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Taking a look back at the first solo overseas tour of Diana, Princess of Wales

Diana’s first tour with The Prince of Wales was a three-day visit to Wales in October 1981. In 1983 she also accompanied Prince Charles on a tour of Australia and New Zealand. The Princess’s first official overseas visit was 11 September 1982, when she represented The Queen at the state funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco.

However, the Princess’s first solo overseas tour was in February 1984 when Diana went to Norway, which for centuries has been a close ally of the United Kingdom and not least because the Norwegian Royal Family are close relatives of the British Royal Family.

Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1995. Photo: Nick Parfjonov via Wikimedia Commons.

Diana’s visit lasted only one day, and the Princess stayed in Norway for only one night. The Princess arrived at Fornebu airport, which is now closed, which was located just outside Oslo city centre. She was received by the then Crown Prince Couple of Norway, who are today King Harald and Queen Sonja.

During her short visit to Norway, the Princess had only two official engagements. The first one was to attend a performance of Carmen by The London City Ballet of which she was the patron. The then Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja also attended.

Oslo Concert Hall. Photo: Hans Rosbach via Wikimedia Commons.

On her second day in Oslo, she planted a tree on the grounds of the British Embassy in Oslo. Royal reporters from both Norway and Great Britain commented that during much of her trip, Diana appeared ill. When the Princess planted the tree outside the embassy, it was negative three degrees Celsius, and yet many met up to see the famous princess.

The press speculated that the Princess thought the short tour was difficult and had trouble carrying it out. The real reason for her unease was still something else. The day after she returned home, it was announced that she was expecting her second child, Prince Harry.

The British Embassy and the British Ambassador’s Residence “Villa Frognæs” in Oslo. Photo: Jan Tore Egge via Wikimedia Commons.

Diana, Princess of Wales, should have visited Norway in 1997, but this visit never came due to her death in August of that year. In autumn 1997, a large conference was held in Oslo, dealing with the problem of anti-personnel mines. Diana had visited Bosnia the same year, where she had seen the demining, organised by Norwegian aid organisations.

Just days before the Princess died, she sent a personal letter to the leader of the Norwegian People’s Aid Organisation thanking them for the Norwegian support of the demining in the Balkans. In her letter, the Princess wrote that she also looked forward to attending the conference held on 18 September 1997, less than a month after her tragic death.

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