Queen warns against trying to achieve “perfect life”

In addition to familiar themes, Queen Margrethe’s New Year’s speech also included a warning about the dangers of social media and a look at Denmark’s 40-year relationship with the EU

Addressing the nation on New Year's Eve for the 41st time, Queen Margrethe II delivered a message of cautioned hope for the future. 

The queen's 15 minute televised address touched on familiar themes, while also noting Denmark's relationship to the EU, and even the dangers of Facebook. 

Wearing a drab, maroon dress accented with pearls, the queen's speech more than anything had the spectre of the ongoing global financial crisis hanging over it.

"We don't know what 2013 will bring – neither for ourselves, our society or Denmark," Queen Margrethe said. "We make prognoses, we make calculations, [and] we do our best to ensure that events do not surprise us, [but] the new year will always be unknown territory."

Pointing to the historic efforts of Denmark's tradesman, sailors, farmers, labourers and craftsman, the queen said that "our society is a result of the efforts we have made through the years to form our future and our progress."

She then delivered a message that despite the ongoing troubles faced in Denmark and elsewhere, Danes can band together to pull through. 

"In times of crisis, problems can seem overwhelming and obstacles can feel like hindrances that can not be overcome." 

And while saying that Denmark has measures in place to assist those in need, the queen cautioned against "leaving it to society to save the day". 

"We must always begin with ourselves, with our loved ones and those we meet along the way," Queen Margrethe said. "An individual can make an enormous difference through an encouraging remark, a helping hand and a considerate respect for others."

The queen said that Denmark's tight-knit society and its small geographic size are assets that can carry the country through the continuing economic crisis. 

She then cautioned against letting unrealistic expectations make things seem worse than they really are.

"There is a tendency to paint a picture of a perfect life with a spouse, children, an inspiring career, exciting hobbies and a youthful appearance regardless of age," she said. "Who can live up to all of that? And why should we? We all meet adversity sooner or later. We will break our backs with the crises we encounter if only the perfect – and superficial – life is good enough."

The 72-year-old Margrethe said that the nation's youth are particularly vulnerable, especially with the expansion of technology and social media. 

"The modern forms of communication, with the internet and Facebook, have tremendous opportunities, but there are also dangers associated with it," the queen warned. "The very young can be so engrossed in it, it is as if they live in cyberspace while reality is lived in a kind of display window, where it is more about appearances than being ones self."

Noting that tomorrow marks 40 years since Denmark joined the EU, Queen Margrethe stressed the importance of the European community. 

"[Joining the EU] was a big step for us, and one that has not gone unchallenged, but it is a proven fact that our continent and the European community has produced a prosperity that all have benefited from, and that we have experienced pervasive peace after centuries of war, strife and mutual mistrust."

As is her custom, the queen then addressed her subjects in Greenland and the Faroe Islands and also gave a special mention to the Danish majority living in Southern Schleswig, as well as Danes worldwide who are ringing in 2013 away from their motherland. 

Queen Margrethe gave the nation's thanks to Denmark's soldiers and veterans before noting that 2012 was a special year for her personally, thanks to her 40 year jubilee.

As always, the queen ended her speech with the familiar refrain of "Gud bevare Danmark" (God save Denmark).