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European Royals

Glittering jewels and warm speeches mark Danish State Banquet for Spain

Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen was the setting for a glittering State Banquet that closed the first day of King Felipe and Queen Letizia’s State Visit to Denmark. 

Shortly before 8pm on Monday, 6th November, more than 200 guests, from both Denmark and Spain, arrived at the palace. The last ones to get there were the royals; first was Princess Benedikte, who wore a red gown topped with her usual Fringe Tiara, which comes from her late husband’s side of the family. 

Then came Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary’s turn – the latter repeated the  Lasse Spangenberg baby blue sparkly gown she wore in her 50th birthday portrait, and topped it with the Edwardian necklace tiara she debuted as a necklace in April of 2015. It is believed that she purchased it at an auction roughly in 2012, and it features several small rubies. 

The Queen of Denmark with the King and Queen of Spain and the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark at the glittering State Banquet held in Copenhagen
(Keld Navntoft, Kongehuset ©)

Queen Margrethe was next; she had on a forest green lace gown, which she appropriately chose to pair with the emerald parure of jewellery: tiara, necklace, earrings and the smaller version of the brooch. The entire parure forms part of the Danish Crown Jewels and, when not in use, can be seen on display at Rosenborg Castle. The pieces being designated as “crown jewels” also means that they can’t be taken out of the country, so seeing them in use was quite special. 

Queen Margrethe went upstairs to check on the dinner’s progress before coming back downstairs to welcome her guests: King Felipe and Queen Letizia made their way up a flight of stairs very slowly, as Queen Letizia was lifting the skirts of her navy blue Felipe Varela gown in her hands to avoid tripping on them. As many predicted, she once again opted to pull out the big guns, and Queen Ena’s Fleur de Lys tiara (also known as La Buena) made its appearance. She paired it with one of the two bracelets that Queen Ena also put in the joyas de pasar, as well as a pair of diamond and sapphire earrings that  were previously seen on Queen Sofía. 

The State Banquet was opened by Queen Margrethe’s speech, which focussed on the history of the ties between the two country, including the Viking arrival on the Iberian Peninsula and the “paper war” that technically lasted 172 years between Spain and Denmark. She also emphasised the growing community of Spaniards living in Denmark: “The number of Spaniards who come to Denmark and find work has multiplied over the past ten years. Regardless of whether they settle in Denmark or return home at some point, they help make our common ties stronger”. 

She didn’t forget to mention King Felipe and Queen Letizia’s elder daughter, Princess Leonor, who has just turned eighteen. The Queen of Denmark said: “There is respect for the Spanish royal house’s important contribution to the anchoring of democracy in the country, and for the fine balance that the Spanish royal house strikes by simultaneously continuing the beautiful rituals of the past and at the same time orienting itself towards the present – and future. The future, which I am sure also the Spanish Crown Princess Leonor, who has just turned 18, will actively contribute to”. 

She concluded by paying tribute to King Felipe’s work: “We have followed with admiration Your Majesty’s tireless work for Spain and the Spanish people”. After the toast, the Spanish National anthem was played. 

King Felipe’s response was no less warm, as he shone a spotlight on the cultural ties that bind the two kingdoms together: “Spain and Denmark are heirs of long cultural traditions that connect our past with our present, the older generations with the youngest. We conceive of culture as one of the most effective – of course, rewarding – ways to face tomorrow with educated and responsible citizens”.

He also highlighted the importance of both countries sharing membership of the European Union, with its common democratic values and movement within its borders, which facilitates the growing of both economies. 

He concluded his speech by paying tribute to the symbol that the comings of age of Prince Christian and Princess Leonor represent: “It is also a reason for shared joy that we witness almost in parallel the important milestonse of the coming of age of Prince Christian and Princess Leonor. They, Prince Christian and Princess Leonor are the new generation that represents the continuity in the commitment of both parliamentary Monarchies, respectively, with their Nation, their people and their democracy, within the European Union”.

He also offered a toast, which was followed by the playing of the Danish National Anthem. 

The royal party greet guests at the State Banquet in Copenhagen (Casa de S.M. el Rey)

The menu included venison and a vast assortment of vegetables, all accompanied by wines from the Cahors estate, which belonged to the late Prince Henrik. There was also champagne from Moët et Chandon.

The Life Guards band provided the musical entertainment for the evening, with pieces that spaced from classical composers like Bizet to modern day songs like “Viva la vida” by Coldplay. 

King Felipe and Queen Letizia will start the second day of their State Visit by attending a conference on the future of green energy transition; they will be accompanied by Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary.