(VIDEO) HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Hosts the 2016 Nytårstaffel.

On the evening of January 1, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark accompanied by her husband and recently retired prince, Henrik, along with Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, and Their Royal Highnesses Prince Joachim and Princess Marie of Denmark hosted the 2016 Nytårstaffel held at Christian VII’s Palace, Amalienborg, in Copenhagen.

Click here and here to view photos.

Photo courtesy of Kongehuest

(VIDEO) Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark Delivers Her New Year Speech.

On the evening of December 31, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II of Denmark delivered her New Year Speech live from Fredensborg Slot in Fredensborg, Denmark.

In her speech, the frail looking 75 year-old queen announced that her husband, His Royal Highness Prince Henrik of Denmark will “…slow down…” on his official royal engagements.  So what does this all really mean?  Is he sick?  Bored of royal duties and life in general?  Having another one of his infamous temper tantrum’s?  Who knows.  What we do know is that Prince Henrik will no longer accompany his wife, Queen Margrethe II, on official trips aboard nor will he be at her side when foreign Heads of State will visit beautiful Copenhagen.

The prince will no longer be apart of any official royal duties with the exception of tonight’s 2016 Nytårstaffel at Christian VII’s Palace in Copenhagen.  From here on out Prince Henrik will occasionally attend events that truly interest him… basically anything that has to do with food as well as bad poetry reading gatherings.

With that being said, au revoir and farvel, Henrik!

Below is the English translation of Her Majesty Queen Margrethe II’s speech:

“A year is coming to an end; tomorrow a new year will begin.

We cannot take leave of 2015 without reflecting upon what the year has brought with it. In January we saw first the shocking attack on the French satirical magazine in Paris, and about a month later we experienced the two attacks at Krudttønden and at the Synagogue in Krystalgade in Copenhagen. Two Danes lost their lives, and we were all left with a sense of shock and horror – acts of terrorism had reached us. My thoughts go to the relatives of both victims. We were all affected, which was reflected in the huge rally of support shown in the days and weeks following the tragic events.

But it was not to end there: Not many weeks ago, Paris was hit once again by terrorist attacks leaving many people dead and injured. Not only Europe – but the entire world has demonstrated solidarity with France. Acts of terrorism are not a European phenomenon. Terrorists strike at innocent people everywhere, people who are merely going about their day-to-day ordinary business.

We are affected, too, and we must understand and consider that no man is an island; we are all a part of the main.

Our reaction must not become one of paralysing fear. We must adjust to our conditions as they are, we must exercise vigilance. But we must live our every-day lives in confidence and in good spirits – in high spirits, indeed, for fear makes us weak.

It is no news that there is war and misery and terrorism throughout the world. We have been able to follow this every day in newspapers and on television: horrifying pictures of other people’s misfortune. Nevertheless, up to now it has only affected us in a strangely noncommittal manner until we this year have seen people in distress and entire families desperately trying to reach Europe, and also entering our country in larger numbers than ever before.

Many refugees have sought protection in Denmark and it is our responsibility to render assistance. It is a huge task, but also a difficult dilemma: How many can we help, and how do we help in the best way? My wish is that the New Year will prove a good year for all those who find their place in Denmark.

I also wish to use this evening to send my greetings to the many authorities, organizations and individuals who are making a great and essential effort to render assistance to the people arriving in Denmark, and who perform the tasks ensuing from this.

The distress and suffering of others casts new light on the lives we lead in Denmark. Our lives are safe and secure. There is cohesion between our hopes and the opportunities we all have. Hectic, that is what our time has come to be for many of us, and this may make “the old days” look romantic and carefree; but they were not like that. Most people had a much tougher day-to-day life some two or three generations ago. At that time, there was good reason for worry and concern. We understand very well that we cannot put carefree trust in the future, but we must not paint the future as doom and gloom.

We are healthier and fitter than previous generations. We live longer, we have more leisure time and more opportunities to spend it. In short, we are extremely privileged compared with the world at large. Nevertheless, it sometimes looks as if more people worry more about less. Do we eat too much? Do we eat healthy enough? Are the instructions for use understandable? How to make our mark so that everybody can see how important we are, each and every one? How will we cope when we grow old – and live to a great old age; that is what we want. We should notice that most of us are healthier and fitter than our parents or grandparents were.

