Thursday afternoon, His Majesty King Harald of Norway announced the season opening for the Norwegian Royal Yacht “DS Norge”. This happened unusually early this year. It is not common for the King to order the royal yacht to be ready for use until the end of May.
The reason why this season starts extra early is that the Royal Yacht will be used in this year’s celebration of the 80th anniversary of the King and Queen. All invited royal guests from all over Europe will have lunch on the Royal Yacht during the second day of celebration, which will take place next week.
During the summer season, the crew consists of 53 people, 17 officers and 36 other crew members. During winter time, the crew is reduced to a minimum of approximately 25 people. The duties are mainly guarding the ship and maintenance during the winter. In February, the ship receives new officers and military crew who undergo theoretical and practical training for the upcoming season.
During such a ceremony, which was conducted on Thursday, the King inspected this year’s crew. They also inspected the ship and made sure of everything is as it should before they had a little chat with the captain and another military commander on board the ship. The King then comes with his official approval that everything is as it should be and the royal ship is officially ready to perform its duties for the Norwegian royal family throughout the season. It is common for the season to end in mid-September.
The Royal Yacht yhas been used for many big celebrations before. When the royal couple celebrated its 60th anniversary in summer 1997, royals from all over Europe participated in the celebration. The guests were invited on a trip from Trondheim to Lofoten and were accommodated aboard the Royal Yacht.
The Norwegian Royal Yacht is one of the world’s two remaining royal yachts. The other is the Danish Royal Yacht Dannebrog, since the British Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in 1997. The Royal Yacht was a gift from the people of Norway to King Haakon VII in 1947, purchased in the wake a nationwide collection effort. The ship is owned by His Majesty The King but is manned and maintained by the Royal Norwegian Navy.