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King Harald and Queen Sonja visit Nordland – Day 2

King Harald and Queen Sonja continued their journey in Nordland. They started their visit on Tuesday, and yesterday the tour continued to Værøy and Røst. The royals arrived at Røst on the royal yacht “Norge”. This municipality has 365 islands but only 500 inhabitants, and almost all of them were ready to receive the King and Queen. In the municipality’s village of Glea, there was a big party in honour of Their Majesties. The King and Queen saw a number of cultural performances. In addition, the local business community told the royals what they did to make money in such a deserted place.

Their Majesties also learned more about dried fish, which is the largest industry in the municipality. They also saw a dried fish opera as the locals performed. The opera tells the story of the Italian trader Pietro Querini as the people of Røst rescued in 1431 when his ship sank into the sea beyond the islands there.

Sara, Sondre and Mikael are waiting for the royal couple. They have flowers for the King and Queen. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.

When the King and Queen came, it became a great experience for the three children. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.

King Harald gave a speech where he said, “Thank you for wishing us a welcome so warmly! Now we are looking forward to visiting the church – which I visited when I was here with my father, King Olav, in 1963. It was time to come back!”

The last thing King Harald and Queen Sonja did before the journey continued was to visit Røst’s church. There they signed a royal stone; the same King Olav did when he visited the church in 1963. Then they went aboard the royal yacht and travelled on.

The Queen speaks to the assembly at Værøy. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.

The King and Queen were welcomed with song and music when they arrived at Værøy. The mayor welcomed the royals and accompanied them to the brand new and modern day care centre. There, many from the local population had met up to join the party. The Queen had the honour of declaring the new kindergarten officially open.

While the Their Majesties went to kindergarten, they learned more about the local business community in Værøy. They later visited the business of the Andreassen brothers, who for many years was Norway’s largest producer of lutefisk. Lutefisk is a traditional Norwegian dish made of cod. The recipe is common to eat around the Christmas time, and many eat lutefisk in Norway on Christmas Eve.

King Harald always loves dogs. Here he greets one of the local lundehunds, a Norwegian dog breed. Photo: Sven Gj. Gjeruldsen, The Royal Court.

Queen Sonja shared a somewhat dramatic story in her speech: “The King and I really enjoyed being with you today! I have – as the mayor mentioned – even been lucky enough to visit the mountains here in Værøy several times. I think I have to tell about the first time I came to these edges of the country. It was in 1989 – where I received a violent reception. My tour group and I were supposed to land here at Værøy one day in August, but despite the pilot’s valiant attempts 3-4 times to put the plane on the ground, – he thought it was wisest to set the course towards Røst!”

After this, the King and the Queen learned more about the Norwegian dog breed “lundehund” from Værøy which has been important to the locals throughout history. The second day of the visit was officially concluded with a good dinner. Today, the visit to Moskenes continued where Their Majesties end their visit to Nordland before returning to Oslo.

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.