We should probably not worry so much about our children either. We cannot hold their hands forever. We must give them room and not protect them so zealously that they do not get the chance to learn any lessons of their own. Previously, children were left to play on their own, without any interference from adults and with plenty of room for imagination. Sometimes they would fall and hurt themselves, and sometimes it might be a bit difficult to explain how the trousers had got torn or what had happened to the hair bow. ‘Up you get’ the grown-ups would say – and the children managed. It meant lessons learnt, which they might well have preferred to do without, but that is part of life itself.

Nobody goes through life without encountering obstacles. As time goes by, the challenges appear: at school, during further education, at our workplace. It is important that we should encounter challenges when we are young. Some challenges are dealt with successfully, others prove too daunting. But that must not lead to a sense of despondency. By contrast, that is when we need to find out what to do next.

We cannot all do the same. We must not, at all costs, do what all the others do. On the other hand, nor should we strive so hard to be unique that it impacts negatively on our fellowship and solidarity with others.

This year, the Prince Consort and I have visited Greenland once again. A two-week trip which the wonderful summer weather contributed to making yet another unforgettable meeting with the Land of Human Beings. We revisited many places, but we also experienced settlements we had not previously visited. Everywhere we encountered so much warmth that the sun seemed to shine even where the sky was cloudy. Both of us want to say: Thank you for last summer, and we wish all Greenland society a happy New Year.

For the Faroe Islands, this has been a good year. Nature has been in a generous mood and there is much enterprise and activity among the Faroese. The Prince Consort and I had looked forward to our visit, which unfortunately had to be given up; but we send our warmest greetings and best wishes for the New Year to everybody in the Faroe Islands. And I want to add: See you next summer!

The past year has presented us with many challenges, not least for the Police. I wish to say thank you for the effort; it has not been costless, not for individuals and not for the entire police force as such. I wish you a happy New Year with my warm thanks for what each and every one has contributed.

I also send my New Year greetings to all Danes posted abroad who in the course of this year have performed dangerous tasks throughout the world.

They have all made an honourable effort on behalf of Denmark, and I wish to send them a special thank you. Specialists from the Danish Emergency Management Agency have rendered assistance in Nepal after the devastating earthquakes. In West Africa, where the Ebola epidemic has claimed so many victims, Danish doctors and nurses have made a fearless effort so that the countries affected are now able to handle the terrible disease.

Denmark is aware of its international responsibility and that is why the Danish Defence also this year has been active in many hotspots throughout the world. Everywhere, we hear words of praise for the efforts of the Danish forces. This applies to the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. We can take pride in that. I wish to thank all who have been posted abroad. 

I wish all of you, both those at home and those who are abroad right now, a happy New Year.

Tonight, I also send my greetings and thoughts to all Danes, wherever they are throughout the world. A thank you for their effort and a wish for a happy New Year for themselves and their activity. I also send my greetings to Danes in South Schleswig. Like the German minority north of the border, they contribute to making our border area a model for other border areas. I wish them all a happy New Year.

I cannot end my address without saying thank you, a thank you for all the warmth and kindliness that the Prince Consort and I and all our family have received also this year.

Tonight, however, I would like to extend my best thanks to the Prince Consort. My husband has made the decision that the time has now come for him to “slow down” – or, if I may use a common Danish term – to retire. Going forward, the Prince Consort will therefore only to a very limited extent partake in the official events, which for so many years have been a natural part of his life. It is his decision, which I understand and respect. I am deeply grateful for all the support, help and inspiration he has given me over the years. I look forward to continuing to carry out my duties with the support of my husband, though it will be less visible.

Before us lies a new year. Tonight, we will turn yet another page: What is in store for us? We must face the future with hope, but well aware that the New Year may bring with it joy as well as sadness, challenges as well as happy moments.

My wish is for everybody and for our country that the happy moments will outnumber the others, and that we will be able to respond to the challenges with confidence.

