Last Saturday, Danish journalist Trine Larsen met with Prince Joachim in Paris to discuss life in Paris and his successful documentary series about Denmark’s history. I bought the magazine so you can read the main quotes of the interview. Read more below.
Note: I couldn’t translate the entire interview word for word because of copyright issues and because of my current health issues but I translated all of his quotes below. Screenshots are from the copy I bought of the magazine.
The interview took place last Saturday when Princess Marie was in Denmark for work. Thus, Prince Joachim explains that he doesn’t have much time has he is a “single father” for the weekend. He also says that he only has Saturday afternoons and Sundays off so when he and Princess Marie have engagements, they make sure it’s during the week as much as possible so they can spend the weekend with their children.
About his training at the Ecole Militaire (lessons begin at 9am and usually end at 6pm, there are 30 officers selected for the training and only 5 are foreigners)
We’re dressed in uniform. [He smiles] For safety reasons we must not wear our uniform in public to and from work. So we have to switch to civilian when we leave the gate. I am even among the elders, so I am glad to “get up early” and pointed ear. But it is very, very exciting and I welcome the challenge, although it is time-consuming and with lots of home work.
About Prince Henrik and Princess Athena adjusting to their new life in Paris:
They really bloomed … they think it’s sweet, exciting and educational. It’s going really well.
About taking part in a project for TV:
The dream of making television is an old dream. For a while, I walked a bit like the cat around the hot porridge, and two years ago, I said to Anna von Lowzow: “I really want to make some television about history. And Anna said,” Well, finally you ask! “And So it was time to do it.
About being called “the history teacher we all should have had” online after the episodes aired:
It’s very sweet to say..really, but I’ve just always been fascinated by history.
Was he interested by history because he had good history teachers or because his family had an impact on the history?
I think maybe both. I can’t say if it’s the chicken or the egg here. For I have had exciting history teachers in school; all the way back from when I was quite small. And it helps to make history a profession that you look forward to. And then I have had history around both ears during daily life. Both through the addresses I have lived at, but not least through my parents. They have then added a seemingly inexhaustible knowledge of various historical topics, and I have always been able to address them as I grew older and had some curiosity to ask.
I’ve always been able to ask how could it be or something like that, and then either my father or my mother could tell: “Look here, it is so and so together. ” And because it all comes together, then suddenly being able to weave a picture of how a given thing came about and what consequences it had , for all of us, right now. But also maybe how it ties together geographically, historically, nationally, internationally, culturally, and so on. That is, how things that we do not think so much about in everyday life are related. That, to me, is at the heart of history. To share the whole is connected. And that is why we became who we are. And that is why others have become who they are. After all, there is so much identity in history. And when I say identity, I mean self-understanding. Both the personal, but for that matter also the social. It was very important to me to get it out.
When the journalist praised him for how good the documentary turned out, Prince Joachim doesn’t seem very comfortable
Yes, but you don’t know that in advance. I did it because I thought it was exciting. Fortunately, I have had a dream team from Nordisk Film for everything from thought process to completion. It has been a huge process. To just suddenly get into that industry and experience how it is connected. You do not just get straight into doing this.
About being praised for being a natural in front of the camera and being a strong communicator by critics online:
Well, well … hey, that’s great. Both for me and for the television production we made sure that I did not appear out of place
About the documentary being a success (the journalist notes that while he looks happy about the success, he still made sure to praise the TV crew behind the camera)
But I also think it has been fun. The fun must also drive the work. If it doesn’t come from within, then it will come through at some point. It is a mixture of the fact that it is well organized and that I do not just speak out of a tangent and that someone holds me back when I talk too much [He smiles]
About being part of the entire process:
There have been one or two recordings I haven’t been to. It may have been a drone recording over Copenhagen at evening time, which I couldn’t take part in anyway. Everything else I have been involved in, and I do not know how many hours we have cut. But we have spent about seven days recording per episode. That is the reality, and unfortunately, we have cut off very much.
About people saying that the episodes should have been longer:
I know [ He laughs] I can only say thank you for saying so. But now we must not sell the skin until the bear is caught. When one and a half year ago, this idea stumbled upon the broadcasters and they had to figure out who was going to air it, they did not go out and say “Hey, we have six times an hour!” They would get really tired and say, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” [He laughs]
Prince Joachim describes television work as a huge journey that has been fun and educational and professionally an amazing experience.
About people being surprised to see him shop in supermarket in one of the episode. Does he shop there often?
I actually do, of course I do. I definitely shop in supermarkets, so it was not an “aha” experience or a preliminary experience for me.
