Your Humble Servant – Royal Addresses from Christian VIII to Margrethe II

During the summer of 2016 you could see a small special exhibition of beautiful royal addresses in HM the Queen’s Reference Library at Christiansborg.
The Reference Library contains almost 200 royal addresses. A selection of them wass exhibited here, in order to show the different forms they can take. The exhibition was divided into 9 different themes, encompassing everything from messages of congratulation to marks of honour.

A royal address is an official address to a royal personage in a formal and distinguished form. They can be messages of congratulation, letters of thanks, deeds of gift, or notifications of honorary membership.
Royal addresses are often beautifully and ornately made. They therefore also make up a small collection of art treasures within the genres of bookbinding, calligraphy and decorative painting. They take, however, many different forms, as could be seen in this exhibition.

At the same time they are a relatively unknown expression of the position the Royal Family enjoys in society. The addresses may reflect that the Royal Family, as the common property of all Danes, functions as a rallying and identification point.

Messages of congratulation on weddings and golden wedding anniversaries
Weddings, silver wedding anniversaries, and birthdays are among the events which are most often cause for a number of greetings and tributes, as they have a broad appeal to the populace. When Christian X and Queen Alexandrine celebrated their silver wedding anniversary in 1923, messages of congratulation arrived from amongst others Danish composers, in the form of autograph sheet music.

Messages of congratulation on birthdays
One of the more splendid addresses in the Reference Library is the tribute to Christian IX’s Queen Louise on her 70th birthday, 7 September 1887. The address is from women from the peasantry, which is to say, from the better off farming class. The Queen is referred to first and foremost as an exemplary wife and mother, and thus also bears witness to the status the Queen had as a role model at a time when family life was characterised by very clear gender roles.

Honorary Memberships
The members of the Royal Family often receive honours of a more or less official character. One example is clubs and societies which choose to nominate a member of the Royal Family as an honorary member. King Christian X was amongst other things a member of Estländischer See-Yacht-Club (1925), and King Frederik IX was nominated an honorary member of the Institution of Naval Architects (1949).

Letters of thanks and other addresses
Royal addresses also take the form of letters of thanks, welcome addresses or simply ordinary enquiries. One example of a letter of thanks is from 1843, when the City of Hamburg’s senate expressed gratitude for help given during and after the Great Fire of 5-8 May 1842.

The special exhibition could be seen at Christiansborg Palace in the Royal Represeantation Rooms