On January 5, King Juan Carlos of Spain enters his 75th year. His landmark birthday will be celebrated in his native country, where the monarch is a popular and respected figurehead. The king himself will be looking forward to 2013, after a tumultuous twelve months for the Spanish royal family.
King Juan Carlos' big day begins a ripple of royal birthdays that spread out over the month of January. Another important person who will be blowing out candles is the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge, who turns 31 on January 9.
For many women, their early 30's are a time for self-reflection and considering what their next move should be. Not so for Kate, who has everything securely in place. Having just completed a successful first year as a working royal, the future Queen is poised to to become a mother for the first time and, as her profile continues to grow, quite possibly one of the most influential women of the 21st century.
The day before the Duchess' festivities, Denmark's little royals Vincent and Josephine will celebrate their second birthday. Proud parents Crown Prince Frederik and his wife Mary will no doubt release official images to mark the event. Mary is a keen photographer and always captures her children's special days with her own intimate snaps, as she did for her elder children, Christian and Isabella.
Further along in the month, Monaco will be uncorking the champagne – and more than once. Princess Caroline will be 56 years young on January 23, and a mere two days later her sister-in-law Charlene – married to Caroline's brother Prince Albert – will be the birthday girl when she turns 35.
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands rounds out the month with her big day on January 31.
All the news as Duchess Kate's due date draws close...