Copenhagen: Danes in a flap over little Australian-born prince

Two nations have reacted with joy at the news that Australian-born Danish Crown Princess Mary has given birth to a baby boy. "It looks like a little baby" was the way an understated Crown Prince Frederik announced the news.

Twenty-one gun salutes and impromptu press conferences were just the formal part of the birth of a first-born son and future king of Denmark to Crown Prince Frederik and Australian-born Crown Princess Mary.

The Danish flag sprung up all over the capital, Copenhagen, and crowds of well-wishers thronged to both the hospital, where Mary Donaldson was recuperating, and to the main royal palace. At the palace, young and old queued at times for more than an hour to give little presents and drawings to the new prince and his parents.

The Danish media gave the event remarkable prominence, with the local TV2 running three Saturday night news bulletins devoted to the royal birth, along with a mention of the Iraqi referendum.

Crown Princess Mary, 33, remained in hospital tonight, with no firm indication when she will leave, perhaps tomorrow, Monday or later, with cameras cocked for the first glimpse of the little prince, born two weeks ahead of schedule.

Her father, John Donaldson, was on hand, proud like any grandfather, regardless of the knowledge his grandson will grow up to assume the throne of Europe's oldest reigning monarchy. Crown Prince Frederik was at the birth, at 1.57am local time at the Copenhagen University Hospital, cutting the umbilical cord, and shedding some tears, just as he did when he awaited Mary's arrival at the wedding altar in May last year. Tourists in the Danish capital will remember they were there on the day the future king was born, including one Aussie wandering the town in his Wallabies jersey. But it was not just Aussies and Danes smiling at the news. The little prince was 51 cm long and weighed 3.5 kg, the royal palace said. The royal couple has not announced his name, but it is likely to be Christian, in line with Danish tradition. Queen Margrethe, Crown Prince Frederik's mother, visited the couple and their child briefly, the Australian reports.


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