With all my heart: Happy New Year 2016!


(VIDEO) His Majesty King Harald V of Norway Delivers His 2015 Nyttårstale.

On the evening of December 31, 2015, His Majesty King Harald V of Norway delivered his 2015 Nyttårstale live from the Kongelige Slott in Oslo.

Below is a rough translation of His Majesty’s speech.

“The poet Kolbein Falkeid writes:

‘People I loved
has gone ahead and marked ski trails
They were forest guys and mountain glove.
I find enough forward.’

Our days pass into months – that goes over this year. Thus the years life. It is in every day life is lived. And for most people in Norway is the good life.

Sometimes, one can still feel alone. Maybe you lost someone, perhaps one stands in front of an important choice. May make stance you a little shaky, and you do not know where the next step should be.

If you look back, you can easily get balance. How can the past – and they went up the slopes – helping us to locate.

I will therefore speak about the long lines tonight.

Norway is regarded by many as the best country to live in. We score high on international rankings of living standards in the world. We have a good welfare state – and the vast majority have a job to go to and confidence in daily life. It has not always been.

This year we have highlighted that it is 70 years since peace came to Norway – after five years of war and occupation. A number of events have been held to commemorate the end of World War 2. Several of these we have in Royal Family attended.

The markings have given us an opportunity to look back – and in some cases also to put today’s society in perspective.

For it can be easy to forget that only 70 years ago parts of our country lay in ruins. Many returned to broken homes, and several came from a refugee existence. With assistance from the Marshall Aid we built the country after the war. The Norwegian effort that created the gleaming new home and a working life with the need for many hands.

Over the decades, we have developed a model of society we can be proud of – with low unemployment and a labor market in which the parties cooperate well. In the late 1960s we found oil in the North Sea.

Wise politicians and visionary leaders created a sensible framework surrounding the management of the large new resource.

The sum of all this is a generous welfare state everyone can enjoy.

Benefits we now take for granted, has not always been obvious. We also experienced adversity and faced challenges. Together, we have nonetheless emerged us up uphills. 

70 years may seem long, but for many of us living today, it’s as if it was yesterday.

The long lines are broken up by milestones; signs showing the limits. They are a symbol of that thing ends and something else begins.

“The Past best gift is the memory of that we have a future,” the sociologist Michael Young said.

In the old days mark stones also sightlines; a place where you could plot the course.

In a human life are milestones often occasions dealing with important events: A child’s birth. Choice of partner. A new home. Life events that give direction, new hope and sustenance to our dreams. Some such occasions will characterize you as long as you live.

One of my most important milestones was laid in 1991. When my father, King Olav V, passed away the night of January 17, 1991, began my king. In the dark January night nearly 25 years ago, the Palace Square filled with light. People came from near and far to commemorate a beloved king.

My royal deed started with a sense of community. The warmth of a whole nation embraced our family and gave strength in a difficult time. Meanwhile, it is with great humility that I stepped into a line of revered kings before me. Year we are now entering will mark this 25th anniversary and gives occasion for reflection and contemplation.

Norway has in these years experienced an unprecedented prosperity. Our country substantial access to energy and ocean treasures has given us great riches. Nevertheless, it is not natural resources alone that has given us opportunities – but to a greater extent our common human resources.

Because many are participating in the labor market and thus contribute to the community, we are together helping to create prosperity all benefiting.

Many people today are concerned about how the future will look like. In recent times we have several areas experienced being tested – as a nation and as individuals. It is allowed to be upset, and express it.

Norway is closely linked to other countries. How can events on the other side of the globe have significant consequences for each our days here at home. Some occupational industries are threatened, and the employee can have serious consequences. We have recently heard of layoffs in several places. 

I would think that many tonight are concerned about what happens to their work in the future.

Human drama we see every day in the faces of all those trying to find a safe haven in Norway. Many fleeing terror in their homeland. Autumn’s horrific events in Paris and other big cities have been dreadful reminders that values ​​our society is built, are under pressure. Terrorism knows no borders, and the goal is to create fear in the population. The terrorists want to rob us of life – our life. We will fight – with different agents. Where terrorists are attacking our lives with bombs, is our best defense, however, that we use values ​​as weapons.

