Danish: Konge af preussen

Discussion in 'Nordic Languages' started by ad31677, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. ad31677 Member

    North-East England
    English - England
    I was watching the film "A Royal Affair" (great movie, by the way) and I was struck by the Danish King Christian VII's phrase "Konge af Preussen" (King of Prussia). (When Johan Struensee asks Christian II to sign a law granting Struensee permission effectively to issue laws on his own authority, Christian signs the law and then declares Struensee King... of Prussia.) The phrase comes up again later when Christian exclaims angrily at court dinner that "The King of Prussia is screwing my mother".

    I was wondering whether there was a dual sense to "af" in this phrase and that the phrase is really a pun on said dual sense of "af" being "from" and "of". (The "Prussia" reference is a nod to Struensee coming from Germany - or land that later became part of modern Germany). I know that equivalents of "af" in Romance language have dual meaning. Does this work for Danish? (I am also aware that Struensee and Christian VII would more likely have conversed not in Danish but in French or maybe German.)

    I suspect I may be way of the mark, actually.

    Just my €0,02's worth

  2. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Nope. It means exactly what he said: The King of Prussia. To mean "from" it would have to be "konge fra Prøjsen" (like they would probably have spelled it back then.) I don't know about the historical details - did he really get the title "King" or is that just a joke?
  3. ad31677 Member

    North-East England
    English - England
    Takk så meget, Sepia. I was fairly sure "fra" would have been the correct preposition but had wondered if it was a deliberate pun by Christian VII intended ultimately as a barbed criticism of Struensee.

    I can only go by what was presented in the film so I have idea as to the accuracy of my "source". I daresay the script's more historically accurate than it might've been if produced in "another" country. In the film it seems to me he wasn't really given the title, it was just used to parody his alleged role as usurper of the kingdom and highlight his status as a non-nobleman.

  4. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Historisk set ville det vaere forkert, for Struensee kommer jo ikke engang fra Preussen, saa vidt jeg kan placere det. (Jeg har laest en del om ham siden i gaar). Konge fra Preussen (stavemaaden skyldes, at jeg ikke har noget dansk tastatur her) ville jo forudsaette A. at han er konge, og B. at han er fra Preussen. Ingen af de to ting passer. Han bliver udnaevnt til ??? - i hvert fald noget, som giver ham lignende befoejelser, som var han konge. Men egentlig er det jo Kongen som giver ham de befoejelser. Og mindst en del af det omraade, som hoerer under hans administration, er geografisk en del af Preussen. Det berettiger vel ogsaa, at Kongen med en vis sarkasme taler om ham som "Kongen af Preussen". Selv om han ikke rigtigt er konge, men bare en slags stedfortraeder. Jeg er ikke helt sikker paa detaljerne i de historiske facts, men jeg tror det raekker til at give en rimeligt logisk forklaring.

    "Konge fra (landomraade)" ville i sig selv vaere usaedvanligt, for et land har normalt kun én konge. Altsaa er han normalt ogsaa "kongen af (landomraade)".

    Hope you understood this - your "takk saa ..." triggered my choice of language - I was not really aware in which language we had started. Otherwise I'll rewrite it in English later this evening.
  5. AutumnOwl Senior Member

    Danskan skiljer ju mellan prins/prinsessa til Danmark och prins/prinsessa af Danmark, beroende på om personen är född dansk prins/prinsessa eller ingift i familjen, finns eller har det funnits något liknande när det gäller icke-danska kungligheters titlar, eller är de alltid titel af X?
  6. ad31677 Member

    North-East England
    English - England
    Hi, Sepia

    Thanks for the reply. Sorry for the delay in my replying.

    I actually understood just enough of your Danish (based on my flawed understanding of Swedish) to get your points with a bit of online assistance.

    I am indeed curious about the comment. I have returned the film to the rental company now so I cannot now go back and review the context and dilevery of the remark. I am not even sure it was even really made at all other than in the film script. Maybe I am simply reading too much into it. I suppose I have concluded that Christian VII's line in the film was uttered mainly in gest (for fun) with maybe only a hint of sarcasm or resentment.

    Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

    Best wishes,
  7. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Coincidentally I saw a documentary yesterday on one of the German channels about the king in question and Struensee. No, Struensee was not the King of anything. He had a position pretty much like a "vice king". So the King was actually making a sarcastic joke.
  8. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Prins til Danmark!!!! Wow, I never noticed that before, but you are perfectly right. I doubt that more than af few Danes have. But still, to define the title, it is either "til" or "af".
  9. Kornblomst New Member

    If you were born in the royal family of Danmark and were in the directly descending line, you'd be called Your Highness Prince of Danmark. If you were married into the family or were born of non-royal spouse of the secondary line, you'd be called Prince to Denmark. Prins-consort/Prinsgemalen Henrik er Prince TO Denmark and has no right to descend and rule, but his son Kronprins Frederik is Prins of Denmark.

    By the way, Friedrich the Great was in some time King of Brandenburg,but King to Prussia, because of Prussia was under Kaiser Crown. Maybe this is en explanation of Struensees underskrift.
  10. Ogago Member

    This interests me!

    Are there any way to say the same thing in Swedish? Like Prins Daniel isn't born a prince, but Prins Carl Philip is.
    In Danish they would be titled Prins til Sverige and Prins af Sverige.
    But in Swedish - are they both "Prins av Sverige", or do the titles differ?
  11. Ben Jamin Senior Member

    The Prussian kings were actually princes electors of Brandenburg and kings IN Prussia until 1772, as they could not obtain the title of King of Brandenburg, becuse of the objections of the German Emperor in Vienna and the Polish king. Prussia was situated outside of the territory of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, so the electors of Brandenburg could use the title of King in Prussia, which was more palatable. Poland lay with broken back in 1772, so this obstacle was cleared out, and as the power of the Emperor was also weakened (Austria lost a war to Prussia in 1746) the title "King of Prussia" was introduced. which was more palatable
  12. Sepia Senior Member

    High German/Danish
    Very good research boys and girls. Next time I go to Denmark I'll check if anyone I meet really know that Henrik is "prins TIL Danmark". I checked it on my search machine of choice: very few hits. Most of them on www.kongehuset.dk

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