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In the Royal Family a new year begins with the traditional and finest of the New Year’s Levees, the banquet

Everyone came in their finest and the event was covered by TV and other members of the press with live transmissions from the arrival. Much to everyone’s regret, TV and photographers are only allowed to take pictures of the guest’s arrivals and not from the party going on inside.

By Bente D. Knudsen    Pictures: Hasse Ferrold

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The 1 January is always a busy day for the Royal family. On this day the Queen hosts the finest of the many New Year Levees, the Nytårstaffel – the banquet.

At this first levee, the highest ranking officials from the different state institutions are invited, as well as the government and important members of the royal household and staff, such as the Queen’s personal secretary.

Everyone dresses in their finest and the official dress code is called Galla A, here tiaras, medals and other orders as well as dress uniforms are on show.

Of course the most interesting – for fashionistas- are the women’s long dresses. They have more variation than the men’s white tails – and only the royal family and officers arrive in dress uniform.

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At this  Nytårstaffel – dinner is served together with a glass of what is called the Rosenborg Vin. This is the only New Year levee, where dinner is served, which is the reason for the name taffel. The others are called Nytårskur – and here a drink is served – typically a glass of champagne.

According to former Finance Minister Kristian Jensen, the Rosenborg Vin is not a delicacy at all – instead he claims it is rather bitter and certainly not one of the attractions of the party – but just a tradition.

The original Rosenborg vin can be traced back to 1598 and the rest of it – about 1,000 litres, is stored in the cellars under Rosenborg Slot. The oldest are from 1598, 1599 and 1615. They belonged to  Christian 4’s mother and in 1659 they were taken by the Swedes as part of the spoils of war, however on their way to Sweden they were won back and brought home.

It is believed that there is enough wine for another 300 year’s. In this video HRH Prince Henrik tastes the wine and tells its history.

You can see all the preparations for the banquet in this video here. The tables are set up according to tradition in a horse-shoe shape in the Riddersal, the banquet hall of Christian 7’s palace.

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Read more about the other New Year Levees and the Gold Coach tour here.