Australian leaders welcome Danish royal couple

AP News
Posted: Nov 22, 2011 1:25 AM
Australian leaders welcome Danish royal couple

An Australian politician committed a error Tuesday that visiting Danish Crown Prince Frederik would not allow to stand: He understated the royal's marathon running prowess.

In a luncheon speech at Australia's Parliament House, opposition leader Tony Abbott congratulated the heir to the Danish throne on his many achievements including mastery of three foreign languages, service in every arm of the Danish military and running a marathon in only three hours and 22 minutes.

Frederik thanked Abbott for his kind words but lightheartedly pointed out that the senior conservative lawmaker had sold him short.

"My personal record in marathon is three hours and six minutes," Frederik said to the amusement of hundreds of guests. "But it's not about winning. It's about succeeding."

Frederik and his Australian-born wife, Crown Princess Mary, arrived in the national capital on Tuesday on a weeklong Australian visit. They held a private meeting with Prime Minister Julia Gillard in her office before they attended the luncheon as the guests of honor.

Mary wore a black-and-white, knee-length floral dress with her hair tied back into a simple but elegant bun.

The couple and their four children landed in Australia on Saturday and spent the next two days in Sydney, where they met in a nightclub during the 2000 Olympics. They will visit Melbourne, rural Victoria state and the Outback mining town of Broken Hill before they are expected to make a private visit to Mary's home state of Tasmania.

Since their last official visit as guests of the Australian government in 2005, the couple have made private visits to Australia in 2006 and 2008.