It's here! The bumper royal year that is 2018 is under way and already excitement is mounting. So much to look forward to and so much to celebrate, what better way to start a new year than with hearts filled with smiles at happiness still to come? Here's what we already know we can look forward to in 2018 and that's before our royals have even got their jammies off after a night of celebrations. Happy New Year!!
The golden couple
A year of big birthdays
I hope you're in the mood for cake because there are a lot of big birthdays coming up. One of the most historic falls on November 14th 2018 when Prince Charles, Prince of Wales celebrates his 70th birthday and becomes the first heir to the throne to reach that age. Don't put those candles away just yet, there are more birthdays to come. Two former monarchs turn 80 this year. King Juan Carlos of Spain is first off the mark, celebrating his eight decades on January 5th 2018 and on January 30th 2018 it's party time for Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands (Queen of her country, of course, between 1980 and 2013). Queen Sofia of Spain is 80 in November, too. Princess Charlene of Monaco hits the big 4-0 in January while her husband, Prince Albert II, is 60 in March. At the other end of the birthday spectrum, we've got two royal first decades to celebrate. Princess Eleonore of Belgium, youngest child of King Philippe and Queen Mathilde and fourth in line to her country's throne, is ten on April 16th 2018. Emma Behn, youngest grandchild of King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway, is also ten in 2018 - her birthday is September 29th.
The anniversary kings
No longer the new boys in town, 2018 will be a pretty special year for King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and King Philippe of the Belgians. Both celebrate the fifth anniversary of their accessions in 2018. Willem-Alexander became the first king of his country in over a century on April 30th 2013 while Philippe took Belgium's throne on July 21st 2013. Five years on, both have shown they were more than ready for their close ups. Their reigns have been hailed as successes at home and abroad and both enjoy consistently strong levels of popularity, helped in no small part by the charisma and hard work of their consorts, Maxima and Mathilde. The traditional gift on a fifth anniversary is wood, representing strength. As these two anniversary kings move into the Royal 2018, it seems really very appropriate indeed.