As glasses clink at midnight on January 1st, New Year’s resolutions are sealed. Regular workouts; a post Christmas diet; a new skill learned – promises that can seem easy to commit to in those merry moments, with passion and excitement fizzing like the Champagne that marks the last of the holiday indulgences. Yet come January 2nd, many of us find ourselves dreading our first visit to the gym.
The secret, it seems, is to find an activity that’s as enjoyable as it is healthy. It would appear that this is the advice that has served many of Europe’s elite well, as the likes of Princess Eugenie of Britain and Princess Charlene of Monaco indulge in novel ways to keep fit in the New Year. Whether taking to the slopes in Switzerland or attending exclusive wellness centers in England, royals across the continent are providing both fitspiration and wanderlust in equal measure.
Princess Eugenie, Grace Belgravia Gym
The Ferguson family is often noted for their healthy lifestyle – a passion passed from mother to daughters. Duchess Sarah Ferguson’s youngest daughter in particular is well known for her strict fitness routine. The British Princess sets aside an hour every morning to exercise, with a visit to Grace Belgravia’s women-only gym being one of the favored options.
Billed as a “lifestyle club”, Grace Belgravia offers annual membership for £5,500 and is also frequented by other celebrities such as Cara Delevingne. Inside you’ll find not only state-of-the-art equipment, but spa facilities, a health and wellbeing clinic and a fine dining restaurant and bar (the mouth-watering menu of which might test that post Christmas diet) – making it a popular destination for meeting and mingling as well as working out.
As well as access to premium equipment and personal trainers, gym membership often includes unlimited entrance to regular classes – which is the perfect tonic for anyone who finds self-motivation a bit of a struggle. Hot yoga has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, as well as barre-based classes.
Andrea Casiraghi, Skiing in Gstaad
While gyms are a popular choice around the world, royals in the continent also make use of their natural surroundings when planning their post-Christmas workout – such as Andrea Casiraghi, who is a habitué of Gstaad.
The eldest son of Caroline, Princess of Hanover has been known to visit the Swiss village for its famous ski resort – and he’s in excellent company. Gstaad was favored by Princess Grace of Monaco, as well as the likes of Julie Andrews, Valentino and King Juan-Carlos of Spain.
As well as keeping the Christmas magic alive with its picturesque snowscape, a visit to Gstaad is a great way to extend the holiday season thanks to its slow-paced atmosphere, designed to attract the most sophisticated of guests. Impressive resorts such as the Gstaad Palace and more traditional abodes such as the Alpina Gstaad offer a wide range of holiday styles to suit any traveller and a selection of fine dining restaurants cater to both indulgent tastes and post Christmas diets.
Princess Charlene of Monaco, Competitive Swimming
To ease yourself back into an active lifestyle, you might take a page out of Princess Charlene of Monaco’s book and try swimming. Of course, with the winter weather frosting lidos across the continent, you might want to try an indoor heated pool.
Many might enjoy swimming as a leisurely pastime, but for Princess Charlene it’s serious business. She trained at the highest level, taking home three gold medals and one silver medal from the All Africa Games in 1999. She intended her final race to be the 2008 Olympics, but she didn’t qualify, so instead finished her career in Europe where she worked on improving her personal best.
Other water babies with a more adventurous spirit might also want to explore the deep blue sea with water sports and boating. Whether you prefer to relax on a private yacht or try out dry suit scuba diving, there’s plenty to be explored in the great outdoors.
The British Royal Family, Pheasant Shooting in Sandringham
In between gym sessions, Princess Eugenie may also be battling the winter blues with another of her family’s famous hobbies – pheasant shooting. The British royals have often been known to host hunting parties and in 2016, even the young son of Prince Edward – who was just eight years old – was invited along.
It’s a pastime that’s not been without controversy, and the royals are often careful to avoid publicity during such events. When Prince Charles was photographed holding a gun during his shooting party in Norfolk in 2014, it was reportedly the first time such a picture was captured in around six years.
A less divisive alternative is clay pigeon shooting – another sport enjoyed by the royals. Many members of the royal family have attended events at Windsor Great Park – a royal park of more than 4,000 acres with both public and private areas. Shooting days have been hosted for children and adults alike, which offer a great taster opportunity for those who are new to the sport. With winter weather still lingering in the air, the traditional Balfour Jacket and hunting boots are essential - such as these elegant "Maronibrater" boots from Ludwig Reiter.
Whether your aim is to lose weight gained over the holidays, live up to a New Year’s resolution or simply increase your endorphins to avoid the winter blues, royal households throughout Europe are demonstrating that exercise is indeed a noble pastime.