Norway: On this day 30 years ago: King Harald takes his oath to the Constitution

NordenBladet – On this day, January 21, 30 years ago, King Harald took his oath to parliament. On the evening of 17 January 1991, King Olav V died. At the same time, Crown Prince Harald became Norway’s new king, King Harald V.

When one monarch passes away, the next takes over at the same moment. Hence the expression “The King is dead – Long live the King”. However, the transition is also accompanied by a number of ceremonial elements, of which the King’s oath to the Constitution is the most important.

King Harald took his oath to the Norwegian Constitution in front of the Norwegian parliament in accordance with Section 9 of the Constitution on 21 January 1991. The Norwegian constitution from 1814 is the second oldest constitution in the world that is still in use today. Only the US Constitution is older. Article 9 of the Constitution states the following about the change of monarch: “As soon as the king, as an adult, takes over with the government, he makes this oath to the Parliament: “I promise and swear that I will rule the Kingdom of Norway in accordance with the constitution and the laws, so help me God Almighty and omniscient! ” If no Parliament is convened at that time, the oath is given in writing to the Prime Minister, and the King solemnly takes the oath when the Parliament is seated.“

Like his father and grandfather, King Harald took the motto: “Everything for Norway”. President of the parliament Jo Benkow, read the announcement of King Olav’s death, before the King took the oath. Pressident Benkow said among other things: “Your Majesty. King Olav V, the king of the whole people, has passed away. Today, the whole of Norway stands together in grief. The message of the death came late in the evening and spread across the country through a night when everyone was awake. The king’s death has given us all an intense experience of compassion and fellowship. A King like this had the national power to bind people together. A force we could always rely on when he lived, but such an act may well continue to live after his death.”

The ceremony was short but dignified. All were strongly affected by King Olav’s death. King Olav was a much loved and respected King. Queen Sonja was present during the ceremony and, according to tradition, she was dressed in mourning costume. His Majesty King Harald`s oath was as followed: “I promise and swear to rule the Kingdom of Norway in accordance with its constitution and laws, so help me God Almighty and omniscient!”

Then 13 years later on the same date, January 21, Norway’s future queen was born. Princess Ingrid Alexandra, daughter of Crown Prince Haakon and Mette Marit, the King’s granddaughter, was born on January 21 2004, 13 years into her grandfather’s reign as monarch.


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