That’s Prince Frederik André Hendrik Christian, Crown Prince of Denmark. We had dinner together last night – well me, James and 450 of his other ‘close friends’…
The occasion was the Masters Games Gala Ball, the black-tie centrepiece social event of the Masters Games. These Games are not getting much coverage in the media (apart from ABC 702, of course!), which is remarkable because it has three times as many competitors as the Sydney Olympics. Open to anyone over 30 who wishes to compete, it’s a very social event with the goal of promoting fun and fitness at every stage of life. It’s brought thousands of visitors to Sydney – I’ve even seen them walking down the mall in Cronulla – and in its own way it’s like a miniature re-run of Sydney 2000. Quite a few scathing comments were passed about Channel 9, which is the television media partner of the Games – though you’d never know it from their lack of coverage.
Though he had no official role at all, Prince Frederik was definitely the star of the show. He has become quite a celebrity in Australia after marrying Mary Donalsdon of Tasmania, whom he met at the Slipp Inn during the Sydney Olympics. He and Mary are staple fodder for the trash mags these days: every whisper, appearance and birth is covered in painful detail, which goes a long way to explaining why he was such a popular guy last night. Plus he’s dead sexy – 95% of the attention he received last night was from swooning women…
We were seated at an adjacent table so had a clear and close view of him, and he certainly appeared relaxed and happy. One of the people at our table was a prominent Danish businessman who has met him several times, and he said that he is a lovely down-to-earth guy, very friendly, intelligent and well-loved by Danes. Mary was back in Denmark with the kids, and on this night he was accompanied by a raven-haired vixen who was very intent on dominating his attention. We called her Cougar.
But the attention he received from other guests was very pressing, too. He was mostly left alone until just after the mains, when a veritable queue of women formed seeking his photo. I overheard Rachel, a soccer player from Bunbury, later talking about it on the phone to a friend. Her side of the conversation went something like this:
“I just had my photo taken with Prince Frederik!”
“No, he wasn’t very happy about it at all.”
“I went up to him early and asked, and he said not then maybe later. So during the mains I went up again and he said it’s too soon, so I asked him when? He ummed and ahhed, and then decided to do it then. I think he wanted me to go away. But I got the photo!”
When Fred went off the to bathrooms for a slash, two of the husbands at our table were quickly despatched after him in the hope they could stand next to him and get a peek at the royal appendage. Poor bastard, he can’t even take a piss in private. He and his party left soon after the main course.
It was a great night, and we were fortunate to have nice and interesting people at our table. And the venue, Doltone House at Jones Bay Wharf, was superb. James was scoping it out for a work function he is organising soon, and was also very impressed. Very classy food and top notch wines from Phillip Shaw, top service from all staff, and an outdoor deck running the entire length with outstanding views of the Harbour Bridge. No wonder it’s popular for (expensive) weddings.