Princess Alexandra – married to Prince Joachim of Denmark – visited Thailand in February on her first overseas assignment as protector of Unicef Danmark.
The purpose of the trip was to produce a documentary for DRTV – the Danish Television Broadcasting Corporation. The program will be aired during the Easter holiday and will feature some of the projects in Thailand for HIV/AIDS affected children which Unicef Danmark supports.
Most of the projects are in the North of Thailand, where the majority of the more than 300,000 Aids affected children in Thailand live. Some infected themselves, some orphaned because their parents have passed away.
In Bangkok, the Princess on Monday 24 February opened a special Youth Career Development Programme at Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok. The programme provides skilled training for this year 106 young women with poor backgrounds either rescued from or considered in high risk of sexual exploitation. Unicef conducts this programme in cooperation with 17 leading hotels in Bangkok where the majority of the girls are given training to work in the tourism industry.
At Bumrungrad Hospital, the Princess opened a training center under this project and afterwards gave a press conference about the impressions from her trip.
“What really has impressed me most on this trip is the community spirit I saw in the North, where it was perfectly natural for a family to take in the children of their neighbours if they had passed away and there were no other immediate family to take care of them.”
Asked if she would like to see this attitude transplanted to Denmark, Princess Alexandra said it would be really great if this was possible.
“In the schools up North, I saw children sharing their lunch with each other if one didn’t bring any because of her family’s poverty. In Denmark, we have the opposite problem of school children mobbing one of their own class mates. Maybe the Thai children know more about each others background and family situation and therefore are more compassionate – I don’t know. It was just so amazing: They didn’t seem ashamed to help each other, be kind to each other,” she said.
Princess Alexandra will in the years to come be increasingly involved in Unicef’s international campaigns. Among others an upcoming attempt to eradicate the disease tetanus among new born babies and their mothers through vaccination.
This vaccination project will start in Laos shortly and Princess Alexandra was accordingly brief separately on Unicef’s current activities in Laos by Unicef’s Regional Director in Bangkok.
Prior to her official duties in Thailand, Princess Alexandra had been vacationing with her husband, Prince Joachim and the couple’s two children, Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix first in her home town of Hong Kong, then for a week in the Thai seaside resort of Hua Hin.
Here, relaxing at the classic Hotel Sofitel, the Royal couple gave a lengthy interview to the Danish weekly BilledBladet. The feature was splashed over full six pages and illustrated with some of the best pictures ever taken of the royal family shot by the Thailand based Danish photographer Jan Mouritsen.