Elves and acrobats and Santa Claus, oh my! Prince Albert and Princess Charlene of Monaco hosted their annual children’s Christmas party at the Prince’s Palace Tuesday, continuing a tradition started by Princess Grace in the early 1960s.
Palace volunteers dressed as elves greeted the invited children, who were treated to the palace’s special blend of hot chocolate and a personal gift delivered directly from Santa Claus and members of the royal family as part of the festivities.
Albert’s parents, Princess Grace and Prince Rainier, began hosting the event so children could meet the princess and have cherished memories of one-on-one time with their royal family. In the years since, the event has expanded, this year including 680 children.
Two children, however, were notably missing from the festivities: Albert and Charlene’s 9-year-old twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, who were reportedly ill.
Gift requests are collected from each invited child ahead of time so that the palace can hand deliver an item from their wish list, straight from Saint Nick himself, on the festive day. This year, People reported, Playmobil Novelmore and Spiderman racing sets were in high demand from the gathered kids.
The palace’s hot chocolate, too, is as legendary and over-the-top as the rest of the celebration. The milk for the concoction comes from the palace’s personal herd of dairy cows, and the 70% dark chocolate blend from the Dominican Republic completes the extra-thick recipe.
Rumors surrounding Albert and Charlene’s relationship have plagued the royal couple in recent years, prompting Albert in September to ask for an end to the “lies.”
“She supports me in leading the Principality, but we’re not attached to each other 24 hours a day,” he said of his wife. “We’re a working couple and sometimes that only allows us to see each other at the end of a long day full of appointments.”
Listen to Vanity Fair’s DYNASTY podcast now.