2016 is fast coming to a close, and the European royals are gearing up for their annual end of the year bashes and ceremonies. From banquets to tents to parades, each family rings in the new year in their own classic manner.
Pastoral Party Tents in the United Kingdom
Christmastime is always a family affair for the British royals, who gather at the Queen's country retreat in Sandringham to trim the tree, enjoy festive lunches, and exchange humorous gifts. How the family members celebrate New Year's after the customary church service, however, remains a bit of a wild card.
The majority of the royals spend New Year's Eve and Day at an exclusive 53,000 acre estate in Aberdeen, Scotland, in a celebration helmed by Princes Charles and Camilla. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, however, sometimes skip the upscale gathering - which traditionally consists of a formal dinner and ceilidh - in favor of ones thrown at the Middleton family home in Berkshire, England.
One especially memorable New Year's Eve for William and Kate was the gala event thrown by the Duchess' professional party planner sister, Pippa. Pippa arranged for a tee-pee style 'kata' tent - similar to those used by reindeer herders in Lapland - to be set up in her parents' back garden. The palatial tent included a dance floor, extravagant lighting, seats for 100 people,
Whether William and Kate and young royals Prince George and Princess Charlotte will ring in 2017 with the Windsors or the Middletons has yet to be reported.
Fireworks and Grand Balls in Denmark
For the Danish royal family, New Year's is the finish to a long string of festive events. The holidays kick off on December 23rd at one of many Danish palaces, and include tree decorating and gourmet three-course meals consisting of the likes of creamy rice pudding, roast goose, and apple crumb cake.
As is tradition, Queen Margrethe makes her official speech at 6 PM on New Year's Eve. After which, she, her husband Prince Henrik, and their children prepare for a lavish evening of celebrating the new year with old friends. They join the rest of the Danish royalty as well as other members of the elite for a grand masked ball and firework show.
The celebrations do not end there. The Queen extends the celebration for three days afterwards, which includes levees for the likes of the Supreme Court, the diplomatic corps, and officer corps at various royal estates. The star of this drawn of celebration, however, is the New Year's banquet on January 1st. The event, which takes place in Christian VII's Palace in Amalienborg, is one of the most important social events of the year and is attended by the royal family, the government, the Royal Court's leadership, and the top civil servants.
Speeches and Parades in Spain
The New Year's eve celebrations of Spanish monarchs King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia are typically more low-key than those of other European royal families. In addition to traditional dinners and celebrations with other members of the Spanish aristocracy during the holiday season, they also engage in their annual tradition of sending out a Christmas and New Year's card to their subjects. This card customarily features a photo of the monarchs and their two daughters, Princess Leonor and Princess Sofia, as well as a hand-written message.
Another highlight of the New Year's for the Spanish royal family is the New Year Military Parade in Madrid. It is the first official engagement the royal family carry out at the beginning of the year and marks the beginning of the couple's royal duties for the coming year, and takes place after King Felipe VI's morning New Year's speech in the palace's Throne Room. The speech and subsequent parade is attended by hundreds of notable members of Spanish high society, including the Prime Minister of Spain.
The former sovereign, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia, meanwhile, celebrate New Year's Eve in Greece, where Queen Sofia's brother - the former King Constantine - resides.
Must-Haves for a Royal New Year
Festive canapes and hors d'oeuvres are mandatory for any upscale New Year's Eve event. The bite-sized food should be artfully presented and small and manageable enough that guests don't need to set down their drinks in order to enjoy them.
Royalty-inspired appetizers include Danish caviar with smoked cheese, lemon, and creme fraiche, Spanish house-cured anchovies with roasted red peppers, and British marmalade cake.
Any good New Year's Eve party culminates in popping the cork of a finely aged bottle of champagne when the clock strikes midnight. As such, choosing the right champagne is of the utmost importance.
Krug, Dom Perignon, and Gosset are among the biggest names in the industry, and opening a bottle from any of these widely lauded champagne-producers at your soiree is sure to impress your party guests. Serving your champagne of choice in elegant glassware - such as the Diamant champagne flute from Baccarat - will give your celebratory beverage that much more of a regal air.
The above are the ways in just a select few European royals ring in the new year. If you know of any other noteworthy aristocratic celebrations or traditions that you feel should be include in this profile, leave your thoughts in the comments box below.