The annual parliament dinner at the Royal Palace in Oslo has been held again after a hiatus. Due to the pandemic, the traditional event had to be cancelled in 2020, but this year the tables could be covered again, for the 103rd time. King Harald and Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette Marit, as well as the king’s older sister Princess Astrid, attended the dinner.
A total of 204 people attended the dinner. As an appetizer, guests were served lightly smoked salmon tartare with apple, cucumber and fennel salad. The second course was scallops with squash flower, chives and caviar followed by moose from Sikkilsdalen with a tart of vegetables, carrots, and a sauce of morkel and juniper. The dessert consisted of blackcurrant and milk chocolate.
There are two speakers during this dinner – His Majesty the King and the President of the Parliament – and, according to tradition, the two speeches should have humorous twist. His Majesty the King did not let down his audience. During his speech the King said: “As we planned this evening, we gradually realized that we had to be on the safe side. So we have checked the law, all kinds of regulations – even the Parliaments`s administration. And I can happily inform everyone that the representatives do not have to report this dinner to the tax authorities”.
His Majesty continued: “The Queen and I are thus very happy to finally be able to warmly welcome you all here to us at the Castle! It is especially nice to welcome a new Parliament, with as many as 48 new representatives. We are impressed with how the party organizations and all of you managed to conduct a successful election campaign with the limitations of the pandemic. A special greeting goes to our new President of the Parliament, Eva Kristin Hansen. We warmly wish you good luck with your responsible deed”.
The Norwegian Parliament dinner was established as a permanent tradition by King Haakon VII in 1906, but has roots all the way back to the time of the Swedish-Norwegian union. The dinner has been held every year since, only with the exception of the years during World War II as well as when major maintenance work has made it impossible and in 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic.