17 OCTOBER 2005

Click here to send this news item to a friend Celebrations are continuing all across Denmark after Crown Princess Mary gave birth to a baby boy at the weekend. Citizens of the Scandinavian country welcomed their future king by lighting bonfires and taking to the streets in revelry when the prince was delivered in the early hours of Saturday morning. In a tradition dating back to the Bronze Age, more than 200 bonfires were lit, forming a chain of light that stretched from the capital Copenhagen to every corner of the kingdom. Royal batteries at both Amalienborg Castle and Kronborg Castle meanwhile fired 21-gun salutes to mark the occasion.

While huge queues of well-wishers bearing gifts for the baby formed at the gates of the royal palace, Mary was resting up at Copenhagen University Hospital. The infant weighed in at 3.5 kilos and measured 51 centimetres when he made his big debut just minutes before 2am. And although the parents are yet to announce his name, it is likely to be Christian, as Danish kings have alternately been called Frederik or Christian ever since the 1500s.

It wasn't only in Denmark that the news of the birth was greeted with rapturous celebrations, as parties were also being thrown in Mary's homeland of Australia. "It's wonderful for Mary and it's just delightful to have another grandchild," said the princess' father John Donaldson. "He looks wonderful, beautiful."

The landlord of the Slip Inn, where the new mum first met her prince back in 2000, meanwhile marked the occasion in traditional Australian fashion by offering free beer to everyone on the premises. "We're all happy to have a little Aussie prince," enthused manager James Taylor.

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Photo: © Alphapress.com
Frederik and Mary became parents for the first time at 1.57am on Saturday. "It's a wonderful for Mary and it's just delightful to have another grandchild," said the princess' father JohnPhoto: © AFPClick on photos for gallery
Photo: © Alphapress.com
Canon salutes ring out over Copenhagen on Saturday. The parents are yet to announce the child's name, though it is likely to be ChristianPhoto: © AFP
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