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King Harald talks of ‘defiant hope’ in New Year’s Eve speech

King Harald shared a message of hope heading into 2024 in his annual New Year’s Eve speech.

“Tonight I want to encourage you to light candles,” the King said. “A light for all who suffer in wars and conflicts. A light for people we miss. And a light for hope.”

Speaking from the Royal Palace in Oslo, King Harald said that for us to have hope, we have to think of ourselves as a collective we. “For me, there is a defiant hope in this one word,” he said.

The King used his speech to touch upon the many facets of life in Norway—from education and youth to the elderly and underrepresented communities—and how he believes that change will always happen, even if “I’ve lived long enough to know that things take time.” As the King said, “Much of lasting value has no quick fix. It has taken us generations to build the society we know today as ours, of which we are proud and feel at home.”

The King’s speech ended with a plea for Norway to continue to protect itself and its people and values, because the country’s “preparedness is, when it comes down to it, the sum of each individual’s resilience.

“We build on this positive force all the time through good partnerships. Through strong local communities. By standing up for each other, in the belief that there is a common good. It gives me great hope, because this is something we can all be part of. Both with invisible and active hands.”

King Harald ended his annual New Year’s Eve speech with a message to work together: “When it’s cold and dark, it’s important to remember all the warmth, strength and good will that we humans share with each other on a daily basis.”

The King’s speech was markedly different from his cousin Queen Margrethe’s. She used her New Year’s Eve speech to announce her intentions to abdicate on 14 January, paving the way for King Frederik X.

King Harald’s full New Year’s Eve speech can be read here.

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About author

Jess Ilse is the Assistant Editor at Royal Central. She specialises in the British, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Royal Families and has been following royalty since Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee. Jess has provided commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Jess works in communications and her debut novel THE MAJESTIC SISTERS will publish in Fall 2024.