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King Harald and Queen Sonja conclude state visit in Punta Arenas

After a well earned rest day, the King and Queen of Norway have started the conclusion of their long state visit to Chile. King Harald and Queen Sonja used their day off to move further south in the country. Now, the royals have arrived in the southernmost part of Chile in the city of Punta Arenas.

Punta Arenas is the capital city of Chile’s region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. Since its founding, Chile has used Punta Arenas as a base to defend its sovereignty claims in the southernmost part of South America. This led, among other things, to the Strait of Magellan being recognised as Chilean territory in the Boundary Treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina. The city is the world’s southernmost city with more than 100,000 inhabitants.

The day in Punta Arenas started with Their Majesties attending a seminar on the Antarctic; marine cooperation and Antarctica are key themes in Norwegian-Chilean relations. Chile and Norway share a maritime border between the Chilean Antarctic Territory and the Norwegian territory of Peter I Island. The royal couple, therefore, strongly wanted to visit Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams, located in Patagonia. There, common interests within research, resource management, climate issues and business activities have been highlighted. Following the seminar, a solemn welcome ceremony and lunch took place to welcome the King and Queen to Punta Arenas warmly.

There was some chaos when protesters blocked the royal couple in a square in the small town of Punta Arenas in Chile. Queen Sonja responded by entering into a dialogue with the protesters. One of their messages was “Welcome King Harald, but not your salmon”.

“We both experienced the conversation as important, and dialogue is a prerequisite for understanding the views of others. We thought it was an interesting meeting, and we got more knowledge about their case. In addition, it is good to see that democracy works”, said Queen Sonja and King Harald to TV 2.

The King and Queen then visited a part of Norway in Punta Arenas – Kongsberg Satellite Services (KSAT). This is a Norwegian company with the most extensive ground station network globally and the world’s largest ground station for support of polar orbiting satellites; they also provide ground network services and maritime monitoring services. KSAT’s global ground network consists of more than 140 antennas at 21 sites worldwide, including Chile.

As a great way to end their visit to Chile, Their Majesties took a boat trip on the Magellan course. The Strait of Magellan is a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The strait is the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and is considered difficult to navigate due to frequent narrowing and unpredictable winds and currents.

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.