King Harald V of Norway formally opened Norway’s 161st session of Parliament this afternoon in Oslo. The day began with His Majesty being driven in his 1966 Lincoln Continental convertible with Queen Sonja through downtown Oslo before arriving at the Storting building, where the Storting Norwegian Parliament is housed.
This is the only day of the year where the King, Parliament, Supreme Court, and other members of the government are assembled in the same room during an official event. Crown Prince Haakon was also present at the ceremony. The ceremony is required by the Constitution of 1814 and went off without a hitch, with the exception of a minor stumble by the King on the steps that led down from the throne during the procession out of the building. Luckily, Crown Prince Haakon was there to lend a hand to his father as the procession continued.
The King delivered the speech, prepared by the government, from the throne called the Trontalen, which outlines the main points of governmental policy for the coming year. This year’s speech has been marked as especially important due to the elections being held next year for members of Parliament. His Majesty began by saying, “Distinguished President, People’s Deputies. I salute Parliament welcome to responsibly work and wish that it must be for the benefit of the motherland.”
After this, a report on the State of the Union was read, which reviews what the government has done over the course of the past year. The report, which traditionally is read by the youngest member of Parliament, was read by 32-year-old agriculture minister Jon Georg Dale.
Jon Georg Dale then handed the report over to King Harald, who then presented it to the President of the Storting. The Norwegian national anthem was then sung just before the King, Queen Sonja, and Crown Prince Haakon exited the building. They were then driven back to the Royal Palace.