Unusual State Council in Oslo today – here is what happened

Earlier this week it was announced that a State Council would be held at the Royal Norwegian Palace in Oslo. This is highly unusual as usually all the State Council meetings are held on Fridays. Whenever the King does not have the opportunity to attend the State Council on Fridays, his son, Crown Prince Haakon attends behalf of his father. When the Crown Prince also not have the opportunity to attend the State Council, the meetings are usually held in the Prime Minister’s office in a very simple ceremony. Therefore, the fact that this session was scheduled on a Wednesday was highly suspicious.

Generally, some extra meetings of the State Council are held during a cabinet period. This happens when the Prime Minister replaces some of the government’s ministers, or in some cases, alerting the King to a political crisis. These meetings are announced in advance by the Norweigan Royal Court – this has not happened this time. Therefore, it was unlikely that changes in government were to be announced; especially as there are parliamentary elections in Norway in September.

His Majesty King Harald here together with Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen.

Royal Central contacted the Royal Norwegian Court yesterday for a comment in relation to today’s State Council. A spokesperson said that all questions about the State Council must be addressed to the Prime Minister’s Office. Royal Central contacted the Prime Minister’s Office, who has yet to respond, one day later. Royal Central also contacted several other Ministries. The Ministry of Transportation informed us about some of the issues that would be submitted to the King, but they were not informed as to why the Council of State could not take place on Friday.

Earlier this week, Norway’s Prime Minister was criticised for allegedly not respecting the King.

King Harald and Queen Sonja on their way to the opening of Parliament. Photo: Oskar Aanmoen

Ultimately, nothing special that happened during today’s State Council. Two major national projects were submitted for the King’s approval. The first project is referred to as “the national transport plan” and has received much attention in Norwegian media these last few days as the project will cost more than 1000 billion kroner.

There was some speculation that the King and his family were to go on Easter holidays and wanted to hold a meeting of the State Council before they left the country. State Councils are never held during public holidays like Easter. Now Royal Central can reveal that this is not the case. The reason that the Council of State was moved to Wednesday was because Prime Minister Erna Solberg travels to China on Friday and would have no opportunity to participate in the Council of State on that day. The King therefore, decided to hold the Council of State today to prevent that there was a period of almost three weeks without Council.

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.