Regiments of His Majesty King Harald’s lifeguard lined-up along “Karl Johans Gate” from the Norwegian Parliament and all the way up to the Royal Norwegian Palace with a distance of about 750 metres. “Karl Johans Gate” is Oslo’s parade street, and it is popular for tourists to visit during their stay in the city. For the occasion, a number of flagpoles along the parade street with Norwegian and Icelandic flags were also set up.
The preparations for the state visit began last week. A large press corps were in place to cover the state visit with the majority of the media from Norway and Iceland, but also Swedish and Danish press were represented.
Part of the King’s Guard had lined up in front of the palace, which is standard for a state visit. His Majesty first, after he and his family came out of the palace, inspected part of his guards. Then, he and the Royal Family walked to the Palace Square’s northern end. His Majesty King Harald, Her Majesty Queen Sonja and Their Royal Highnesses Crown Princess Mette-Marit and Crown Prince Haakon solemnly welcomed President Guðni Jóhannesson and his wife, Eliza Jean Reid.
His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince were, as usual, dressed in their official military dress uniform.
His Majesty the King accompanied the President of Iceland to the honour platform. Then the Royal military band played Iceland and Norway’s national anthems. After this, the King accompanied the president to his guards so that the President could inspect the King’s soldiers.
Many Icelanders who are permanent residents in Norway had been specially invited to the Palace Square to watch the welcoming ceremony. It is common in Norway during a state visit to ask residents in Norway who come from that visiting nation to stand lined up along the wall of the palace facade.
After President Jóhannesson had inspected the King’s soldiers, the procession with the Royal Family and the President and his wife went into the palace. Here, the press in the famous Bird Room, “Fugleværelset”, were able to photograph them along with the King’s sister, Princess Astrid. This is, perhaps, the palace’s most famous room; it is usually in this room that His Majesty welcomes all his important guests.
Shortly after, they went into the White Salon where the King and the President exchanged gifts with each other.
His Majesty King Harald and President Guðni Jóhannesson laid down flowers at the Norwegian National Monument at Akershus Fortress. It is customary for all heads of state on an official state visit to Norway to lay down flowers at the monument.
The National Monument was created in 1970 in memory of all Norwegians who were killed during World War II. It is also common that King Harald puts flowers down at the monument several times a year.
After the ceremony at the Fortress, the presidential couple split up. While Queen Sonja and the Icelandic First Lady went to the University of Oslo, the President travelled on his own to meetings in the Norwegian Parliament.
Her Majesty Queen Sonja accompanied First Lady Eliza Reid to the Science Library at the University of Oslo. First Lady Reid came to participate in a discussion on gender equality and women’s role in the workplace. Many had turned up to hear the First Lady and to see the Norwegian queen. The debate lasted for three-quarters.