2 JANUARY 2009 Christmas for Denmark's Crown Princess Mary and her relatives was a intimate family affair, featuring local customs such as an almond hunt before dinner and the opening of presents on December 24 at the royal estate of Marselisborg, near the country's second city of Aarhus.
Come New Year's Day, though, the royals were back to official business, throwing open the doors of Copenhagen's Amalienborg Castle for their traditional white tie gala.
Accompanied by her smartly uniformed husband Frederik, a resplendent Mary led the way in a satin evening gown and a short fur cape. Completing the look was a magnificent set of ruby jewels which once belonged to the prince's grandmother, Queen Ingrid.
Her pregnant sister-in-law, Marie, also struck a regal note in an aquamarine affair and stole combination.
The elegant France-born princess - who wed husband Prince Joachim in May - has made quite an impression in the royal family. And her mother in law, Queen Margrethe, used her traditional New Year's address to speak of her joy at attending the couple's wedding last May.
As the Danish aristocrats hosted their festivities, Japan's number one family celebrated the New Year by greeting a crowd of around 74,000 at Tokyo's Imperial Palace.
Flanked by family members including his son Naruhito and daughter-in-law, Masako, Emperor Akihito acknowledged the cries of "Banzai" (long live). In a rare comment on economic issues, the royal told them he was "worried" about the global downturn and hoped "the new year is a better one for our people".