Young royals in Malaysia

Bookmark and Share

Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit are opening doors for another business delegation from Norway, this time in Malaysia. They’re spending three days this week in Kuala Lumpur, the first time members of the Norwegian royal family are making an official visit to the country.

They arrived (welcome photo at right with the Malaysian prime minister and his wife) on March 8, which marked the 42nd anniversary of diplomatic relations between Norway and Malaysia. It was also the international women’s day, and the crown princess was due to address gender equality at a seminar on Tuesday.

“The main goal of the seminar is to stress the importance of women’s participation in the decision-making process at a high level,” Marianne Hagen, spokeswoman for the Royal Palace, told news bureau NTB.

Earlier in the day, Crown Prince Haakon was meeting the president of Petronas, Malaysia’s major oil company. Both Norway and Malaysia are oil-producing nations and the crown prince noted in speech at Monday’s welcome dinner that “tropical Malaysia and arctic Norway have more in common than we should think at first glance. These areas should be utilized and we should explore the possibilities for further cooperation between our two countries.”

The young royals have a delegation of more than 100 Norwegian business leaders traveling with them, which Haakon said “proves the great Norwegian interest for Malaysia.” 

Also along on the tour is the government minister in charge of business and trade in Norway, Trond Giske. Both he and Crown Prince Haakon got in trouble in Norway last week over their plans for Haakon to take part in a panel of affluent young business leaders brainstorming about the future. Members of the royal family aren’t supposed to advise the government, and Haakon ultimately felt compelled to resign from the panel before it began. 

He was still facing questions about the incident in Kuala Lumpur on Monday (photo, meeting reporters outside their hotel, the Mandarin Oriental). While Malaysian journalists were more interested in women’s rights in Norway and export figures, the Norwegians wanted to know what consequences the panel flap might have for the crown prince’s involvement with Norwegian business.

He said that he still “wants to contribute” and have a “good relationship” to Norwegian business and industry. He said the incident would not limit his possibilities to promote Norwegian business, which he considers an important part of his duties. 

In addition to the Petronas meeting, the royals were attending a competition on energy conservation sponsored by DiGi, overseeing a competition over ways chefs can prepare Norwegian salmon, and highlighting Norwegian seafood at a business dinner Tuesday night. (At right, reviewing honor guards during welcoming ceremonies on Monday.)

The couple met with both the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, and his wife, Sri Rosmah Mansor, and with the King and Queen of Malaysia, Pertuan Agong and Raja Permaisuri Agong, on Monday. 

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
Join our Forum if you’d like to comment on this story.