The Merlin Conspiracy cover

Bodil Gram listedwj at
Sat Oct 26 14:05:30 EDT 2002

A couple of days ago, Jon Noble wrote:

>I seem to recall that Harry Flashman (any other Flashman
>fans here?) counts "The order of the elephant" among
>his honours,

The Order of the Elephant actually does exist in real life here in Denmark.
It was invented by one of our more colourful Renaissance kings to compete
with the Burgundian Order of the Vliess and the English Order of the
Garter. It is extremely exclusive: our monarchs only give it to members of
royal houses and especially to their own closest family members.

The order itself consists of an ugly little elephant figurine of precious
metal (the original Renaissance designer probably never saw a live
critter). It is covered in white enamal and all the ostentatious diamonds
etc which the designer could possibly squeeze onto it. It is worn either at
the hip suspended from a broad, pale blue silk ribbon slung over your
shoulder, or around your neck on a most unbecoming large gold chain.

If you have not been frightened off by this description, you can see the
present Danish queen wearing hers with a ribbon in the topmost picture on
this web page:

or her prince consort wearing his with a chain at the top of this page:

I could not find a large picture of the elephant itself, but Kylie probably
saw specimens of the order during her recent visit here (waves at Kylie),
and in that case she can confirm my opinion about its deserved place on a
beauty scale. In my opinion it does resemble the cover picture previewed by

Friendly greetings,

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