out of adjectives .
Almost 20 times we are told that the family Monpezat house in Hanoi was not just a house, but the ‘yellow ocher huge house,’ and that kind of flat journalist clichés tired a lot.
In return they work frequent genetic shifts fine, alternates between recounting, reportage, flashbacks, direct interview questions and personal reflections, when Stéphanie Surrugue just write something on the block, an idea, a note.
One of the things she writes on the block, the word rumors, and she is about to ask directly for all sorts of gossip about Henry’s sexual preferences. He understands where she will go and corresponding balanced and dignified, the price of being famous.
The Prince Consort also paid a different price for his life choices, we sense in the text. But it is too easy, as Surrugue that compare ‘Prince Consort’s immigrant history and the modern history of Denmark. “
“He has come to realize the same as all other immigrants. You have to speak Danish, and preferably without an accent. “
A cheap, politically correct point that pulls the book down, because it may well be that Henry embraces an Eskimo on the last pages as a celebration of a kind common destiny in Denmark, but the only thing Henri de Monpezat have in common with a Greenlandic artist or khatgnaskende Somali illiterate is that none of them are born in Hjørring.
A Frenchman in Denmark. Skepticism about Prince Henrik expressed better in a picture at the end of the (much) richly illustrated book. French and foreign in every way.
For it is Henrik fate that he is fundamentally French and precisely thereby fundamentally alien, not only at home (as the book seems to think) but many other places where the French viewed with skepticism. Think of John Kerry, who during the American presidential campaign had to hide that he mastered French, just not to lose the election completely and be hung out like unfolksy.
Henri is French of spirit and mind, and he has a keen eye for the significance of language for the whole thinking, he often refuses to speak English ‘not to feel colonized.’ That’s it.
That is precisely why the Danish-French Surrugue a good choice for a defensorat (for the book too) of the man who would probably be Danish, but not sacrificing his insistent French aesthetics, whether it’s language or cuisine, and as despite (or perhaps because of) his undeniable skill as a representative of Denmark at home and abroad remained a strange bird.
Custom and very golden cage, yes, but after all, one destiny. As he writes in one of his poems (gender by Per Aage Brandt):
‘Even a royal palace, with one thousand doors, wide wings, can be cramped and lacking space.’
Sorry for the crappy translation, but it’s been a hellva long day for me. Any way, if you happen to run across the book and feel like wasting 106 Danish Krones, well, then knock yourself out.
Source and photo courtesy of: Bog.guide.dk