Charles and Camilla pay a royal call
March 20, 2012
The flags were flying, the red carpets rolled out and the tables set for a banquet at the Royal Palace in Oslo Tuesday evening. Prince Charles of the UK and the Duchess of Cornwall, the former Camilla Shand, arrived in Norway earlier in the afternoon for a whirlwind official visit to mark the 60th anniversary of the coronation of the prince’s mother, Queen Elizabeth.
Ties between the royal families of Norway and the UK are traditionally close, from the time when Norway’s first modern king, Haakon VII, arrived as a Danish prince with his British wife, who became Norway’s Queen Maud. Norway’s late King Olav V, son of Maud and Haakon, was born on a royal estate in England, and both Haakon and Olav spent the war years in exile in London.
The current monarchs are roughly a generation apart, with Queen Elizabeth older than King Harald, and the heirs to throne are even farther apart in age, with Prince Charles nearly 30 years older than Crown Prince Haakon. Personal ties aren’t as close as those between the Norwegians and other royal families in Europe, and this week’s official royal visit is the first in many years.
As with most royal visits, their program is timed down to the minute and they packed five official events into their first three hours on Norwegian soil. Crown Prince Haakon greeted them at the airport, along with the respective ambassadors of each country, Jane Owen and Kim Traavik, and several other dignitaries, and then it was off to Oslo’s historic Akershus Fortress and Castle, for ceremonial wreath-laying at Norway’s National Monument.
Then Prince Charles was driven to the home of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg for a private, half-hour visit, before both Charles and Camilla were escorted by King Harald and Queen Sonja to the Nobel Peace Center. There they met with survivors of last summer’s terrorist attacks on the island of Utøya and members of various youth organizations of Norway’s political parties.
After a bit of entertainment, the British royal couple was finally driven to the Royal Palace, where they’ll be guests of honor at a banquet that also will be attended by the king’s sister Princess Astrid, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit, and Princess Martha Louise. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall are also staying in the palace’s guest quarters for two nights.
Five hours in Bergen
On Wednesday they’ll be flying to Bergen for another five-hour whirlwind visit that will include stops at naval vessels in the harbor, a stroll along the historic waterfront known as Bryggen, and visits to Haakonshall and composer Edvard Grieg’s home Troldhaugen. The royal entourage will fly back to Oslo at 5pm.
No details were released about their evening plans on Wednesday, but on Thursday Prince Charles will meet some Norwegian business leaders at the British Embassy, while the Duchess of Cornwall will visit a cancer center at Oslo University Hospital. Then they’ll both spend around 20 minutes at a royal exhibit at the Oslo Museum before flying on to Stockholm just after noon on Thursday.
The British royals will also visit Copenhagen at the end of the week, to complete their official Scandinavian tour.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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