In keeping with tradition, The Queen and The Prince Consort hold New Year’s levees at Amalienborg and Christiansborg Palace, respectively, at the beginning of the New Year.
For centuries, the Royal Danish House and Danes have wished each other a Happy New Year and, with that, good luck and prosperity for the whole kingdom. The origin of the contemporary New Year’s levees and New Year’s banquet is not known with certainty, but already in the mid 1600s the events around the changing of the year were referred to as old customs, and the basic elements are still the same.
From the time of Frederik III – and possibly long before that – the royal banquet on New Year’s Eve was an official event: all could come to the castle, where they stood in rows along the walls of the banquet hall and watched the royal family and the court dine. The custom came to an end when Christian VI and Queen Sophie Magdalene let Copenhagen Castle be demolished and moved into Christiansborg Palace, where no unauthorized people had access.
The tradition of the New Year’s levees, which extend over several days, was developed after the First World War, when the levees could no longer be carried out on one and the same day, 1 January. That was due to the development of the society, by which the number of state institutions grew through the 1900s.
Now when HM The Queen and HRH The Prince Consort hold the New Year’s levees, they pass off over three days:
New Year’s banquet on 1 January in Christian VII’s Palace, Amalienborg, for the government, the country’s top civil servants and the Royal Court’s leadership.
New Year’s levee for the Supreme Court and the officer corps of the Royal Life Guard and Royal Hussar Guard regiments in Christian VII’s Palace, Amalienborg.
New Year’s levee for the diplomatic corps at Christiansborg Palace.
New Year’s levee for officers from the Defence and the Danish Emergency Management Agency, for the 1., 2. and 3. rank classes, and for invited representatives of large national organizations and those having royal patronage, at Christiansborg Palace.
Published December 29, 2013