Members of royal families and Nobel Prize laureates gathered for two Nobel Prize galas on Monday - one in Stockholm, Sweden and a second in Oslo, Norway.
The European Union collected this year's prestigious Nobel Peace Prize for uniting the continent after two World Wars, during a ceremony held in Oslo.
Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland presented the prize, worth $1.2 million, at a ceremony in Oslo City Hall, followed by a banquet at the Grand Hotel, against a backdrop of demonstrations in this EU-skeptic country that has twice rejected joining the union.
About 20 European government leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, joined at the ceremonies.
The decision to award the prize to the EU has sparked harsh criticism, including from three peace laureates -- South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead Maguire of Northern Ireland and Adolfo Perez Esquivel from Argentina -- who have demanded the prize money not be paid out this year. They say the bloc contradicts the values associated with the prize because it relies on military force to ensure security.
Royals, meanwhile, came out for the event in Norway, including Crown Princess Mette Marit and Crown Prince Haakon.
At a separate gala in Stockholm, the Swedish Royal family attended the Nobel Prize ceremony at Stockholm Concert Hall, including Queen Silvia, Princess Madeleine, King Carl Gustaf, Prince Carl Philip, Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel. Prizes were handed out in medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and economics, with a black-tie gala to follow.
Serge Haroche of France and David Wineland of the United States were awarded the Physics Prize. The 2012 Nobel Literature Prize winner, writer Mo Yan of China, received the honor in Stockholm on Monday.
The festivities continue Tuesday with a star-studded concert in Oslo with performances by Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo, Kylie Minogue, Seal and others. Sarah Jessica-Parker and Gerard Butler will co-host the event.
"I am honored to be sharing the stage with such amazing performers to promote the power of peace around the world," Parker said in a statement.
"I'm deeply honored to have been asked to be a part of such a remarkable celebration of humanity," added Butler. "The European Union has shown the world what is possible when forces unite in peace. It's a joy to stand alongside these magnificent artists and celebrate the EU and its contribution to world peace."