Danish royals grace Kremlin

Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, along with her royal husband and son, has stepped on to Russian soil 36 years after her first ever visit to the country. President Dmitry Medvedev has welcomed the esteemed guests in the Kremlin.

­An official ceremony to welcome Margrethe II, her consort Prince Henrik and Crown Prince of Denmark Frederik Andre Henrik Christian was held in the splendid Kremlin halls on Tuesday afternoon. After the welcoming ceremony, Queen Margrethe and President Medvedev held a closed door meeting.

The high delegation arrived in St. Petersburg by the royal yacht Dannebrog early on Tuesday morning. The queen’s official visit to Russia will last till September 9. During her visit, the Danish queen is expected to shake hands with Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the steering committees of the Russian parliament and other top officials. The Queen will also pay visits to a number of major Danish companies headquartered in Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The Kremlin says that “considerable attention will be paid to issues in trade and investment co-operation” between the countries. For that reason, over a hundred Danish business figures have arrived along with the royal family.

Queen Margrethe also hopes the visit “will help to build bilateral relations,” but above that the Queen wishes to make a personal acquaintance with the country, which is now known to her only “by secondhand reports,” as she told Itar Tass news agency. The queen is eager to see how the country has changed in these years, as her previous visit to Russia dates back to 1975, when the country was still part of the USSR.

“We are looking forward to following the steps of Russian Empress Maria Fyodorovna, who we know under the name of Dagmar,” says Queen Margrethe. “She was a great-aunt to my father, who used to know her well. After the revolution, she escaped to Denmark and lived there till the end of her days. My father used to tell me a lot about her, so for me she is not just a historical personality.

­Princess Dagmar of Denmark (1847-1928) was, as Empress Maria Fyodorovna, the wife of Tsar Alexander III and mother of the last tsar, Nicholas II.