Several European royals attended the IOC President’s Dinner in Rio de Janeiro the evening before the 2016 Summer Olympics began.
The dinner, held at the Oceanio Convention Centre, was attended by several high-profile heads of state, civil society members, and athletes.
Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the dinner, hosted by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee.
“Your presence is another demonstration of how the Olympic Games go beyond sport,” said Bach, who is himself a former Olympian. He won gold in fencing at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
Other heads of state present at the dinner included the presidents of Argentina, France, the Swiss Federation, and representatives from China and other countries in Asia, Africa, and Oceania.
“Your presence shows that sport is in the middle of a diverse and modern society. Like the athletes, we have come together from different parts of the world to celebrate our diversity. Thank you for coming and for sharing with us the Olympic spirit of peace and solidarity.”
Throughout Olympic history, royals have had a close connection to the Games, and several, including Prince Albert, Crown Prince Frederik, Princess Anne, Princess Nora of Liechtenstein, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, Prince Feisal Al Hussein of Jordan, are members of the IOC.
Prince Albert of Monaco participated in five Winter Olympics as a member of the Monegasque bobsleigh team; his wife Princess Charlene competed as a swimmer for the South African swimming team. Their first official appearance as a couple was at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy.
King Felipe of Spain participated in sailing at the 1992 Summer Olympics and also acted as the country’s flagbearer. His mother, Queen Sofia, competed for the Greek sailing team at the 1960 Olympics, and his father, King Juan Carlos, competed for the Spanish sailing team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
King Harald of Norway competed in yachting events for Norway at the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Summer Olympics. In 1994, he opened the Winter Olympics at Lillehammer, and his son, Crown Prince Haakon lit the cauldron.
Anne, Princess Royal competed at the 1976 Summer Olympics in dressage but did not place. Her daughter, Zara Tindall, competed at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and won a silver medal as part of the eventing team.
Several royals are expected to attend events at the Rio Olympics. A full list can be found on this article.