On the first day of the New Year, it is a tradition that Norway’s Prime Minister gives a New Year’s speech. This happens exactly one day following the speech of His Majesty King Harald. Both the King and the Prime Minister had to change and re-record their speeches following the suicide of Ari Behn, the former husband of Princess Märtha Louise.
The Prime Minister highlighted suicide and mental health in her New Year’s speech. She praised the Royal Family in what has been described as the most royalist New Year’s speech given by a Norwegian prime minister for many years.
Prime Minister Erna Solberg said the following about Ari Behn: “Norway has lost an innovative artist and writer. The Family and those who are left behind have lost a dear family member and a close friend.”
The Prime Minister is encouraging people to be transparent and used the opportunity to promote an initiative to identify the reasons why more young people, especially girls, have mental health challenges.
The Prime Minister highlighted King Harald and Queen Sonja as two people who care for all Norwegians. The Prime Minister said: “Together, with the rest of the Royal Family, the King and Queen are making a formidable effort. For Norwegian business abroad. To include everyone in our community. For the environment and climate, which new generations of royalty are so keen on. I want to thank His Majesty the King and the rest of the Royal Family for everything they do for Norway”.
King Harald of Norway delivered his annual New Year’s Eve address after a tragic Christmas Day where his former son-in-law, Ari Behn, committed suicide. “We are strongly influenced by Ari Behn’s death this Christmas. It has been warm to experience people’s compassion and lit candles at the Palace Square. There is comfort in all the good memories and beautiful words that have been conveyed about the father of three of our dear grandchildren,” was the words of His Majesty the King.