King Harald and Queen Sonja started their three-day-long state visit to Jordan on Monday. The Norwegian royals have been in Jordan since Wednesday last week on a private holiday. On Sunday evening, they were warmly welcomed at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Amman, Jordan.
The day started with an official welcome ceremony where King Harald and Queen Sonja were officially welcomed to Jordan by King Abdullah II and Queen Rania. They were greeted with pomp and splendour.
The official welcome was followed by a private meeting between the royals and meeting between the two nation’s delegations. One of the themes for the talks was Jordan’s great hospitality to refugees from Syria and other countries in the region. Jordan also has a large Palestinian population. Norway is supporting Jordan with humanitarian funds to assist in this effort. This is particularly true of education support to help the many refugee children get schooling.
Trade between Norway and Jordan has been relatively small, but exports of Norwegian seafood have increased in recent years. The Middle East is an important part of an investment in new markets, and Minister of Business Iselin Nybø invited seafood lunches for about 120 guests today. There, representatives of Norwegian manufacturers and exporters could meet Jordanian importers, grocery chains and hotels. The two Kings and the two Queens were then present at an official lunch with Norwegian seafood hosted by Norway’s Minister of Industry, Iselin Nybø. Norwegian chef Sebastian Myhre was behind the meal and also conducted a workshop on Norwegian produce for Jordanian chef students on Sunday.
In the afternoon, King Harald and Queen Sonja participated in the opening of the business seminar “Discovering Future Partnerships: Jordan-Norway Business Forum”. During the business seminar, Queen Sonja held a speech. Her Majesty said: “This is the first Norwegian state visit to Jordan, and The King and I are very grateful for the warm welcome we have received. We have been very much looking forward to visiting your beautiful country – which we already have caught an interesting glimpse of.”
Queen Sonja also shared a personal and special story from 2010. The Queen said: “Many parts of this seminar are related to digitalization. I imagine this is also close to Your Majesty’s heart. My knowledge is based on a very pleasant meeting in Oslo in 2010, where you told me about a fabulous item called an Ipad. I had never seen one but could imagine how useful this device would be. A day later, a parcel arrived from abroad – guess what it was? An Ipad from Your Majesty. Suddenly, I felt very modern! Thank you, dear King Abdullah, for your most suitable gift!”
The first day of the visit was concluded with a banquet at the Al Husseiniya Palace. Crown Prince Hussein attracted great attention when he appeared in his traditional Arabic attire.
The visit is the Norwegian royals’ first state visit to the Middle East and marks 20 years since the Jordanian King was on a state visit to Norway. This is also the 50th state visit done by King Harald.