Last night, Queen Margrethe hosted a gala dinner for members of the government, members of the Danish Parliament and Danish members of the European Parliament. Crown Princess Mary, Prince Joachim, Princess Marie, and Princess Benedikte were in attendance. Crown Prince Frederik could not attend as he is currently in Sydney, Australia, where he is attending the Invictus Games.
This dinner is held once during each parliamentary term – so every four years at Christiansborg Palace which is the palace where the Danish Parliament resides. The first gala of this kind was held 60 years ago in 1958. It was hosted by King Frederik IX and Queen Ingrid with the then 18-year-old Princess Margrethe in attendance. Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik followed this tradition once Queen Margrethe ascended the throne in 1972, and they even created a tradition of their own following the same pattern. Indeed, since 1976, a gala dinner for essential members of Danish arts and culture is held every four years, reflecting the late Prince Henrik’s passion for art.
During the evening, the guests first greet the members of the Royal Family one by one before enjoying dinner and music. Afterward, they are invited to dance. Traditionally, the wines served during gala dinners all come from Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik’s French vineyard, and tonight was no exception. During the dinner, the soprano, Signe Sneh Durholm and the pianist, Peter Mollerhoj performed before a surprise appearance by comedian, Soren Ostergaards who appeared as his character “Smadremanden” and provided a lot of entertainment for all the guests.
Holding the gala dinner in Christiansborg Palace is highly symbolic because this palace has been at the centre of the power of Denmark for 800 years. It houses the Danish Parliament as well as the Prime Minister’s office and the Supreme Court. It is also where the traditional New Year’s Gala Dinner and the following receptions are held as well as most gala dinners. The Royal Family cannot be involved in politics, but they do take part in the official Opening of Parliament every year at Christiansborg Palace on the first Tuesday of October. This gala dinner is a nice and neutral way for the Royal Family to meet and honour the members of Denmark’s political institutions.