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Norway

Norway’s Royal Family lead celebrations on country’s national day


By Andreas Haldorsen - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

Norway has been celebrating its national day and although events were smaller this year, due to the pandemic, the Norwegian royal family had a central role during the celebrations. Led by King Harald, they remained the centre of this second, consecutive scaled back National Day celebrations.

The National Day started traditionally for the Crown Prince’s family at home in Asker, where they participated in a short outdoor program at the Skaugum Estate. Then they drove through Asker, before moving on to the Castle in Oslo. At 11.30 the royal family come out on the Palace balcony and attended the main event of the celebration of National Day.

At 12 o’clock, the whole of Norway sang the national anthem just after salutes from forts around the country. The Royal Palace area and large parts of the Palace Park was closed to the public due to infection control considerations. All the events this day were broadcast on Norway’s TV-channels from 6 AM until midnight.

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After the anthem, King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marir descended from the Palace Balcony and drove out to some of Oslo’s districts to greet the people on 17 May. This year, as last year, the royal couple drove out of the Palace in the iconic convertible A1, the same car that King Haakon drove on June 7, 1945, when the royal family returned home to Norway after World War II. Last year, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit drove a 1966 model Lincoln Continental in the A5, the so-called royal wedding car.

New this year was the royal family heading to Oslo Fjord on the Royal Yacht «KS Norge». When the ship was out in the fjord, a boat parade passed by and greeted the royal family. After the boat parade, the Royal Yacht travelled on towards the Royal Family’s holiday home outside the city of Tønsberg.

Norway marks 17 May as its Constitutional Day; it was on this date in 1814 that Prince Christian Frederik of Denmark and Norway proclaimed Norway’s constitution and was elected King of Norway. Apart from the United States Constitution, the Norwegian Constitution is the oldest constitution in the world that is still in use.

The National Day celebration is usually centred around the Norwegian Royal Family with the main celebrations taking place in the areas surrounding the Royal Palace in Oslo. More than 100,000 children usually march past the Royal Palace to greet their King on National Day. For most Norwegians, the celebration of 17 May is synonymous with seeing the Royal Family standing on the palace balcony in front of a sea of ​​people. Not only was the children’s parade cancelled this year because of the coronavirus, but the entire palace area was also closed to the public to prevent large crowds gathering.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written six books on historical subjects and more than 1.500 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.