Your Majesty, Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cannot thank Your Majesty enough for hosting this splendid dinner and for the warmth of the welcome which I know yourself, the Prince Consort and the Crown Prince and Princess have extended to my wife and myself over the last few days. It means an enormous amount to us both to come to Denmark in this very special year which marks my Mother's Diamond Jubilee and the fortieth anniversary of Your Majesty's reign, which we also celebrate and which we also want to congratulate you with all our affection and love.
It was another important anniversary which brought me on my last Official Visit to Denmark, to celebrate Your Majesty's silver wedding anniversary in the historic and - for Princes of the United Kingdom and one particularly famous Prince of Denmark - highly atmospheric surroundings of Kronborg Castle, better known to us in Britain as Elsinore Castle. That Castle, of course, occupies a particular place in international literary consciousness as the setting for Shakespeare's Hamlet. For the last 21 years I have had the great privilege of being Patron of the Royal Shakespeare Company and I can only say what a great pleasure it was to see the R.S.C. and a group of young Danish actors performing scenes of that play in the Castle earlier this afternoon.
Denmark has not only gripped the British imagination through the medium of literature. If our shared ancestor Queen Victoria was "the Grandmother of Europe" then our other shared forebear, King Christian IX, is remembered to History as "the Father-in-Law of Europe". My wife and I have spent the past week visiting other members of our extended European Family, beginning with one third cousin once removed - the King of Norway - and ending with another - Your Majesty! These ties of blood have endured, as has the abiding friendship between our two countries. As we have been seeing for ourselves today - and will see more of tomorrow - this friendship is not just some ethereal, theoretical construct, but something which continues to deliver practical results.
This takes many forms. In Helmand, Afghanistan, our Armed Servicemen and women (including my own younger son) have been serving side by side in I.S.A.F. In the economic arena our cooperation on clean and sustainable energy is, we hope, beginning to tackle one of the immense challenges our society faces.
In concluding, let me just thank Your Majesty and Your Royal Highnesses once again for the extraordinary generosity of your hospitality and conclude with that famous Danish proverb, "Being among friends is like being at home".
It gives me great pleasure to propose a Toast to the Queen, the Prince Consort and the people of Denmark.