December means many things. Christmas trees, Christmas jumpers, too much chocolate. It's also the time when we start to remember, to pull together the strands of the year just gone as we look forward to the one about to start. So many royal events have kept us busy in 2017 but some have really made their mark. For the next two weeks, we'll be recalling the major events of the past twelve months from those we welcomed to those we lost, from the major anniversaries to the unexpected moments that will linger long. We already know that 2018 is going to be a bumper royal year but 2017 has made its mark,too. The old year might be almost done but our look back is only just beginning. The celebration of the Royal 2017 starts with a double birthday that brought together all the ruling houses of Europe....
King Harald of Norway turned 80 on February 21st 1937 but being the good mannered monarch that he is, he put the major celebrations so that he could host a joint bash or two with his wife, Queen Sonja, who would reach the same milestone on July 4th this year. The couple celebrated together in May 2017 and what a party it was.
The couple hosted two days of celebrations for their royal friends and relations starting with a gala dinner at the Royal Palace in Oslo on May 9th 2017. The birthday royals and their guests appeared on the balcony ahead of the banquet where they were greeted by huge crowds determined to celebrate with a king and queen who take popular to new levels every month. Harald and Sonja looked rather overcome with emotion when, surrounded by their children and grandchildren, they were serenaded by the crowd. And they gave royal watchers everywhere a present in return by releasing a huge group snap of them with all their regal guests - in the absence of a major wedding this year, this was the only real chance to capture so many royals together.
These birthday celebrations also included a cruise and lunch on May 10th followed by another dinner given by the Norwegian goverment in honour of King Harald and Queen Sonja at Oslo's Royal Opera. It was pretty chilly at the time but the couple still pulled big crowds who celebrated at tehir sides. The Royal 2017 was filled with major birthdays but this was perhaps the most glittering celebration of all. A chance to round up all the royal houses in one go while watching a truly popular king and queen mark their major milestones with the support of so many of their fellow citizens.