As a backdrop for today’s great themes, hangs the threat of climate change. From Alaska to Antarctica, I’ve even seen some of the consequences.

Fortunately, there are bright spots. The international community’s effort to reach an agreement at the climate summit in Paris, ended considerably better than many had feared. Now begins the laborious work for a healthier planet.

We may have different opinions about how we should handle our common challenges. Nevertheless, it is important that we can talk about the tasks, because we are all affected by them. If we look back, we remember that we have been through difficult times before.

We mobilize the opposition. Norway is perhaps a small country, but together we have accomplished great things.

Our resources gives us significant opportunities – and great responsibility. Pippi Longstocking says: ‘He who is very strong must also be very kind.’ Many take on this responsibility. I will mention two examples:

After the terrorist attacks against Jews in Paris and Copenhagen in the beginning of the year, took a group of young Norwegian Muslims initiative to create a ring around the synagogue in Oslo. It was a simple and very dramatic action that showed courage and dedication through to care about others.

This autumn’s major refugee flow has reached us up close and personal life. Throughout our continent is experiencing a major challenge to welcome them back in a good way.

Many people across the country have collected and handed out clothes and food, taught in Norwegian and opened their homes to those who need it. Spontaneous action – and an expression of compassion. How have people been seen and important community building. 

I will tonight give a special thanks to the Norwegians who are in other countries to help people in need, and contributing to efforts to achieve peace and stability. Women and men in the armed forces, police, diplomatic and humanitarian operations and organizations doing important work we can all be proud of.

My thoughts tonight also goes to the families and those affected by avalanche accident in Svalbard right before Christmas. Volunteers and relief agencies also did here a big effort to help those affected.

When we in the Royal Family visiting around the country, we are struck by people’s enthusiasm and commitment. Communities are built in a country populated by people with visions and thoughts that Norway someday be left to our grandchildren. I am therefore optimistic. If we can still be true to, and can still develop our values ​​- such as trust, community and generosity – we can still create a good society for the many.

We have this fall been able to follow a TV series named date. It shows the life stories of famous and not so famous people. It states: ‘Everything starts somewhere. A date. And then come all these other things.’

Often it is the case – we know not always how it goes. Soon we will enter a new number in the calendar.

Together we will experience the ups and opposition, sorrows and joys. Each individual will experience new milestones in his life; dates we take with us the rest of your life. Some chose themselves, others chose us. Nonetheless, I hope that we together, in one year, you look back and think that the year was good.

We are all in a line. Some went ahead. Others come by. Let’s take care of each other and make the best of every moment.

We find enough forward.

I wish every one of you a Happy New Year!”

(VIDEO) TIMs Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan Host New Year Greetings.

On the afternoon of January 1, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan accompanied by Their Imperial Highnesses Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko along with their two daughters, Princess Mako and Princess Kako, hosted New Year Greetings at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.

Guests in attendance during today’s event included the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe, accompanied by his Cabinet members, the heads of the Diet’s two chambers and the chief justice of the Supreme Court as well as ambassadors including the United States Ambassador to Japan, Ms. Caroline Kennedy.

Earlier in the day, the Imperial Household Agency published Emperor Akihito’s New Year reflections:

“As last year was the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, it was a year in which many of us spent much time thinking about the war. In welcoming the new year, I would like to renew my prayer for peace both for our country and our people.

It will soon be five years since the Great East Japan Earthquake, and it pains me to think that there are still people who cannot return to the places they used to live and those who must endure the hardships of living in temporary housing. I hope that these people will take good care of their health through the cold winter, and that further progress will be made in the recovery of the afflicted areas.

Our country Japan is indeed blessed with beautiful nature, but at the same time, we are prone to natural disasters. It is my sincere hope that each and every Japanese cultivate an awareness of disaster prevention and continue to look out for each other and be prepared to protect themselves at all times.

May the new year bring happiness to the people of our country and the people around the world.