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King Harald: “The rumors of my death are significantly exaggerated”

“The rumours of my death are significantly exaggerated,” said His Majesty King Harald of Norway in the opening of his speech during the annual gala dinner for parliament representatives and the government at the Norwegian Royal Palace. The King followed up with the statement, “The only one who has passed away here tonight is probably the moose we will be served soon.”

The king always tends to open his speech with a self-ironic joke during such dinners, and many speculated that the King was going to joke about his passing away after NTB accidentally reported the death of King Harald in late September.

Queen Sonja, Princess Astrid and Crown Princess Mette-Marit also participated during dinner. Crown Prince Haakon usually participates in such dinners, but he represented the Norwegian Royal Family Thursday during the cremation of Thailand’s former King in Bangkok.

The Royal Palace in Oslo and the statue of Queen Maud. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

It was 25 September this year that the Norwegian News Agency (NTB) accidentally reported in Norway that His Majesty King Harald was dead. The Norwegian News Agency is a Norwegian press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The unfinished text was sent to NTB subscribers at 12 pm Norwegian time; the news agency sent out a new message retracting the previous message only minutes later.

The King also quoted his father, King Olaf, from a speech during the parliamentary dinner in October 1983, where King Olav said: “Reducing unemployment, reducing tension and limiting contamination are today three of the most important goals for politicians on all continents. Just the same we could say today,” said His Majesty.

The large dining room at the Royal Palace in Oslo. Photo: Jan Haug, De kongelige samlinger/The Royal Archives

This year, as always, the guests received food produced locally from the Palace’s properties around Norway. The starter was trout with egg-cream, cucumber and caviar. It was followed up with red beet carpaccio with mayonnaise of horseradish, walnuts and fried kale from the Palace Park. The main course was moose from Sikilsdalen that the King had shot himself, served with Brussels sprouts from the Palace Park, crispy caramelised onions and sauce. For dessert, there were plums from Bygdøy royal estate with almonds.

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