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King Harald and Queen Sonja visit Nordland – Day 1

On Tuesday morning, King Harald and Queen Sonja started their annual county journey. This time the Norwegian regents travelled to Nordland. The visit will last three days and end on Thursday. First up was Straumen in Sørfold municipality and Vollmoen in Steigen municipality.

On their journey, the King and Queen are using the royal yacht “Norge.” There the royals will live on their trip and use the ship for transport along the northern coast of Norway. As the King said when he started the visit yesterday: “The Queen and I have been looking forward to coming back to Nordland. Here we always feel at home! It is extra nice for us that our first stop on this trip is here in Straumen, where we have not been on an official visit before.”

Queen Sonja took the time to talk to the elderly on her journey. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, Det kongelige hoff / The Royal Court.

The visit started in Straumen. The King and Queen were welcomed by the county governor of Nordland and the municipality’s mayor. The police were also represented with their police chief. First, the King and Queen travelled to Straumen School. At the school, the whole village had gathered, and the royals received flowers from the children upon their arrival. Everyone brought with them Norwegian flags and shouted “hurray” when the royals walked past.

The Mayor held a speech before the royals heard some musical performances. Then, Their Majesties were given the opportunity to greet some of the village’s older inhabitants. They also learned more about the local industry, which is mainly energy production. Together with 70 children, King Harald and Queen Sonja also participated in various activities related to science.

During the visit to Straumen, the King held a speech where he said: “I have unfortunately lost a glimpse of where in the county our queen has been because she is travelling up here to climb in the mountain as soon as she has a few days off. Nevertheless, it is very nice to be here together this time – and share the day with all of you. Thank you very much for the warm welcome!”

King Harald and Queen Sonja learned more about industry and technology in northern Norway. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, Det kongelige hoff / The Royal Court.

Then the journey went on with the royal yacht to Steigen. This is an area the Queen has spent a lot of time in on her holidays over the last few decades and knows the area well. However, neither she nor the His Majesty have been there on an official visit, until yesterday. The royal couple were met by musicians and schoolchildren who played and sang when they arrived at Vollmoen in Engeløya. Ten-year-old Amanuel Yemane from Leine’s school and eight-year-old Lea Kristin Nilsen from Nordfold school gave the royal couple flowers.

Queen Sonja gave a speech during the visit where she said, “I have been looking forward to coming back to beautiful Steigen! To me, this is not a completely unknown area. When I get here, it is as if there is more space in my lungs. I breathe calmly with the lovely salty air feels, and I feels deeply grateful to live in such a beautiful country.”

The Norwegian royal yacht “Norge” while the ship is in the Oslofjorden. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen.

The King and Queen then saw a short theatrical performance that told about the municipality’s industry, culture, history and nature. Then there were various other cultural features and lectures. The city is known for organising the “Good enough” festival every year, which focuses on social pressure. Queen Sonja held a speech where she gave her official support for this project.

The visit to Steigen ended with the children singing for Their Majesties. Last night, a more official dinner for the royals took place on a small island outside the municipality. The visit to Nordland continued today where the King and Queen visited Værøy and Røst.

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.