A party fit for a queen: Europe's royals roll out the red carpet for Denmark's Queen Margrethe at her dazzling birthday ball
Royals from all corners of Europe have descended on Copenhagen to help Denmark's long-serving monarch Queen Margrethe celebrate her 75th birthday.
The celebrations kicked off last night with a glittering gala dinner at the Christiansborg Palace in central Copenhagen and continued this morning with a birthday serenade and balcony appearance.
Margrethe, whose birthday is today, was joined on the balcony of the Amalienborg Palace by heir apparent Crown Prince Frederik, 46, and her second son Prince Joachim, 45, while guests, among them Norway and Sweden's royals, looked on.
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Looking good: Crown Princess Mary, 43, and Crown Prince Frederik arrive for a gala dinner at the Christiansborg Palace last night
Gala: Spain's King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia put on the glitz on Wednesday evening in Copenhagen
Regal: Denmark's Queen Margrethe is celebrating her 75th birthday today and kicked off celebrations last night
Queen Margrethe, who was awoken this morning by members of her family, among them four-year-old twins Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine, cut a glamorous figure in her turquoise dress and waved delightedly at the crowds outside.
But while further events are planned for later today, it was last night's gala spectacular that really caught the eye, with glamorous guests led in by Spain's Queen Letizia, 42.
The newest queen consort in Europe looked wonderful in a dress embroidered with traditional Spanish blackwork and smiled broadly as she was escorted in on the arm of husband Felipe, 47.
Joining them was the Netherlands' glamorous royal couple, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, who were back in Denmark for the second time in less than a month.
Also on the guest list were King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden and Denmark's own Crown Prince Frederik, 46, and his wife, Crown Princess Mary, 43.
Making an entrance: Queen Margrethe (left) and Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Mary (right)
Guests: Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands
Tiara: Queen Letizia, 42. opted for a striking, sleeveless black and white dress featuring traditional Spanish blackwork embroidery
Family: Denmark's French-born Princess Marie and Prince Joachim arrive ahead of the gala dinner at the Christiansborg Palace
Looking wonderful: Queen Mathilde of the Belgians arrives in a spectacular purple dress on the arm of husband Philippe
Striking: The magical Christiansborg Palace provided a spectacular backdrop for the event
Striking though they all appeared, it was Queen Margrethe who really caught the eye in her striking scarlet dress featuring delicately embroidered petals and chiffon sleeves
She finished the look with jaw-dropping jewels including an oversized pearl-encrusted brooch, pearl earrings and necklace and an extravagant hair decoration featuring entwined silver leaves.
Noticeable by their absence were the British royals, none of whom attended the event. This is thought to be due to the imminent birth of the Duchess of Cambridge's second child, although the UK's crowned heads have made something of a habit of missing out on European celebrations.
Most notable was the lack of British attendees at the funeral of Belgium's Queen Fabiola last December, which, despite seeing the Empress of Japan, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and King Harald of Norway attend, saw Britain send its ambassador alone.
On the balcony: Queen Margrethe, her heir Frederik (left) and her younger son Joachim wave to the crowds
Enjoying her day: Queen Margrethe II waves to excited crowds from the balcony of the Amalienborg Palace in Copenhagen
Royal family: Future King of Denmark Frederik (right) on the balcony with his wife Mary and their four young children
Close: Crown Prince Frederik bends down to chat to his son Prince Christian, who stands next to his brother, Prince Vincent
All smiles: On a second balcony were Norway's King Harald (right), Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit
Looking on: L-R Sweden's Prince Daniel, Crown Princess Victoria, Queen Silvia and King Carl XVI Gustaf
Royal wake-up: Queen Margrethe awoke on her birthday to find a crowd cheering outside
Taking part: Frederik and Mary arrived early with their four-year-old twins, Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent
Getting involved: They were joined by the Belgian and Dutch heads of state
Excitement: Many of the children carried Dannebrogs - the Danish flag which is brought out on birthdays
Having a chat: Crown Princess Mary with Princess Josephine and Queen Maxima (left) and Crown Prince Frederik with nephew Prince Nikolai
Well-wishers: Flag-waving crowds had gathered outside the Amalienborg Palace early in the morning
Delighted: When Queen Margrethe emerged onto the balcony, the cheers grew even louder
The grand birthday celebration comes just days after the Danish Queen, who has been on the throne since 1972, caused a stir by saying that immigrants don't have to like Danish food but they must respect the country's core values.
Margrethe made headlines after taking part a tense debate about immigration on Monday in Copenhagen. Her comments echoed similar thoughts expressed in 2005 in which she pointed out that tolerance must be a two-way street.
This time, Queen Margrethe's intervention saw her tell reporters that immigrants 'don't need to change religion or what they eat. It's not about meat balls. It's about adapting to the country they have come to.'
She was commenting on a weekend newspaper interview in which she urged newcomers to accept Denmark's 'mental climate' and cited the Jewish community as a 'beautiful example' of a minority adapting to Danish society.
Denmark's immigration debate intensified after February shooting attacks against a free speech event and a synagogue by a gunman with Jordanian-Palestinian roots.
The attack, which came weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, claimed the lives of three people - including that of gunman Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein, 22, who was shot dead by police.
Cheers: Crown Prince Frederik makes a toast from his seat beside Queen Anne-Marie of Greece (left)
Speech: Listening in was Dorrit Moussaieff, the Israel-born wife of Iceland's Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson
Sitting pretty: Luxembourg's Grand Duc Henri was sat between Crown Princess Mary and Queen Letizia
Cheers! Queen Margrethe sits between King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden and King Harald of Norway
Cheers! The two Scandinavian kings toast their Danish counterpart during the gala dinner
Looking good: Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and his wife, Queen Silvia arrive for the gala dinner
Emeralds: King Constantine of Greece and Queen Anne-Marie of Greec
Glamorous gathering: The crowned heads of Europe sit together at the banquet