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King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon participate in large NATO exercise

King Harald and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway participated in NATO exercises consisting of more than 20,000 NATO soldiers in Norway for an extensive winter exercise.

The King and Crown Prince received a briefing on the winter exercises in the north, and for the first time, they received the information in two different places.

Crown Prince Haakon received a briefing about the exercise from the “Joint Viking” management at Bardufoss military airport. At the same time, King Harald received the same information from the defence staff at Akershus Fortress in Oslo. The pair receiving the same briefing at two locations has never been done before.

The Royal Court also confirmed another historic first, which was the Norwegian monarch taking part in a military exercise via video; the King received a briefing from the Chief of Defence via a link from the Sitsen military camp.

The aim of the meeting was for the Royal Family to be informed about the exercises taking place with NATO. It aligns with how the King, as the Supreme Commander and General of the Armed Forces, must be notified in the event of a war.

The half an hour exercise must be as similar as possible to a real war situation. The leader of the “Joint Viking” exercise, Lieutenant General Yngve Odlo, led the meeting between the defence leadership and the Royal House.

At the meeting, Crown Prince Haakon was updated about the Norwegian-led NATO exercises. The “Joint Viking” land exercise was not the only training; the British-led exercise “Joint Warrior” also took place.

The maritime exercises meant that the Navy, Army and Air Defence worked together in northern Norway, providing an excellent opportunity for the various defence branches to train together. A total of 20,000 soldiers from eight allied NATO countries are involved.

King Harald has a long tradition of following the major NATO exercises hosted by Norway. As Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the King is always looking for ways to contribute to winter exercises.

However, the King did not participate last year; instead, Crown Prince Haakon visited the large Cold Response exercise on behalf of the Royal Family.

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About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.