Sunday, August 25, 2019

A Royal Gaffe and King’s Displeasure

Danish King Christian IX – Christian IX was the King of Denmark from 1862 until his death in 1906. Wed to his second cousin, Princess Louise of Hesse-Kassel, he was nicknamed “the father-in-law of Europe” after their six children married into other royal families across the continent. His reign was marred by political disputes early on, making him tremendously unpopular with his subjects. However, toward the end of his 44 year reign he was viewed in a much more popular light, giving him an iconic status by the time of his death.

From ‘The Gossip’ the following story is told of a visit by Captain Alexander Murray, of the American Navy, to the King of Denmark: The King remarked to his guests that this was a residence he had owned while a private gentleman, and he was sure they would appreciate his receiving them there as a higher compliment and a greater sense of his friendship for their country than if he had treated them with more ceremony. This country house was built of white marble, with French windows opening upon a verdant lawn, and in size and appointment not much superior to the country residence of some of our merchant princes. 

After the preliminary course had been dispatched, his Majesty filled an immense goblet and, with a grand sweep of his arm, designed as a signal to the band stationed on the lawn in full view of the windows, he proposed, “The United States of America!” Crash went the instruments, but to the horror of all present, instead of pouring forth, as had been intended, one of Columbia’snational airs, they struck up a ponderous melody of “Scandinavia.” The King said “never a word,” but putting down his glass he strode through the open window on to the lawn, and seised the bandmaster by the collar, kicked him around the inclosure several times, and dismissing him at last with a rigorous shake, walked quietly back to his seat. 

As may be supposed, a sudden silence toll upon the assembled company, the code of etiquette furnishing no rule or precedent whereby guests might guide themselves when royal hosts kicked their band-masters. Our worthy representatives relied upon a state of masterly inactivity, and fortunately the delinquent leader soon scrambled to his place and gave them a full blast of Democratic harmony. – Sacramento Daily Union, 1871

Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Editor for the Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia

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