I am not a big fan of war. Nevertheless, I still find it worth a huge amount of respect that generations of young men (and women) risk their lives to fight for a cause they believe in. To a soldier nothing is stronger than their fellowship, and that probably explains the strong enthusiasm I witnessed at this weekend’s celebration of the 350-year-old fortification Kastellet in Copenhagen East.
Home Guard was all dressed up for party, and their Drummer Corps welcomed the guests with current tunes from 1864: “Dengang jeg drog afsted …” (“The Brave Soldier”).
Nevertheless, security is always first in the army. That is why audience with bicycles, dogs and pushchairs were gently pushed aside to make room for a certain guest of honour. Note that this security officer has got the greatest job of all; to make sure the Danish flag is visible among the audience.
Who is this certain guest of honour who wants to help the crowd celebrate the 350 years at Kastellet? I will give you a hint – she is a very special lady, and she likes to drive a car like this:
That’s right. Her Royal Highness, Queen Margrethe II joined the party. Lovely as always she took har time to great the people after she entered the small building, which is housing Kastellet’s Historical Collection. She had a busy schedule, though. So she drove along Kastellet’s area in a car with a little less comfort than her usual car … but still great, right?
No army without a parade. The Guard Hussar Regime is no exception – and that day the Trumpet Corps delivered the show. On horseback, of course. I cannot help being impressed by all the hard work they must have put into the art of playing a trumpet and handling a horse at the same time … and even let the horses do synchronized tricks to the sound of the drummer in the middle. WAAAUUH!
Speaking of music …
Kastellet’s very own choir raised their beautiful voices inside the Kastel-church. Since this was a happy day, the tracklist was all joyful. I listened to classics like “Mandalay” and “Alle går rundt og forelsker sig” (“Everyone falls in love”). Amazing what a sound the room of a church (as small it is) can create.
Still, soldiers are soldiers for one reason; war. That is why it suddenly looked like a battlefield outside.
We were back in 1807-1814. The Danish-Norwegian alliance has been a thorn in the side of the Brits for a long time. A few years earlier Lord Nelson took down the Danish Navy, but the United Kingdom in West still feared a Danish reunion with France. Therefore, they had to act.
As the British soldiers load the cannon for shooting, the United Kingdom’s army lines up for attack at the Danes, a bit scary … Note the Union Jack-flag, which was just designed the previous year.
As the drummers played “Scottish Highland” (from the original music notes), the British troops moved forward. They fired the cannons with fire and BANG!
But the brave Danish soldiers fired back. In a cloud of smoke from the gun they fought for their country and their army, which they did not want to give up for the warlike Brits.
Sadly, as the story goes, the Danes were beaten off the field, Kastellet was occupied and the city of Copenhagen was bombed, until the British soldiers returned to their country with the Danish Navy.
Personally, I am happy that we share a much more warm neighbourliness with United Kingdom today. 🙂
Read more about the celebration of 350 years at Kastellet.