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Norway’s Royal Family attend the funeral of ‘Norwegian political giant’ Thorvald Stoltenberg

His Majesty King Harald alongside Her Majesty Queen Sonja and Princess Astrid, King Harald’s older sister, attended the funeral of Thorvald Stoltenberg on Thursday. Thorvald Stoltenberg was the father of NATO’s general secretary Jens Stoltenberg and former Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Norway.

The funeral was held in Oslo Cathedral – the main church for the Church of Norway Diocese of Oslo, as well as the parish church for downtown Oslo. The present building dates from 1694-1697. The Norwegian Royal Family and the Norwegian Government use the Cathedral for public events.

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg carried the coffin to his father out of the cathedral. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

King Harald and his sister Princess Astrid. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

In addition, many international politicians attended the funeral together with the royals. NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg and his sister, Camilla Stoltenberg the current Director-General of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, and their families were also present to mourn the former politician.

For more than nine years, Stoltenberg was a member in the Norwegian government as both Minister of Defence and Minister of Foreign Affairs. During this time, he visited the Palace weekly to attend the council of state. He was a member of government both during the reign of King Olav and the current monarch, King Harald. And therefore became a good acquaintance of The Royal Family. Because of this, Thorvald’s son, Jens Stoltenberg, was later inspired to become a member of the government and eventually became Prime Minister.

HM Queen Sonja. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

His Majesty King was clearly touched by the funeral. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

Thorvald Stoltenberg served as Norwegian Ambassador to the UN from 1989 to 1990. In 1990 he became the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1992, Stoltenberg founded the Council of the Baltic Sea States- In 1993 he was appointed Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for the former Yugoslavia. In 2003, he was appointed Chairman of the Board of International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA). Between 1999 and 2008 he was President of the Norwegian Red Cross.

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