Danes under lockdown sing for Queen’s 80th birthday

Copenhagen, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- From their balconies, parks, patios and living rooms, maintaining social distancing and avoiding crowds, thousands of Danes sang happy birthday to Queen Margaret II to mark her 80th birthday on Thursday.

Margaret’s birthday is usually a popular celebration, the climax of which is her appearance on her balcony at noon to greet the crowds gathering outside the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen.

But the coronavirus has meant that this year the celebrations were held online, as a social media initiative was launched to compensate for the cancellation of the traditional ceremony.

The pandemic also forced the Royal House to cancel a special program including exhibitions, concerts, a gala dinner with other European royals and also a carriage tour through the capital.

To keep the tradition alive amid the shutdown, a graphic designer from Copenhagen, Kim Bruhn, created a Facebook group to encourage his compatriots to sing happy birthday to the monarch.

“I thought it was a shame that such an important day could not be celebrated. I spoke with some friends about creating a group and spread the idea. On that day, at midnight, 50,000 people had signed up,” Bruhn tells EFE.

Although he acknowledges he is not particularly royalist, he confessed to being in favour of the monarchy, which is supported by 80% of the population.

With the help of a well-known association that promotes collective singing, the initiative quickly grew in popularity, with more than 180,000 people joining the group, while 50 organizations and companies have given their support and public broadcaster DR aired a special TV program.

Members of the Copenhagen Philharmonic and a choir of adults and children performed -each from their homes- four songs chosen by popular vote.

Thousands of people from all over the country joined the songs and many published their contributions on social media.

“Thanks for the song. It went straight to the heart,” said Queen Margaret in an interview with DR.

She also received more birthday messages later on the day, as Margaret’s eight grandchildren joined the popular initiative and recorded a special birthday message, while the main European Royal Houses also sent a greeting video.

The Danish Royal House released some of the most emblematic portraits of the queen and three photos with her eldest son, Federico, and his first born son, Christian to mark the occasion. EFE-EPA


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