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King Harald and Queen Sonja arrive in Shanghai

On Wednesday, King Harald and Queen Sonja left the capital of China after meeting China’s President on Tuesday. King Harald and Queen Sonja took the train from Beijing to Shanghai. The royals took the train to see how Chinese high-speed train technology works. The train had a top speed of 347 kilometres per hour for a distance of 1380 km; it took the royals 4.5 hours to make the journey.

Norway is now in a period where they are considering building similar train lines to use faster trains. It has also been discussed whether Norway, Sweden and Finland can work together to create such railways across their borders. It was, therefore, essential for the Chinese to show the Norwegian King and Queen that this works and with this is technology, Norway and China can co-operate on in the future.

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When the royals arrived in Shanghai, they were welcomed by representatives of the city authorities. The King and Queen also received beautiful flowers from young children who had met for a glimpse of the Their Majesties. The King and Queen were impressed with Shanghai.

“It’s amazing how it has evolved since we were here 20 years ago,” said King Harald in his meeting with the Norwegian press. Queen Sonja added: “There was almost nothing over there. It’s completely unimaginable to see it now”.

The primary purpose of visiting the city was to visit the Norwegian colony in the city. The royal couple met many of the Norwegians who have settled in Shanghai and their families.

In the mid-1800’s, Shanghai played an essential role in Norwegian trade and shipping in this part of the world. The Norwegian Consulate General in Shanghai was opened in 1906, as one of the very first after the union resolution with Sweden in 1905. Today, the Norwegian colony has between 300 and 400 people. Many are still associated with shipping, but also other businesses, academia, arts and culture are well represented, in addition to a large group of Norwegian students.

The city of Shanghai. Photo: CC/PD via Wikimedia Commons.

“It has been an eventful trip. We have been to Hainan, which is a tourist destination. We have been in one of China’s poorest areas, and we are now in the richest area. It is interesting to look at the differences”, said the King.

The day was concluded with conversations with Shanghai’s Mayor, Ying Yong and Party Secretary, Li Qiang which was then followed by an official dinner at Xingguo Hotel. The visit continues in Shanghai the coming days.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.