Wednesday 2 January 2008

Danish royal New Year 2008 court banquet

The most formal event of the year in the Danish royal calendar, for "official Denmark", has taken place this evening. The annual January 1 gala court dinner at Christian VII Palace, Amalienborg is attended by the royal family, the government, the mayor of Copenhagen, top military officials, the heads of the church, the police, the Supreme Court, heads of Danish industry, the head of the University of Copenhagen, the captain of the Royal Yacht Dannebrog, members of the royal court and households of the RegentCouple, the Crown Prince Couple and Prince Joachim.

From Berlingske Tidende Stjernebesat nytårstaffel – Star spangled New Year Table - written by Lars Henrik Aagaard:
The stars above Copenhagen sparkled in competition with diadems and the flash bulbs of the press when top people of the nation arrived at the DRF’s tradition-bound New Year gala banquet this evening.

The evening could hardly be more perfect for the traditional New Year table of the DRF at Amalienborg. In the sky above the Queen’s Copenhagen the stars sparkled from an almost frost-free clear sky and the flashes from the photographers cameras made diadems and jewel-adorned earrings to sparkle as if their owners were a part of a genuine royal fairytale.
But most beautiful among all sparkled Crown Pincess Mary, and to such a degree that tourists as well as hardened members of the press could hardly contain a little sigh at the enchanting sight of the diamond-glimmering and smiling Princess. The handsome consort at her side, Crown Prince Frederik, was indeed visibly proud when he took her hand and led her up the red carpet in front of Christian VII’s Palace.

Shortly before that Prince Joachim had arrived just by himself. But at the next New Year Gala Banquet on January 1, 2009, he will no doubt arrive with his future wife, Marie Cavallier. His ex-wife, Alexandra, did not take part in the grand dinner for the top brass of the country. Since the last New Year gala banquet she has become Countess and as such is no longer to be considered a member of the DRF.

The Queen and the Prince Consort were the last ones to arrive in the grand Rolls Royce with the crown on the number plate. The Prince, as always, waved heartily and the Queen was dressed elegantly in an orange-red silk dress. Then the royal family gathered briefly in private to wish each other a happy New Year. In the meantime the last ministers, courtiers and top brass of Danish industry and all national administration arrived in order to prepare themselves for a New Year dinner with music, including everything from Offenbach and H. C. Lundbye to something as relatively modern as Bent Fabricius-Bjerres “Man skal se sig om I verden – One ought to have a look around the world” from the musical “The Little Mermaid”.

For a few ministers it was the first time they were to walk the polished royal floors in connection with a major dinner. They were the minister for environment, Troels Lund Poulsen, and minister for health, Jakob Axel Nielsen. For others it was just routine to show up at the tradition-bound gala. This applied to people like ship owner Mærsk McKinney Møller and minister for education Bertel Haarder.

The gates were closed at 7.30pm, the Life Guard stopped saluting and the stars still sparkled above the Queen’s Copenhagen, while the top brass of the nation toasted with champagne and rattled their jewels inside. (by Lars Henrik Aagaard and kindly translated by Muhler)

Some of the guests: 1) Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, 2) Deputy Prime Minster Bendt Bendtsen, 3) Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller, 4) Transport Minister Carina Christensen and Welfare Minister Karen Jespersen, 5) Social Minister Eva Kjer Hansen, 6) Copenhagen's mayor Ritt Bjerregaard 7) Copenhagen's Director of Police Hanne Bech Hansen Police Chief Torsten Hesselbjerg, 8) ship owner Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller

Photos © B.T./Keld Navntoft, Berlingske Tidende/Keld Navntoft, Jyllands Posten/Kim Agersten/Polfoto, Berlingske Tidende/Uffe Weng/ and Berlingske Tidende/Christian Als.

Berlingske Tidende
Jyllands Posten 'Hyggeaften hos dronningen'

TV2 video clip (01:58)

Jyllands Posten photo gallery
Guest List
Menu and Music


TV2 article 'Ingen suppe og kølle til Marie' (No soup and roast for Marie) - According to the traditional practice the Regent Couple yesterday invited the guests to the the year's first evening of the gala banquet at Amalienborg. The 68 court guests were in Riddersalen (Knight's Hall) in Christian VII's Palace invited for pheasant soup, fish tureen, lamb leg and "regent cake".

Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the other ministers talked with fellow guests including shipowner Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, Defence Chief Jesper Helsø, Bishop of Copenhagen Erik Norman Svendsen and chief mayor in Copenhagen Ritt Bjerregaard.
Everybody wished the Regent Couple, Crown Prince Frederik, Crown Princess Mary and Prince Joachim a good New Year.

As for Joachim's fiancé Marie Cavallier, the guests will have to wait until next year to greet her after she has become a member of the royal family.

The New Year table is the year's choicest in the royal house.

Only is it on this evening that the members of the royal house wear the Order of the Elephant on its gold chain (the highest manner of wearing the order) rather than the usual blue sash.

Also especially for this evening they are served a glass of Rosenborg wine - probably world's oldest rhine skin (Rhine white). While the ministers celebrated the New Year at Amalienborg, their partners were invited to a buffet at Marienborg, where the Prime Minister's wife Anne Mette was hostess, Ritzau writes.

Søren Steffen's photo gallery

Note from Muhler:
Joachim is wearing the gala uniform of an officer in the army. He holds the rank of major.
Frederik is wearing the gala uniform of a senior grade commander in the navy. (Since 2004 Frederik has been commander, senior grade, in the navy, lieutenant colonel in the army and lieutenant colonel in the air force.)
Henrik is wearing the gala uniform of a full general in the army (he is also an admiral in the Danish Defence). Henrik is the only one who formally holds this rank. The rank is honorary. Henrik was a non commissioned officer in the French Army (national service before his first appointment in 1962 to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs which eventually led him to London and a meeting with Margrethe).
Henrik's rank is simply to avoid confusion in observing protocol. If Prince Henrik was just, say, a major-general and faced a lieutenant-general, he would actually have to salute the other general.
Queen Margrethe is the commander-in-chief and as such she would normally be a general like any other monarch before her. However, her only contact with the military was the Woman's Auxillary Corps and having received no formal officer training, she is not a general, but "only" the commander-in-chief.
Frederik will become a full admiral (navy) and full general in the army and air force when he becomes king.

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Blogger Leah Grantham said...

So glad to see Crown Princess Mary recycled this dress!! One of my all time favorites.


4:03 pm  

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