About it being unusual for a royal to hug former inmates or to take selfies with people in the supermarket:
Haha no, maybe not [He laughs] Of course, it is true that it may seem surprising to many who do not know me and our everyday lives, and this is strange to read about the following. But what I have been most excited about reading is the professional and factual criticism. Because that’s what I need as a starting point.
Prince Joachim also said that he has lived in Schackenborg, among other things, and had an ordinary life that despite titles and provenance is very similar to many other Danes’ lives.
About giving another image of himself to the Danes with the documentary (as in, he seemed less arrogant):
It makes me happy. It does. We are all who we are. Wherever we go on the streets and alleys, there is a little bit of spectacle in everything we do in our appearance. Since Adam was tempted by Eve to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, we became aware that we were careful. Then we became vain and put a fig leaf on it. In other words … the vanity we exhibit is part of our daily plays as human beings. That is why we are not all dressed in Mao uniform but choose the clothes we want to wear. [He laughs] Then just through the years, I have become the stubborn, dusty and arrogant person. Yes, that’s obvious.
About being affected by this image:
Yes! Yes [He answers quietly] I can also see somewhere between the lines that some of the feedback that has been on the documentary suggests that it was a media stunt. But then I just have to say that this is precisely the proof that someone has not wanted to know me in any other way.
Is there a “public Joachim” and a “private Joachim”? ( He interrupts to say that there is probably more than two sides of Joachim)
It’s probably true that there is. Let’s just stick to: there are at least two that are really seen. But we all have our own sphere and have to be on. And if you are a person in the public spotlight, you make a lot of extra effort to keep the private sphere completely to yourself. It should not be a spectacle and it is not. I have also “opened up” in the documentary and used myself. But I am also very clear that what makes a good experience is that the one who gives the good experience gives of himself.
Similarly, for example, with the TV medium to the highest degree, if you hit past the target, then you really hit past. And if you are someone like me, then you are “done”. Because then no one is just saying, “Well, that didn’t work that much, and then we don’t bother to hear about it anymore.” You have to be extra careful and ask yourself; “is there anything I can do ? Is it something I want and what is it I can give!”
About having to find the courage to do the documentary:
Yes, but it is a coincidence. As I said, I have been the cat around the hot porridge with this for several years, maybe up to eight years, and at one point you just have to take courage. It should go out, and that may help to make the product better, because then it is not just “Well yes, now it is made by some spoiled prince who has access to it”. No, now it is bigger than myself. And I can say with double underlining that this one and a half things have made me much wiser. After all, I haven’t just stood and done or said as anyone would. I’ve even been over it all. For everything else is not me at all.
About people being nervous to meet him while shooting the episodes:
I know, a magician should not reveal his tricks, but throughout the production I have done that as soon as we have arrived, I went to the person and said hello. And have immediately emphasized that I would not ask professional questions now. Because then we have burnt the spice! So the only spectacle it has been is when we said goodbye, because we did that once.
About his mother watching the documentary:
Yeah, she really likes it. So it is a great gift, because she knows a lot about history as well. But she would never say that it was not enough, perhaps rather that she did not agree [He smiles] But I have also had a dream team, and although they are kind of saying that I am part of it, I am still new to it and it’s just a start. But we had so much fun.
About undertaking more projects for TV:
I definitely got blood on my tooth. Not least based on the feedback that has come. I have been stressed that it may not be completely skewed by me. So it definitely made me want to do something again. But right now I have plenty to do, so nothing is going on now. But it is strange that in the autumn when my production is shown, I am not home because I am back on the school bench abroad. Maybe that’s the fate that wants it.
About quitting smocking:
I stayed up 12 minutes before midnight for my 50th birthday. There I smoked the last cigarette. I had been preparing for a while before, and it has not actually been difficult. I have not missed it at all.
About the influence his children had on his decision to stop smocking:
The children! My children had a role in that decision. They wanted me to stop,and I loved them so much that I wanted to. And so it happened when I “grew” [He laughs]
About spending Christmas in Marselisborg this year:
It will be nice when we almost everyone will gather. Unfortunately, it will be without the two big sons this year. They were with us last year when we were also in Marselisborg. Then it was multi-Christmas.
About loving Christmas:
It’s such a wonderful time, filled with traditions where the family is put into focus. I like that, and yes, of course, Christmas also changes in our family as the children grow older. But it’s just nice and cozy.
Towards the end of the interview, protesters (the “Yellow Vests”) arrive near the café the interview is taking place. However, Prince Joachim doesn’t mind and says that they’re safe and nothing will happen.
When Prince Joachim has to leave to go back to Prince Henrik and Princess Athena, the discussion turns to his new scooter.
Some of my friends have teased me and suggested that I have got a penny-farthing.[ He laughs. ] But everything else is just as smart here in town. With three wheels, it sticks much better to the smooth roads and cobblestones, and yet it can move well.