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Norway: Crown Prince Haakon opens Norwegian parliament

Norway: Crown Prince Haakon opens Norwegian parliament

NordenBladet – Today is a historic day for the Norwegian people. For the first time in 30 years, the solemn and traditional opening of the Norwegian Parliament has been made by a crown prince and not the king of the nation. In a shortened ceremony, due to the pandemic, Crown Prince Haakon opened the 156th session of the Storting, the Norwegian parliament. Queen Sonja was also present during the ceremony.

On September 25th 2020, it was announced that King Harald had been admitted to hospital in Oslo. The Norwegian Royal Family later confirmed it was because the King was having breathing difficulties. Covid-19 was ruled out after tests, and on Friday evening, the Royal Court released an update on the King’s health. They confirmed that the King was to be in hospital over the weekend and on sick leave until 4 October. This is the reason why King Harald did not open parliament this year.

The last time a crown prince opened the Storting was in 1990. Then, it was King Harald who opened the parliament as Crown Prince. His father, King Olav V, was then seriously ill and died only a few months later.

There was great excitement about whether Crown Prince Haakon would make the opening sitting on his Crown Prince’s throne or whether he will use the Norwegian Monarch’s throne, as he is the regent in his father’s absence. The Crown Prince ended up sitting on the King’s throne. It was also the first since 1990 that only two and not three thrones were placed in the parliament hall.

The ceremony began when Crown Prince Haakon and Queen Sonja left the Royal Palace. Escorted by police and soldiers, they travelled by car down the parade street to the parliament. Usually, several hundred soldiers are lined up as a guard of honour, but due to the COVID-19 danger, only a few soldiers attended. Some spectators had lined up to watch, but significantly fewer than usual.

Featured image: Opening of the parliament. (Stortinget via Flickr.)


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