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60 years ago today: Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain paid a royal visit to the Carlsberg Breweries

The royals in the gallery in Carlsberg's new tapping hall.

60 years ago today, on May 22nd, Queen Elizabeth II visited -  in connection with her state visit in Denmark – the Carlsberg Breweries in Valby, Copenhagen along with her husband Prince Philip, the Danish King Frederik IX, Queen Ingrid and the, at the time, 17-year old Crown Princess Margrethe.

Much has changed in 60 years. But in 1957 as well as now in 2017, Queen Elizabeth II was head of state of the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Carlsberg was not completely unfamiliar with royal star dust. King Christian IX, also called “Europe’s father-in-law”, had for example paid a visit to Carlsberg with his royal family on a summer’s day in 1892. On that occasion, Queen Elizabeth's great-grandparents (later King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) and grandfather (the later King Georg V) were present.

However, the1957 visit was the first time that a seated British regent made an official visit to the old and renowned brewery. Considering the positive perceptions of Britain in the post-war years as “Denmark’s Liberator”, this was a great and pompous event for Carlsberg. 

I fart-sign was covered

The British-Danish royal visit required a comprehensive and meticulous preparation, and no details seem to have been too small to escape the eagle eye. The story goes that a light sign with the words I fart (meaning in Danish: In speed) was covered up in an elevator that the royals were to use.

However, on Wednesday 22 May all preparations were in place. The route and the day’s program were, among other things, practiced indefinitely, and a total of 5000 Carlsberg Gold Export bottles had been ‘majestically’ put forth to form Queen Elizabeth’s initials. It was thus a well-prepared Carlsberg that welcomed the British-Danish royal cortege at 10.15

Queen Elizabeth II’s visit raised great interest and cheers among both Copenhageners and employees at Carlsberg. The public popularity of the visit is emphasized, among other things, by the fact that many Danes had paid up to £ 4 (80 DKK) to get a seat along the British regent's route to the Carlsberg Breweries.

The royal cortege passes the drive square at Carlsberg and is greeted by enthusiastic crowds. The public popularity of the visit is emphasized, among other things, by the fact that many Danes had paid up to £ 4 (80 DKK) to get a seat along the British regent's route to the Carlsberg Breweries. Fortunately, empty Carlsberg beer crates seemingly made sure that all spectators could get a fleeting glimpse of Queen Elizabeth in the royal Bentley and the remaining royal carriageway

At the entrance to the brewery, Queen Elizabeth and the other royals were received by the Carlsberg Foundation chairman, Professor Børge Jessen, by Carlsberg Breweries' Managing Director A.W. Nielsen and by Professor Stig Iuul, member of the Carlsberg Foundation Executive Board.

Video from the entire state visit in 1957. Go to 4:33 to see Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Carlsberg in Valby.

Queen Elizabeth II greets one of Carlsberg's employees, Trustee Hugo Frederiksen, who made a short speech in English. He then handed a bouquet of flowers to the regent and gave her a bold Danish handshake. The Danish King Frederik IX, who watched the seance, said with a smile to the confederate: "You did well, Frederiksen!"

Managing Director A.W. Nielsen shows the British regent around the brewery's new taproom (New Tap), which had been opened in 1955. In the background is seen, from left, Crown Princess Margrethe, King Frederik, Carlsberg Foundation Chairman Børge Jessen and member of the Carlsberg Foundation Stig Iuul.

The royals in the gallery in Carlsberg's new tapping hall.

King Frederik shows Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip the famous painting by Professor Tuxen of their ancestor’s visit to Carlsberg in 1892. The king is pointing at his grandfather, Christian IX, who is also the great grandfather of Prince Phillip and great great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth.

About 5000 Carlsberg Gold Export bottles formed Elizabeth II’s initials on the floor in the tapping hall. The unique arrangement seemingly pleased Queen Elizabeth and, in particular, the British press, who did not fail to comment on this particular view with great photographs in the daily press.

Queen Elizabeth writes her name in Carlsberg’s guest book.

After visiting the Carlsberg Brewery, Queen Elizabeth met with the well-known Danish nuclear physicist Niels Bohr, who resided in Carlsberg’s Honorary Residence. It was a meeting that Queen Elizabeth had been looking forward to, and during the royal table at Christiansborg she mentioned Bohr as a bright example of Danish ability.

The special brew ‘Royal Lager’ was brewed for the occasion of Queen Elizabeth’s visit in 1957.



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